By Brother Kate McConnell, Gamma Phi Chapter ’07, NYMAAC
This spring is a major milestone for me. On April 11, 2013, I will celebrate 10 years as a Brother of Phi Sigma Pi. From the beginning of my time in the Fraternity, I found at least one thing to be universally true: Alumni are awesome. Some of the most influential people in my life are those that I knew as Alumni Brothers while I was an Undergrad. **
Since then, I’ve found myself at home with two other Chapters. First, I was adopted as an alum by an undergrad Chapter, then I moved to my current home and got involved with NYMAAC, NYC’s Alumni Chapter. Along the way, I’ve bonded with Brothers at regional, national, and interchapter events, exchanged email addresses and phone numbers and added more Facebook friends than I thought possible.
I now have a massive Brotherhood network that I can reach with just a few taps on a keyboard.
And I’ll bet you do, too. Maybe you wouldn’t call it massive, but it’s a pretty solid network, isn’t it?
I’ll bet you also have some problems. Or issues. Or challenges. However you see them, you’ve got stuff you could use some help with. Whether it be in school, in your Chapter, or in your personal life, I’m guessing you wouldn’t mind having a sympathetic ear, helping hand, or brilliant idea.
You know who has those? Alumni.
I know, I know – you can never get Alumni to come to your events. Or you try to reach out to them, but you can’t seem to hold on to them. Or you have too many problems and just don’t have time to worry about Alumni. (Note: that last one is not actually a valid excuse.)
But here’s the thing: it’s easier than you think. We live in the communication age, man! Why don’t we make the most of it?
Don’t worry. I’ll tell you how.
Here are just a few suggestions for communicating with Alumni:
It doesn’t matter what Chapter we started in.
People move all the time. There may be hundreds or thousands of Alumni right under your nose. Send an email to the National Office asking for names and emails of all the Alumni in your area, then invite them to join your Alumni newsletter, listserv, email list, or whatever else you use. Don’t forget you’re in a national fraternity – we don’t need to have been inducted in your student union to want to be active with your Chapter.
We’ve got plenty to offer, and we’re just waiting for you to ask us for help.
We don’t have to attend your events to participate. No matter where we are, we can help. You know that drama going on in your Chapter? We’ve been through it. The class you’re struggling through? We took it. Have bros that need help with dues? Ask us. Looking for a job after graduation? We’re looking for someone to hire.
Don’t forget that your Alumni are adults. Most of us with adult jobs and adult money. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather send $20 (or $100) than to a Brother in need, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather hire or recommend for a job.
Keep us in the loop.
We like to help, especially if we are feeling the brotherly love. We don’t need a lot – just send us a quick email once a month or even once a semester to let us know how rush went, who the new e-board is, or the latest on that annual service event. We don’t need fancy formatting or pretty prose – just keep us in the loop.
Don’t get discouraged.
Just like you, we get too busy to keep up with our emails. We might not reply all the time, but we’re here. For every two replies you get, there are ten of us who haven’t gotten a chance to get back to you. But we will next time.
And even if we don’t, you still have the insight, ideas, and involvement of two people you didn’t have before.
As I approach my 10-year Brothiversary, I can tell you that I honestly don’t know where I’d be without the alumni of Phi Sigma Pi. If you want to get the most out of your alumni years, start now by reaching out to those of us that are already there.
You’ll be glad you did.
And so will we.
** Special thanks to all of the Alumni at Gamma Phi for being such an inspiration for the last 10 years!