Recruitment: To Theme or Not To Theme

It seems that one of first and most important questions asked when planning Recruitment is “What will our Recruitment theme be?” Themes can be fun, but they have a bigger impact on Recruitment than your Chapter may realize.


So what exactly does a Recruitment theme do? A theme…

  1. Reflects on the organization as a whole
  2. Dictates the type of events the Chapter holds during Recruitment
  3. Targets specific populations/interest groups while potentially isolating others

Wow, those are some pretty weighty implications of themes! When choosing a theme, ask yourself/your Chapter how your theme is affecting these things. Some of the most popular Recruitment themes we see are television shows, movies, time periods, and sports.

For example, let’s talk Harry Potter. Sounds like a fun Recruitment theme, right?

1. How does it reflect on the organization?
Well, Harry Potter is a successful book/movie franchise! But what does it have to do with Phi Sigma Pi? Does it communicate our mission and ideals? Remember that your theme doesn’t just reflect on your Chapter, but anytime you use the Phi Sigma Pi name or logo, you’re reflecting on the ENTIRE Fraternity. Let’s be honest, Harry Potter doesn’t reflect who we are as an organization.

2. Will it constrict your Recruitment events?
When you have a theme, everything you do has to fit that theme. This dictates everything about Recruitment including your events. A Harry Potter theme could definitely produce some unique events, but let’s recall that the purpose of Recruitment events is to attract Potential New Members (PNMs). Create a space for interaction between PNMs and Members and give PNMs a taste of what it’s like to be a Member. Is your Chapter Harry Potter themed year-round? We hope not! Also, would Harry Potter attract the most amount of PNMs? That brings us to the next point…

3. Will it isolate PNMs?
Harry Potter would certainly be an attraction to some PNMs, but it isolates those who have never read/seen it or who do not like it (trust us, they exist). You could be deterring a great PNM from attending your Recruitment if they have no interest in your theme. Why would they do Harry Potter trivia if they won’t know any of the answers? Don’t miss out on a great PNM because of your theme!

To theme or not to theme, that is the question.

The National Office encourages Chapters to consider not using a Recruitment theme. Instead, focus on communicating Phi Sigma Pi’s mission and ideals through events that will appeal to everyone. Make your theme… Phi Sigma Pi!

  • Use our colors and logos in your Recruitment materials
  • Use the language found in the Brothers’ Creed
  • Model your events after the Tripod– scholarship, leadership and fellowship events.

Remember that people join people, not themes. Instead of using a theme to connect with PNMs, create ways in your events for Members and PNMs to get to know each other and connect personally on what they have in common… like Harry Potter!

T&E RecruitmentJoin us for the Leadership in Action Tweet & Eat on January 16th at 7:30 PM EST. The topic is Recruitment! We’ll be sharing tips, best practices and successes (it’s a national Roundtable, but in 140 characters). RSVP at

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