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How Often Should Undergraduates Attend Fraternity Alumni Leadership Meetings?


The stronger the relationship brothers and their alumni share, the stronger their fraternity becomes.

The word “brotherhood” often gets batted around among undergraduates, but it means so much more than sharing a chapter pledge class, or living in the same house. Once you graduate, you don’t suddenly stop being a brother.

That’s one of the greatest parts of joining a fraternity. With any other campus club or organization, you lose your membership when you graduate. It happens. You move on with life, join new groups and set higher goals.

However, once you’re initiated as a fraternity brother, you’re always a brother. The best fraternities know that true greatness lies in a strong lineage. You build on the achievements of those who came before. You respect where you came from, even if you’ve always got an eye on the future.

Alumni engagement with undergraduate members can play a crucial role in chapter success. It can also help alumni to stay active in their fraternity.

When alumni give to fraternity capital fundraising campaigns, they’re providing a crucial resource to their chapter. Yet there are many more ways alumni and undergraduate brothers can forge meaningful relationships. When alumni aren’t dropping in for chapter or doling out sage advice about potential new member bids, they’re volunteering to help manage chapter projects and guiding brothers in countless other ways.

Brothers can do their part by doing everything in their power to grow and learn, and to become well-rounded men and better leaders.

Brothers should also make the effort to understand where their alumni are coming from. One way to build stronger undergraduate relations is by having brothers attend Alumni Leadership Meetings. But how often should undergraduates attend these meetings? What should they take away, and how will this benefit the chapter? How can alumni guide brothers so they get the most out of the experience?

Pennington & Company knows that, like spices, too much of a good thing can ruin the dish. Yet not enough and the flavor diminishes. We want to help make sure you cook your chapter-alumni relationship recipe to perfection.

What Brothers Gain from Sitting at the Elders’ Table

It’s difficult to put into words all the benefits undergraduate brothers can get from simply listening to and building relationships with their alumni.

Getting to sit in an alumni executive leadership meeting can provide valuable insights. They’ll learn how to better engage alumni because they’ll have a better idea of how alumni approach goals and chapter initiatives.

Think of undergraduate alumni relations as a Rolex watch. If it breaks, it’s going to cost you to fix it. However, if you’ve opened it up and studied its inner workings, if you’ve learned to become a master watchmaker, you’ll be able to get that lavish timepiece running like . . . well . . . like clockwork.

When the Meeting Minutes Begin

The alumni council might meet annually, quarterly, or more often via conference calls and online meetings. Alumni may discuss any number of topics, like the association’s newsletter, events, chapter scholarship opportunities and fundraising.

Brothers will intuitively settle into the structure of the meetings because they’re similar to how undergraduates run chapter meetings.

When brothers attend these meetings, several layers of engagement are going on at once. They:

  • Gain insight into the alumni association’s inner workings
  • Connect and build personal relationships with alumni board members
  • Learn alumni’s pressing thoughts and concerns regarding the undergraduate chapter
  • Can be inspired to become active in the alumni association after graduating

Alumni meetings give brothers a sense of how seasoned fraternity men come together and build success. It will bring them renewed vigor and wisdom when they chair their next executive meeting or chapter, or manage a fraternity election.

In short, brothers will see how high alumni have set the bar and rise to meet it.

What Alumni Learn When They Bring Undergrads into the Mix

Sure, young brothers won’t have a clue what to say the first time they attend an alumni leadership meeting.

And really, you won’t call them out much, either, because they won’t have much to contribute to an alumni-specific agenda.

Yet there will be points at which these brothers can provide a much-needed insight from the chapter perspective.

When discussing engagement efforts with the chapter, brothers can express what the chapter sees as pressing needs from alumni now and into the future. Undergraduates and alumni can hold brief but illuminating dialogue on structured meeting topics.

As opposed to brothers coming to alumni when they need something, a meeting can be an opportunity to present brothers with the alumni association’s thoughts and adapt them through a constructive back and forth.

Alumni won’t waste too much time on this, and should rather expand conversations outside of official meetings. A few well-placed points from the undergraduate perspective can really make a difference.

Fundraising is such a huge part of how alumni benefit their chapters, and both the alumni association and chapter do it.

Why not trade notes?

Brothers can learn valuable approaches to fundraising, like holding annual campaigns or asking for recurring alumni donations, as well as how to plan a major capital campaign.

Alumni benefit from this because brothers will become more effective fundraisers, saving alumni time, money and effort in the long run.

Finally, alumni can give undergraduates an inside look at upcoming leadership conferences and other mentorship opportunities. They can also pick up officer-specific techniques from these meetings, such as how a president will chair and manage the meeting, or how the treasurer approaches budgeting and membership dues.

At first, opening up these meetings may seem like it’ll be disruptive to alumni and overwhelming for brothers.

And sure, there has to be a sense of decorum. Only undergraduate executive officers should attend, and they won’t participate except when addressed directly about chapter matters.

Yet engagement’s a two-way street. Alumni should be willing to host brothers at their meetings to bring them into the fold and forge stronger relationships. They must be patient and willing to answer questions brothers have.

Both brothers and alumni should always welcome each other with open arms, and never miss an opportunity to engage.

What are your thoughts about undergraduates attending alumni leadership meetings? Do you think your chapter would be interested in asking brothers to contribute to these meetings? Let’s discuss in the comments below.