Rush Positive for Positive Results
By Kyle Whitlock (TCNJ, 2014) Director of Growth and Development, Educational Leadership Consultant, Master
It’s recruitment season! That means meeting tons of new potential members who you hope are really “chill” while grilling up burgers and dogs better than the fraternity next door. All of your brothers had a great summer and are coming back ready to kick back and find their eventual little bros. You’ve been hearing great things about this season initially, and you know the chapter is poised to take its biggest class in a decade. You finally throw your biggest event of the week and out of nowhere, the entire world starts to fall apart. You realize there are huge holes in the plan, brothers are in class when you are supposed to hold the event and you have no idea how you’re going to hit your goals anymore.
We’ve all been there before. It’s not fun and certainly not sustainable.
So, how can you be sure you’re going to secure the men you really want? What needs to be done beforehand to give you the best chance at success? Yes, you should have a list, events, committee, budget, sponsorships and all that good stuff, but I’m talking about the intangibles. I’m talking about a mindset. This mindset creates the atmosphere that potential new members should feel when entering your house or your events. They should know you are all there for the right reason and that you want nothing more than to be at the event meeting new people. It should seem organic, like you just want to find new friends to ball with or for late night Fortnite.
It all starts with positive energy.
I’ve walked into houses during rush and found deflated brotherhoods where as soon as you walk in, you want to turn around and walk right back out. Nobody rushes well when they’re unhappy, it’s a fact of fraternity life. When was the last time you wanted to try something new when your friend only had bad things to say about it? … Didn’t think so.
Toxic energy can seep into your skin from a small drizzle to an entire ocean of negative thoughts and feelings. It kills morale, compromises relationships and sucks the fun out of everything you do. You probably don’t realize the simple phrases you say like “of course this would happen to me” or blaming your luck for why you aren’t successful. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy – if you think recruitment is going to be poor, you’ve already lost the battle.
Try implementing these simple steps:
1. Have a chapter retreat, beforehand.
You can have some fun and synergize so that you’re all on the same page. Talk about your strengths. What are the selling points for each individual brother and what are the best qualities of the chapter? Sometimes just talking it out with the brotherhood makes all the difference when it comes time to recruit. Channel that positive energy. Try having other brothers identify your strengths!
2. Make sure events are fun for the BROTHERS.
Yes, recruitment is really meant for the potential new members, but if the brothers aren’t happy, you won’t have any potential new members sticking around. If all the brothers hate video games, are you really going to sit there and pretend you’re all enjoying yourselves?
3. CLEAN YOUR HOUSE.
Is this even a question? I sound like a Jewish mother, but it’s pretty obvious … no one wants to join the house of slobs. You don’t wake up one day and tell yourself, “you know what, I’m going to go look for the dirtiest house I can find” because it’s a symptom of bigger problems the chapter faces: disorganization, laziness, complacency, etc.
4. Know your values and be yourself.
I’ve seen this simple idea revolutionize chapters. If you start with: “WHY AEPi?” and why your chapter exists, making it clear to new members that this is who you are and what you believe, you know you’re getting other like-minded folk to join.
5. Bring only good vibes.
If you’re not having a good day and you know it is going to affect how you perform … please don’t show up. Even the best brothers have bad days. And if I know myself at all, I know I’m bound to have more bad days than most of you reading this. If I show up to an event and I’m so preoccupied with an exam that I’m going to fail or about something really eating away at me, I’m definitely not going to say the right things and thus not going to attract the right people for our organization.
It’s never too late.
You may not have had the best start to rush, whether your prospective list is too small or the first event didn’t have as many attendees as you’d hoped. It’s one thing to complain and have no solutions, it’s another ball game when you begin to ask how to improve on that failure.
It’s never too late to get things back in order. Just one successful event can change the entire outcome for not only the semester but the future of your chapter.
More about Kyle Whitlock:
Kyle Whitlock serves as Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Director of Growth and Development. He was born and raised in Toms River, New Jersey, where he still resides today, working on long term projects for the fraternity.
A graduate of The College of New Jersey with a B.A. in History and a certificate in Secondary Education, Kyle was a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honors Society, and served his term as Master, holding a conclave on campus in the Spring of 2014.
Starting in Fall 2014, Kyle’s first role with the fraternity headquarters was as an Educational Leadership Consultant in the Southeast region until 2016. This ranged from Washington D.C. to Miami and included expansion at another seven campuses across the US. Afterward, Kyle served two years as Director of Colony Development where he visited colonies around the globe to provide them with foundational education and to be a source of positive reinforcement during the difficult Founding Father processes.
When he is not focusing on AEPi, Kyle places an emphasis on physical and mental well-being, whether that means reading a good book, cooking up a new and inspiring dish in the kitchen, or running another half-marathon. He is currently working on a plan with other TCNJ alumni to support the chapter with a long-lasting scholarship fund for leadership and educational purposes for all its future members.
Cover photo developed with the help of Tomer Zilberman (Northeastern, 2021), AEPi at Northeastern University and the AEPi graphics community.