Resolve to be Better

January and February always bring with them the start of a new semester, the excitement of seeing friends, professors, chapter and council members again, and the opportunity to set yourself up with some of the always discussed New Year’s Resolutions. But how often do we stop and think about what this means?

According to Google, ‘resolution’ means a firm decision to do or not to do something. So, every year, we engage in our own process to make at least one firm decision to do or not to do something. What will this be for you as you are entering 2018 and a new semester? Many of you may be entering a new leadership position within your fraternity/sorority community. Some of you may be transitioning to a different leadership experience, but are striving to see something different from last year.

Even though we are a few weeks to a month into the new semester, there’s still time to make a resolution. Actually, have you ever thought about a resolution for your fraternal organization or community?

Here are five suggestions as you consider this question:

1. Decide to establish a new relationship with a non-fraternal organization on your campus.

How often do we get stuck in the same pattern of partnering with the same organizations semester after semester doing the same thing year after year? What if you challenge your organization to branch out of the “fraternity/sorority bubble” and find something in common with a non-fraternal group on campus. Consider partnering with a business organization because you have a large group of business majors in your organization and create a networking event with local alumni. Consider partnering with a philanthropic group that matches the importance cause your organization already supports. Consider the impact that you can have when we involve others outside our immediate community in the positive work we are doing for the university.

2. Decide to raise more questions to your fraternity/sorority advisor.

How often do you ask questions to the person hired to advise your community? This person wants to serve as an advocate, an ally, and a resource to your organization. Ask them for this. Ask them to come and talk to your chapter and work with this person to create opportunities so your general members get to know ‘the person in the office’ as more than just that. Ask them to explain why changes are being made and how you as a leader can be involved. More often than not, your fraternity/sorority advisor cares about your opinion and wants to know your thoughts on how these changes are impacting your experience.

3. Decide to create a new a habit in your organization.

If you are in a leadership role, you are uniquely positioned to create habitual change in your organization. A habit is a regular practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Maybe your organization has stopped saying your creed, purpose, or mission at the beginning of every meeting because “it takes too long.” Empower your members to remember the importance of saying these words consistently each week you are all together whether it be a chapter meeting, committee meeting, or organization event. It has been said that it takes 21 days to create a habit; now imagine your fraternity/sorority will look like on day 22.

4. Decide not to stay quiet when you know something is happening that is wrong.

This past year brought with it the #MeToo movement which exposed and brought to light the number of individuals who have experienced or been impacted by sexual violence. This needs to be the year that has more of us saying something when we see something. Whether it is a member who needs to be cut off because they had too much to drink or a member who is being taken advantage of by their partner, stand up and say something. Remember, no one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.

5. Decide not to stop yourself from doing something because of the fear of failure.

I know you have your own goals for this year and you have probably started thinking about how you are going to accomplish them. My advice is to not be afraid of doing something because you do not think you can achieve the stated goal. Do not let fear stop you from becoming the best version of yourself in 2018.

I hope these five suggestions have started you thinking about how you are going to improve your fraternal organization or community.

Now I will ask you again, have you thought about a resolution for your fraternal organization or community? I hope during this next year, you resolve to be better. Be a better student. Be a better family member. Be a better community member. Be a better human. Be better and your world – our world – will be a better place.

Tyler Manning serves as the Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Saginaw Valley State University and a M.A. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University.  Tyler is a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity and currently serves the organization as a Chapter Director as well as serving as a volunteer for AFLV and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors.


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