So I’ve been doing some research, and I want to put recruitment into terms I know and love: Dr Seuss. Theodore Seuss Geisel was born March 2nd, 1904. He spent time and efforts doing a number of things before he created what we all know and love him for. He was a very political man (as can be seen even in his children’s literature) and changed the landscape of children’s literature forever. In 1957, he released that wonderful character that we all know and love him for today and that many children identify as Dr Seuss, the Cat in the Hat. Created from a list of 200 vocabulary words, this book put Spot, Dick, and Jane in the back of everyone’s minds. Just as he changed the world of Children’s Literature, he can change the landscape of recruitment.
This is a three part process to be aware of, which I have associated with Dr Seuss classics. I call it the “Dr Seuss ‘Be’ Approach:
1) One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
BE an expert.
When recruiting, you are doing it for a specific purpose. You have a history to share, a vision to inspire, a change to make. Fraternities are all founded on values. They have rights and traditions, rituals, even oaths that call for action. You are required to live your values, not just clam them.
It is important to be like Seuss in this story, a true expert. He knows all about Nooks and Goxes and Yops and so much more. When it comes to your chapter, can you say the same? Be ready to answer those questions when potential new members have them. Invest yourself in knowing your organization and be prepared.
2) Green Eggs and Ham
BE Persistent and Consistent.
When it comes to your chapter, everyone has that one person that is great at nagging…I mean, talking, right? (Don’t look at that person if you are reading this in a crowd) This is one of those people that when you ask who recruited members to your chapter, they all mention this person. They just kept bugging them until they agreed to come to an event and now viola!
They are just like Sam. and it is important to be like Sam. Be consistent and persistent. Always be there for the person and get to know them. Show that you do want to be their friend and not just recruit them. Know what is going on in their live, not just asking them to attend the next recruitment event. Get involved in their life too, show them by your actions that they matter. As for persistent, a no for one event does not mean no they will not join. It is ok if you get a no. Do not let that stop you (do, however, be respectful of the person in asking)
3) The Cat in the Hat
Think about the events that your chapter does. What do they do to recruit? If you are using the same old cookout/movie night/game night, sit down and rewrite your schedule. These events don’t show what it important to you and they certainly do not say that recruitment is important. Come up with events that connect you to your mission, your purpose. Show these guys what they are getting involved in.
Be like the Cat in the Hat. He brought so many new and exciting ideas to the house when the kids didn’t know what to do on a rainy day. They were bored, just like your potential new members will be after their 5th cookout of the week (though they will enjoy the free food). Start fresh, be fresh, and be invigorating. Be new. And also, like the Cat, Pay attention to the details. He cleaned up at the end.
Bonus) The Sneetches
In honor of some recent events happening in Fraternity and Sorority Life, I would like to add this one. At times, we get too caught up in who deserves to be involved in our organizations. We let Alumni dictate the future rather than planning it with them, or we skip listening to our values in making decisions. Don’t let discrimination happen in your process. Fraternity and Sorority Life is a great opportunity. If you are here, hopefully you believe that. There are great benefits and why should someone miss out on that due to things that are often socially constructed (Look at critical race theory if you think Skin color is a reason someone shouldn’t join). Be the bigger person. Get to know everyone’s story.
In Closing Be aware that this style of recruitment is not easy. It takes work from everyone (not the old principle where 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people) and doing it ahead of time. Dr Seuss was a hard worker, taking months and sometimes years of writing and rewriting to create his works. If you get ready ahead of time, then those troubleshooting issues are all you have to deal with, not added stress on top of everything else. Believe in your letters, your purpose, and your people. Dru Seuss was simple and pleasant. Change recruitment and get both the quantity and quality men.