Life has thrown us all a bit of a curveball, and SLG undergraduates likely need advisors’ help now more than ever. Keep the following in mind as you assist the chapter in navigating these uncharted waters:
You’re in Charge.
The operations advisor, along with the chapter president, should be “quarterbacking” the plan to regroup and keep the chapter on track. If the operations advisor is unable to do that, or if the position is vacant, another advisor should assume the leadership role.
Host an Advisor Meeting ASAP.
Pull all advisors together on a conference call or webinar to discuss the campus/chapter status and assign action items. Before the call, each advisor should make personal contact with their chapter and be prepared to report out on how they are doing.
Advisors need community, too, so consider a standing biweekly advisor check-in call. It doesn’t have to be a long meeting, but it will help you delegate tasks and ensure things are staying on track.
Consider a short communication to parents, letting them know that SLG is here to support their daughters. Encourage them to reach out to you with questions or concerns.
Rely on Your Experience and Best Judgment.
These are strange times and we’re all trying to make the best decisions we can. Rely on your personal experience and best judgment, remembering that our goal is to keep the leadership team focused on the future and keeping all members connected to SLG.
Ask for Help.
If you need direction or help, just ask. Reach out first to your Regional Director. If she is unable to help, contact SLG’s Administrative Office via email where you’ll be directed to the best staff member to answer your questions.
The deadline for the semester paperwork was February 15. However, the chapters need to keep up with the following:
- filling out the induction form for any new AMs (hyperlink on web page)
- completing Journey with the help of the RD
- filling out the initiation form for anyone going through initiation (hyperlink on web page)
- paying any induction and initiation fees that may be due (this can be checked on empowernet and paid through empowernet)
We recommend that the chapters continue to meet weekly via Zoom, Google Hangout, or other virtual platform. Invite your advisors! Important topics to cover include:
How is everyone feeling? Who needs extra outreach and support?
Chapter meetings, sisterhood events, meals and other fun activities can happen virtually. Try to do something once a week, whether business or sisterhood oriented.
Continue to develop and refine your summer and fall calendars so you are organized and understand deadlines and key actions.
Preparation is Key.
When you return to campus, what needs to be ready? Are you prepared for recruitment? Is your new member program ready to be certified? Is your budget and calendar completed for the fall term?
Achieving Your Goals.
How can you continue working on your chapter goals? Can you revise them to be accomplished virtually?
What long-term goals do you have as a chapter that you can work on virtually and make progress on now?
Stay in Touch.
Reach out to your most vulnerable sisters. A major part of your role is to create strong morale within the chapter, and now more than ever your members need friendship and support.
It’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel right now, we know, but one day (hopefully soon) chapter operations will return to normal. It’s best to consider a few things as your leadership team looks forward to that day:
Being away from campus shouldn’t mean your chapter operations stop altogether. There’s still plenty to consider adding to your calendar, including:
- Continue to update the chapter calendar with virtual events.
- Monitor your campus news alerts for any modified academic dates. Most campuses are still working on their plan for finals and commencement, so pay attention to those key deadlines.
- If you have spring new members, start thinking about a timeline for initiation over the summer or upon return to campus.
- Plan to have a summer meetings to refocus the team and get ready for the fall term. If the team is geographically scattered, host the retreat virtually over a few hours on a weekend.
At this time, we encourage all chapters to plan for the fall semester to begin on its regular schedule. This may obviously change, but it’s best to be prepared for a regular return to campus. Since this period of time away from the chapter is longer than anyone is used to, we recommend the following:
- Leadership meeting. The leadership team and advisors should set aside a half-day very early in the term (ideally before classes start) to review goals, finalize the calendar and have a good plan in place. More than ever, next fall we all need to hit the ground running!
- Sisterhood retreat. Hosting a sisterhood retreat just before or right as members return to campus is a great way to welcome everyone back, have fun together, set goals and focus on the coming term (including recruitment).
- Recruitment Prep. Recruitment may be more difficult moving forward as we are in unprecedented times. How is the chapter planning ahead to engage as many potential Gammas as possible? We recommend that the recruitment team have weekly or biweekly planning calls, beginning now, to work through plans and assignments. We don’t know what might happen with orientation sessions or summer programs, so you need to be prepared to mobilize quickly.
- Budget planning. We recommend developing two budget models for the next academic year: one that assumes all members will return, and another based on a decline in membership, as some students may not return to school. Of course, your estimates will vary based on the type of school and the profile of your membership. Start thinking now about your fixed versus variable expenses and how you can keep dues at an affordable level but still give your members a great experience.
The bonds of sisterhood are still forming for SLG’s newest members. Consider the following as you find new ways to promote involvement and engagement in this new environment:
Continue New Member Meetings.
This is a critical time for new members to feel like they are part of your chapter or colony. Education sessions or meetings should continue weekly via Zoom or Google Hangouts (or as often as prescribed in your new member program).
Entities currently halfway through The Journey (have completed up to meeting 3, i.e. Sigma Phase)
● If feasible, Journey meetings may be conducted via an online platform (i.e. Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangout, etc.). -or-
● If need be, Journey meetings may be combined (max 2) in order to complete The Journey and Ritual prior to finals. -or-
● Continue in person Journey meetings if ALL the following conditions are met:
o Institution facilities are open.
o Institution allows for students to continue to gather and conduct intake.
o Associate Members are staying local to the institution and are comfortable to continue in-person meetings.
o Entity is comfortable to continue in-person meetings.
Entities who have not reached Meeting 4 of The Journey and their institutions have moved to online instruction or are closed.
● Postpone Induction and Journey until institution re-opens.
● Entities will need to re-submit a Journey Approval Form with changes and await RD approval.
Entities who have been approved to induct but have not yet inducted and their institutions have moved to online instruction or are closed.
● All intake activities will be postponed until summer or fall. Continue to abide by your Fraternity & Sorority Life policies.
● Ritual must be done in person. If your institution’s facilities are closed, we will allow rituals to be conducted at a private residence. You MUST submit an email request to your Regional Director and be approved to conduct a ritual outside of the institution. You MUST have the homeowner fill out a Release of Liability Form.
Need ideas or help engaging your new members virtually? Reach out to your advisors for creative ideas. For additional assistance, you can contact Education Coordinator or Digital Marketing & Communications Specialist.
Many new members haven’t established the deep connection that you and your sisters share yet, especially if they’ve only been part of SLG for a couple of weeks. You’ll, therefore, need to be mindful and get creative with how they are connecting to sisters.
Virtual meals, a Netflix Party or online video games are great ways to casually interact. Try assigning each active three new members to personally reach out to in the next 10 days. Little actions will go a long way to make sure they feel like they still belong to your chapter
Giving other women the SLG experience you’ve been able to have (well, minus the quarantine) is one of the greatest legacies you can leave. Even in this time away from campus, there are ways to share the SLG story with potential members in order to keep your chapter strong and healthy. Virtual recruitment might sound weird, but we’re all in the same boat and there are actually some great and unique things you can do to protect the lifeblood of the Sorority.
Have a weekly recruitment committee meeting using Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc.
During these meetings, clean up your recruitment tracker, think of creative and unique ways to generate names for potential new members, develop recruitment trainings for the chapter, discuss how you can be recruiting year-round (not just through formal recruitment), and prepare for the logistics of your campus’ next formal recruitment cycle.
Engage the Chapter.
While the recruitment committee is hard at work, it’s important to find ways to engage the entire chapter.
- Host a virtual chapter retreat.
- Re-do your bylaws, research fundraising and volunteer opportunities.
- How are your alumnae doing? Set up a virtual meeting in the evening to check in with your alumnae sisters. This is the perfect opportunity to strengthen your bonds with them while practicing social distancing.