Nov. 15, 2011 - As elections take place this month, new officers will take the leadership roles in your chapter. Many seniors who were previously these leaders, no longer have these positions. However, seniors are a critical asset to any chapter. Keeping them engaged and contributing to the chapter is important. This article orignially appeared in September, but as transitions are taking place for all members of your chapter, it is important to remember the transitions seniors are going through and keep them involved with the Fraternity.
It happens year after year. Students become seniors and check out. Involvement in chapter activities seems less important. They feel like they put in their time and other members should now run the chapter.
Although seniors do have different priorities than freshman (searching for jobs, applying to graduate schools or preparing for the real world), they are still a valuable part of a collegiate chapter. So how can you keep seniors engaged with fraternity life?
Start early. Instill in the minds of associates and new initiates that Sig Tau is for life. Being a member of Sig Tau does not just stop because your college career is ending. With this in mind and recognizing that seniors are shifting from collegiate to alumni life, undergraduates need to help their senior members with this transition.
Develop programming targeted towards senior interests. Ask what topics are important to them and plan activities involving those topics. Active alumni, advisors and university career service offices are great resources to use. They can teach seniors about a variety of topics including:
- Alumni associations and chapters
- Job hunting and interviewing
- Professional career development
- Volunteer opportunities
Underclassmen can also use seniors as a resource. Seniors make great mentors to new officers, as they become the leaders of the fraternity. Asking seniors (many of whom were previous officers) for help gives them responsibility and makes them more connected with the current events of the chapter.
Finally, help seniors reflect by asking questions. How have they lived the six Principles as a collegiate member? How will they live them in the future? How will they live them in their new roles as:
- Coworkers instead of collegiate members
- Community leaders instead of chapter leaders
- Uncles and dads instead of brothers and sons
Asking seniors these questions not only helps them reflect on their commitments to Sigma Tau Gamma, but also helps others analyze their own commitment to the Principles and realize Sig Tau is for life.
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