Member Dev

Member development covers all aspects of membership from recruiting through alumni affairs.  Development is the primary concern of the Chapter Corporation headed by the Board of Advisers (BOA).

What our Alumni Value in a Fraternity

In August 2008, two questions were posed via e-mail to the alumni of TKE Beta-Pi at Georgia Tech:

  • “If you had a son who was going to attend Georgia Tech this fall, what would a fraternity need to be in order for you to *strongly support* his pledging? I mean strongly support, not acquiesce.”
  • “On the other hand, what would be some red flags that would lead you to question his pledging a particular fraternity?”

Note that the questions were not about our particular chapter but about pledging any fraternity.

Over forty open-ended responses were received and grouped into categories. Only a few desires contradicted each other, regarding cost for example. As expected, many of the desirable qualities and red flags are related. Those mentioned more than four times were:

Top Desired Qualities

  • Strong academics (32)
  • Involvement on campus, individually and as a group (21)
  • Strong brotherhood (12)
  • Support for life transitions (12)
  • Diversity** (11)
  • Well-maintained house (8)
  • Community involvement (7)
  • Social that is not parties (6)
  • Good reputation (6)
  • Structured living environment* (5)
  • No hazing (5)

Top Red Flags

  • Weak academics (17)
  • Overemphasis on parties or social “out of control” (15)
  • Badly-maintained house (13)
  • History of problems (10)
  • Bad manners of members*** (8)
  • Weak finances (7)
  • Hazing (6)
  • Lack of diversity** (5)

* This refers to having a house, a meal plan, and coordinated activities.
** Mostly referred to a diversity of interests, majors, skills, place or origin, etc.
*** Arrogance, unfriendliness, inconsideration, etc. especially towards alumni, parents, girls and strangers.

Current Status of Member Development

Recruiting and the Pledge Program

Despite the tremendous changes in the legal, social and technological environment that have taken place over the last decades, the undergraduate organization has made few significant changes to the way it recruits or “educates” new members since the early 1970s. An alumnus who pledged in 1975 would feel at home in rush today, with the exception of the lack of alcohol. He would recognize almost all the material he would be required to memorize to pass pledge quizzes. Paddle talks are still paddle talks although enforcement of anti-hazing measures by the university has made it necessary for the undergrad executive committee to curtail some activities that would have been accepted, even beneficial, in the past.

The scholarship chairman (usually the hypophetes) may meet at regular intervals with pledges to monitor their grades and point them in the direction of help if they need it. “Mandatory” study halls are sometimes instituted.

Initiation

The only aspect of initiation in the Chapter that hasn’t changed much since 1948 is the TKE formal ceremony and even that has been tweaked once or twice. Some examples of changes that have occurred in the last few decades include:

  • The Chapter has not held the PQ (the Prytanis Quiz–an idea we got from the Betas a long time ago) since the late 1980s. This was the most intense experience of the week and nothing has been found to reproduce the emotional wallop it packed.
  • Some initiation activities were removed years ago at the insistence of the Institute because they were considered hazing. These included, for example, Thursday Night Stunts, V-runs and Z-runs, initiates waking early to cook breakfast and having to wear coats and ties to class during “Help” Week, middle-of-the-night calisthenics/frolf, numerous forms of duress during initiation week, and sleep deprivation.
  • Readings in chapter history was created in the late 1990s as a substitute for Thursday Night Stunts. Done well, it gives the initiates insights on the inspiring history of our chapter.
  • TDT (Teke Dinner Theater), which had always been provocative in a fun way since the early 70s, got out of hand around the turn of the century and had to be toned down. Also TDT was, in older days, limited to initiates, their dates and brothers. As of a few years ago, it has become a large invite-party for girls.
  • Circle, one of the most memorable activities in the past, seems to have disappeared from initiation.
  • “Three Fires” has been moved since Conyers is no longer remote and the old “place” with that wonderful creek is now surrounded by boxy homes with vinyl siding. The current activity is an abbreviated version of what most alumni initiated since the 1960s would be familiar with. Buddy died long ago.

On the other hand, Good & Bad, a great activity that was originally created to avoid having to go out in the rain one Friday night, has survived intact, as have Skits (always fun).

Development After Initiation

There is currently no program for development after initiation.

However the alumni boards have insisted on and do monitor two programs critical to the success of the chapter:

The alumni also supervise a group on the LinkedIn website for initiates of the chapter which undergraduates are welcome to join.

Alumni Programming

The alumni advisers oversee the production of regular newsletters; the maintenance of the alumni website, facebook group, and LinkedIn group; and the coordination of various alumni gatherings at different times of the year. For example, there is usually something at Homecoming and the advisers recently initiated a T-day cookout.

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