First and foremost, congratulations are in order on your election into the role of chapter president! Your term as SMC will be both formative and rewarding, and this is just the beginning of a journey that will continue to develop you both personally and professionally. At the helm of your chapter, you will have a fraternity experience that many do not receive. It is your responsibility to keep the best interest of the chapter and your brothers at heart at all times, reminiscent of the obligation you took when you were initiated into Pi Kappa Alpha. The International Fraternity is your biggest advocate in this endeavor, and we want you to be the most dynamic SMC you can be. While we provide many great resources on pikes.org and through myPIKE, we know that you’re going to be busy. My goal is to better equip you with the information you need when you need it so you can stay informed and proactive while you further the goals of your chapter. I’ll be in touch throughout your term, so use this blog as a resource!

The following are a few tips that will assist you in your efforts to becoming a successful chapter president:

  1. Lead and motivate by example. While chapter president, always strive to represent the highest ideals of appropriate conduct for all members of your chapter. Since you are the foremost representative of the fraternity, people will tend to model their behavior after the example you provide.
  2. Utilize your resources. Local alumni (chapter advisor, alumni advisory boards, house corporations), University officials (Greek Advisor, Dean of Students, Student Government), Memorial Headquarters staff (www.pikes.org), Leadership Summits/International Conferences and Conventions, regional presidents, and chapter consultants are all great resources that are readily available to assist you on a daily basis.
  3. Utilize your executive council. Use the executive council to review the progress and operations of the chapter to make certain that everything is being accomplished. This makes for a great forum to discuss issues within the chapter, as well as to delegate tasks amongst chapter officers.
  4. Stay consistent. A large responsibility of being a chapter president involves the ability to maintain impartiality. In order to be successful and impartial, you must stay consistent with decision-making and judgments of members’ behaviors. No respected leader is ever accused of being a hypocrite.
  5. Be accessible. At times, problems or situations can be resolved with immediate intervention. Being easily accessible allows a chapter president to build better relationships with all members of the chapter, and in turn, will put you in a better position to assist with any chapter conflicts.
  6. Learn from your mistakes. Nobody is perfect, so recognize that not everyone will make the right decisions all the time.
  7. Recognize your own personal shortcomings and strive to improve in those areas. For example, if you have problems managing your time, make sure you are delegating tasks to the appropriate officers or chairmen, and continue staying organized with the assistance of a daily planner or calendar.
  8. Take a personal interest in members. Keeping members motivated is a constant battle. By taking a personal interest in the different activities of the members, the chapter president will be better suited to encourage the efforts of chapter members and can better motivate brothers to be active contributors in the fraternity.
  9. Help others solve their problems. To encourage friendship and accountability within the chapter, assist others with solving problems. Provide advice, but don’t intervene to solve the problems for them.
  10. Delegate responsibilities and tasks, then trust the outcome. Delegation is the key to success with any organization. The ability to delegate, and accept the subsequent outcome, is essential for the successful management and operations of a chapter.

Transition Retreat

A primary focus at this point is the execution of a transition retreat, which will aid in the continuity of all chapter efforts. This can be tricky to plan because you’re working with two different executive councils, but it is essential to the growth of all areas of chapter programming. Transition can make the difference between a twenty-year-old chapter having twenty years of experience or the same chapter having one-year experience, twenty times. Few events will affect the immediate future of the chapter more than the transition from one executive council to another. Organization and documentation are the keys to maintaining continuity to the life of the chapter - even through those challenging times.

Fundamentals of an Effective Transition Retreat

  • Hold after elections and prior to installation
  • Mandatory attendance for all old and new officers should attend
  • Have a written agenda
  • Reserve at least a half-day to a full day
  • Document all business in writing
  • Leave time for fun after all business has been covered
  • Mandatory attendance
  • Basic expenses should be covered by the chapter (e.g. supplies and food)
  • No alcohol permitted
  • Bring all necessary supplies (i.e. handbooks, by-laws, etc.)
  • Set goals
  • Have the advisor attend the transition retreat

The Three Stages of the Transition Retreat

ONE:

  • Review progress of chapter goals
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the outgoing executive council
  • Discuss standard operating procedures (e.g. executive council meetings)

TWO:

  • Breakout sessions matching each outgoing officer and officer-elect
  • Examine, in-depth, the responsibilities of each officer
  • Pass on relevant materials
  • Discuss recent accomplishments and the top priorities that require immediate attention
  • Question and answer period

THREE:

  • Bring the whole group back together
  • Brainstorm and identify the top priorities of the chapter
  • Set some goals based on where the chapter wants to be
  • Establish a general calendar

Duties of the Outgoing Officers

President and Vice Presidents

  • Organize a transition retreat and follow-up meeting
  • Provide a listing of all chapter rules, policies, and by-laws
  • Outline all rules, policies or by-laws amended or passed during the recent administrations. Indicate the date passed or implemented
  • Assure that the treasurer has followed steps outlined below
  • Provide a list of all monthly reports required by the Memorial Headquarters
  • Explain international pledging and initiation fee structure
  • Explain IFC dues structure
  • Review the Fraternity Standards
  • Collect all committee notebooks and materials to be turned over to the new chairmen
  • Review chapter consultant report from previous year
  • List all dates already set (e.g. formals, dinners, Founders Day, etc.)

Treasurer

  • Prepare paperwork for change of signatures on checks
  • Pay all bills received prior to end of term. Do not leave surprises for the new ThC
  • Pay all Memorial Headquarters assessments, dues, and fines prior to the end of term
  • List any contracts signed
  • List all expected major expenditures for the next few months
  • Provide a loose-leaf notebook or printout of all bank statements in chronological order
  • Provide a neat business checkbook in which all canceled checks have been taped to the appropriate stub
  • Provide a list of required periodic expenditures and the average of the amounts for telephone, entertainment, room rent, insurance, food, intramural costs, IFC dues, furniture, mixer costs, rental of party facilities, etc.
  • Provide a clear ledger sheet for every member, indicating each member's payments and expenses

Secretary

  • Pass along past term's minutes
  • Provide a chronological list of due dates for all reports due to Memorial Headquarters
  • Review supply of all necessary forms and the manner in which they are to be completed
  • Discuss roll call procedure

Checklists for New Officers

President

  • Meet with: Chapter Advisor, Greek Advisor, House Corporation President (if applicable), and Alumni Association President (if applicable)
  • Update chapter officers
  • Review Chapter President’s Handbook
  • Make plans to attend the Chapter Executives Conference held each January in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Implement Officer Transition meetings
  • Supervise transfer of notebooks and materials

Vice Presidents

  • Appoint chairmen with executive council
  • Create committee notebooks/transfer old ones
  • Meet with chairmen
  • Assist the chairmen in appointing committees to each position

Secretary

  • Obtain and organize chapter files
  • Update membership records
  • Report any lost new members or initiations

With the above information, you’ll be off to a great start! Putting 110 percent into the framework of your new role will yield exceptional results, and we can’t wait to see everything you’re going to do! Best of luck to you as you start your term, and we’ll be in touch.

Jarrett M. Way

Director of Educational Content & Strategy