New member education is perhaps the cornerstone of fraternity in that the way our chapters educate their new members ultimately dictates the future of the fraternity. To quote our preamble:
“For the establishment of friendship on a firmer and more lasting basis; for the promotion of brotherly love and kind feeling; for the mutual benefit and advancement of the interests of those with whom we sympathize and deem worthy of our regard…”
The literature of our fraternity contains basic tenets that we should strive to instill in our new members. As long as we are men of Pi Kappa Alpha, these ideals should act as our guide. As an initiated member, you have a responsibility to perpetuate our values through the new member process. I remember the last new member class my chapter took in before I graduated and how much of a sense of responsibility I felt for each and every one of those men. College is a formative time, and it is important that we develop the men we bring into our organization in a positive way, both personally and professionally.
New Member Reporting
Your chapter’s first priority is to report your new members to the International Fraternity. New members need to be reported via Vault within seven days of the pinning ceremony to avoid late fees. To do so:
- Log into Vault via myPIKE and select “Add New Members” on the “Chapter” tab. Your new members will receive an email with instruction to establish access to myPIKE, where they will begin registration.
- New members must complete new member registration within seven days of the pinning ceremony. You can track new members’ registration statuses and submit Initiation Reports via Vault > Chapter > Member Initiation Reporting > Create Initiation Report. You can also select “Send Reminder Email” or the envelope icon to email new members to remind them to complete registration. (Tip – have new members bring their computers to their first meeting and complete registration as a group.)
- Submit an Initiation Report via Vault five days prior to each Initiation Ceremony. Chapters cannot report new members as initiated until they complete New Member Registration. To submit your report, follow the same path to Create Initiation Report in step two. Select new members who will initiate, report hold-overs and de-pledges then simply review and submit the report. That’s it!
For effective new member education, the International Fraternity has some best practices that can aid in the execution of a successful program focusing on the following initiatives:
- Work with the member development cabinet. In order to more effectively accomplish your duties as the new member educator, it is important to work in conjunction with the vice president of membership development and the member development cabinet. Although each individual within the member development cabinet has separate responsibilities as it pertains to overall member development, they can be leaned on for support and advice throughout the new member education period.
- Set your goals. Because the objectives as new member educator includes ensuring new members are educated in and comprehend material that make each new member a better Pike while ensuring new members maintain good performance in other areas of fraternity and college life, you must identify metrics that will allow you to determine success or failure when your position is complete in addition to giving status updates while performing the duties as new member educator.
- Set your budget. When setting the budget for new member education, you must take into consideration all of the possible expenses that may be incurred during the program and then work with the treasurer to allocate the correct amount of the budget to new member education. Some things to think about are new member pins, Garnet & Golds, initiate badges, and incentives.
- Plan the meeting schedule. Typically, a good rule of thumb is to plan new member education sessions around the chapter meeting time and schedule because that tends to accommodate the class schedules of the institution and thus availability of members in the chapter. For example, you can begin new member education sessions during the second week of classes since this allows members to get situated at school and end the education classes at least one week before finals since you do not want to interfere with the test schedule of members.
- Create the member handbook. The member handbook is meant to be used a reference resource for members to keep all materials and documents that are relevant throughout their PIKE experience. The member handbook should be given to each new member when they join the Fraternity and should be kept and updated throughout their fraternal experience. Here, the member can store documents, policies, notes, and reflections from what they have learned in the chapter.
- Develop a strong mentor program. It is the responsibility of the new member educator and the designated mentor to ensure that the corresponding new member is fulfilling his expectations as a member while also helping him adjust to the chapter and all of its events. To ensure that these objectives are continually being maintained, the mentor should meet with the new member on a weekly basis. During this meeting, the new member should bring his class work, his member handbook, his Garnet & Gold, his committee handbook, his mentor/mentee guidebook, and any other pertinent or note-taking material. Also during this meeting, the mentor should ask questions to determine the status of the new member regarding his development in the chapter.
- Create the New Member orientation. During the new member orientation, the new member should receive his materials to be a new member including the member handbook, mentor/mentee guidebook and the Garnet & Gold. The new member should be given an overview of each of these items and the financial and membership policies including the expectations of members. Once he understands this material and appropriate paperwork has been completed for the university, the chapter goals are reviewed with the new member and then individual goals are set with the new member. This ensures that the new member is setting his goals in line with the chapter because the goals of the chapter ideally enable members to develop in a positive manner throughout their college experience.
- Set the curriculum. The new member education curriculum is the list of topics that will be learned during the time as a new member. Because there are numerous topics that should be learned during new member education, it is important to define the topics that should be taught to new members. This does not mean that you should develop a list that is so encompassing that new members are unable to complete the program, but instead focus on the most important aspects of the Fraternity that all members should understand, the fundamentals. Remember that more educational topics can be learned through the chapter’s member development program, the True PIKE Experience. Some sample new member education topics are listed below:
- The True PIKE Commitments
- Recruitment Concepts
- Chapter Structure/Operations
- Meeting Management/Health & Safety
- Chapter/Fraternity History
- International Fraternity
- Personal/Professional Development
- Traditions & Symbols
For more comprehensive information on how to execute a new member education program, see the new member educator handbook here and visit the myPIKE Resource Center for sample new member education curriculum slide decks and corresponding facilitator guides.
Jarrett M. WayDirector of Educational Content & Strategy