As an organization, we look at member development as a process that extends from the beginning of recruitment through graduation, and we make a point to facilitate our members’ intellectual and social growth during their time here on campus. This past spring, we made a point to start this process during recruitment. Our recruitment chairs and leadership made a point to ensure that conversations with potential new members included discussions of house values and house culture. By doing this, we made sure all potential new members knew that if they were to join, they would be buying into more than just a friend group or a place where friends live. Additionally, given the large representation of varsity athletes in KA, we made sure that the senior members of teams most prominent in our organization let their freshman know that they would not be given an unfair advantage during the recruitment process or as a new member. New members show up at their first house meeting with an understanding that they would need to commit to our chapter’s values throughout their time in KA.
From the first new member meeting on, we further develop our members using methods such as positive reinforcement. One of the best ways we acknowledge successes is with our newly improved housing point system. Starting this year, we implemented a housing structure that put points on a scale from one to fifty, allowing for the acknowledgment of any level of participation. Additionally, leadership outlined positions and acts that would warrant the gain of housing points before the year started. This way, members knew of all the opportunities available to gain points and could petition for points to be awarded for certain deeds. This system is by no means exhaustive and certainly allows room for random acts of goodwill.
Members are recognized for acting out of goodwill other times such as during the “props” section of our house meetings where members are commended for random acts of kindness or for their successes over the past week. These forms of positive reinforcement facilitate the social and intellectual growth of our members by constantly reminding them that academic, professional, and social successes do not go unnoticed.
We as an organization also work to develop our members by offering many opportunities for leadership. We provide leadership positions that depend largely on intellectual and social skills and that allow members to better develop those skills throughout their time on campus. To ensure that all members are constantly developing, KA leadership makes an effort to reach out to members who do not hold leadership positions for assistance in completing the requirements of their roles to ensure that all members take part in making decisions that largely affect the entire organizations. Nearly all leadership positions are democratically elected, and if there is a large decision to be made, it is put to a vote at house meeting.
We have established seniors as role models within our organization. In doing this, we have changed the mentality that seniors are finished with their development to one in which the house looks to seniors for advice and guidance and where seniors develop as mentors.
It is also crucial to realize that we as an organization cannot solely develop our members and that it is important to leave room for our members to pursue goals and leadership positions outside of our own organization.