The fall semester is in full swing at colleges across the country, which means that you probably have a few new members hanging out at your chapter house every weekend! If they’re freshmen, they’re probably still a little nervous about fitting in with the group. Here are 7 simple ideas for speeding along the bonding process with your brand new sorority sisters and fraternity brothers:
- “Date” night. This goes without saying, but Bigs and Littles need one-on-one time together, not just to learn more about each other but to get the 411 about how the chapter works. Set up a day when all Bigs matched with Littles go out for a little “date” funded by the chapter’s social budget. The date could be as small as a coffee at Starbucks or a window shopping trip downtown.
- Fun before frat business. New members are going to have to learn the ropes and start attending meetings soon enough, but before you hit them with serious chapter business, throw them a fun little party at your house with just members and close associate. You want them to relax a bit and enjoy themselves before they become overwhelmed with things-to-do.
- Apple and pumpkin picking. Fall is the season for harvesting apples, pumpkins and other crops. Find a local farm that offers picking open to the public and bring your new members out for a fun day in the fields.
- Project Adventure. If your chapter has the budget for a really nice field trip in early fall, invest in a visit to a Project Adventure challenge course. It’s hard not to bond when you’re 40 feet in the air and only have a carabiner and your new big brother to keep you safe!
- Dance routine contest. Host a challenge at your chapter house with teams of four (two bigs, two littles) to see who has the best moves. Each team has to create a unique dance routine — whoever wins gets a free dinner at a fine restaurant near your school. Invite some friends over and make it a big deal.
- Extended sleepover in the den. When everyone gets assigned to their own rooms, they’re probably going to start bonding and forming cliques with their roommates. So to avoid this happening, have everyone sleep over in your great room or den together the first week back — including the new members. You could also camp out in the backyard with tents and a (safe) bonfire if you have a pit. This way, everyone will have a chance to get to know everyone else equally before splitting up into dorm rooms.
- Family dinner. There’s nothing quite like eating dinner together as a group to help form a bond with your brothers or sisters — but not at the school’s dining hall. Assign a dish to each big and little pair to prepare for dinner and sit together in the dining room of your own chapter house as a family.
The faster you bond with your new members (and help them bond with each other) the faster you all can start having some really great times together at college. Welcome back to school — have a ball enjoying some of the best times of your life with your new fraternity brothers and sorority sisters!
The Greek Gear Team