In 2013 Phired Up conducted an immense research study examining the growth of fraternities and sororities on college campuses. Phired Up is an organization on a mission to help the Greek system grow. In the 2013 survey they were able to conclude that, on average, 13.5 percent of university populations are members of fraternities and sororities. About 37 percent of those surveyed have more than 1,000 Greek members within their community. There were 338 expansion/extension efforts made on college campuses in 2013 — meaning 338 Greek groups were presenting to open a new chapter at a university. For many groups, growth is a priority because current interest in membership is exceeding the number of bids the organizations can extend.
So what does that mean?
Competition is fierce! All groups have similar missions: advancing the fraternal movement and creating opportunities for members that will enhance the lives of those they touch. These organizations are direct competitors because they are targeting the same demographic.
The Greek leadership on campus determines chapter total, so it varies from university to university. Once chapter sizes reach a certain limit, the member experience greatly diminishes. Imagine a social organization of 200+ members. It’s much more difficult to build personal connections and the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood with such a high number of members. At that point, campus Greek leadership decides to open up for expansion/extension to invite a new group to join their community. This is very similar to business growth: If the workload increases, the responsibilities for each employee increases. In order to avoid employee burnout, the next logical step is to bring in another body to even out the workload.
Greek expansion/extension materials are like a well-written resume.
The campus extension process is very structured and lengthy. A great deal of research and review is done on both sides to ensure this is a positive match for both the campus and the national or international organization. (Some groups have crossed national borders, primarily in Canada, and thus earned international organization status.) The process closely mirrors that of a job interview.
National/international Greek organizations have the option to apply or ignore the bulletin announcing an open spot on a campus. They will weigh the pros and cons and decide whether this partnership will be mutually beneficial for both parties. The organizations submit materials to woo the Greek leaders into inviting them to campus for a presentation/interview, just as you would submit a resume and cover letter for a job opportunity.
Extension materials are then delivered to the campus for key players to review. The fraternity and sorority leadership will then decide which groups will have the opportunity to present and pitch why they would be an asset to their campus.
Typically, only a few groups are selected to present to the Greek community.
The organization sends elite leaders to campus to meet with staff and present to members of the Greek community. This is the organization’s chance to communicate successes and ultimately convince the voting body of why they are a good fit within the existing groups on campus.
At this point the organization has put a TON of work into this proposal, from PowerPoints to speaking scripts, marketing materials and the expense of sending staff and volunteers to lead these presentations. That price tag adds up!
Each group presenting wants to see the return on their investment. The key is standing apart from competing organizations to ultimately win the prize of being the newest chapter on campus. Or, following the interview analogy, to secure your dream job!
The institution’s governing body then casts votes to determine which organization will become part of the campus community. Then comes another lengthy marketing and recruitment process to promote a new chapter on an already thriving campus. Many groups are even exploring multiple expansion/extension opportunities at one time. Exhausted yet?
We have a great deal of Greek work in our bucket and want to see your organization continue to flourish! If you want help making your materials shine and stand out amongst like-minded organizations going after the same opportunity, R&R is here to share our design expertise. This can include expansion/extension packets, presentation materials, PowerPoint templates, marketing collateral — you name it, we’ve done it! Check out some of our work here.
Best of luck to all of our fraternity and sorority friends exploring expansion/extension opportunities this fall!