Chapter Consultant Perspective – Maggie Olson

Phi Mu collegiate chapters receive countless hours of support and guidance from Fraternity staff members and Alumnae volunteers.  During long nights of recruitment practice, waiting for a delayed flight, or traveling to another school after being away from home for two months, it is easy to question “Why am I doing this?”  I have personally fallen into that trap, questioning the difference I am making at a chapter and whether or not they will listen to my suggestions.  At the end of October, I was visiting a chapter and was able to witness first hand why the staff and volunteers are doing this.

During one of my visits, a chapter had their weekly meeting, and the Vice President facilitated the new Radiance Program on The Phi Mu Brand.  One of the activities during the program was to divide the chapter up into four groups and assign each group a persona:  a non-affiliated student, fellow fraternity/sorority students, faulty/staff, and administration.  Each group then discussed what each of these groups thought about Phi Mu and specifically, the chapter.  I sat in on the group discussing Phi Mu from the viewpoint of other fraternity and sorority members, and I am still inspired by what I witnessed.

A few years ago, the chapter was struggling in terms of membership.  Where some might have seen a lost cause and given up, Phi Mu staff and volunteers saw potential.  They chose to put in the countless hours and multiple visits per year to help these great women recruit and retain more awesome Phi Mus.  At times it might have been frustrating, and the long nights of recruitment preparation were probably exhausting, but they did not give up on these women.

The most powerful statement I heard that night was “That’s who we were, not who we are now.”  Members from different classes and different social circles all jumped in to say how positively the Greek community talks about Phi Mu.  One member had a fraternity man stop her on the way to class to tell her how he has noticed how much the chapter has improved and all of the positive things they are doing for the Greek community.

Each group then had the opportunity to share thoughts on the Phi Mu brand from each of the four viewpoints.  Every single person who volunteered to speak had only good things to say about what others thought of Phi Mu.  Their peers and University faculty and staff have seen Phi Mu become more visible on campus, have seen all that the chapter does in support of CMNH, and have witnessed them dominate in recruitment.

Watching each member stand up with a smile on her face and and describe with pride all of the improvements that this chapter has made was one of the moments that make the effort worth it.  The opinions of others do not define a chapter by any means, but they do serve as validation and recognition of all of the hard work the staff and volunteers have put into this chapter.  Seeing firsthand how happy these women are made me proud to be a part of an organization that can recognize the potential and see something special in a group of women and give them the chance and support to succeed.  That moment is why I do this.