Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are we holding the movement back?

As we wrap up another busy academic term, something has been weighing on my mind lately. Something that I've seen it from a whole different perspective this year over on "this side of the fence". As a professional in the field for just seven short years now, unfortunately, I've seen my fair share of fraternity and sorority advising professionals come and go. Many times, I am sad to see them leave so quickly. Sometimes, I'm glad they are getting out of the way.

Far to often, we hold ourselves, and the larger fraternal movement back. We do not hold ourselves accountable to the standards we want our students, our councils, and our organizations to achieve. We do not role model good behavior for our students. We do not challenge ourselves and our organizations. Much like many of our undergraduate chapters, we have the social part down pat, and fill in the other pieces when it is necessary.

Now do not get me wrong. There are lots of fantastic professionals out there. Professionals I am proud to call colleagues and friends. Professionals I enjoy seeing several times a year, and count on for advice and support. Professionals I know will challenge me to bring my "A" game all the time. However, sometimes the bad apples outshine the whole group.

Campus based professionals often get to enjoy traveling with students, which always presents some unique situations and bonding moments. I always enjoyed the opportunity to get to know my student leaders on a different level, and participate in lots of conversation over the course of a weekend about things we could do as a campus, as well as their individual dreams. For me, this was never a time to drink or get drunk with my students, skip conference sessions with my students, head to the beach, or to sleep in. Sadly, for some, it is exactly that kind of experience. If you're going to act like that, I'd rather you send your students to the conference alone.

And what a shame that is. Those student leaders missed out on the chance to spend some time with a great professional who could show them a different side of fraternity/sorority life and lifelong membership. They missed some good messages from nationally known speakers in sessions. And they stopped taking us seriously. You see, it makes it harder for all of us to hold students, organizations, and our peers accountable when individuals act this way. It is sad. Makes me wonder how they behave when they get back to campus. I don't think I want to know. This is just one of the ways we are holding back the very movement we spend tireless hours advancing. I think we can do better next year. Don't you?

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