Redefining Stereotypes

Here on this most important day of football and advertising of the year, I am sitting and thinking about recruitment. Last week, I sat down with the head coach of a collegiate football team in an attempt to gain referrals of young men that would be interested in leading a new fraternity on campus into greatness.

I went into the meeting with low expectations because of the stereotype that I had built up in my head. Athletic coaches want to keep their players to themselves and their program, not wanting their time to be shared with a fraternity that will waste their time and energy. I let the stereotype cloud my objectivity and did not go in with an open mind.

As many have found across the country with Sigma Nu not fitting into the classic Greek fraternity stereotype, I too had my perceptions changed. As I was making my case for Sigma Nu and how it would better all of those who got involved, I was stopped in my tracks. “You don’t need to sell me on Sigma Nu.”

Here, I found a Division I head football coach wanting to help me build a great fraternity. Not a Sigma Nu himself, but a fan of the organization through several alumni friends. He asked himself how he could help me and even offered to speak with the quarterback of the team about the leadership opportunities within Sigma Nu. While I don’t know where this will lead, the meeting itself was an opportunity to grow and learn.

As an Expansion and Recruitment Consultant with Sigma Nu Fraternity, I find myself battling stereotypes on an almost daily basis; either when trying to recruit or trying to describe my job to others. This was a chance to see that I too sometimes allow stereotypes to cloud my judgment. I started thinking about how we look at potential new members and create stereotypes about them. Seeing the positive qualities in a prospective member but we stereotype something about him nonetheless. How often do we all fall into this way of thinking?

When you are recruiting men into your chapter, do you allow stereotypes to guide your decisions on potential new members? Will you vote no because someone is too young, too old, too smart, or not athletic? Maybe he comes from a long line of Kappa Alpha’s, but he himself wants to be a Sigma Nu.

How can we create the fraternity that breaks the stereotype? How can you, as a member, redefine the term fraternity man?

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