By Juan Shiraishi
Beta-Kappa’s Theta Class (left to right):
On November 13, the Beta-Kappa Chapter at Lehigh University initiated eight of the brightest young men you’ll ever meet into the Brotherhood. The Theta class was the product of my third semester as our chapter’s recruitment chairman, and of our first semester since implementing Brother Acton’s Dynamic Recruitment model.
The founding of Beta-Kappa on March 23, 2013 with a charter class of 13 men marked the start of a countdown toward our chapter’s downfall. The founders struggled with recruitment right off the bat, initiating three men each into the Alpha and Beta classes in the spring of 2013 and fall of 2013. Our Gamma and Delta classes of 6 and 5 in the spring and fall of 2014 created a promising outlook for the future of the chapter. Our chapter was growing, and we figured that our successes using a traditional recruitment model were simply a product of that. In the spring of 2015, four men, including myself, were initiated as BK’s Epsilon class. With 14 of our 29 members slated to graduate at the end of the semester, recruitment became priority number one, and I was given the honor of filling that role.
Things began to unravel after the founders graduated. The fall of 2015 was business as usual. Again, using the static recruitment model, we had a Zeta class of five—a number that our chapter foolishly considered pretty solid. The next semester, strapped for money from an expensive traditional recruitment scheme, we only initiated three men into our Eta class. Once the founders graduated, we just couldn’t bounce back. When we had 25+ dues paying brothers, we could hold our own against Lehigh’s other Greek organizations, but at 15, we were simply too small. We were slipping quickly, and we just couldn’t manage to get our numbers back up to where they were before the founders graduated. We were drowning ourselves in a static system. Time was running out.
Over that summer, our chapter was identified as a target for assistance with recruitment, and Brother Acton stepped in to help. Over the course of a few weeks, he helped me install the Dynamic Recruitment system. We created a schedule of professional and social events that really highlighted our chapter’s strengths and enabled us to get to know our recruits on a deeper level than ever before. By assigning my brothers to contacts for recruits, we were able to, and the new guys tell me that that was one of the best things we did. One of our new members, Alek Gulkewicz (EnviroE ’20) says that during his NME period he felt that our invitations to hang out and come to our events felt “very sincere and like you guys were actually trying to be my friend.” He also says sending him personal well wishes when he was away for a weekend was “unlike anything any other fraternity had done.” We weren’t just trying to add numbers to our chapter anymore. We were making friends who would become our lifelong brothers.
Getting the whole chapter involved made my life as recruitment chairman a lot easier, as I could focus on the recruits (including Alek) who were more on the fence and needed a bit more convincing, and I could dedicate more time to ensuring our events were enjoyable for both the recruits and the brothers.
When bid night came around, we went around to our recruits’ dorms in business casual attire, and using the pre-close technique, 12 of the 13 bids we gave were accepted. We previously had an average acceptance rate of about 60%. Of those 12 men who pledged, eight became brothers, and on November 13, 2016, we officially stopped the doomsday clock and set ourselves on a new path towards prosperity.
I was elected to serve as our recruitment chairman for my 4th term, and I look forward to working with the new brothers using the Dynamic Recruitment model to bring more bright young men into the brotherhood next semester.