Advisor Monthly Memo: August 2017

Greetings Advisors!

On behalf of the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, we hope that you had a wonderful summer! As students prepare to return to Fort Collins we would like to share some important updates and useful information. This is the first Advisor’s Monthly Memo of the 2017-2018 school year. The Advisor’s Monthly Memo Series is a monthly email in which we will share some continuing education topics, pertinent announcements, and reminders about key deadlines that will be helpful to you as you work to support your fraternity/sorority chapter here at Colorado State University. Our monthly memo series is sent to advisors serving in a primary capacity, as alumni/volunteer advisors or faculty/staff advisors, that being said we encourage you to forward this along to anyone who might be working to support your chapter. If you would like to be add to our monthly memo listserv please email natalie.padron@colostate.edu.

August’s Continuing Education Topic is Getting Started Strong; Conversations about Chapter Goal Setting, Expectations, and Accountability.

OFSL Updates
The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life has experienced some staffing changes this summer that we are pleased to share with you. First, we welcome Natalie Padrón, former Coordinator in the office, to the role of Assistant Director. In this role Natalie takes on more responsibility managing day to day operations of the OFSL and provides supervisory support to staff members in addition to the advising, programming, and facilitating/teaching responsibilities she was always involved in.

We are also pleased to welcome Amanda Villa to our staff as the Coordinator for Fraternity & Sorority Life. Amanda recently completed her Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at CSU, where she previously worked for Campus Activities and as a Chapter Graduate Advisor (CGA) for Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

To review additional information about all staff members as well as responsibilities of staff, please visit our staff page on the website at https://fsl.colostate.edu/about/meet-our-staff/.

Identifying Purpose & Creating Expectations with the Chapter You Advise:

Starting with Why:
Fraternities and Sororities are uniquely placed within the involvement landscape on a college campus because they are values based organizations that make a commitment to improve and support their members throughout a lifetime. The Vision of the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life is Elevation: ascend to greater heights. This vision speaks to our underlying philosophy that fraternities and sororities ask our members to commit to being better tomorrow than we are today.
More Information about the Mission, Vision and Non-Negotiable Values of the Office can be found here.

We include this within our purpose building conversation because it often falls on advisors to remind collegians that their organizational purpose lies beyond simply providing a social experience or winning awards; instead, it lies within our commitment to lifelong development and growth.

The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life often uses Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “The Golden Circle” to help illustrate to our students their capacity to change the narrative about fraternity and sorority by effectively identifying and communicating their purpose, their “why.” As you assist your chapter with goal setting this month, or revisit the goals they set last semester, please take an opportunity to remind them to focus on the big picture and ask them to critically reflect on what they are trying to accomplish as officers and how that relates to their organizational purpose.

Goal Setting:
The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life Elevation Accreditation Program asks individual chapters to create a plan to enable them to become the best versions of themselves by asking them in the assessment and action plan phases to assess what they do well and what they need to continue to improve on, and then to create goals within seven priority areas: academic achievement, harm reduction, community service & philanthropy, membership development, membership intake/recruitment & new member retention, chapter management, and external relations.

In a few short weeks, the officers within your chapter will be completing a written elevation accreditation assessment (for academic year chapters) or revisions to action plans (for calendar year chapters). Both provide a wonderful opportunity for chapters to reflect on their purpose and decide what they would like to accomplish this semester. The entire Elevation Accreditation Program is designed to outline the arch of an officer term; we begin by taking stock in the chapter performance over the last year. The chapter sets goals that they would like to accomplish, and then they create a plan to help them achieve those goals. The program culminates by asking them to reflect on what they have accomplished and what they have learned. As advisors working with the chapter, we hope that you will invest in this process by asking the students to share their goals with you and committing to checking in throughout the semester to support them in achieving said goals.

  • Expectations for Officers (from fellow officers)

    Examples could include:
    Clear deadlines and responsibility
    Expectations on email response times
    Expectations about attitude and interpersonal conflict

  • Expectations for Advisors (from fellow advisors)

    Examples could include:
    Communication & transparency
    Notification of students of concern or students in crisis
    Expectations on email response times
    Clear deadlines and responsibility

  • Expectations for Officers (from advisors)

    Examples could include:
    Communication expectations
    Expectations on email response times
    Expectations on what constitutes “Advisor Needs to Know Info”

  • Expectations for Advisors (from chapter officers)

    Examples could include:
    Expectations on email response times
    Expectations on best forms of communication (email, phone, etc.)
    Expectations of time commitment and meeting attendance

This simple activity is best done on a white board or projected word document so everyone in the room can follow along. It’s a quick and easy way to empower both students and advisors to name their needs and outline their expectations. The activity can be done within 15-20 minutes so it easily fits into an executive board meeting or officer retreat. Our office recommends addressing the following key areas within your expectation setting conversation:

• Time Commitment Expectations: Outline your availability to the chapter. If you only have 3-5 hours a week you can dedicate to your advising role, make sure the chapter understands that at the beginning. Outline the time commitment individual officers will have throughout the semester (If your chapter is seeking additional advisory support, please feel free to email natalie.padron@colostate.edu).

• Responsibility/Reporting Structure of Students of Concern/in Crisis: If the chapter knows of a member struggling with mental health, substance abuse, interpersonal violence, etc. what do you expect them to tell you (if anything) within what amount of time?

• Communication Expectations:
o What is the preferred communication style (email, text, phone call)?
o What is the email response time expectation for both advisors and advisees?
o What is “need to know” information?
o If the chapter is submitting a form and needs you to review and approve said form, what is the appropriate response time?

Continuing Resources for Advisors:
Under the Advisors Tab on our website you will find helpful advising resources in four key strategic areas: Academic Support, Chapter Management, Health, Wellness & Advocacy, and Risk Management & Harm Reduction. There are also additional resources for you on the website, which can be found here.

Important Updates & Deadlines:
Tailgating Summit: Monday, August 21, 2017, 5-8pm, LSC Cherokee Park Room
Officer Workshop Series Kickoff: Sunday, August 27, 2017, 1-4:30pm, Clark C

Student Organization Registration Deadline (Academic Year Chapter):
RamLink Re-Registration Deadline: September 30, 2017

Faculty/staff advisors will receive an email from RamLink to a colostate.edu email address asking for verification that you are in fact the faculty/staff advisor for the chapter. The chapter cannot successfully re-register if you do not accept that invitation.

Elevation Accreditation Program:
More information about the program can be found here.

Fall 2017 Advisor Meeting
Please save the date for our fall 2017 advisors meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 6pm in LSC 300.

The next Advisor’s Monthly Memo is scheduled for Monday September 4, 2017. Please let us know if you have suggestions on topics that should be discussed within the monthly series by emailing natalie.padron@colostate.edu.

Please let us know if you have any questions or needs!

Warmly,
The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life