Our Guest Blogger is Jennifer Jones-Hall, a fraternity/sorority advisor who was responsible for starting the Gamma Sigma Alpha chapter at Valparaiso University last academic year. Additional resources to start a Gamma Sigma Alpha chapter can be found here. Still have questions? Contact us.
Another honorary for Greek students, are you kidding me? I don’t have time to advise and work with another group on campus?! Many of you are probably thinking that each time you receive an e-mail or postcard from Gamma Sigma Alpha, but from where I sit as the Assistant Dean of Students for Greek Life and New Student Orientation at Valparaiso University, it was simple to start a chapter and beneficial for my school and the students.
Last year I got asked to serve on the Board of Directors of Gamma Sigma Alpha. I was excited to return to such an important group of colleagues who really valued the academic experience within Fraternity and Sorority life. So when I said yes, I knew my next step was to be a good role model as a Board member and host a chapter at Valparaiso University. The last thing I wanted was to advise a new organization, so I took a most simplistic approach.
1. I chose to put out the letter to all Junior and Senior members of the fraternity/sorority community at Valpo who were eligible to see if there was some interest. I worked with my University Registrar to pull all Junior and Senior members of the fraternity/sorority community with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average.
2. Once I had that list, I put together a formal invitation that was sent to them via email with the possibility of starting a new chapter of Gamma Sigma Alpha.
3. The email invitation was sent and I had 20 men and women interested in becoming charter members. They paid their one-time membership fee of $30.00, scheduled an informal induction ceremony 3 weeks from then and off the Chapter Petition Form went! It was that easy.
Now the students are eligible for scholarships, they get some recognition on campus and have an honor society membership on their resume. More importantly, these junior and seniors are modeling the way for freshmen and sophomores in their own chapters about the importance of academic achievement.
I frequently get asked by advisors and students in Gamma Sigma Alpha chapters across the country what the ideal chapter size would be. Honestly, the society believes that all students who achieve high academic achievement should be recognized. Therefore, there is no maximum number of students you can initiate as long as the meet the membership requirements. We have seen some schools initiate 100 students and others charter a chapter with as few as 5 on the initial roster. We do challenge you to grow, so if you initiate 15 in the fall, try and recruit 20 in the spring. If you don’t know your numbers from last year, simply drop us an e-mail and we can get that information to you. Here are some pictures of a few of our chapters, West to East!