With Chris Healy, Zeta Kappa 701 (Fresno State)
By Bruce Pendleton, HK 178
I’m sure many Eta Kappa brothers are probably feeling a little anxiety over how we alumni — many of us now out of college for decades — are to go about recolonizing our chapter when the time comes. Firm plans are indeed in place to recolonize Sigma Nu at SDSU, with our alumni leaders, the university, and Sigma Nu headquarters already working together to make it happen. You may be wondering: “Where do I fit into these plans?”
We’re fortunate to have a Sigma Nu alumni right here in San Diego who is quite experienced in these matters. Chris Healy served as Director of Expansion at Sigma Nu headquarters for seven years, directing the establishment or recolonization of thirty chapters nationwide. Six of these today are Rock Chapters. While on staff with National, Healy also oversaw the development of the Sigma Nu Recruitment Bluebook, a ‘how-to’ manual, and he conducted dozens of recruitment seminars & workshops attended by thousands of Sigma Nu’s from around the country. While still in college at Fresno State, Chris helped guide his own chapter through the aftermath of a “risk management violation that led to loss of campus recognition.”
I spoke with Chris recently about the process of re-colonizing Eta Kappa chapter at SDSU:
BP: So what can HK alumni do to make the recolonization process successful? What expectations are there for us going in?
CH: First off, know that Sigma Nu National will carry the responsibility of recolonizing SDSU from top to bottom. They’re the leader in fraternity development, but there are a lot of places where alumni can pitch in and help get this done. Early-on, it will be important for Eta Kappa alumni to show up at ‘interest meetings’ on campus and be willing to speak about their own experiences and careers.
BP: So that’s a ready-made recruitment forum, but how else do our alumni go about effectively identifying college men to pledge a recolonizing Sigma Nu?
CH: Everyone in your situation has that question. What it takes is motivation, confidence, and the belief that each and every one of you can make a valuable difference. That said ongoing alumni involvement and leadership through the complex world that fraternities function in today will be essential. Without it, Eta Kappa will never really have a chance.
The TYPE of fraternity we are rebuilding is what’s most important. We are not rebuilding the old Eta Kappa chapter. We’re setting out to create a new Rock Chapter. That starts with the quality of young men we recruit – young men who are leaders on campus, ambitious, serious about academics, with a desire to serve and a desire to start their own fraternity because what exists on campus is not good enough. Above all we want young men who carry themselves with honor and respect.
BP: OK but, realistically, how does one start such a process? After all, many of us have been out of college for a quarter-century or more; how do we even begin going about making connections with potential pledge recruits, beyond these ‘interest meetings’?
CH: Take ten minutes to write down a list of all the possible young men you might know at SDSU. Start with family, obviously, if you have a son or nephew. If you have daughters or nieces, ask them about the best guys they know on campus. Then move to your professional network, co-workers, friends, neighbors, your doctor, dentist, golf buddies. Referrals are of the utmost importance.
Sigma Nu National is going to lead the charge, and they’ll get the job done, but lasting success will be in the hands of the alumni. So answer the call, dedicate short blocks of time for Sigma Nu. Show up for recruitment events when the call comes. After all, young men can hear from National reps all day long but when they see successful men in their careers; that brings credibility. Take a small bit of leadership: show up and just be your self – but skip the stories of the old days.
Remember, National will be behind your efforts all the way. And when the time comes, they’ll send a consultant out who will live on campus throughout ‘Year One’, and another one or two will further help out during the first few weeks. They’ll do things like talk to the sororities and other campus organizations in one-on-one direct meetings.
The fledgling chapter will need ongoing alumni advisers and mentors who can serve as examples and provide direction in areas like social responsibility and leadership. Such face-to-face interaction is crucial, and that’s where Eta Kappa alumni can be invaluable.
BP: Thanks, Chris, for taking the time to speak with us while busy with your new digital marketing and web design company, Round Two Creative Group. Your insights will really help Eta Kappa alums understand what’s ahead and how they can help make recolonization a success at SDSU.