Building Host Institution Rapport
An important strategy for every house corporation to develop is to build a working partnership with the host institution. All too often, the only time a house corp interacts with the university is when active chapter has done something wrong. Why not cultivate a relationship based on something right? Establish a good rapport with key people in the administration and nurture those relationships regularly.
Start at the Top. A house corp delegation should arrange meetings with the university President plus the Vice President of Student Affairs or their equivalents. This meeting is both social and strategic. The goals are to know the top administrators on a personal level, to express strong support for the university and to affirm the house corp’s commitment to managing the chapter house,including discipline issues.
Specifically ask for the university’s support of the Greek system which returns so much financially to the school (something true of all universities that have a Greek system). This point is extremely important particularly when there is an undergraduate chapter discipline issue to deal with. If the administration focuses primarily on the undergraduates and not the long term benefits of Greek alums, the relationship will not be a happy one. If, however, the long term benefits lead, the administration will be more reluctant to kill the pipeline.
Extend Invitations. If the chapter hosts special events like a scholarship award dinner, invite the President/Dean and VP of Student Affairs to attend. This helps balance the view that Greeks are nothing but trouble.
When Trouble Calls. Sooner or later, some out of control event will happen at the chapter house that calls for the house corp to intercede. It is very important for the house corp to take immediate action and communicate that intent to the university. This demonstrates the house corp’s resolve to manage all of its business, good and bad.
The rental agreement should allow eviction for violations of the law, university or fraternity policy. If the crime warrants and there is a repeat offender, evict him for the good of the chapter. If it involves aggregious behavior (conduct unbecoming a Sigma Chi), alums can work with the Grand Praetor and Active Chapter to suspend or expel the brother from the fraternity.
Renew the Rapport. Nurture your host institution relationship each and every year by meeting with the President. Ask how Sigma Chi can make their job easier. This sentiment will buy lots of points from someone whose job is huge and stressful. But also tell them what they can do for you as a valued partner. One hand washes the other.
Building good rapport with your host institution will stand your house corp in good stead when the storms of adversity blow. With the university is viewed as a valued partner instead of an adversary, storm damage will be more easily repaired. IHSV