Alright Fam! Time is ticking and we’re getting closer and closer to the Homecoming festivities (insert happy dance here.) You know what that means? People are running around in a frenzy trying to get everything together. In our last installment, NPHC’s Guide to Homecoming, we tried help you mitigate the craziness by offering tips on planning, resources for gathering alumni information, communication with past and current chapter members, and gift ideas.

This week, we’re going to focus on the most important part of Homecoming: Fellowship. As I stated last week, this is the perfect opportunity to network, strengthen bonds and create unique spaces of conversation that we’d probably wouldn’t have if we were separated.

What are some unique ways to go about doing it? Well, here are a few ideas.

Fellowship Activities: Usually, there are different activities going on for current members and alumni alike. Often times, despite all of the competing events, chapter members will find a way to meet up prior to Homecoming to catch up with each other. Here are a few activities that are  informational, entertaining and engaging:

  • Icebreaker Events:
    • Pick a Number: When members start trickling in to your event, divide them up by their line #. If you have any outliers, group the outliers together or add them to other groups. Have 3-5 icebreaker questions ready in the middle of the table so everyone can start getting acquainted. Have different questions per table. That way, when one group is finished answering the questions, they can move on to the next set of questions. This lessens the chance of boredom and allows members to get to know their clubs/numbers better.  Once it seems like everyone has answered enough questions, bring the conversation in. The event facilitator can ask someone from each table to share what they learned about their group mates. What’s better than learning more about your number and your awesome chapter members? It’s like your own legacy building and bonding time. At least it is to me. P.S. HEY CLU5s!
    •  Wisdom Hour of Power: One of the things I love is hearing stories of yester-years and pearls of wisdom from my Seasoned Sorors and Frat brothers. Our “Old Heads”, as we so fondly call them, add unique perspectives to experiences we are currently going through. Designate time to ask your older members questions about common issues you face in school, Greek life, or even post-collegiate topics like career advice, transferable skills, etc. This time adds depth to your chapter’s relationship. It also frames your chapter members as a personal network. Too often, we forget that we are surrounded by a group of professional men and women who have the connections and advice we need to take us to the next level. Utilize this time to build your professional community. Exchange information before you head out to the tent, otherwise you might get swept away in all the Homecoming activities and forget to back track.
    • Strut Practice: Another thing I love to do before heading out to the tent is strut practice. (Or stroll…whatever you like to call it.) I think I’m particularly fond of this event because my undergrad chapter makes up 1000 struts per line and I want to know how to do all of them. Well, maybe not all of them, but at least a good 5. Strut practice not only elevates your chapter’s spirit, but it’s great exercise, and a fun bonding moment. I remember one year, we taught some of our Seasoned Sorors some of our struts. It was so fun seeing them join us in the circle. I felt like I was dancing with living legends. Everyone I had learned about was strolling right next to me in unison. Maybe, I’m making it too much of a surreal experience. But you’d have to try it to know the feeling.
    • I think that’s a good starter kit. Here are few more icebreakers to try if you’re interested.
  • Giveaways: I’m personally a fan of giveaways for any occasion. Granted, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered this at Homecoming. That’s probably why I’m suggesting it. It would be a nice touch though, I’m just saying. I understand that incentivizing members to coming to early Homecoming events can be a challenge. Offering door prizes or giveaways can help draw them in. We all love cool paraphernalia or gift cards to places like Starbucks, gas cards or my favorite, Visa gift cards that allow you spend at the location of your choice. You could throw in some Game Day tickets if alumni has to pay to attendthe game (which is a travesty if you ask me.) You know what else would be great?! Skip Line passes. Lines under our tailgating tents can be longer than Moses and all the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Offering Skip Line passes can guarantee members get a plate and a drink before anyone else and prevents them from wandering from tent to tent looking for food. People, let’s make that happen.
  • Family Prayer: As you probably know by now (if you’ve read my past blogs), you know I fit God into pretty much everything. I think it’s extremely important to pray over your family and friends. When you’re in a sorority or fraternity, you have a combination of both elements. Taking the time to pray as a chapter unit is extremely powerful. Pray over the direction of the chapter for the upcoming year, wise decisions, guidance, event attendance, etc. Pray for the awesome things you wish to manifest from your chapter’s activities. Speak and pray those things into existence as a group. This activity can boost chapter moral and connection. Plus, it enlarges your prayer partner list, amen?!

Marketing & Networking

  • Social Media: Now-a-days, I think chapters have the grasp of using social media to promote their events. Majority of event marketing happens that way. So why not use it to spotlight your awesome chapter while you’re all together?
    • Create a special hashtag for your chapter to use during Homecoming. Tell people ahead of time so they can come with their fingers blazing! While your socializng, have someone upload the pictures to your chapter social media accounts using the special hashtag and #schoolnamehomecoming2k15 or something like that.
    • Place an Instagram frame near the sign-in table at your tent so people can take pictures. Include the special hashtag on the frame so people will be able to see it online.
    • If the Instagram frame is not your cup of tea, try the dry erase board craze! Have your members, or tent visitors, complete a sentence and write it down on the dry erase board. A few examples are:
      • My fave word to describe {insert org} is:______________
      • {Insert org} means to me:________________
      • {Insert org} taught me: __________________
      • Generic: Best way to describe my college experience: _____
      • Generic: The Best Part of Homecoming is: _____________
      • Generic: College is going to help me: _________________
    • Even better, ask chapter members if they’d like to do a short 15 second video. Record members, or visitors, answering the dry erase board questions in a concise, fun manner. Upload the videos to your Instagram, Facebook, or even your chapter Periscope, to give people a teaser of what they’re missing.
  • Grad Chapter Networking: Homecoming festivities bring Sorors and Frat Brothers from all over. However, many of them still reside in or near the college/university they attended. This is a great way for Grad Chapters to get involved and recruit. If the respective Grad chapters have undergraduate chapters with varying Homecoming dates, this is the ideal time to set up shop. Pitch in on the cost of the tent and set up a Grad chapter table for your organization. This will give undergraduates a chance to see what chapters are available post graduation. Current inactive alumni can ask questions about involvement, dues, current events and possible reclamation. It’s also a great way for Grad chapters to gage who their potential members would be and gather information from those individuals for future outreach projects or events.

If you found the tips from Part 1 or Part 2 of this installment helpful, tweet me at @DPTaughtMe and let me know! I’d love to get your feedback. If you try any of these ideas, use the hashtag #DPTaughtMe in your pictures so I can see how everything is going!

I wish you the best in your upcoming festivities. May the winning spirit forever be in your team’s favort! Have safe and have fun guys! Happy Homecoming!

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