As we head into the new school year, ZBT is preparing for a great year ahead on a variety of fronts. We have a phenomenal team of field staff already on the road and working with multiple chapters, and we’re gearing up on the expansion front as well! Unlike recent years, much of this year’s expansion is focused on first-time campus ventures. As a testament to growing a “bigger and better” organization, ZBT specifically sought out campuses which will bring us to new communities while also arranging return plans for multiple campuses over the next few years. We’re always searching for Founding and Re-Founding Fathers at these schools and look forward to sharing our successes with the entire brotherhood throughout this upcoming year.
This school year, our Brotherhood is expanding to many new campuses, bringing our unique blend of experiences to at least three schools for the FIRST TIME EVER! This fall, ZBT will write two new chapters into the history of our Order by starting colonies at Virginia Commonwealth University and Central Michigan University, neither of which have a history of ZBT on campus. We also are making initial preparations for the spring, when we will be returning to Union College after a multi-year absence as well as another first-time campus at the University of California, Irvine. There is a potential for up to THREE additional schools, all of which would be first-time campuses for ZBT. In a time when the fraternity landscape is under a microscope from outsiders, it is our responsibility as brothers to showcase why it’s GREAT to be a ZBT, and to demonstrate the value our fraternity brings to communities throughout the world through our recruitment and expansion efforts.
But here’s the question: why do we do expansion in the first place? The truth is, we execute expansions every year in the same way your chapter/colony recruits every year. In order to broaden ZBT’s reach, we have to constantly seek new communities in which to integrate ourselves. Much like your chapter/colony uses recruitment lists, hosts events, or tables, so too do ZBT staff members and volunteers engage with potential campus partners. We seek out new institutions to build our brotherhood through new avenues.
If you were at Convention, you’ll remember some great discussions about the Fraternity’s budget. Looking at our priorities and how we can best serve today’s college students as well as bringing more of our alumni into the fold. It comes as no surprise to say that to achieve the lofty goals set forth by the brotherhood, we need to ensure we are maximizing our resources available. Think about chapter operations: the more men we have in our chapters, the greater financial flexibility the chapter has for putting on events, contributing to the community, etc. On an international level, the same holds true: the more men in the organization, the greater our reach can collectively become. Expansion is one of the many ways we seek to increase our ability to serve groups.
The other side of the expansion coin, and what makes it such a truly unique experience, is that we change lives. Connecting to our existing chapters, think about the smiles, the hugs, and the sheer joy you had when you became a brother. Maybe it was when you were offered a bid; maybe when you accepted it; or maybe when you were initiated. Somewhere along the line, your life changed as you became a ZBT. Now, for those of you reading this who were not founders, imagine that feeling, but not just as joining, but being THE FIRST. Setting traditions, creating a unique identity on campus, learning about organizational growth and group dynamics from day one, and overall having an impact unlike any other you’ll have in college.
That, my brothers, is why we do expansion. As a start-of-year challenge, think about your own chapter/colony. Do you know when you were started? Do you know who the first president was, or first recruitment director, or advisor? Someone started your chapter/colony, whether it was last semester or last century. Some group of men came together at your institution, surveyed the field and said “we can do better” and forged ahead as ZBT. Search your records, talk to your alumni and see what you can learn. Give your founders a call or email to just say thanks. Think about your roots. We all come from unique backgrounds and we all joined ZBT for different reasons. But someone, somewhere, chose to start your chapter or colony. Today, we proudly continue that legacy of creating new experiences for men and growing the reach of our Brotherhood. Today, as always, ZBT offers “a unique, desirable and successful means” of “[developing] the individual as a responsible, mature member of society” as stated in our Credo. Today, as always, it is GREAT to be a ZBT.
Keep up with our newest groups via their social media outlets below and feel free to send a note of encouragement to their page! If you know anyone who may be interested, or have any other potential referrals, feel free to submit them through our website.
Cordially, Fraternally and Sincerely,
Brian A. Hoffman, Sigma (Tulane University) 2009