A legacy is something left behind, gifted for the future. It is the memory of something or someone, an opportunity to reflect on the impact that same something or someone made which lasts beyond their time. In the ZBT world, we know legacies to be brothers, sons or grandsons of ZBTs or antecedent fraternities Kappa Nu, Phi Alpha, Phi Epsilon Pi and Phi Sigma Delta.
Put together, these perspectives on “legacy” demonstrate a level of connection between the past, present and future of the Zeta Beta Tau brotherhood. The Fraternity prides itself on being a “Brotherhood for a Lifetime,” offering fraternal experiences for all brothers from the time of their initiation until they pass into the Chapter Eternal. And now, the Fraternity is taking steps to reach legacies farther in advance in order to help them realize the open arms with which they should be welcomed by brothers in all chapters and colonies.
As any brother knows, much is asked of chapter leaders, especially when it comes to recruitment and retention of brothers. These are team efforts, chapter-wide commitments to furthering the legacy of a chapter and sustaining it long after the current undergraduates become alumni. In today’s campus climate, with increased levels of scrutiny on the fraternity experience, chapter leaders are challenged to work smarter, not just harder, to ensure compliance and maintain a safe, meaningful and fun experience for all brothers, themselves included.
Recruitment and retention become smarter, not harder, when we work strategically and use resources to our advantage. One of the best resources is our own network of brothers, identifying their legacies and seeing the intrinsic value they can bring to our chapters. Today, ZBT has a strong presence of legacies within our undergraduate brotherhood, but we know there is more to do. We look at chapters such as Lambda (Texas) and Psi (Alabama) and applaud their efforts to seek out legacies and welcome them into the chapter as early as possible. We’re becoming more and more aware of third-generation ZBT families, which show the tremendous pride a family has in our brotherhood. These chapters and families see ZBT as a family tradition, not a lucky choice.
When chapters look at their recruitment planning, legacy engagement and outreach should be at the top of the list. These young men are among the most likely to join ZBT, as it is already in their lineage and part of their family. Legacy referrals demonstrate a sibling’s, son’s or grandson’s commitment to ZBT and a desire to see it continue in his family for a new generation. It is our duty to be open and communicative with our fellow brothers, especially when it comes to personal circumstances like legacies. After all, a referral comes because someone thought highly enough of their ZBT experience, and think highly enough of the candidate, that they chose to share their information.
We have much to be proud of as it relates to ZBT’s current efforts on legacy engagement, highlighted by over 6% of our undergraduates having a legacy connection. As we continue to develop our brotherhood and ensure its relevance for the future, take a moment and ask yourself how you’re contributing to our continued relevance. As an alumnus, are you providing your son’s information to headquarters staff and/or chapter leaders/advisors early enough for them to act upon it? As undergraduate leaders, how are you guiding the chapter to respond to these recommendations? Overall, as brothers, ask yourself: what legacy are you leaving for the future of ZBT?