Alumni & Chapter News

How to Help Your Legacy Go Through Recruitment

By David Rind —

Congratulations! Your son, grandson, and/or brother has been accepted to a college or university and will soon begin to learn about what they want to do for the rest of their lives. While they are going to class, learning how to be independent, responsible, and adult-like, in the back of your mind, you know you want your student to make another great decision and become a ZBT. Don’t let this idea sit in the back of your head and hope it happens, let’s make it happen.

Each summer, ZBT receives a large number of legacy referrals. This is the first step in helping your legacy become a part of your Fraternity. ZBT has a policy regarding legacies, stating that all chapters and colonies must give every legacy a fair chance to join ZBT as well as to fairly vote to give a bid to a legacy with a majority vote (50% +1). Considering this policy, ZBT regularly receives communications from alumni wondering why their legacy was not more closely considered for brotherhood.

What happens once a legacy referral is submitted? ZBT staff will reply to your submission, thank you for your notification and forward your legacy’s contact information to the chapter in which your legacy may be interested in joining. However, the chapter receiving his contact information is just the beginning of this process. While the chapter should reach out to him, it is important that you also encourage him to visit the chapter or colony, attend their events and get to know the brothers. Being a legacy is a great start and often gives students a leg up, but it is important that your legacy also makes the effort to show the chapter or colony that he truly wants to be in ZBT. In many cases, brothers call the International Office looking for an answer about why their legacy didn’t get into ZBT. While ZBT highly encourages chapters and colonies to bid legacies, chapters and colonies also have autonomy over who may or may not join their chapter. It is entirely understandable that this can create some issues, but in many cases, these issues are quickly resolved through conversation and support of ZBT staff members, which should start before your legacy finishes high school.

The first mistake that brothers make when their legacy goes through recruitment is not making ZBT aware that their legacy is going through recruitment. The second mistake that brothers make is not encouraging their legacy to tell the chapter or colony that they are a legacy. Sharing that a person is a legacy is in no way a disadvantage, rather it provides undergraduate brothers an opportunity to better understand your legacy’s reason for wanting to join ZBT. Many brothers say, “I didn’t want the chapter to treat my legacy differently because he is a legacy.” Being a legacy provides your student with an advantage. Your legacy is likely attending a school that has a high regard for legacies, meaning your legacy could have just lost the opportunity to connect with other legacies or join a chapter that has a great deal of respect for legacies.

It is truly one of ZBT’s highest priorities to maintain the legacy of ZBT in your family by allowing your legacy to be a part of the organization that you call yours. However, what if your student goes to a school that doesn’t have a ZBT chapter on campus? Starting chapters is a large part of what the ZBT staff does. On a yearly basis, ZBT starts anywhere from three to ten chapters. This is done in part due to agreements with universities to bring a chapter of ZBT to campus, but also has a lot to do with legacies reaching out to ZBT to bring their family’s fraternity to their campus. The greatest thing you as a brother can do is the share why ZBT is so special to you. Who does your legacy know that is also a brother of ZBT? What stories have you told him that would make him want to have a ZBT experience? What did ZBT do to help you that would make him want to have the same experience?

To Do List:

  1. Go to and make ZBT Headquarters aware of who you know that is starting college or is in college
  2. Spend some time with this person, talking about your ZBT experience
  3. Encourage them to reach out to their friends about joining ZBT
  4. Encourage them to be active in recruitment and show that they want to be in ZBT

What NOT to do:

  1. Don’t guarantee your legacy that he will get a bid
  2. Don’t discourage your legacy from telling people he is a legacy
  3. Don’t wait to tell ZBT International HQ about your legacy
  4. Don’t hesitate to ask for help before it’s too late