Many of our chapter leaders are either now halfway through their terms of office or, like myself, are about to conclude their time of service. The ending of a term in office implies many things: the passing of the gavel, freedom from dealing with the day-to-day issues or the pressure being lifted. However, the last thing it should provoke is a lack of effort. A heavy reliance upon positional leadership drives many of our chapters; however, this represents one of the greatest weaknesses a chapter may exude.
First and foremost, it becomes your job to ensure an effective transition for the next man in charge. Good luck wishes and a pat on the back don’t quite cut it in the fraternity world, especially within Delta Tau Delta and our commitment to lives of excellence. Seek out your chapter consultants or chapter advisory teams for good effective transitioning strategies. One of the most essential things to pass on is something tangible they can use as a resource, perhaps a manual or binder full of your expected and unexpected tasks and a list of contacts.
The second, and perhaps most influential, point of transitioning hinges upon your behavior as a former officer. For some of us, new challenges await. Perhaps you have taken on a different role within the chapter or some other organization, or maybe you have been tasked with simply taking your seat as “Joe Delt” of the chapter. Either road you choose, you have a profound impact on the incoming officer. Approaching the upcoming year with a positive attitude and high hopes for the next officer is crucial. Being a cheerleader may sound simple, but those quick phone calls or text messages to lend a hand will make a world of difference to the next officer. You alone understand the true trials and tribulations, so stand ready to minimize those roadblocks.
Every fraternity man leaves some type of legacy in his chapter, good or bad. Your time in office only defines part of that legacy. A successful year of hard work can easily become tainted with a few actions that challenge the next executive board’s effectiveness. As we proceed, others will follow, and serving as a mentor and a resource can ensure the success of those that follow. Similar to your time in office, once you pass the gavel, you cannot do everything. But you can do something, which will define your chapter for years to come.
Will Logan (University of Tennessee, 2013) is a junior majoring in Spanish and world business. He is currently serving as chapter president for Delta Delta and a member of the Undergraduate Council.