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Associate Membership Defining Lambda Chi Alpha for more than 30 years.

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Presentation on theme: "Associate Membership Defining Lambda Chi Alpha for more than 30 years."— Presentation transcript:

1 Associate Membership Defining Lambda Chi Alpha for more than 30 years.

2 More than 30 yrs ago…. Associate membership actually began earlier than in the seventies. In 1928 the practice of hazing was condemned by Lambda Chi Alpha at an NIC meeting. This sparked the beginning of Lambda Chi Alpha making a name for itself in differentiating themselves from all other fraternities.

3 Associate Membership In order to fully understand Associate Membership we must evaluate the writings from the creator of the program…….. George Spasyk Executive Vice President Emeritus

4 George Spasyk George served on staff for more than 40 years. He wrote “Reflections” in the “Cross and Crescent” for more than 20 years. He is credited with creating the Student Advisory Committee and the Associate Member Program.

5 AM by George Spasyk Throughout the 20 years of writings that George contributed to the “Cross and Crescent”, he tackled several difficult issues such as fundraising, alcohol abuse, hazing, and pledge programming. This presentation will serve as a means to understand the Associate Member Program through the eyes of the creator by incorporating his writings throughout this interpretation.

6 Associate Membership In 1970, George wrote his second “Reflections” article in February. The issue of pledge programming and the effects of it were very important to him as he decided to focus his second writing on the subject. His first “Reflections” writing was an introduction to the writing series with attention to the “awesome” possibility of addressing alumni and undergraduates in every magazine edition.

7 Reflections-February 1970 “Pledges-Who Needs Them?” “And, come to think of it, why should a bright young freshman (or sophomore, or junior) who has met the entrance requirements of his university, who has perhaps worked all summer to help finance his education, be expected to enjoy a role in which his fraternal status is second class? We expect a pledge to obey every rule (while actives don't); be respectful to the housemother (while actives frequently aren't); light cigarettes; carry matches; say "yes, sir; no, sir"; clean the toilets; and never say anything which offends anyone.

8 Reflections-February 1970 Pledges-Who Needs Them “In these negative ways the pledge is "proving" himself worthy of membership.” “The problem, as I see it, is that we have been doing an excellent job of training men to be pledges... a role they will no longer have as soon as the training period is over.”

9 Reflections-February 1970 Pledges-Who Needs Them “While it is true that fraternities have rid their programs, for the most part, of physical hazing, there remain in most programs strong elements of separation between actives and pledges, with sharp distinctions between these two classes of membership.” What is he saying here? Is this true today?

10 Reflections-December 1972 On Change Spasyk’s next article discussing associate member programming was in December when he summarized legislation from the Portland General Assembly. The title of the article was called change because of several reasons. Not only the changes to the education programming of the fraternity, but also changes in the High Zeta. This included a new High Beta Concept and the creation of the High Rho. In regards to associate membership…….

11 Reflections-December 1972 On Change “Perhaps the most fundamental change which was made at this Assembly was the complete elimination of the concept of pledgeship, and the adoption of Fraternity Education to replace pledge education. The term "Pledge" was officially replaced with "Associate Member." We feel, in fact, that this action is one of the most significant changes by any fraternity in the past 50 years.” Here it was officially changed. Why change the name?

12 Reflections-December 1972 On Change “Lambda Chi Alpha has been building toward this change since 1969, when the concept of Fraternity Education was first introduced on an experimental basis. So drastic a change in "tradition" elicited little interest at first, but our hats are off to those few chapters who had the vision to realize its potential. As word of the program spread, and as the success of the program grew, more and more chapters tried it - - and they liked it.” Let’s examine his remarks on tradition. What is he saying here?

13 Reflections-December 1976 On Potential It was until 1976 that George dedicated a full two page article to associate membership again. Why? This article was written to address the success or setbacks of the new program. Do you think chapters were fully utilizing the program at this point?

14 Reflections-December 1976 On Potential “Initiation ratio increased 67% and almost ¾ of the chapters successfully utilize the program” Those chapters timid to change are “pressured by alumni who continue to cling to the past with a ferret-like tenacity that defies logic and understanding.” Does this happen today?

15 Reflections-December 1976 On Potential “They are not crammed into their own isolate corner merely memorizing the Greek Alphabet or regurgitating the twelve ideals in a meaningless, uncomprehending way……They are learning by doing, not learning by being told what others are doing. That, in essence is what Fraternity Education is all about.” If your chapter continues these mind-boggling tasks, you and your chapter are defying and denying your new members of the true Lambda Chi Alpha experience described by Spasyk.

16 Reflections-December 1976 On Potential Spasyk finishes the article with these words. “The chapter that takes advantage of the offerings of all members, young and old, is the chapter that will rise to the top on its campus……We call on all alumni to adopt and to implement enthusiastically a Fraternity Education program. They will find it is a mark of a real progress.” Why does he comment about alumni? How do these alumni affect traditions? How do traditions affect change?

17 Reflections-June 1978 Endangered Species In this reflection article, George has called upon to end the senselessness of hazing and other practices that are present in new member programs. This is even six years after the associate member and fraternity education program was enacted. Why do you think this is so?

18 Reflections-June 1978 Endangered Species “There is now another animal to add to this list of endangered species -- the senseless chapter that continues to haze, harass and demean its new members. Unlike the white whale, the bald eagle, or the others, however, Lambda Chi Alpha will do everything in its power to hasten the demise of such chapters.” How does this relate and coincide with what the General Fraternity does in relation to AM programming and separation?

19 Reflections-June 1978 Endangered Species “We intend to do everything possible to rid ourselves of this cancer, or these chapters will face a limited future.” “Clearly, we are far beyond the point of trying to educate the members of such chapters. We are at the point of spiritual exhaustion in our efforts.”

20 Reflections-June 1978 Endangered Species “But even if hazing practices are such that physical injury or death is unlikely, other elements of hazing and harassment are equally damaging to the human spirit. Many times, of course, it comes down to a definition of hazing -- what we at the General Fraternity level consider hazing may not be considered hazing by a particular member or chapter. Rather than list specific practices -- because the list would be several pages long and even then the ingenious mind would come up with even more -- there are at least two answers to the question,”

21 Reflections-June 1978 Endangered Species "What is hazing?" One is, "if you have to ask if a particular activity is hazing, it probably is." Another response would be, "Would you be afraid or embarrassed to do it in front of the President of the University, your parents, the Grand High Alpha, or a reporter from the local newspaper or television station?" If the answer is affirmative, it's probably hazing.” What do you think about these comments about hazing/separation made more than 25 years ago?

22 Reflections-June 1978 Endangered Species “Lambda Chi Alpha has found a highly successful alternative, and we have been extremely patient and understanding in our efforts to implement change. But there is a point beyond which patience is no longer a virtue, but an admission of weakness.”

23 Reflections-June 1978 Endangered Species “We would be remiss, not only to our present members but to future generations of Lambda Chis, if we did not pursue vigorously a policy of enforcing our laws against hazing, and we call on all segments of the Fraternity, undergraduate and alumni alike, to support and assist us in this effort. The time for talk has long since passed. It's time for action!”

24 Reflections-December 1978 Of An Associate Member In this article, the third in a row of articles addressing associate member programming, Spasyk informs members of a letter he received from a proud associate member who explains his experience in the fraternity. Why would Spasyk focus on this one letter?

25 Reflections-December 1978 Of An Associate Member Lets examine one comment made by this associate member. “…….and within the next six weeks will experience its Ritual. If I have been so accepted as an Associate, what will being a full brother mean?” Chapters that fail to offer a positive associate member orientation program will have associates dreading the fraternity after ritual and in fact will be less involved because he may feel that since the hazing/separation is over, then it is time to relax.

26 Reflections-September 1981 On Dreamers George addresses both undergraduate and alumni members in this article in an effort to discuss his optimistic view on the future and not accepting the status quo. It is important to note that Spasyk charges his audience to “continue to dream and to nourish and protect them (dreams).” He also comments that:

27 Reflections-September 1981 On Dreamers “We are not so naive as to believe that every initiated member (notice, I did not say "brother" - - there is a difference) has lived by those lofty ideals throughout his fraternal life. We are too painfully aware of the letters we receive from alumni who visit their chapters and do not find "clean and wholesome homes" where they once lived. And we have a drawer full of newspaper clippings attesting to the fact that some of our members (not "brothers") are not fostering "the highest ideals of manly character and gentlemanly behavior."

28 Reflections-September 1981 On Dreamers “We also know that some misguided members are treating their Associate Members like pledges, or worse, and do not take seriously the charge "to operate without offense or injury to anyone." What is Spasyk saying here? Do you think the General Fraternity is naïve today?

29 Reflections-Fall 1985 On Recidivism It wasn’t until the fall of 1985 that George Spasyk addressed hazing and the negative effects of a misguided associate member programming. In fact he comments about the actions and activities of chapters where it seems as if we are not advancing but rather detracting.

30 Reflections-Fall 1985 On Recidivism “But there are some danger signs appearing that lead me to believe that we, fraternities, are retrogressing a bit. Hazing, for example, in its vicious manifestations, has all but disappeared. But hazing exists in subtler, though just as dangerous forms. The "fun and games" types of activities all too often result in accidents with tragic consequences -- and multi-million dollar law suits. "Mind games" and harassment, drinking contests, and separation (actives vs. associates; us against them) are mindless and destructive.”

31 Reflections-Fall 1985 On Recidivism What is Spasyk commenting about hazing and separation? Even with associate member programming, aspects of pledge programs are present. They are just masked by the name. SEPARATION DETRACTS FROM THE PURPOSE OF ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP.

32 By the Numbers There are still chapters that operate pledge programs. Even more surprising is the amount of associate member specific education rather than fraternity education. So what does associate membership all entail?

33 Associate Membership-What does it mean? There is no “make work” in Lambda Chi Alpha. There are no pledge class (or Associate Member) officers because there is no emphasis on the class’ unity, just on the chapter. There are no special duties only for the Associate Members; we are all equally involved in all responsibilities and obligations. There is no place for deliberately insufficient work, like cleaning floors with toothbrushes, or even relying only on one set of members to clean up for us; we must all participate and use our time and resources to the maximum degree possible.

34 AMED = Retention/Recruitment One example: One chapter wanted their new members to become “one” and unified. Well in their masked pledge/AMED program, they were forced to attend activities do certain things and they did exactly what the active membership wanted-they got stronger together and decided they didn’t need a fraternity to remain as close friends as they have become and 23 associates left out of 30. Tells you something…..Does your chapter do this?

35 AMED=Retention/Recruitment If there is a proper associate member orientation and fraternity education program, associates will stay, they will be educated, and when next semester starts- all associates will return to be a part of the wonderful experience they had last semester. They will find a way-no matter what.

36 AMED=Brotherhood By forcing strong associate member unity, the potential for separate unified groups could occur between associate members and thus resulting in cliques within the chapter after initiation. Consequently, a weak brotherhood will be present.

37 AMED/Pledge Reactions Exposed The associate is in fact glad to be initiated, not so much for the honor of the event, but for the right to be finished with the work. In this instance, the climax really arrives when the pre-initiation week ends, not when initiation begins. This is another way of strengthening the idea, that, "Boy, I'm glad associateship is over because now my work ends" instead of the realization that this is just the beginning of one's commitment to chapter membership.

38 Negative Reactions Exposed If the chapter needs this week to unify its associate group, it points to a flaw in the regular associate member orientation program, as this should already have been accomplished. Taken from “StopHazing.ORG”

39 Associate Member Foundations There is no such thing as “Associate Member classes, projects, duties, etc.” We are one Fraternity, not eight different groups of men initiated at eight different times. The chapter must use Fraternity Education as a tool to build chapter unity, to educate chapter members about the Fraternity and to discuss topics that affect the lives of our members. Having responsibilities for only one group of members or separate obligations only take away from our focus on chapter unity.

40 Associate Member Foundations There is no “US” and “them” in Lambda Chi Alpha, no initiated members vs. Associate Members, there is just the chapter working together to improve. “Associate unity” is not what the chapter should work toward; chapter unity is the only goal.

41 Associate Member Foundations If the initiated member is living up to the ideals revealed to him in our Ritual, Associate Members will follow that lead. By the same token, if initiated members are lazy, apathetic, hypocritical, and “expect the new guys to do all the work,” the Associate Members will perceive the fraternity as a place where membership carries no responsibility with its privileges.

42 Associate Member Foundations There are not “Associate Member duties.” Within a unified chapter the duties are shared by the entire membership. With the entire membership working together a chapter should be able to accomplish so much more than your average “pledge class.” The associates work side-by-side with the initiated members and are taught fraternalism through actually witnessing it, not just being told about it.

43 Associate Member Foundations Subtle double standards do not exist. Even in the “no pledge” program subtle double standards exist. In Lambda Chi Alpha this double standard does not exist. The new members have all the same rights and privileges of an active member and they are able to make an immediate impact on the chapter.

44 Associate Member Orientation Only by using the Big Brothers as a driving force of -the Associate Member Orientation is the High Kappa able to have the time to establish and educate an entire chapter on fraternity education. The key to the success or failure of the Orientation program lies with the chapter’s Big Brothers. The program is designed to pair the new Associate Members with a more experienced brother.” The burden is not on the associate rather the big brother.

45 Reflections on the Internet Spasyk’s reflections articles can be found at:


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