By definition being "active" is to be engaged in action; characterized by energetic work, participation, etc. It can also be defined by causing activity or change; capable of exerting influence, (opposed to passive). So to call yourself an active member of your sorority or fraternity implies that you are actively participating and influencing your chapter. Unfortunately, in some cases to be an active member of your chapter after initiation you just have to maintain your grades and pay your dues. Luckily, in my chapter and many other chapters, we have a system that makes sure that all active members are also participating in various events. However, so many chapters are running into the problem of getting members to participate.
Joining a sorority or fraternity is a really exciting thing and something we all will look back on for years to come. Almost all new members are super excited to be joining and want to participate and do as much with the chapter as they can. Now ask yourself, do you still go to as many events as you did when you were a new member? Do you still participate just as much, if not more now than you did then? Do you still go to every philanthropy, formal, greek event, chapter meeting, or social? The answer is probably no, because so many people lose interest and stop coming to events after they have been active members for a while. It’s not that they don’t love their chapter anymore, they just don’t seem to care as much or they think that they have already done their part. Why is that? You pay your dues to attend these events and to be a part of this, so by not attending you are wasting your money. Also it’s not like these events are boring, they are very well planned and structured just for you and your chapter. So why wouldn’t you want to attend? People just think they have been there and done that so they don’t want to go anymore, or they think that they have done their part and are are too old or too good for it now that they have been in the chapter for a while. As long as you are an active member of your chapter you should be trying to help it grow, and attending all the events that you can until the day you go alum. Somehow after the excitement of pledging, initiation, and the new member process, active members lose interest, stop coming around as often, and stop participating. This is something I’ve seen in so many chapters on several different campuses I’ve visited. I've talked to countless different greeks from different campuses and so many of them complain about not having participation.
So you have to ask yourself, why this is? Why did you stop going to events and participating as much as you did when you were a new member? There are too many times where you see a chapter of 150 people and only about 50 of them continually go to events, philanthropies, fundraisers, ect. Before you joined your chapter you wanted nothing more than to be a part of it and to be able to participate in these events. Now here you are as an active member and you don’t even attend anymore. Now I understand people get busy with classes, jobs, and other clubs or sports; however, the problem is that most people have the time to go to these events and participate but they just make up excuses not to. Why are you paying dues to be a part of these events if you aren’t even going to attend? If you don’t go to events and actively try to help your chapter grow then why are you even in it? Are you truly doing everything you can to help your chapter be the best it can be or do you just like to say that you're a part of it and wear the letters? It’s not too hard. Just show up to philanthropies, go to that greek week event, help make the float for homecoming. And if you don’t like the way something is being run, then speak up instead of just not participating at all. If you aren’t actively participating and trying to be a part of your chapter and help it grow, then are you really a member? You wear the letters, you call yourself a brother/sister of that chapter, but are you really taking part in it?
We had a speaker come talk to us during a greek event once and he read something that really stuck with me and that helped motivate me to write this article. I believe it's something that every greek member should read and consider. It's a quote from Joseph Servocky that can be found here and is also attached below. If you're in greek life you should really read and share with your chapter to consider.
"Are you an active member, the kind that would be missed, or are you just contented
that your name is on the list? Do you attend the meetings, and mingle with the flock, or do you stay at home and criticize and knock? Do you take an active part, to help the work along, are you satisfied to be, the kind that "JUST BELONG"?
Do you ever go and visit, a member that is sick, or leave the work to a few, and talk about the clique? Think this over, member, you know right from wrong, are you an active member, or do you "JUST BELONG"?