Alumni volunteers are crucial to the success of our organization, and your dedication and loyalty do not go unrecognized. The resources below will help prepare for remote advising. Additionally, hear from fellow volunteers or request individual support from the Director of Alumni Engagement.
Why Remote Advising
As alumnus members move from college towns to pursue their careers, there are fewer members available to service our chapters at the local level. This is a challenge to the Fraternity’s historic advising model where a local team of advisors supports the chapter and brings forth a need for remote advising strategies.
While there will be changes to the medium and methodology of advising, several core aspects of advising will stay the same in order for the advisor and the advisory board to effectively provide the best advisory support possible to our undergraduate members.
What's the Same
- Communication – first and foremost the expectation of bi-weekly communication will stay the same. As you begin remote advising, it is recommended that the advisor and the chapter member communicate once a week. It is imperative as a remote advisor to be consistent with your communication. Setting up recurring call times, as opposed to scheduling as you go, is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this.
- Goal Setting Retreats – goal setting and transition retreats are one of the most important aspects of fraternity operations, and one of the most overlooked exercises. As a remote advisor, please try to do all you can to attend the goal-setting retreat in person. Scheduling the retreat around a big weekend on campus (Homecoming, alumni weekend, move-in day, etc.) will give people more of a reason to attend.
- Expectations – the expectations of a Pi Kappa Alpha advisor are to be active and engaged with the chapter, the undergraduate leader you advise, and to the men on the advisory board. That expectation does not change and, if anything, only becomes more important as you advise remotely.
- Face-to-Face interaction – while the whole point of remote advising to be able to live miles away from the institution and still advise the chapter, there is still some need for face-to-face interaction to build rapport. It is recommended that the advisor try to meet with their undergraduate at least once during his term and preferably twice.
A number of resources currently exist that address the philosophy of this advising model, including the above expectations.
- Medium – the obvious difference is that meetings will take place over the phone or via webcam as opposed to in-person. While this can take an adjustment, there are several great pieces of software and web platforms that can make it easier. It is recommended to sit down at least once per month using a webcam, since when the technology is working, it can be one of the most effective ways to communicate.
- Patience – while advising in any situation will take patience, doing it remotely will likely only increase the amount needed due to the distance, technology disruptions, and lack of face-to-face rapport.
- Over-communication – one of the best practices from successful remote advisory boards is to over-communicate everything. Items and points of discussions that might be said in passing in person, might fall through the cracks in a remote set-up. Be sure to CC all advisors on e-mails, have wrap-up e-mails, and conference calls to discuss.
- Management – with the board being primarily remote, the chapter advisor or AAB chairman will need to take a more active role in managing the board and scheduling calls, etc.
The International Fraternity is recommending Zoom for remote advising and meetings. For any questions regarding Zoom adoption, resources, or remote advising, please contact the director of alumni engagement or start a chat with us below.