Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross
From the Vice President's Guide Book - Beta Sigma Phi International
Published by Walter W. Ross & Co., Inc.
Copyright © 1995, Walter W. Ross & Co., Inc.
Permission to share it with you in its entirety has been given by Walter W. Ross, III, Chairman of Board, International Executive Council of Beta Sigma Phi, March 2003.
The Vice President of the chapter is responsible for insuring the membership strength of the chapter. (This you will not do alone. As Chairman of the Membership Committee, you coordinate your chapter's endeavor to obtain new members. All members of the chapter are responsible for the strength of its numbers.) With your guidance, the chapter will have well planned rushing, whether on a small scale (rushing one or two at each meeting or event) or at larger rushing event geared specifically to presenting Beta Sigma Phi to prospective members.
You will receive two rushing kits which will contain specific information on what to do when your chapter has held its rushing event. (Remember that rushing and pledging new members are two different things. Your chapter should ALWAYS be rushing. That is the chance to get to know prospective members. Once your chapter has found a woman who fits your chapter, and who fits with the ideals of Beta Sigma Phi, THAT's when you pledge (invite her to join) a new member!) The rushing kit will contain pledge agreements, a pledge report form, any promotional information (such as certificates or opportunities for your chapter to participate in a project), along with one or two brochures you may wish to use to present Beta Sigma Phi to prospective members. (Additional supplies are available from International - and an order form for these will be included, too!) Or, you can contact the International Membership Department at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By virtue of office, YOU are the Chairman of the Membership Committee. You will want to work with the Social Chairman to coordinate events which would be appropriate for inviting guests. Begin planning the events to which you will invite prospective members and transferees as you receive them throughout the year. You'll also want to encourage each member to share names of guests they would like to invite to chapter events. Your chapter should be able to rush and pledge at least one or two new members each year. It is important to set a membership goal at the beginning of the year. Maintain your chapters' membership before you HAVE to!
Once your chapter decides to invite a prospective member to join your circle of friendship, you are responsible for formally inviting her to your meeting or social event, telling her all about our sisterhood and organization's benefits, then inviting her to join, having her complete and sign the pledge agreement and return it, along with her initial membership fees to International.
International will NOT advance pledge pins, but as soon as the signed pledge agreement and initial membership fees are received, the pledge pin and one copy each of The Book of Beta Sigma Phi and Invitation to Life will be sent to YOU. (You will also receive a copy of the answers to the Pledge review with these supplies.) You can also refer to the Pledge Training Series in The Strawberry Patch located in the index: (The Strawberry Patch)
Just click on a strawberry (the one on top of the first group of berries on the left) and it will take you to Chapter 1. There is a study guide, what to remember, ideas, thoughts, suggestions, resources, inspiration and answers to all the study guide questions from each chapter.
Twice during the year (September and January), you will receive your chapter's Ritual Certification Form. It will include a list of the members in your chapter and who among them is eligible to receive the next highest degree. You must use this form when ordering higher degree pins and rituals by mail. Simply follow the directions enclosed with the form, call International (1.816.444.6800) and staff members will assist you in completing the form. You may phone your order for higher degree pins by using Visa, Mastercard or Discover charge cards. We cannot bill the chapter for higher degree pins. If you have a question about the degree shown for any member of your chapter, please feel free to call (or email) International and talk to your Division Chairman. Please make sure your write the name of your Division Chairman on the subject line.
Other duties of the Vice President include attending all Executive Board meetings and filling in for the President and Treasurer when either is unable to attend a meeting.
OFFICIAL CHAPTER HOSTESS
|1.||SIGN PLEDGE AGREEMENT - have the pledge fill out her complete mailing address and signature. Be sure to put your chapter name and number on the pledge agreement.|
|2.||MAKE PAYMENT - The initial fee, which defrays all membership fees and annual fees for one full year, is paid in accordance with the payment plan selected by the pledge. No portion of the fee is subject to refund, and any amount paid stands as a permanent credit to the member's account. Payment of the membership fee is a contract between the individual member and the International Office.
If your chapter wishes to retain the pledge expense allowance (U.S. funds), please do so before you send the check. You may have her write her check directly to the chapter and chapter check could then accompany the pledge agreement, with your chapter's expense allowance retained by the chapter. (If the full amount is sent to International, we will assume you wish us to donate your expense allowance to the Beast Cancer Research Fund.)
|3.||SEND TO INTERNATIONAL - The chapter is responsible for sending both pledge agreement and payment to the International Office IMMEDIATELY. A pledge pin is sent ONLY upon receipt of a pledge agreement and payment of membership fees.
The Achievement Band and Welcome Heart will be mailed with the membership card approximately three to four weeks after the final membership fee payment has been received.
|4.||CONDUCT PLEDGE RITUAL - The pledge pin should be received within three weeks. The pledge Ritual ceremony should be held as soon as possible.
If you have more than one pledge, their pins will be sent separately from their books.
a pledge may transfer
a pledge may be granted a leave of absence or a member-at-large status
a pledge may recommend a new rushee to the chapter
a pledge may hold office
a pledge should always serve on a committee
Pledges are members from the very moment of their Pledge Ritual. The term "pledge" is one of respect, indicating the member's length of experience in Beta Sigma Phi.
When a legacy joins your chapter, follow the same procedure as described for a first time pledge with these exceptions:
|1.||SIGN PLEDGE AGREEMENT - At the top of the agreement she needs to also add her legacy number or the name she was enrolled under.|
|2.||MAKE PAYMENT - She only needs to send in the amount of the annual fee. Her membership fee was paid at the time she became a legacy. DO NOT withhold the expense allowance for a legacy.|
Note: Being a relative of a member does not automatically make you a legacy!
A sponsored member joining a chapter for the first time also follows the same procedures except she makes NO PAYMENTS. Her initial fees were previously paid by another member. She also needs to include her sponsor number, or the name she was enrolled under at the top of her pledge agreement.
Attends meetings regularly; votes, participates in all activities and pays both chapter dues and International fees promptly.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
An active member of the chapter and of the International Organization who is excused from regular chapter attendance for a period up to one year, is said to be on leave of absence. She is still obligated to pay International fees. She is retained on the chapter roster of active members, but her absence at meetings does not count against the chapter on the Yardstick.
An active member in the International Organization, but with no chapter affiliation, is said to be a member-at-large. She is a member in good standing and she is still obligated to pay International fees. She may enjoy the right of guest privileges, whenever she is invited by a chapter. Chapters may invite members-at-large who let the chapters know they wish to attend. The member-at-large, of course, pays any assessment or charge for her attendance at social affairs.
She receives The Torch and all other mailings sent to all members. She may apply for transfer to any chapter of her own Degree.
An active member may remain a member-at-large for any length of time and should request this status if her non-participation in the chapter will be for an extended period.
An inactive member is not active in a chapter or in the International Organization and has no chapter privileges and no chapter obligations. She may not attend chapter meetings or affairs, and she does not pay International fees or chapter dues. She will not receive credit for the Order of the Rose or toward higher Degrees during the years she is inactive.
She may be reinstated into a chapter after a two-thirds vote of approval of the chapter and after paying a Reinstatement Fee. This is in lieu of accrued annual fees and reactivates her membership records and pays her annual fees for one full year. If she owed Membership Fees at the time she became inactive, payment of the balance owing on her Membership fees is required in lieu of the Reinstatement Fee.
Approximately two or three weeks after International receives a change of address to a new city location, transfer information is sent to the member and to the Vice President (or Contact Chairman) of the City Council. In towns not having a City Council, this information is sent to the Vice President of the chapter(s) into which the member is qualified to transfer.
It is the responsibility of the Vice President (or Contact Chairman) to notify all chapters into which the member may transfer and to arrange for affiliation as quickly as possible.
It is the responsibility of the member as well as the Recording Secretary to report all changes of status, (i.e. name, address, etc.) Each newly elected Recording Secretary receives a supply of the "Change of Status" forms for this purpose. Every issue of The Torch has a change form for the use of the Individual Member.
A transferee always retains her original anniversary date for paying annual fees.
When an active member reinstates, her date of reinstatement becomes her new individual member anniversary date.
She will also need to complete a reinstatement form and send along with her reinstatement fee to International. (These forms are sent to the Recording Secretary every year.)
The Vice President conducts Pledge Training meetings to prepare the pledge to receive the next degree. To do this, she uses the material in the Pledge Training booklet, Invitation to Life and The Book of Beta Sigma Phi.
Pledge Training is designed to be completed in six months. The pledge should learn:
how a business meeting is conducted
how a program is prepared and presented
how the officers, committees and councils function
her obligations for upholding the ideals and purposes of Beta Sigma Phi
what privileges and benefits she deserves as a member
Pledge training should be continued through the summer for spring pledges.
The second Ritual, Ritual of the Badge of Nu Phi Mu members or Ritual of Jewels for Ritual of Jewels members, is given to the pledge upon completion of the following qualifications:
completed Pledge Training
participation in six months of chapter activities
completed payment of her membership fees as agreed
returned her pledge pin for exchange or pay the replacement cost
The Vice President is responsible for verifying the above qualifications by sending the Ritual Certification forms, with pins or payment of replacement cost of a lost pin (or if the pledge wishes to keep her pledge pin), to the International Office. When the form and pins (or payment) are received, the pins for the next ritual will be sent.
The Ritual Certification forms are sent automatically to the Vice President twice per year, in September and January.
Newly organized chapters devote 30 minutes of the regular meeting time to the presentation and discussion of topics outlines. These discussions are led by the Vice President who may be a pledge herself.
|New chapters must have all monthly reports and minutes on file in the International Office before all of the active members participate in the second ritual and receive their degree.|
A newly organized chapter will receive the Charter when:
ten or more active, participating members have received their second degree
the attendance records show at least 90% present at the majority of chapter meetings
all minutes and monthly reports are on file at the International Office
Chapters with less than ten active members will continue to function under the International Charter, which governs all chapters, until such time as they can qualify for the chapter Charter.
The Vice President should return either the pledge pin or the replacement fee per pin to receive the Ritual of Jewels pin. This should be done at least three weeks before the date planned for the Ritual of Jewels ceremony. Be sure to give us the name of each eligible pledge and the date of the Ritual of Jewels ceremony. Send this to the attention of the Certification Department.
The Ritual of Jewels pin should be received within three weeks. The Ritual of Jewels ceremony should be held as soon as possible.
The replacement cost of lost pins or pins the member wishes to keep rather than exchange are: (at the time of this posting as follows:)
Pledge pin (all) $2
Ritual of the Badge $2
Ritual of Jewels $5.50
(as are Exemplar, Preceptor, Laureate, and Master)
(It is suggested you verify with the Certification Department, Membership Department or your Division Chairman the current fees re: pin replacement prior to sending them.)
There is an order of progression in Beta Sigma Phi which is a sound and healthy one. It leads from the Nu Phi Mu Degree to the Master Degree. Progression is exciting, inspiring and rewarding. Granted, progression requires action, but its fruits are a constant development and improvement of character and mind. Degrees in Beta Sigma Phi are not complicated. They exist because they are needed. They keep the motion of our sisterhood moving ever forward and upward.
By Degrees, Beta Sigma Phi has become a forward-looking way of life. By Degrees, the members of your chapter will become forward-looking members. Each of you should be looking ever upward and forward to your next step in improvement and attainment. Remember, this is just the beginning!
Why those eligible should progress:
During the years since receiving the Pledge Ritual, many friendships have developed and the challenge and opportunity for new friends comes again to every Beta Sigma Phi when she progresses to the next higher Degree of membership.
The purpose of Exemplar is the same as the purpose of Ritual of Jewels and the overall purpose of Beta Sigma Phi. It gives members an intimate touch with many lives and many minds.
As Emerson said, "Progress is the activity of today and the assurance of tomorrow." You should give yourself the opportunity to enhance your own life through the challenge of progression and study of the programs suggested for the Exemplar Degree members.
Members are encouraged to progress when they become eligible. In 1994, the International Executive Council approved members could progress to the next highest degree while remaining active in their current chapter.
Bottom line: Members can still progress to existing chapters of higher degrees for which they are eligible, or receive their higher degree and remain in the chapter where they are currently participating. Nothing has been taken away; rather more flexibility has been given for each member. It is an individual decision and the decision rests solely upon each individual member.
To receive the Exemplar Degree, each Ritual of Jewels member has to complete at least four years as an active participating member in good standing; and complete four years of cultural program work carrying her share of the assignments while participating in her chapter's development of each program.
To receive the Preceptor Degree, each Exemplar member has to complete at least six years as an active participating member in good standing; and complete six years of cultural program work carrying her share of the assignments while participating in her chapter's development of each program.
LAUREATE DEGREE To receive the Laureate Degree, each Preceptor member has to complete at least eight years as an active participating member in good standing; and complete eight years of cultural program work carrying her share of the assignments while participating in her chapter's development of each program.
To receive the Master Degree, each Laureate member has to complete at least ten years as an active participating member in good standing; and complete ten years of cultural program work carrying her share of the assignments while participating in her chapter's development of each program.
Honorary Members are members who have served your organization faithfully for the required number of years for the degree.
The Yardstick gives members a wonderful opportunity to evaluate their own achievements and progress, giving them a clear objective picture to guide them in setting goals for the coming year. The Yardstick is in the May issue of The Torch each year. It is a guide for all chapters to use in planning well-balanced cultural, social and service activities, as well as all other phases of chapter activities. A copy is to be completed and sent to your Division Chairman at the International Office, showing the achievements made by the chapter during the past year. An additional copy should be kept available at the first planning meeting for the new year, and credited each month during the year as meetings and other activities are held.
Programs are a vital part of chapter life. Every meeting should include a program.
Programs have been divided into two categories-formal programs, which should be at least 30 minutes in duration, including chapter discussion; and informal programs, which can include cultural outings like a visit to a museum. Chapters will earn two points a piece for formal programs; we suggest 9-12 of these per year. Informal programs earn one point a piece; we suggest 3-6 of these per year.
TIP: A cultural program outing can DOUBLE as both a social and a program (i.e., museum, symphony).
The social activities provide members with friendships and good times. You will want to plan your social calendar for the months ahead in order for the committees to have plenty of time to prepare.
Socials can also include your plans for membership strength and growth. Adding new members to your chapter increases every aspect of the chapter's activity. Extending an invitation for membership is one of the finest compliments you could give a prospective member.
Regular Executive Board meetings help to give you a well-organized chapter meeting, which is important and a courtesy to each member. Well-organized chapter meetings will stimulate attendance. The Recording Secretary can help her chapter to attain the Three Star goal by completing, in full, the Monthly Report form, sending it with a copy of the chapter's minutes, all of which are to be mailed within three days after the second monthly meeting.
Newly organized chapters will be prorated the first year if they are installed after the beginning day of the sorority year.
Be sure to carefully check each year's yardstick for all opportunities to earn extra points!
Serves as Chairman of the Membership Committee
Coordinates rushing events for the chapter
Serves as Hostess for the chapter
Introduces Beta Sigma Phi to Prospective Members
Extends the invitation to join Beta Sigma Phi
Assists the prospective member in completing the Pledge
Agreement, collects initial fees and forwards all to International
Collects supplies and prepares various Degree Rituals for the
Coordinates Pledge Training (if your chapter assigns that duty
to the VP)
The Membership Department at the International Office has numerous resources available to aid in the Vice President's duties. The following items may be requested at any time:
Pledge Training Information
Awards and Certificates Friendly Venture Information
Prospective Member and Member-At-Large Lists
(Please include desired zip codes when requesting these lists.)
You may contact the Membership Department by writing to:
Beta Sigma Phi International
P.O. Box 8500
1800 W. 91st Place
Kansas City, MO 64114
Or you may call Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Central time zone) (816) 444-6800 or toll free: 1-888-BETA-2B1 (238-2221)
Or you may fax: (816) 333-6206
Or you may email: email@example.com