Aside from the process of planning the initiation ceremony and inducting new members, each ALD chapter is encouraged to keep members active throughout the year. The chapter’s executive board should organize events and meetings for their members.
There are times when an ALD chapter struggles to “stand out” from the many other recognized student organizations on campus. Think about the ways that ALD is unique, and build upon that with programs and activities. Create traditions, and if possible, come up with something exclusive that only the ALD chapter does. Focus efforts in areas such as leadership development and academic achievement.
The following ideas can be planned and/or modified for your chapter. Check the Order of the Torch and Maintaining the Flame winning scrapbooks for program ideas, too!
Potential Academic-Related Traditions
- Provide tutoring services to first-year students.
- Conduct a faculty-student forum around a current topic in the news.
- Present books to the library to honor particular faculty members.
- Tutor at a local school in need. An emerging trend is tutoring at local jails and prisons.
- Usher for lectures, academic symposiums, and other campus events that have an academic focus.
- Sponsor a local scholarship.
- End of Year Banquet – Plan a dinner to celebrate the end of the year and all academic achievements. Invite all ALD members, ALD advisors, and academic administrators.
- Mentor Program – Pair or group new and existing members of your chapter by hometown, birthday, major, etc. This encourages newer members to be more engaged in ALD as well as create a connection that will benefit the students involved.
- ALD Retreat – Get to know the members in your ALD chapter. Host a retreat – could be a half-day, full-day, overnight, etc. Plan activities – icebreakers, crafts, games, food, etc.
- Favorite Professor Picnic – The picnic creates an opportunity outside the classroom where ALD members and faculty can interact in an informal setting. It also allows a student to honor a favorite professor and introduce him/her to other students. Some “get acquainted” games can be played to motivate students and faculty to mix and mingle.
- Group Event – Plan to participate in an event as a group. Possible events include playing an intramural sport (soccer, volleyball, etc.), attending a concert, attending another student organization’s event, organizing a paint night or an ice cream social, attending a fitness class (yoga, zumba, ice skating, bowling, etc.) – practically anything can be done as a group!
Most chapters perform campus and community service activities. Your campus may have a community service office where you can get ideas and resources for performing community service in your area.
In addition to community service activities, it is also beneficial for chapters to participate in campus activities. It is a way for your chapter to give back, make a presence at your university.
- Habitat for Humanity
- Relay for Life
- School Supply Drive – Collect and donate school supplies to local schools, child care centers, etc.
- Food Drive – Collect nonperishable food items for your local soup kitchen or shelter. Your campus might have its own food pantry as well. This works best if planned around Thanksgiving!
- Gift Drive – Similar to a food drive, but instead collect gifts for the holiday season. Work with local shelters for specific needs.
- Fall and Spring Sweep – Clean up the community by clearing the leaves off lawns in local neighborhoods. Beaches, parks, and any other community spots can also be cleaned.
- Peer Tutoring Service – Recruit willing members to tutor other members or first-year students in need of a little extra help. This is a service to the campus and also builds relationships within your ALD chapter.
- Volunteer at local schools, soup kitchens, nursing homes, hospitals, animal shelters, etc.
- Welcome Week Station – Set up a station on campus to assist new students. Answer any incoming questions, host a raffle, give away prizes, etc.
- Honor Society Networking – Host a campus social with the other honor societies of your university. Get to know the other honor societies on campus and their members. Share ideas and stories over ice cream or snacks.
ALD chapters have the opportunity to charge dues as a source for funds. The dues charged by local chapters range from $5 to $40 per member and allow chapters to have some operating funds. We recommend keeping local dues low so as not to discourage eligible students from joining.
Here are other ideas to support your chapter treasury:
- Silent Auction – Host an auction that lasts over a period of time with all bids being made and displayed on a separate sheet of paper. All bids are displayed so that all potential bidders can view previous bids. The silent auction works best at a booth during a festival, table fair, or a place where a large number of people come together for an event. Items can be donated from local businesses, student bookstores, campus offices, ALD members, etc. This can include apparel, gift certificates, souvenirs, etc.
- Pie Your Professor – Ask your favorite professors, faculty members, and/or administrators to take a pie to the face to earn money for your chapter. Students can purchase tickets to pie the professor of their choice.
- Family Feud – Raise money and promote school spirit by hosting a Family Feud Fundraiser. Interesting answers are compiled from questionnaires sent out targeting college age students. Student organizations can be contacted to compete as a “family,” or individual students can sign up to participate. Audience can be charged admission or players can be charged an entry fee (with prizes for winning team). Alternative games such as Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and board games can also be structured for fundraisers. With enough people (ALD members or other groups), anything can be a competition that can make money.
- Food/Item Sale – Sell anything from baked goods and homemade crafts to t-shirts, candy, pumpkins, cacti, etc., to raise money for your chapter. Make sure to sell the products at a higher price than the cost to make/buy the product.
- Campus work projects – Directing traffic for major events, commission from vending machines, cleaning stadium after game, renting refrigerators.
Word of caution regarding fundraising:
Check with your institution about what is allowed. Some institutions have tight regulations for raising funds. Legal issues can come up with raffles, casino nights, lotteries, silent auctions, games of chance (gaming laws).
Food Sales can also be a concern. Ask if your institution has already granted exclusive rights to your campus food vendor. Another issue is food handling safety. Sometimes there is a need to undergo food handler instruction and gain a permit. Bake sales can have regulations such as items need to be individually wrapped, or no homemade items, only store bought.
Check with Institutional Advancement or the fundraising office to coordinate an "ask." That office might be talking to a donor (individual or business) with hopes for a larger contribution. If ALD appeals to the same donor, it could possibly conflict with their efforts.
These ideas can be integrated into your chapter’s ALD general body meetings or events.
- Guest speakers – from campus and/or community
- Host workshops/information sessions for members – possible topics include: study abroad, identifying and applying for scholarships, career services, academic advising, study skills, etc.
A Note About Requiring Involvement In Chapter Activities
Remember that once a student joins Alpha Lambda Delta, they are a member for life. Be careful about the language you use if you want to require participation in chapter activities. You can do that if it is tied to certain local benefits, such as honor cords at graduation, but participation cannot be required to be considered a member.
We make a point to tell students that their level of involvement in ALD is up to them. Many students want to simply be a member, and have no interest or time to participate in chapter activities. This is OK! Passive membership in ALD has its place. It allows the student to be recognized for academic achievement and proudly include the honor on their resume. They are eligible for graduate fellowships for the rest of their life, and their membership supports scholarships and fellowships for all members.