Skip to main content

Bicycles and Brotherhood


On August 30, 2015, the Georgia Southern Interfraternity Council chapter presidents and recruitment chairs spent the afternoon together doing something bigger than themselves. Little did they know the next five hours would entail diving head first into the lives of others, and connecting the dots between fraternity recruitment and pictures of poorly drawn bikes.

Taylor Deer, an organizational growth expert at Phired Up, spent the day teaching students how to do things they already know how to do, but in a more efficient way. Phired Up is an organization that helps fraternities and sororities find more individuals, and more individuals find fraternities and sororities.

The recruitment workshop began with pictures of student’s attempts to draw bicycles (seen in the picture above). “No one has ever gotten it right,” Deer said. How are bicycles relevant with college recruitment? The answer is cognitive overconfidence. Deer, who claimed to go to the nerdiest school in the U.S., explained, “It is when you see something over and over, and do something over and over so we forget how and why that thing actually works. This is why I can ask you if you know what this drawing is and you can confidently say “yes, I know that is a bicycle and yes I’ve ridden a bicycle”, but if I ask you to draw one on a piece of paper, you can’t.”
To put this concept into college terms: the key to recruitment is to break the process down by taking simple steps we normally forget about because we’ve seen them all our life, and instead identify how and why they work. The question for the day was “What do you think the best recruiting chapters in the nation do better than anyone else? Why are they on top?”

Through interactions, students learned the value of taking away all the barriers and just being themselves during recruitment. They experienced how deeper questions and genuine interest in others creates a more positive atmosphere. They recalled personal stories about those in their fraternity whose character and personality are the sole reason they joined, and finally, they exemplified the answer to the most important question Taylor Deer asked: The best recruiting chapters in the nation build relationships better than anyone else does.

If there was any indication of improvement in the group, it was seen through the increased amount of time students conversed with each other, the growing noise level, and the continuous switching of seats to hear new perspectives. Each individual left the workshop with a goal: to become one of those included in the “best recruiting” category. However, they also left with the gift of three important concepts to apply to their own chapters: people join people, recruitment happens in one-on-ones, and we scare people.


Posted in IFC