How (and Why) to Grow Your Chapter!

For a very long time at my college, we struggled to replace our graduating chapter members and increase our ranks with new students. While we, as advisors and chapter members, know the amazing value of being a Psi Beta member, potential recruits don’t. In addition, we often don’t even know who our potential recruits might be!

Over the years, through discussions with colleagues (and some serendipity), we have been able to figure out some strategies to increase our visibility on campus and to recruit new members. We have grown from inducting maybe a dozen students per year to inducting over 100 every year. Below is a list of some strategies that have been used to successfully increase membership at our chapter and elsewhere. I’d like to thank all of the wonderful advisors who have shared these ideas with me over the years! If you have any ideas you would like to add, please post them to our new Facebook group discussion (; it is an excellent resource for sharing ideas quickly and efficiently with other chapter advisors.

      • Get a list of potential candidates from your registrar or academic enrollment coordinator. I never knew how to find out which students were eligible for induction, but then someone told me that if I sent an email to the registrar with a list of criteria (3.25 GPA, at least 12 credits, completed a Psych class with a B or higher, etc.), they would send me a list of names and emails of students who met those criteria. From there, it was just a matter of emailing each one and telling them that if they were interested in the field of Psychology (no matter their major), they could be eligible for induction into the Psi Beta National Honor Society. Those who emailed me back and told me they were interested in joining were put into the national system for our next induction. If they submitted their information and paid for their lifetime membership, they were inducted. This, by far, was the biggest advance in growing the size of our club. For sure, we ended up with some students who joined, but weren’t really active in the chapter, but we got a lot more students who became involved, and it increased our visibility on campus a great deal.
      • Get every faculty member involved, including adjuncts. Early on, I was the only faculty member involved in our chapter. I got a great deal out of my interactions with our students, but I was greedy and wanted those great experiences for myself. After relinquishing control for a while to go on paternity leave, I came back and found that my colleague’s influence on the students was complementary to my own, and everyone benefited. Since then, we have worked to give every one of our faculty members as much opportunity to be involved as they would like. By doing this, we have increased the number of ambassadors for Psi Beta exponentially. Because our faculty feel like part of the group, and feel some ownership, when we ask them to promote an event, or chapter membership, they do so, and they do so wholeheartedly. For adjuncts, being involved, even if only peripherally, helps them to feel a connection to the college and the students that they might not have had otherwise.
      • Give away food. This is an easy one to understand. We learned long ago that if we advertised that we had pizza, we would get a lot of people at that event. This is a good way to get them in the door. Once they are there, you need to have a strong hook to keep them there (and Psi Beta offers many!)
      • Post a lot of flyers. If students see flyers for cool events over and over and over again, they start to get interested. If they see that those events are sponsored by the school’s Psi Beta chapter, they might realize that it would be fun to get involved. Plus, if they do receive an invitation to be inducted, it will be something they have already heard about, making them more likely to join.
      • Host cool events. So, in reality, the events that faculty think are cool aren’t always the ones that students think are cool. It is a good idea to ask the students what things they think would be cool, and do some of them. Make sure that the Psi Beta name/logo is posted and students know that you are the cool ones hosting the cool event(s). It is good to remember that not every event has to be explicitly tied to Psychology (although we all know that they really are); sometimes it is good for morale to do things just for fun (and then you can tell them how psychology was involved at a later date). Some cool events we have heard of or participated in:
        • Bring in animals to pet for stress relief at mid-terms
        • Host a dunk tank fundraiser with faculty members volunteering to drop into icy water
        • Board game night (Thoughts Confound Psychology is a Psychology themed version of Cards Against Humanity that is very popular with our students)
        • Pool/Pizza party
        • Psychology trivia night
      • Co-Host cool events. One method of advertising that we neglected for too long was co-hosting events with other clubs. Most of our members belong to other clubs on campus. By allowing them to combine their other interests with their interests in Psychology by creating co-hosted events, we give them the opportunity to see how Psychology is related to their lives more intimately. In addition, it exposes other students who don’t think they are interested in Psychology to how our field is related to their interests. When you do that, you make the case that Psychology (and Psi Beta) is not just for Psychology majors.
      • Make presentations to students and faculty about how Psychology is related to other fields. Again, Psi Beta membership is not restricted to Psychology majors. We all benefit from students and other faculty recognizing the relevance of our field to other disciplines. If you ask your colleagues in business, for instance, to let you come and give a talk about Industrial/Organizational Psychology, they, and their students will see the benefit to their careers. While you are making those presentations, you can also mention Psi Beta and the requirements for induction.

Well, this is (obviously), far from an exhaustive list. I hope many of you will log on to the Facebook group page and continue this conversation by adding your own ideas. I think that when we grow our own chapters, we increase the visibility of our field, as well as the perceived relevance by others. More importantly, we allow more students to experience the wonderful benefits of Psi Beta membership. Thank you for all that you do for your students and Psi Beta!

By Todd Allen Joseph

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