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International Honor Society in Social Sciences
The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the social sciences and to uphold the ideals of scholarship and service.

THE PRESIDENT'S VIEW

MAINTAINING AND SUPPORTING ACTIVE CHAPTERS (PART 1)

HeckThe more casual observer might think a Pi Gamma Mu chapter lasts forever. After all, establishing a chapter requires great effort. Potential sponsors submit an application and the Board of Trustees begin the elaborate process of evaluating and, if appropriate, approving the new chapter. With all that complete, the sponsor can organize and begin the process of initiating members and coordinating activities. With the new chapter, everyone--Trustees, headquarters staff, sponsors, and students--enjoy the accomplishment.

So, is the chapter set forever?

The maintenance and support of chapters turns out to be a dynamic process. Several factors can affect the continued existence of a chapter; such factors include sponsor involvement, student participation, headquarters staff support, and Board of Trustees involvement. One of these factors or a combination of factors may result in a chapter becoming "inactive." The "inactive" term means that a chapter ceases the process of initiating new members. Headquarters staff knows the approximate time that chapter sponsors typically submit their new members in the annual cycle, and the lack of a submission serves as a "red flag" that something is going on with the chapter. Specifically this may suggest that a chapter is at risk for becoming "inactive." Such a situation results in headquarters staff follow-up to determine the nature of the situation and to offer whatever assistance may be helpful to the chapter.

Gordon Mercer, past president of the Board of Trustees and current Chair of the Chapter Development and Growth Committee, completed an analysis of the issue of chapters becoming "inactive" and found that by relatively naturally occurring processes ten to twelve chapters may become inactive in a given year. He concluded that failure to act upon "inactive" chapters will have a devastating effect for Pi Gamma Mu--especially considering the effect over the years.

Interestingly, Dr. Mercer's analysis drew headquarters staff and Trustees attention to an issue that has apparently been a long-standing one for Pi Gamma Mu. Dr. Scott Johnson's Pi Gamma Mu history, First 75 Years, documents early concerns. He records that Pi Gamma Mu founder, Dean Allen, in his 1931 report to the Trustees ". . . set this particular report within a concern about failing or defunct chapters, an issue which has remained a continuing plaint of Pi Gamma Mu presidents in their reports and in trustee discussion down to the present." Indeed Dr. Johnson's observation proves accurate.

Dr. Mercer, taking this issue quite seriously, developed the Reactivation and Chapter Development Initiative. The initiative provides headquarters staff and Trustees with a plan of action to combat "inactive" chapters.

C. Laurence (Larry) Heck
International President


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