Founders’ Day Reflections – Jon Moore

170 years ago a group of young men set out to create an organization.  It would be a society founded upon the concept of Brotherhood.  A stark contrast from the elitist academic societies that dominated the collegiate scene, the founders of Chi Psi “…agreed that it should be a band of Brothers, not only in college, but through life…”

As Brothers from around the country gather at restaurants, country clubs, and ballrooms to celebrate this Family’s 170th birthday, I know that the Spirit of Chi Psi will be alive and well.

My favorite Chi Psi quote is an excerpt from “A Thing of the  Spirit” written by John Wendell Anderson, Psi 1889, Epsilon 1890.

Chi Psi is an ideal, a thing of the spirit.

It has no embodiment: it has expression only in the fellowship of its bonds, begun when life is young and not broken by old age.

Your love of Alpha is not for a Lodge, for brick or stone.  It is for handclasps, for song.  The Lodge you build to shelter memory and keep tradition green.

This quote lays forth the concept that our organization is about lifelong fellowship. Too many times I feel like Brothers think of Chi Psi as a four-year organization (or less).  Additionally, I think that too many Brothers over-emphasize the Lodge as the center of their experience, as if to say that Chi Psi exists in this building and when the building is out-of-sight then Chi Psi is out-of-mind.

If, as they say, “Home is where the heart is” then Chi Psi is where its Brothers are.  Chi Psi exists everywhere; it is in each of us and in the memory of our encounters.

As the quote outlines, Lodges are meant to shelter memories and to keep traditions secret and meaningful.  The Bonds of our Brotherhood, however, can exist anywhere, can be enjoyed anytime and can be felt by Brothers young and old.

Having been fortunate enough to step foot inside 22 Lodges, I can assure you that the memories of those buildings are a distant second to the memories of my encounters with hundreds of amazing Brothers.  In each handclasp and hug, I am reminded that Chi Psi is alive and well.  It is a thing of the spirit that no one can tarnish and that will persevere always!


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