It almost seems impossible. Maybe I’ve imagined it. But this past weekend concluded one of the most rewarding, adventurous, and inspiring journeys of my life. I am honored to report that I have now visited EVERY active Chi Psi Alpha (and then some).
What follows is my attempt to put nearly three years of interactions, emotions, and observations into one blog.
Also, I’m curious about who else has accomplished this. Please leave a comment below if you have.
“Once a Chi Psi, Always a Chi Psi!”
One of the biggest misconceptions about Fraternal life is that organizational change starts by ingraining good habits in pledge class members. While this belief isn’t completely awry, I’ve come to think that organizational change starts with alumni involvement and prolonged, active engagement with the undergraduate Alpha. Because our Alphas have such high rates of turnover, it is critical that a positive alumni influence be steadfast in their coaching.
What has amazed me are the alumni Brothers I’ve met who have such an enduring passion for Chi Psi. Their service to the local Alpha and National Fraternity endure through good times and bad. These Brothers set a marvelous example for me and countless other Brothers of what it means to make a lifetime commitment.
“Those whom the routine of life brings into familiar contact”
I think the best part about being an Alpha Visitor is that everywhere I go there is a relationship to rekindle. We revisit old stories, tell jokes, and pursue common interests. Across time and space, relationships do not dull. Although I may see certain Brothers only a few times per year, the enjoyment we get out of our time together is immeasurable. Regardless of how the Alpha is doing, these people make every visit worthwhile.
My thanks to Brothers like Ivy Perkins, Chris Wojdyla, Stephen Shepherd, Hans Minea, Sean Cody, Don Spears, Sean Aaron, Alex Howell, Jordan Fiasca, and Victor Kmita.
“In pursuit of excellence”
Some Alphas exist in a state of isolation from their university communities. Other Alphas exist in a state of constant drama and continuous grading against other Greek organizations. We are NOT “a family of gentlemen in pursuit of being as good as _____ fraternity.” We are in pursuit of excellence.
My wish for every Alpha is that you would do the best you can, every day, and in every aspect of collegiate life. Win in the classroom. Win on the athletic fields. Win in the social scene. Win in the community. With an awareness for the university environment in which you exist, embrace your potential for greatness. With a healthy understanding of tradition (and not just tradition for tradition’s sake) move forward with an ownership of your experience. Do something great. Connect with those around you. Be foolishly bold. Your time in Chi Psi is long, but your time in college is short. There is no perfect time to start making a difference. There is no magical opening of windows. Create your own opportunities. Make an impact TODAY.
A few amusing appendices…
Sigma— Chapel Hill, NC
Alpha Delta— Athens, GA
Chi Delta— Clemson, SC
Beta— Columbia, SC
Upsilon Delta— Winston-Salem, NC
Sigma Delta— Durham, NC
Mu Delta— Winter Park, FL
Omicron Delta— Lexington, VA
Omega Delta— Fairfax, VA
Rho— New Brunswick, NJ
Beta Delta— Bethlehem, PA
Xi— Hoboken, NJ
Pi— Schenectady, NY
Psi— Ithaca, NY
Phi— Clinton, NY
Rho Delta— Oxford, OH
Epsilon— Ann Arbor, MI
Epsilon Delta— Evanston, IL (now dormant)
Zeta Delta— Champaign, IL
Delta Delta— Berkeley, CA
Eta Delta— Eugene, OR
Theta Delta— Seattle, WA
Xi Delta— Lubbock, TX
Iota Delta— Atlanta, GA
Pi Delta— Raleigh, NC
Psi Delta— Boulder, CO (a colony at the time)
Nu— Minneapolis, MN
Tau Delta— Sewanee, TN
Chi— Amherst, MA
Iota— Madison, WI
(Bonus– Oxford, MS for an Alpha Gamma extension visit)
More fun numbers:
Helped initiate 224 men at 9 different Alphas
Since joining staff in July 2009, I have spent more than 340 nights on the road while sleeping in 161 unique places (couches, futons, beds, air mattresses, hotels, etc).
Attended football games at 8 different Chi Psi schools (wish this number were higher)
A Thing of the Spirit
“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 in 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.
What the Lodge does for the Alpha, Central Organization does for the Fraternity– keeps Purple unmingled and Gold untarnished, from coast to coast, passes on the bonds intact to your son and his son.
From 1841, it has been our boast that our Badge loses no luster when its wearer goes out into the world, but rather that his experience only makes him realize more fully what Chi Psi means to him.”
— John W Anderson, Psi 1889, Epsilon 1890