Two years ago, I was fresh out of Union College with a double degree in economics and classics. With the exception of attending college in upstate New York, I had lived my entire life in Massachusetts and had never really jumped outside the box. I had only been to Nashville once for 2009 CMA Music Fest, and I instantly fell in the love with the area but never thought the opportunity to live here would become a reality. That all changed when I received a phone call from my dear friend and brother Jon Moore in February 2012 asking me what I thought about potentially succeeding him at the Central Office to become the new Alpha Services Coordinator. My first initial thought was, “Wait… you’re serious? Alpha Pi hasn’t paid their dues in full in the past three years, and you want ME to be the point man collecting on behalf of the entire national fraternity?” Lo and behold, he was not kidding and thought I was the perfect candidate for the position, and by April 2012, I was mentally preparing myself to make the July move to the Music City.
On July 4th, 2012, my dad and I began our 19 ½ hour journey south. We left at 2:30 am EST because the Boston Red Sox were playing at Oakland, and I actually wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I couldn’t watch my last Red Sox game from my living room in its entirety. The Sox lost on a walk-off 3-2 (seriously …don’t even get me stahted), but it was a wonderful send-off nonetheless. When we arrived in Nashville later that night, the city was shooting off fireworks over the Cumberland River. Talk about an entrance — America, baby! Welcome to Nashville!
As I begin to reflect on everything that has occurred over the past two years, one phrase comes to mind – “Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened.” These words cannot be truer as I remember the great times I had, the growing pains I experienced, and the friendships I made along the way. As of right now, I have a very difficult decision to make on which job opportunity to pursue. Chi Psi has provided me with an extraordinary professional network, and I am entirely grateful for all the alumni who have been volunteered their time to speak with me. I am confident that the experiences I’ve acquired through this position will prepare me well for any future endeavor. Below are a few memories that always bring a smile to my face.
Welcome to the Watauga Lodge – For those of you who have never been or even knew it existed, the Watauga Lodge has been the Alpha Visitors’ home for the past two years. Located in downtown Nashville within walking distance of all the honkytonks on Lower Broadway, this apartment has given me some of the best memories you could ever imagine. During my time on staff, we have hosted numerous Program for Excellence events — a Cinco de Mayo themed party complete with Mexican mixology lessons, Wednesday night poker nights with our neighbors, Kentucky Derby themed parties, sorority mixers with AOII’s ELC staff, cooking lessons with Alex Howell, and dress for success seminars with Nick Dokich. Despite only having four alumni, we’ll officially petition for Alpha status at the 175th Convention. More details to come.
Xi Delta, Alpha, Gamma, and Kappa Delta Re-installations – Over the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to witness the successful restart of Alpha Xi Delta at Texas Tech University and re-founding of Alpha Alpha at Wesleyan University, Alpha Gamma at University of Mississippi, and Alpha Kappa Delta at Yale University. Our beloved fraternity had never experienced such growth since 1858, and it was truly amazing to be a part of the planning and witness these events first hand. I cannot describe how overcome I was with emotion at last summer’s 172nd Chi Psi Convention when we voted to extend Alpha status to these three groups. Despite not knowing these young men very well, the sight of them hugging each other and crying tears of joy was a testament to the true purpose of Chi Psi at its highest level.
Living the Duck Life at Oregon – After the 172nd Convention last summer, I found out I would become Eta Delta’s Alpha Visitor for the year. The 169th Convention in Seattle had been the only time I had ever visited the West Coast, and, for many East Coasters like me, Eugene isn’t exactly a city that initially comes to mind when you think of hot spot destinations. Boy, was I wrong! It’s by far the weirdest place in the country, and I soon came to understand why Sam Bessey feels so comfortable dressing in bright colors on a regular basis and then posting it on Facebook without a care in the world. Despite the long dreads, tie dye t-shirts, nonstop longboarding to class, and “hella chill” lifestyle, I embraced the student experience and had the time of my life. The Brothers welcomed me with open arms and embraced my love affair with everything Boston. Rather than cringing when they saw me uncontrollably jumping on top of their game room coffee tables after David Ortiz hit the game-tying grand slam vs. Detroit with two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning of last fall’s ALCS Game 2, many of the Brothers in the room got on top of the tables with me, jumped uncontrollably and were hugging me and each other like they they’d been Red Sox fans their entire lives. Just awesome! The relationships I have developed there have been a huge part of my decision to apply for graduate school at the University of Oregon to receive my MBA in sports business. GO DUCKS!
Life on Lake Virginia – Hooker Hall. The Alfond Pool. Club Olin (the library). Holt Avenue. Rollins College. This campus is by far the prettiest and is home to the most unrealistic college lifestyle I’ve ever experienced. Where else do Brothers demand you conduct your officer meetings at the pool while looking across the lake at the water ski team practice their flips and tricks off massive 15 foot jumps? Aside from the over-the-top social experience, the Mu Delta Brothers will also hold a special place in my heart. I could not have been more proud of the Alpha for planning and flawlessly executing their Race for Legs 5k which benefitted the Jordan Thomas Foundation and prosthetic research. It was truly amazing to see an entire Brotherhood rally behind a cause that directly affected their former #1 Nate Winters. Thank you to the brothers and alumni for making my trips to Central Florida a highlight of time on staff. I’m already looking forward to next year’s alumni weekend!
Surviving Hurricane Sandy at Lehigh University – During fall 2012, I found myself at Lehigh in the midst of Hurricane Sandy. A giant tree fell outside the Lodge, knocking out all the power and students were forced to evacuate The Hill. Most students went over to the gym on the other side of the mountain, but the Beta Delta Brothers and I managed to get a hotel room in Allentown. Imagine being crammed in a hotel room with five Lehigh football players with nothing but Lay’s potato chips and Cheetos. If this was summer camp, I would have called my parents and demanded that they pick me up immediately. But since this was Alpha Visiting at its finest, I thought it was more comical than anything else.
You’ll Always Remember Home – I may have traveled the country and visited every Alpha in the country, but Alpha Pi will always be my home. While we’re still in a learning phase since our re-founding in 2008, I hope to bring the ideas and experiences I’ve acquired back to my Alpha and to make the experience better than it was when I was an undergraduate. I’ve always enjoyed returning to Union for alumni weekend and welcoming Brothers both new and old to the Lodge. Last month, I met the only other Alpha Visitor from Pi, Br. Michael Miller ’64. Br. Miller was returning to Union for his 50th ReUnion and it was absolutely spectacular to share our experiences and realize that after five decades, we felt the same feelings when our time was over. Before retiring, Br. Miller spent his career traveling the world consulting international schools and promoting the values of higher learning. He attributed his success and passion for travel to his time working at the Chi Psi Central Office many years ago. It brought a smile to my face in every word that he spoke.
Thank you to everyone for making the past two years the best two years of my life! I will never forget the good times we had, the tears we cried, and the memories we made. You will all have a special place in my heart, and I am so excited to see what lies ahead for Chi Psi. To my family back home, thank you for supporting me throughout this wild cross-country ride. To my Nashville family, thank you for supporting me and allowing me to grow in every capacity – you’re the greatest!