Do the rituals still matter? The letters? The principles? The brotherhood/sisterhood?
With my own founder’s day upcoming and many other organizations recently celebrating their own, I think it is time we ask these questions. I have had the privilege of working with the National Pan-Hellenic Council this semester and at their Meet the Greeks event, they stressed the importance of doing your research. They spoke about taking the time to learn about their orgs, stating that it showed a genuine interest in becoming a brother or sister. It really got me thinking and wondering how many of us still continue to do our research even after we become members.
Yes, we all go through an educational process, some more questionable than others, but education none the less. We come to an understanding of the storied tradition we are becoming a part of as we take our oath and are given a badge; we become defenders of those tradition. Yet how many of you read about your history, your story, your tradition after that. There is a manual, but there is so much more.
How many of you take the time to re-read your oath, the words you took as a member, and attempt to live them? Your principles, values, or pillars? Do you not only claim to support your motto, but actively pursue advancing it? How about your founding? Do you know the full story behind it? People spend time calling these outdated and using that as an excuse for what they do, but if that is the case then why do you still take and find the time to read those words in a ceremony? The passion I have for my fraternity comes from an active belief of the immortality of the principles, the motto, the words and actions of brothers that come before me, and the men who bear that same badge as I do today.
Do you take the time to be an active member, both as an undergraduate and an alumni? It does not matter which title fits you, brother or sister is always appropriate. I was reading a manual that was given to members of my fraternity from 1947 and it had a whole chapter on being a good alumni member. I read histories of my fraternity for their 50th, 100th, and 150th years.
Words are said between and amongst brothers, sometimes more people, where we claim to stand on and for certain things. Do you still follow those words? Do they still matter to you?
Part of being an active member is to do your research and never stop learning.
You are always wearing your letters, even beyond the college years.