Very soon young men across North America will begin their odyssey in higher education. Some of these men will join our Phi Delta Theta chapters. What these guys may not fully understand as freshmen will be clearly evident to seniors. During their undergraduate Phi years they will become better men through a genuine commitment to the Bond and Cardinal Principles.
“You will become the greatest version of yourself with self confidence, self pride.” – Josh Sowden, Virginia Theta 2011
Phis serve a dynamic apprenticeship for life. I like this important quote.
“The Fraternity is a workshop in brains and emotion where one man, in four years, spends an apprenticeship for life.”
Arthur Priest summarized the concept more broadly this way.
“I believe in the college fraternity, creator of friendships. I believe in its quick-sympathies and it’s helping hand. I believe in its brave idealism, stirring every valiant emotion, rousing every potential talent. I believe in its compelling drive for sound scholarship, for genuine culture, for clear-eyed honesty, for business integrity. I believe in the college fraternity, maker of men.”
Phi Delta Theta has always been a values-based, lifetime association which has helped its members grow since 1848. Over the decades, our fraternity has had no greater emphasis on our ideals than in the last 15 years, with our alcohol-free housing commitment, and with our long-range 2020 plan. I commend our leadership.
Phi Delta Theta cannot exist successfully unless it has deep meaning and recognized value resonating with each individual brother. Graduating seniors understand the intangibles of Phi Delta Theta in a way that freshmen cannot.
Each Phi brother will have a different and personal threshold for growth and development, but through our fraternity, he will come to understand and affirm that he became a better version of himself because of Phi Delta Theta. Greek life is the most comprehensive leadership experience on any campus. Phi Delta Theta is an excellent program, more so today than ever before.
I want to conclude this post by sharing some of what I see Phi Delta Theta gives our undergraduate brothers.
- Brothers can build personal confidence in a safe environment by trying different leadership strategies in various roles. There is room to fail and learn. Planning and implementation is universal to professional life and in family life where there may be no room to fail.
- Brothers will understand what making a life-long commitment really means. This is key to all relationships and marriage but also true in many other avenues of life. Phis will also have greater insight into becoming a nurturing parent gained through pop/son mentoring roles.
- Graduating brothers will have learned the value of service to community. Service does not end at graduation. Vibrant communities rise by the service and leadership of the citizens who reside in them. Many employers expect community service. Phi Delta Theta prepares our brothers to lead and make a difference locally, regionally, and nationally.
- Brothers will assemble a toolbox of leadership skills to enable them to apply what they learn in the classroom. Too many professionals move up into leadership without appropriate skills to maximize effectiveness. The skill-set can be a competitive edge in the job market. It underpins the good GPA. This can help you stand out and elevate you to finalist status. All this happens because you know you better.
- Brothers will develop better interpersonal skills and broaden the scope of friendships beyond the generationally-bound high school experience. Life after college will include associations with a broad range of generations, cultures and circumstance.
- Brothers will have a developed sense of right and wrong. Phi Delta Theta produces ethically cognitive brothers for career and personal life. In our world today, we so need more people with rectitude and moral bearing.
For Phis across North America another year is here. Build deep, lifelong friendships in your higher education odyssey as you become the greatest version of yourself.
Roger Heineken (Emporia State) is a past chapter adviser for Kansas Epsilon and has recently returned to a informal weekly role in support of the chapter and undergraduates after a 14 year hiatus. He is the 1989 recipient of the Samuel V. Stone Adviser of the Year Award.