By Devin Thornton & Cody Flynn
We are living in unprecedented times. For many, this is the first time they have experienced any sort of global phenomenon, let alone a global pandemic. However, Phi Delta Theta as an organization has lived through wars, influenza outbreaks, and depressions, and it still stands strong as ever today. In this chaotic time where it seems that the only certain thing is uncertainty (and social distancing), it can be a good thing to reflect back on the values our Founders constructed back in 1848 and how we can utilize them in the face of this uncertain time.
Practicing friendship may seem more difficult than ever when considering the current importance of self-quarantines and social distancing. Deviating from our normal routines of hanging out with friends or large gatherings on campus may have left us with a sense of isolation. But based on what we know about what friendship means to members of Phi Delta Theta, we understand that the relationships we cherish do not simply fade away when we are separated by distance. Our challenge to our members is to think outside the box, how can you connect with your brothers and friends remotely, whether that be a group video call, playing video games online together, or even getting old school and writing a letter to a friend. In times of isolation, people need friendship more than ever, and no group is as prepared to share that as members of Phi Delta Theta.
With many of us having moved back home and with online classes and other obligations being cancelled, we now have a lot more time on our hands. While it’s tempting to binge watch The Office a few times through, we can also use this opportunity to practice sound learning outside the classroom. What is something you have always wanted to do? Maybe it’s reading that book that’s been collecting dust on your shelf, or picking up the guitar or another instrument, or maybe even learning a new talent or skill to prepare you for your dream career. There are so many ways you can push yourself to pursue something new with your newfound free time. Members of Phi Delta Theta are aware of the benefits of learning inside and outside of the classroom, and we hope you’ll make the most of this time to continue your pursuit of knowledge.
With COVID-19 posing such a threat to the health and function of our society, it can be easy to see rectitude as an afterthought, something that you’ll “put on hold” until everything calms down. But now is as important of a time as ever for us to utilize our sense of right and wrong as members of this organization. We can practice rectitude in this situation by fact checking the information that we share on social media and in person, encouraging the spread of truth instead of panic. We should be following CDC recommendations and doing our best to prevent the spread of this virus, but also finding ways to help those that are most vulnerable; this could look like getting groceries or other necessities for those at higher risk, donating to the local food bank to help those that are likely to be economically impacted by this disease, or finding creative ways to support small businesses at this time as well. In addition, garner support from your brothers and other connections and encourage them to do the same.
Phi Delts are known for their commitment to our founding values, and we strongly believe that practicing those values is exactly what the world needs from us right now. We are lucky to have an organization that has survived through hardship in the past as our foundation of living in the present. In the midst of chaos, a group of men that are committed to intentionally building their friendships stronger in isolation, that look to use the circumstances to continue to better themselves, and who are committed to helping others even when everything points to fending for yourself, is more powerful now than it has ever been.
Brothers, we encourage you to go and show the world, wherever you are at, what it means to be a Phi in this moment of time. The world needs us.