Can education exist without communication? Whether through spoken language or body language, we have evolved to learn by observing and tweaking, and that natural process seems almost entirely absent from the programming provided by fraternities and sororities, and education as a whole.
New members of Delta Sigma Phi memorize the Preamble to the Constitution prior to their initiation. Many forget it shortly thereafter, and few are required to or ever take time to analyze its meaning, which is strange; It explains the expectations of membership quite clearly.
I have written before that I may differ with some in my fraternity who wish to adopt a “creed.” I don’t really care if we adopt a creed; I just wonder if it is a relevant endeavor beyond fitting in with other fraternities. We suggest in our ritual ceremonies that Delta Sig offers more than a creed – it’s a way of life.
Questions about the Preamble came up in several meetings with potential founding fathers as I and other staff would establish new chapters of Delta Sig. We had the Preamble printed on the inside cover of our folders, and the opening lines generated so many questions that we removed and replaced it with other information in subsequent prints of the folders. I was always a little miffed by this, and my concern was that we chose to hide a part of who we are, maybe because we weren’t well prepared to explain who we are.
So, I hope that this post is useful to new member educators and advisors of my fraternity and inspiring to educators of other fraternities. It is by no means a definitive interpretation of the Preamble, as this is not the definitive fraternity blog, but if you don’t have time or the interest to work it out then you may like what I offer below.
Our Preamble can be broken down into 5 key expectations of membership. They are as follows.
That the belief in God is essential to our welfare
This is the sticking point. “Do I need to believe in God to join this Fraternity?”
In terms of our written standards and expectations – no, but in another, less specific way, yes.
We were established as a fraternity admitting Jewish and Christian students at a time when fraternities admitted only one or the other. Our founders believed in a wider-reaching brotherhood, believing that the common ancestry of all men was of great importance, and that collaboration between men beyond the invisible boundaries of the surrounding society (#CultureHarmonyFriendship) would result in a better world.
So you do not need to believe in God as it is interpreted in any one religious text, but you must understand and value the common ancestry of [hu]man[s], and the equality that such a belief demands of us. Equality is a recurring theme in the teachings of our fraternity.
The liberal arts system of education was established as an expression of the first amendment to the Constitution of these United States. That same amendment protects the rights of any individual to associate with any group with whom they share beliefs, so long as they don’t violate the rights of other individuals.
We owe our existence to our constitutional government and to the school systems established to educate and prepare young men to benefit the world. Therefore, it is expected of a Delta Sig that he protect our constitutional government and our rights (which protect our existence) and support our education systems (which nurture our memberships) so that Delta Sigma Phi (and other fraternities) may continue to proliferate.
Eighteen months into my work at Delta Sigma Phi we hired a new Executive Director and CEO who spent his first few months traveling the country to meet our student and alumni members. He came from outside the field of Greek Life, and I like outsiders – they challenge things.
It was my third or fourth day as a lifeguard, my tan was hitting its stride, and I came to the final stop in my rotation around the pool before I could take a break out of the sun. I sat in the chair near the diving board where a summer camp was conducting a swim test. Continued
Nothing demonstrates “compassion” like a mandated philanthropy event, but I assume some chapters do genuinely find an interest in philanthropy. This post is for those chapters.
Two fraternity brothers from Stetson University are offering some Florida sunshine for your office, patio or living space. Meet Danny Trejo & Charley Todd – founders of ViaCitrus and initiates of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity.
Here’s a fun fact: Charley, Danny and I all joined the same chapter of the same fraternity! Danny and I initiated in 2008 and Charley as a senior in 2010. I noticed Danny share some information about ViaCitrus when it publicly launched earlier this year. I thought the idea was cool, missed living in Florida, and now have an orange tree growing in my window sill!
Beyond ViaCitrus, the benefits it offers to consumers, and the benefits it offers to farmers is a story of friendship rooted in common interests, common values and compatible skill sets. I caught up with Danny and Charley last month to talk about their relationship, the future for ViaCitrus, and asked to write about it for FraternityMan and our alumni newsletter:
That commonality helped Danny and Charley connect while roommates on a summer study abroad trip to Innsbruck, Austria. Charley then joined the same fraternity chapter as Danny, as mentioned above, after returning to Stetson in the fall. (We then discussed whether or not Charley listed Danny to be his “big brother” in the chapter and whether or not Danny turned him down…that doesn’t say much about ViaCitrus, but this is a fraternity blog and I took an unnecessary amount of notes for that section so let me nerd out where I can, okay?)
After hearing Charley and Danny’s story I noticed how much of their relationship, including the creation of ViaCitrus, happened out of chance. For example, both come from families with family businesses, which helped them connect beyond college.
From Families With Family Businesses
Danny’s father sells citrus trees wholesale and Danny grew up around the business in Florida. He watched the farm grow from 80 acres of trees to more than 200 acres today. Charley’s father established an AllState agency, which is now the largest in the country and a newly operating 6th office in Atlanta.
Both men visited New York City for spring break in 2011 and decided to stay together and explored the city. Charley was looking for a place to live and Danny was considering options for work; he picked up a job with the Todd family business. Charley came to notice and appreciate Danny’s commitment to the company as Danny stuck around. Charley took over leadership responsibilities for the agency about three years ago, transitioning it to a 2nd generation family business, and Danny later moved to his current role as CFO.
ViaCitrus certainly benefits from their experiences working together, and came together as Charley searched for a plant for his new office. Continued
Not long ago, the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) launched NIC 2.0, a “restart” which altered the organization’s mission and structure. The changes gave the NIC greater reach/influence and a larger budget, but little has been done to give students more ownership of the fraternity experience.