It's 10am on the streets of Oxford, Ohio and you can hear a pin drop; a revelatory contrast from just a few hours prior. For the 7th year in a row, I've traveled from California to Ohio to facilitate Leadership training for undergraduate men..... specifically Fraternity men.
I majored in Fraternity in College for reasons in equal parts inspired and degenerate. While I wouldn't trade the experience for any other, my perception of fraternity life comes with halted exuberance now that my son is 6 years away from his pledgeship.
The experience of Fraternity living is mired in stigma. Some have viewed us as beer guzzling, sex-crazed, meatheads determined to devalue the college experience.
I've come to understand differently.....
People always wonder why I would leave the comfort of my Silicon Valley mansion to sleep in an Ohio dorm room for 5 days every summer.
Is this a chance to party with College kids?
Are you re-living your more-lively years?
No and No.
The Phi Delta Theta Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute is an alcohol-free event. The Phi Delta Theta Fraternity practises Alcohol-Free housing. These practises in Moral Rectitude are in one part an affect of the reckless behavior of my generation and another part an expectation of our memberships potential to Become The Greatest Version of Themselves!
I've achieved professional success and fortune thanks to my fraternity experience. I learned more about business being President of our fraternity than I did in any business class or internship.
20 years after my college graduation abuse of alcohol, sexual misconduct, hazing and misappropriation of motivation are not extinct on college campus'. Having kids less than a decade away from stepping foot on campus.... the aforementioned behaviors are no longer met with a chuckle from my throat.
The function of fraternity has evolved.... as a network for professional advancement, a think tank for education and a place where boys become men. Our mission for personal development does not just relate to being ones brother's keeper but extends to the community at large.... to protect women, to support those in need, to truly realize one's potential thanks to resources that are not provided those who seek to ignore the group dynamic.
What A Special Privilege!
I've lead the Shaffer Honors College of Leadership since it's inception. We've put roughly 300 men through training that has reminded them of the importance of teamwork, networking, ideation and ethics. Without knowing if the rock hit the bottom of the pond, I'm assured that the ripple it creates will help a great many get to shore.
So we look to the future as people who have had irreplaceable experiences in Fraternity life. It started as a social circle and became a tree of life. Fraternity men are now our sons and sorority women our daughters. The excitement gives way to concern. I hope my son meets the ME I was in college (without the bad parts) through the experience. But we know that isn't possible.....
So.... we allow young men to be young and harness the responsibility of helping them transition into Manhood.
What A Special Privilege!
Don't Forget to Remember,