Making a difference: I am not anyone’s tool

Kayla Handy, Editor In Chief

I didn’t know much about Greek life until I met the brothers. They were a group of funny and pun-tastic men who knew how to make you laugh and make you feel like part of the crowd. Once you met one, you were drawn into the charismatic friendship of the 20-odd other brothers, who easily impressed you and made an effort to make good times better.

It is recruitment week on campus and I have noticed that the fraternities on campus are struggling. The sororities on campus, including my own, were able to make cap membership, which is a rather high number if I may say so myself.

Intrigued by why this may be so, I did some digging. I dug through loop holes and shoveled through trenches of pre-existing opinions of what joining a fraternity was like and what they stood for. Several times I wanted to slap the guys I talked to over the head with my imaginary shovel because of the obnoxious and so undoubtingly false concepts that they thought fraternity brothers stood for. I am not a fraternity sweetheart, I am not in a fraternity, I am not going to say which fraternity on campus is better than the other.

However, I have had many grand and irreplaceable experiences with the brothers of Sigma Chi that reiterate personally, and I hope publically, the obscure, negative persona that floats around joining a fraternity.

They are not frat boys. Please don’t call them frat boys or frat brothers. You will earn yourself a stern slap if you do so. The Oxford dictionary defines a frat boy as a “young man who behaves in a boisterous or foolish manner considered typical of members of some college fraternities.” Ok, so let me be frank: men and women alike will act like fools sometimes. We all have our stupid, silly, wild and crazy moments, and if you don’t, you are not human. The brothers I know are not frat boys; they are fraternity men. They are a group of men that share a common interest in the founding and upholding of the morals and standards of Sigma Chi.

The Sigma Chi chapter actually came to be after a dispute between brothers of the Delta Kappa Epsilon. In the heat of the moment, one of the founding brothers, Benjamin Piatt Runkle, pulled off his DKE pin and stated to the others that “I didn’t join this fraternity to be anyone’s tool.”

After his actions, him along with the six other former DKE brothers and friends of the brothers founded Sigma Chi, based on the foundation that each man is his own, but together, they stand for justice, friendship and learning.

 

They do possess a set of standards and morals. In order to be considered a potential member of Sigma Chi, the individual in question must possess a set of standards and morals that outline what the founders of Sigma Chi thought a Sigma Chi brother should be. The potential new member must be a man of good character, a student of fair ability with ambitious purposes, congenial disposition, possessing good morals, having a high sense of honor and a deep sense of personal responsibility. The traits above are known as the Jordan Standard, a standard developed by one of the seven founding brothers, Isaac M. Jordan. Each and every man that is initiated into Sigma Chi must possess and mirror these traits: that right there my friends is what I call a role model system.

They are passionate about what Sigma Chi is. Each and every single one of the brothers believe, love and devote who they are and what they can be as Sigma Chi brothers. No matter what brother I am around, they spiritually wear their letters, always showcasing their Sigma Chi pride and acting within the standards and character of the founding brothers before them. I learned their standards and researched their founding brothers because I saw how proud they were of who they were and where they came from, and I am too. They push one another to be a better man, to be the man that their father would be proud of, to be the man that they would want their daughter to date. Their fraternity molds them into the man they are and the brother they want to be. They are Sigma Chi and Sigma Chi is a part of them.

They are united and stand by one another. I have seen brothers struggle through heartbreak, fight for a passing grade during a final, battle being sick after a long night and pat each other on the shoulder after receiving bad news regarding family. No matter the pain, the problem, the concern or hardship, I have never seen so many men, knowing so little or so much about one another, still have each other’s back. I have seen this kind of support when I interact with my sisters, how much love and passion we have for one another and how much we’d fight to see our sisters smile again. This same compassion can be seen within these brothers. They have shown it to each other and to me.

Sigma Chi is just one of the many fraternities on campus. Each one has their own morals and beliefs, each standing for something of their own. Each fraternity on campus is unique with their own personality and style. Fraternities should not be seen through the negative filter that they are so commonly seen through; they are not just a club of guys that hang out on the weekends. They are so much more than that and any guy who is interested in joining a fraternity should reach out and learn more.

These brothers have lifted me up, supported my causes and gave me a smile when I had none to bear. Even more, they encouraged me to join a sorority whose support and encouragement to be me helped me avoid relapse from my eating disorder over Christmas break, the first time in almost 5 years. And I am not even a brother: I am just a girl that fell in love with them, who they are and what they stand for.

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