Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Operating From Fear

For the past 4 years, I have volunteered as a faculty member for the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI), a week-long leadership experience created by the NIC.  The Institute is designed for students to learn about themselves and how to make their communities stronger.  As I was on a conference call in the beginning of May preparing for UIFI, I jotted down a quick note on a post-it.  That post-it has been moving around my desk for the past 9 weeks.  Its edges are bent, the writing is messy, but the message has forced me to keep it.

With full credit to my friends that developed the curriculum for UIFI, I began to wonder the same thing about the community that I work and live in.  Are our choices made from a place of fear?  Have our leaders (and our members) become so afraid that we are not being driven by our values and by doing what is right?

Fear comes in many forms: Greek Discipline Board and sanctions; upset alumni; loss of credibility in the community; loss of social capital/standing.  How does this fear hinder our organizations?  When we aren’t doing things that we know are the right thing to do, how are we being untrue to who we are supposed to be?  The reality is that our credibility is tarnished each time we operate from fear.  I want a sense of urgency to do the right thing.

What if…  for the next semester…  we only made decisions based on what is right?  Based on our values?  What if we didn’t fear being rejected by our group for taking a stand?  What if knowing we were doing the right thing by stopping our friend from using/fighting/hazing was enough?  What if?

That’s a community I’d like to work and live in.

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