Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Voice of an Alumnus

This weekend, we welcome back alumni and alumnae from USD to Homecoming. As I look back on my 18 years of serving this community, there are many alums that come to mind as I consider the work of making men and women "better" through the fraternity/sorority experience. I have invited a few of them to share about their experience. The first is an alumnus that I met during my first few years as a Greek Advisor. I have since had the pleasure of watching him circle back to USD as an advisor. Geno brought a sense of kindness and laughter to every group he led as an undergraduate... His reflection certainly matches my memory of his tenure at USD. Delt was, for him, a place to belong and grow as a leader. For that, I am proud.

Without a doubt, my decision to go Greek shaped who I am today.  As a freshman at USD, I encountered a lot of new experiences, both good and bad.  Like most people my age, I was looking for something to enhance my college experience (parties, a sense of brotherhood, and opportunities to socialize with the fairer sex).  At the same time, I also wanted to join something where I could be myself and have a sense of belonging.  Obviously, I got much more than what I was initially looking for.  

I joined Delta Tau Delta as a sophomore and right away, I felt empowered to contribute something right away.  I held a variety of positions within the chapter and on IFC, as I really enjoyed ALL aspects of Greek life.  Looking at my overall experience as a Delt, I met people I probably wouldn’t have ever met anywhere else or even be friends with had we not shared the bond of being brothers.  However, the uniqueness of my chapter allowed me to be associated with men from all walks of life (different social backgrounds, military experience, ethnicities, and even sexual orientation).  Being part of a Greek organization is not always a rose garden, as there are hurdles to overcome when working with a group of 30 odd college age males.  Dealing with different personalities, working with people from different organizations, and compromising for the greater good, were all obstacles I encountered.  

Greek life is truly a "get out what you put in" type of experience, and my involvement in my chapter gave me an invaluable lesson in organizational leadership.  It allowed me to work for my chapter’s national headquarters after graduation and also assist me with my job search.  Networking is key to all aspects of your professional life and my Greek experience gave me a head start in networking.  Years later, I continue to apply all these lessons to my current job.  

My Greek experience continues to have a lasting impact on my life.  Some of my best friends today are Delts.  I married of my fraternity brothers’ sister (an ADPi from USC).  Living in San Diego, we both volunteered as advisors to our respective chapters at USD.  And joyfully, my wife and I have two Delt legacies.  When it comes time to talk to my sons about college and Greek life, I will of course tell them to check out the Delts.  But most importantly, I will stress to them that should they decide to go Greek, they need to find a group of men that they are most comfortable with and will offer them the best experience not only during their time in college but afterwards.

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