Summer break can singlehandedly be the best and worst thing to happen to your fraternity chapter. It gives those that require some much needed time to recover from the hectic end of the academic year just that and those that were ready for a break from one another that as well. It’s a time for brothers to head home and spend some quality time with their family and friends, travel and experience various cultures, and others to join the workforce and get the money necessary to pay for their fall dues among other things. Summer can be a massive opportunity to get a jumpstart on your next year, continue your community service/philanthropic efforts, and forge even stronger bonds … if you make it out to be so. Summer can also be the downfall of a chapter, a cause for disconnection, wasted time, and a momentum disrupter. Take your pick, what’s it going to be in a dual summer duel.
More often than not the summer break period is when brothers are most disconnected. Being away from campus and one another has the tendency to shift the focus from brotherhood and fraternity to family, friends, travel, work etc. That change of focus brings up so many questions. Am I living my values daily and if so, how? Am I representing my brothers and the entirety of the fraternal movement to the best of my ability? Am I wearing my letters, and with the pride I do when I’m on campus? It’s just like those old inspirational artworks that teachers use to have in their classes – integrity is what you do when no one’s watching. Summer often means returning to a life away from college, but am I who I say I am? If there’s difference in how I embody my ritual when I’m surrounded by my peers compared to when I’m on my own, why is that? As fraternity members, the pledge to be better men encompasses our lives regardless of where we are or who we’re with. Everyday is a challenge, a worthwhile one at that, to be best version of our ourselves and one that our forefathers, brothers, and community members would be proud of.
The “hardest” thing about summer is again that break in visibility between you and your brothers. Hardest is in quotes because that’s what we tell ourselves when it actuality it’s unbelievably simple to continue your relationships with your brothers. Many a brother has been lost during the school year because of not feeling like they mattered or that others were invested in him, those notions can be amplified exponentially in the summer when deafening radio silence becomes the norm. Why do we only think of our brothers when we see them in person? Why do we tell ourselves it’s too much effort or that someone else will check-in with our brothers? Why do we think it’s okay to not talk to people we used to see weekly for 3-4 months straight? Honestly, it’s disheartening and thoroughly makes people question the authenticity of the so-called brotherhood, and they have good reason. What an outrageously bogus claim it is to say you love, are best friends, or even value someone when everything and everyone else in your life is too important to remember they exist. Just like you talk to your parents, and in particular, siblings weekly – that’s how you should treat your brothers. The relational significance of the word brother is imperative. That’s supposed to be someone you’re connected to for life, not when you feel like it, when you need them to get you in to a party, or to be your wingman. Be a good, no a better brother, and text, call, message, tweet, Facetime, Skype, whatever the hell you want your brothers. If not everyone, at least those in your big/little family. Prove you understand what it means to be a brother and reach out.
Summer is time for yourself but not a time to forget what you decided to commit to for the rest of your life. Do what you have to do and enjoy yourself but remember that you’re part of something bigger than yourself. Be productive and knock out some preparation for the school year.
- Make a calendar with the details of as many events as possible completed
- Create and solidify your recruitment plan with achievable goals
- Book meeting room, event spaces, and tabling times as you are able
- Brainstorm new ideas to keep brothers engaged throughout the fall semester
- Find a pursue a community service project wherever you are for the summer (log your hours)
- Stay in regular contact with at least two brothers
The choice is yours, shoot and choose wisely.