Categories
Brotherhood Community Recruitment

Brother-Man

One of the most interesting aspects of  being a fraternity man is the entire essence of your organization itself, that is the fact that you’re apart of group of all men. The thing about that is manhood, being a guy, or bro-ing out is that everyone does it differently. There’s no right way to be a man. In this new age of conversations surrounding masculinity, societal influences, and our environment, what is means to be a man, that tried and true definition, does not look like it what it did so very many years ago at the founding of our organizations. The big question today is, what part do we all play in our chapters in deciding what “men” look and act like, brother-man?

Stereotypes & Societal Influences

IMG_2964It’s taken many years to acknowledge what’s been right in front of the world and that is that the norms that we all adhere to are nothing more than social constructs (keyword there is constructs, as in ideas that have been built). When that glaring reality was finally acknowledged the obvious definitions of what makes a man a man don’t really apply. You’re no longer looking for the deepest booming voice, a full beard,  and broad shoulders, but rather anyone who identifies as male. American society from the moment of birth has dictated and trained boys what is right and wrong for guys to do, and say. The color blue, sports, cars, and the outdoors, among other things, are supposed to be universal links between all guys. But what about all the guys who don’t necessarily enjoy all of those things, does that make them any less of a man? What we’ve learned is that it’s not a deviation from the society settled norm, because the norm isn’t the end all standard but rather an ideal (one of many) of who guys should be and what role they should play. Every many is different and the actions of one are not supposed to reflect on all others. The idea of this “fraternal gentleman” can be problematic in that way. Yes, courtesy, respect, and kindness should be displayed by all fraternity men, but how you dress, speak, and carry yourself cannot be mandated by ideals. It’s okay to strive to be a good person, but the definition of your manhood is up to you.

When it’s all laid out in front of you it takes some getting used to but it makes perfect sense and then forces you to determine what part you’ve played in society, and reflect upon how society has influenced you. Would you be a different person if you hadn’t been gently reminded to act, look and portray yourself a certain way? The question is rhetorical because absolutely yes. Men from different cultures carry themselves differently and it’s because of the environments they grew up in. The fact that someone was raised differently than you were does not make their “manhood” wrong – just different from yours. Remember, from their point of view, the way you carry your manhood could be/is just as foreign and “wrong.” Brother-man is unique for each and every one of us.

Manhood in Your Fraternity

Does your chapter celebrate all kinds of men? Do you question the traditionally assigned characteristics of the binary masculine/feminine binary? Are you conscious of your brothers whose manhood differs from yours? All are important questions to ask yourself because more likely than not, your manhood may be nothing more than stereotypes being reinforced, not necessarily wrong, but not necessarily “right” either.

Brother-Man Check:

  • Non-Dominant Identities – It’s highly important to acknowledge the members in your chapter and even evaluate your recruitment process for how your interact with those guys who do hold minority identities (men of color, homosexual, disabled etc.). Masculinity comes is all different shapes, sizes, colors, and preferences, being aware of that is absolutely crucial so as to not alienate those differ from you.
  • Preconceived Notions – It’s essential to check yourself and your ideas. The thing about your ideas is that just, they’re you’re ideas. Not everyone shares them or relates to them like you do. Of course how you express your masculinity seems “correct” to you, but there’s no such thing as a “correct” way to display who you are. Different does not equal wrong.
  • Inclusivity – Fraternities are notorious for their exclusivity, which is acceptable to a certain extent. When your traditions and rituals are detrimental to some of your brothers that’s when a problem arises and you’re faced with the tough decision, but obvious choice to change to accommodate everyone. If you always do the same things that is girls, and booze – try mixing it up, be aware that lifestyle is not everyone’s idea of fun.

*Articles on Stereotypes & Social Masculinity

Categories
Brotherhood Community Service

Brommunity Service

ImageSummer is the perfect time to give back to your community. One of the many aspects of being in a fraternity is the philanthropic and community service oriented efforts you put forth. Whether it’s because you have mandatory hours you’re obligated to fulfill, or (hopefully) you give and serve out the goodness of your heart, either way you’ve got some work to do. Summer may be your time to relax and take a break from your usual fraternity routine, but fraternity attitudes and initiatives are meant to be not only year-round, but lifelong. The truth of the matter is you definitely have some free time to waste that could be better spent knocking those community service hours out or raising money for your philanthropy. Get to it, and make sure to LOG those hours as soon as you do them. This brommunity service.

The hardest part of community service is the actual finding/planning of what you want to do. If you’re going solo or you’re with your brothers, there’s so much to be done, if you just take the time to look. Here’s a good place to start – Finding Community Service Opportunities: http://www.volunteermatch.org/ – http://www.serve.gov/ – http://www.unitedway.org/

Summer Service Ideas: Hold a Charity Carwash; Squeeze some goodness with a Lemonade Stand; Take a trip to the local Foodbank; Care for pets at the Animal Shelter; Check out the nearest Community Center; Volunteer at the local Fair/Festival

Tips to Serve Better:

  1. Pick a Cause You Care About – Sometimes community service is not “fun” and that’s almost because while you may be helping out, it’s not something you hold near and dear to your heart. If you don’t remember the name of the organization/charity you’re aiding, that’s a good indication that it’s not for you. Choose something you feel connected to or an activity you have a passion for, and it makes the works seem easier and you may actually enjoy it. The worst thing is a grumbling brother at a service event, don’t let it be you.
  2. Serve with Friends – If you’re home for the summer take your friends with you to volunteer. Almost always you’re working with/for people you don’t personally know, and having friends there makes it that much better. Make a day of out it and after you’ve given back, go out to eat, or do something fun afterwards. If you’re with brothers, make it a group outing. Everyone needs the hours and the people you help out could always use an extra pair of hands.
  3. Change It Up – Doing the same thing over and over gets repetitive and old fast. Use the summer to the fullest and get outside. If you’re an outdoor person volunteer for events that will keep you there. Summer presents unique opportunities for community service, check your local paper, or online for once a year things that you could get involved with.
Categories
Brotherhood

Brother Where Art Thou

Summer vacation means free time, good fun, and a well deserved break from school. When you’re in a fraternity, it might (and maybe should) mean something different. One of the biggest occurrences in the fraternity movement is the phenomenon of the “disappearing brother.” We all pack up from school and head home to our family and friends, or jobs and internships. When we’re done with our school year sometimes it seems like we’re done “being in a fraternity.” Our letters get packed away, and with it all contact with the rest of the brothers we vowed to be forever linked to. The search for our brothers ends now, oh brother where art thou.

It’s totally understandable that your contact with your brothers can easily take a hit since you aren’t seeing them everyday, attending chapter meetings, and going to events when you’ve all gone your separate ways, but there are so many things you can do to stay active and keep that camaraderie going. Fraternity brothers are just not friends from school, they’re friends for life, and communication is a two-way street. The flow needs to come from both sides. Do your part and reach out to your brothers when you can.

Tips to Stay Connected with your Brothers:

1) Text/Call – Texting is our livelihood for communication nowadays, use it. It takes a few seconds to send out a mass text message to your brothers just to check in (make sure they’re alive), and see how they’re doing. I send one out weekly and bi-weekly. Your brothers will appreciate it, and it’s always good to hear from a brother. Reaching out is never a bad thing in a fraternity. Take it upon yourself to be the brother who texts/calls and keeps in semi-regular contact with your brothers. Some are and will be more responsive than others.

2) Facebook – Almost every fraternity has a Facebook group … yet again, use it! What are you waiting for, post, like and update your brothers on what’s going in your life. They want to know, and there’s nothing to be afraid of. Engage and communicate. Post your pictures, share your statuses and all the rest. Check Facebook every once in a while to stay in the know about what’s going on. The closer you inch towards back to school, necessary info will be shared – don’t be left out!

3) Skype – Video calling is definitely one of the coolest inventions of this century. Hop on Skype (you can do it right from Facebook) or start a google hangout with a brother or two. Watch a sports game together or your favorite show. Just talk and catch up. One of my brothers was abroad all year and I can’t tell you how important it was for us to Skype and communicate with him, it gets lonely away from your friends. Dial them up and say hey.

4) Day Trips & Meet Ups – If you haven’t gone to far away from school or one another, create plans for daytrips and meetups to do the stuff you never actually get to do during the school year. Roadtrip to amusement parks, head down to the beach for a barbecue or hit up a movie marathon. Choose an activity like paintball, go-karting, or a 3D trampoline arena, and let your brothers know when you’re free. When you’re back with your brothers, everything seems to just fall back into place.

Summer has a way of not only bringing people together but tearing them apart. Don’t be the brother that goes missing or falls the face of the Earth for 3 months. Brothers are supposed to be there for one another, year round. Do your part as a brother and communicate, summer or not!

Categories
Awards Leadership Uncategorized

Awards Season

One of the best feelings is doing what you love, and other people recognizing the hard work you put in. When awards season comes around, we are always grateful and honored to receive any recognition. Our brothers strive to stand out and to represent our organization all year round. Here’s the awards we ended up taking home for the year 2012 and the 2012-2013 school year.

Chapter Awards:

Academic Achievement Award, Online Presence Award, Excellence in Campus Involvement and Leadership Award, Courage Award, Oustanding Educational Program Award, Founder’s Cup (in recognition of rechartering), and the Service Award.

Chapter Awards Part 2 Chapter Awards

Greek Awards Ball

Derrick Dubois (Chapter President of the Year, Campus Leader, Senior Greek Pillar),  Zachary Pion (Outstanding Junior, Greek Scholar of the Year), Dom Imbarrato (Outstanding Junior), Bryce Williams (Barbra Merrill Outstanding New Member, Campus Leader), Xiecheng Yuan
(Pi Award), Joseph Oteng (Outstanding Sophomore, Courageous Voices for Greek Leadership Class), PJ Kaspirin *one of our advisors, a Phi Delta Theta (Young Alumni Award), Ben Huelskamp *our advisor and brother (Public Ritual Award).

All Together Denny's Celebration

Student Life Awards

PMD Nu Gamma Chapter for the President’s Award for Outstanding Organization, Ben Huelskamp for Outstanding Advisor, Joseph Oteng for Outstanding Achievement – sophomore, and Dom Imbarrato with the Patrick M. Brown Leadership Award

Student Life Awards

More Awards

Derrick Dubois – Phi Mu Delta Sapphire Leadership Academy – President of the Year; NRHH – Sturdivant Commitment to Diversity and Social Justice Award ; Joseph Oteng – ALANA Awards – Ram/Vincent Bryan Community Builders Award

Thank you to everyone who helped reach our goals. It was an absolutely amazing year for our chapter.