Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

It’s All Greek to Me

Chapter PresidentMention the word “Fraternity” and visions of John Belushi’s Animal House may come to mind.  Keg parties, togas, food fights, and hazing rituals are deeply etched into the public’s mind when it comes to the Greek system on college campuses.  I would be disingenuous if I said when I pledged a fraternity in college, I was searching for leadership development.  Like most college kids of my day, I was looking for a good time.  In 1978, Animal House played across the American landscape and college campuses took to “togas” like cold beer to a frosty mug.  Indeed, my first exposure to a fraternity was a Toga Party.

As a commuting student, I lived at home.  I still remember the look on mom’s face when I appeared out of my bedroom with a white bed sheet strategically wrapped around my body.  Greenery from one of her house plants topped my head, as I sauntered down the hall, with one of dad’s neckties loosely hanging around my neck, sporting my Ray Ban sunglasses.Chairman

Ours was the first national fraternity introduced to Winthrop University.  Having been a women’s college for most of its existence, it was a real culture shock to the Board of Trustees when fraternities petitioned to join the college campus.  I joined a group of young men looking to create a fraternity on campus.  And I joined looking for that good time.  However, over the next few years, that association with my new brothers shaped my character in ways I never imagined.  I held various offices in our chapter from Treasurer to Archon (President).  I represented the chapter at college functions, ran the meetings, helped recruit new members… and yes, answered to the Dean of Students for the pranks and situations college kids do get into. I really believe the Dean’s secretary had my phone number on speed dial.  All that said, the fraternity did shape the skills I would need later in life motivating, inspiring, and leading others.

s31367342081_6770In 1996, when I was hired as the chief executive officer of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, I set about to meet our community and business leaders.  Early on, I was introduced to Gary Knox, one of the Chamber’s past chairmen, who would later be elected to office as Mayor for the Town of Cornelius.  During the first meeting with Gary, we discovered that we had both joined the same fraternity – Pi Kappa Phi.  While he graduated from a chapter at UNC – Charlotte, our experience as Pi Kapps built an instant bond between us.  Ironically, it was his chapter when he was in school that participated in the chartering and initiation of my chapter in 1980, proving what a small world it really is!

Pi Kapp Bothers - Bubba, Bill, & Mark

Pi Kapp Bothers - Bubba, Bill, & Mark

As I mentioned before, the Greek system is much more than social interaction.  Our fraternity created an outreach program that serves individuals that need a helping hand.  Members of Pi Kappa Phi have raised more than $10 million, as well as thousands of man hours to renovate facilities that serve people with disabilities. 

Fraternities and sororities take young men and women and create leaders. 

Pi Kappa Phi - Epsilon Eta Chapter 2009

Pi Kappa Phi - Epsilon Eta Chapter 2009

Tomorrow those leaders will build communities.  It’s an American system modeled on an ancient civilization.  Yesterday’s philosophy working today to build a better tomorrow.  Bound together in brotherhood   –    Leaders by Choice.

June 28, 2009 - Posted by | Fraternity | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Nice!

    Comment by flash-player | July 7, 2009 | Reply

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