The growth of BYX is the new and exciting thing to talk about and probably the most frequently asked question when I am visiting local chapters or speaking with alumni. Everyone wants to know where BYX is going next. That has not always been the case mainly because no one could ever really tell you how BYX chapters get started. Prior to 1999, any young men interested in bringing BYX to their campus would attempt to track down Wendel in East Texas. In those days Wendel would check email about once a month and didn’t have a cell phone so the growth of BYX before 1999 was a tribute to the perseverance of the young men interested. If they happened to get the attention of Wendel, then they would eventually progress to become a BYX chapter. In the period from 1999-2004, the growth of BYX continued with a little more guidance from the director of BYX in that we would feed them information about BYX and attempt to send them to the nearest BYX chapter before they earned the right to be the next BYX chapter. There was a ton of work to be done in the early days of our modern day national body and thus the new chapter growth probably was not overseen as much as it should have been to ensure proper vision casting.
As I came into the director role in fall 2004, there was a list of schools that had shown interest in starting a BYX chapter. I started asking myself how could we accommodate the interest in the best possible way in order to ensure long term success of BYX. At this time there were 3 staff members and we were already playing catch up in support of our existing chapters. Through much prayer and conversation, we implemented a three phase process of starting a BYX chapter in the Spring 2005. This has been the same process we continue to use today.
Phase 1 can be downloaded off the website that contains an encouraging video to those setting out to start a chapter. Phase 1 contains general questions about the school, where it is located, what ministries exist on campus, what Greek life is like, and names and contact info for those interested. Any school can download phase 1 and return it to us for consideration. Since 2005, we have received over 100 phase 1 applications.
Phase 2 is another of series of questions that we provide to schools that we feel lead to pursue beyond phase 1. Phase 2 is where the time commitment and effort really comes into play. Starting a BYX chapter is a privilege, not a right and the men interested must earn that right. Phase 2 contains questions regarding the leadership ability of the men, why they feel their campus needs BYX and what would BYX look like 5 years from the start. It is intended to get them to think deeper about Why BYX and to point them towards Christ in prayer over this commitment. We ask that the men make a DVD of themselves answering the questions and showing us who they are and showing us their campus. We posted the University of Arizona phase 2 on our youtube channel last week. That was the first time we have done that and we will begin to do so more in the future. Additionally, each young man a part of the group is asked to write out their personal testimony of how they came to know Jesus. This is a very important step as it helps us to get to know the men on a deeper level and gain an understanding of their back ground and where they are currently.
If we determine that phase 2 contains all the elements of a potential chapter, we will move the men into phase 3. This is the last phase and probably one of most difficult ones for us here at nationals. It starts with some vision casting notes sent to the men, then some direction when it comes to deciding which six men will fill our officer positions. The most important part of phase 3 is the planning of our visit to the campus. Normally one of our national advisors and myself will make a trip to the campus for two to three days. On this visit, we formally get the opportunity to meet each of the leaders and fellowship with all the brothers. One of the days on campus we spend meeting one on one with the six leaders. We get to know them more and then train them specifically in their role as an officer. Over the years we have developed a manual for each officer position that outlines their roles, expectations, and responsibilities. We teach from those manuals all the time throughout the year. We answer all their questions regarding their role. Once each individual is trained, we get all the officers together for a teaching session on all our BYX policies, procedures, expectations, and the constitution. We teach each section of the constitution to the officers so that they fully understand the framework in which BYX operates. There is a lot of freedom within that framework to adapt BYX to each individual campus, but all chapters new and old operate within the framework of our constitution. Those sessions can last two to three hours. It is pretty intense. Once we have completed our campus visit, we direct the men towards the university to become a recognized fraternity on campus. I could write another blog entry about that process sometime. That process can take a week to a full semester depending on the school. Once we are confident that the school is going to approve the young men, we typically announce that the next BYX chapter has arrived. The entire process can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months depending on the time of year and the motivation of the men interested.
In answering the question of “Why Nationals” regarding new chapters, you have to understand the passion of the executive board, advisory board, and national staff. Each person that serves has been dramatically impacted by the men of BYX and our experience in BYX. The Lord has used BYX to shape our lives, deepen our understanding of Him, provide tremendous life long friendships, and allowed us to enjoy a safe environment socially during our college years. We all have seen the fruits of BYX many years beyond college and it is all our desire to provide that same opportunity to as many young men at as many universities as we can. With that said, we have a responsibility to steward the time, efforts, and resources of BYX to ensure long term health of each and every chapter we have and new chapter we start. There is a great amount of prayer, teaching, training, answering questions done before the right to be called BYX is given to any new chapter. It is our responsibility to protect the vision and integrity of BYX as the Lord intended it to be. We each take that responsibility very seriously and thus we take a very thorough approach to starting new chapters.