I last visited Houston Baptist University in the Fall of 2006. I walked away from that visit with a hope for the future of BYX on the campus but by no means a certainty. HBU has long been considered a commuter school and the history of BYX and commuter schools has not been to kind. I returned to campus this week and was amazed at the growth of the campus. The university has invested into the infrastructure of the school by building several new buildings and a huge new on campus dorm. The result is that enrollment is increasing and the general culture of the campus is really feeling like college.
The last two years within the walls of BYX have been impacted by this campus culture growth. As it currently stands, there are 4 fraternities on campus and Beta Upsilon Chi is the largest fraternity with 25 members right now. I met with several members who hold chair positions and all six of the current officers. This is by far the best all around leadership and leadership potential the chapter has had in my six years as director. The university did pull one fast one on the chapter this fall by asking all fraternities to not rush freshman this semester. BYX is a not an IFC fraternity and technically those rules don’t apply to us, but to fit in with the Greek culture on campus, BYX made the decision to forgo the rush of freshman this semester. Some may see this as a bad thing, but I see it as an opportunity for the chapter.
The men currently have 25 freshman who have shown interest in BYX for the Spring 2011 campus. I attempted to challenge the men in asking them the question “What are you doing to recruit those 25 freshman?” I brought with me a recent Vanderbilt alumni with some knowledge on recruiting freshman in the first semester. Garret Spiegel shared with the officers how Vanderbilt uses the entire chapter to personally recruit potential pledges by inviting them out to lunch and open brotherhood events all throughout the fall semester. The officers listened very intently. I spoke to the chapter about the opportunity they have. I challenged them to dream about what BYX can be on the HBU campus. I wanted them to see outside of themselves by asking each of them “How they heard about BYX?”. Everyone of them pointed to someone else in the room who had invited them to check out the fraternity of BYX. That is what it will take for BYX to jump to the next level at HBU. A commitment by all 25 active members to understand that this is not about them alone, but about developing brotherhood and unity in Christ amongst the members and having that spill over into all that they do on campus. That in turn will allow other young Christian men to get a taste of what BYX is all about. I left the men with a challenge in that I want to see the chapter grow numerically to 45 men by the end of Spring 2012. This is a realistic goal for the Epsilon Chapter. I could see it in the eyes of the current leaders and several of those men who are wanting to run for office later this month for 2011 that this is what they want for BYX on their campus as well. HBU BYX is still adjusting to their recent growth. They need to put some infrastructure in place that will help them to sustain the existing and future growth. That will come by the writing of by-laws and the planning out specific roles and requirements for their chair positions. That will take this chapter from the 25 men they are now to the 45 plus men they are aiming to become in the future.