By: Robert Bember
After an eventful Christmas Break in which I visited about 5 cities in a month, I hit the road to Magnolia, Arkansas to visit the Muleriders of Southern Arkansas University. Growing up in Houston and currently residing in Fort Worth, the small town lifestyle is relatively foreign to me. I had a little culture shock in Magnolia. It’s a whole different world. The men of the Alpha Delta Chapter kept me busy though.
The Alpha Delta Chapter at SAU is the most recently initiated chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi. They’re entering their second year as a chapter, but have an outstanding grasp of the vision of BYX. I was thoroughly impressed with the Muleriders and blessed to spend a few days with the brothers at SAU.
Monday night we grabbed dinner at Mule’s Cantina. The billboard for Mule’s Cantina outside of my hotel had me skeptical. Something about Mexican food in small-town Arkansas had me a little uneasy. It was more of a grill, so my digestive system was safe. The majority of the small chapter fit at two tables in the restaurant. I have to tip my hat to the guys for their turnout and for giving me a chance to get to know most of the members. I’m normally limited in the number of members I get to meet at the larger chapters I visit. I typically just meet with officers, so it was great to establish relationships with numerous members.
That was pretty much par for the rest of my visit. Throughout the trip, the brothers were eager to hang out with each other. If the officers put an event together, I could count on the active members to make an appearance. They embodied the type of close-knit brotherhood that we push from Nationals. They enjoy being together, whether or not it’s a formal BYX event, and have a genuine concern for each other.
Monday night’s chapter meeting was well done. President Alan Thompson opened by leading the chapter in reciting the founding verses and purpose of BYX, making for a nice, formal start to the meeting. Following announcements, the chapter split into two teams for a semester-long battle of the brethren competition. Because one team was short by a person, I was recruited to participate.
The men of the Alpha Delta duplicated a game we threw together for National Officer Training in which participants spin around, grab marbles with their toes and hop to a basket to drop them off. The catch was that they upped the number of spins to 10. After two efforts, I was having trouble standing up.
The second event, also from National Officer Training, took just as much of a physical toll. We were required to down six cans of Dr. Thunder and a two-liter bottle of Mountain Lightning as a team. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. I was burping throughout my chapter address.
The time spent in worship once again displayed the close, Christ-centered fellowship that the men share. As brothers would spread out around the room and hit their knees in prayer, other brothers would join them, put their arm around them and support them in prayer. It was a beautiful display of brotherhood.
On Tuesday, I met with more men in one-on-ones and was able to watch and learn more about the chapter. As part of the recruitment, all the fraternities and sororities on campus had informational tables set up in the student center. The BYX table looked great, and the men were doing a good job of getting contact information of potentials.
All the 2011 officers spoke highly of each other and their specific gifts that allow them to do their jobs well. Pledge Captain John Thornsberry and Alan are both second-year officers. They are both proud of the growth that they’ve seen within the chapter in just over a year. The men and leaders are starting to understand BYX to a greater extent and are learning more about what their jobs and responsibilities entail.
The men, although they already have a healthy understanding of BYX, were so hungry to learn more about how to continue to progress their chapter. My question and answer session probably lasted close to a half-hour. My short visit instilled so much confidence in me that this chapter will continue to grow and thrive on their campus.