By Robert Bember
I always leave Lubbock excited. Maybe it’s because I’m leaving Lubbock. That’s a good possibility. I tend to think it has more to do with what I’ve seen in the Eta Chapter at Texas Tech each time I’ve visited.
I was thoroughly impressed with the Eta Chapter on my first visit in the fall. The men loved each other well and were consistently involved with serving the community. Still, I had some suggestions for the chapter. Their hearts were in the right place without a doubt, but I still saw areas in which the men could tweak their chapter to line up with the identity statement of BYX. I challenged them to get more involved with the Greek community at Tech and pushed them toward the fraternal end of the spectrum without losing the clear focus on Christ.
The 2011 officers have already made huge strides towards the suggestions that I’ve made. Working with these men left me so encouraged. They’re doing an outstanding job. Not to steal their thunder, but it seems evident that the effort we put in for National Officer Training was more than worth it. The hours of preparation prior to the retreat and the days following in which we resembled zombies seem to have paid off.
The guys were nice enough to pick me up at the airport and thrust me into five one-on-ones as soon as I got off the plane. I asked them to set up a few on Monday so I could avoid doing them all on Tuesday. They took a few as five-out-of-six officers.
I met with Vice President Robbie Christenson to start off my visit. As the VP, he is more or less responsible for the social well being of the chapter, and I was impressed with the strides they’re making on the social front. About 500 people attended their rave party at the end of rush week. The video on his phone made it look like a great time with an awesome DJ, black lights and plenty of light-up and glow in the dark items guests could purchase at the event. Robbie, a sophomore, said he was freaking out about the event since he couldn’t attend Rave during his freshman year. We had a good time brainstorming for changes he wanted to make to Island Party. He hopes to turn it into a week-long event similar to the one some other chapters put on.
After spending time with the other four officers scheduled for the afternoon, we headed to chapter meeting. I was lucky enough to watch them conduct a new Big/Little Ceremony they implemented from our traditions manual. I loved it, and I think many of the members can appreciate the importance of kicking off these new relationships with a meaningful event. The down side was the officers failed to tell me they would be in formal attire. I felt like a bum in my dri-fit polo and white Nikes, and they didn’t let me forget about it.
I only had to meet with Pledge Captain Andy Nichols on Tuesday. I congratulated Andy for reeling in 18 pledges for the spring, which is outstanding considering fall is the big semester for rush at Tech, but Andy just deflected the praise and gave it to God for bringing those guys to BYX. He’s stepping up pledgeship this semester with many more required events for the pledges. He’s pushing them hard, and he says he’s been blown away by how close the men have gotten after just a couple of weeks together.
After spending much of the afternoon playing Call of Duty and watching Chappelle’s Show with Robbie and his roommate Sean Taylor, I was able to help Andy and President Chris Draper lead Big Brother Training. The only reason Andy had me visit so early in the semester was to help with this event. I love big/little, so I was more than happy to help, despite the fact that I ended up having to endure a 16-below wind chill and snow coming down sideways during the trip. I taught on Paul and Timothy’s relationship while Chris discussed David and Jonathan. Both Andy and Chris did a great job of conveying expectations and vision for the bigs. We’re blessed with six studs of officers at Tech.
After dinner with some members and a little more Call of Duty, Robbie and I dropped in at the pledges’ study hours that ran from 9 to 11. I got to witness first-hand how close these men are becoming at such an early time. I had a good time fielding questions about BYX, my job and my life from the pledges and had some really good conversations with them.
As the officers said numerous times, God has been good to the Eta Chapter. With the progress they’ve made in just the few months that I’ve been working with them, I can’t wait to see where He takes them in the coming months and years.