Nationals Visits the University of Oklahoma

By Robert Bember
National Advisor

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Spending two straight weeks at home was a pleasant and much needed spring break for me after hitting up 6 chapters in less than 6 weeks to start the semester. For once, I was able to do a little more in the office than just struggle to keep my head above water. I got ahead on my work. That never happens in this job. It seems like whenever I think I’ll get ahead, a huge wrench gets thrown into my plans, and my attention gets turned towards more urgent situations.

I don’t think any number of weeks would prepare me for what I would face next: Oklahoma. I don’t get along too well with the state to the north. It seems like when I’m there, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I don’t know why I expected anything different this time around. It’s become comical at this point. I wasn’t across the border five minutes when I hit bumper-to-bumper traffic for the first of four times heading to Norman. Eventually I discovered that a police officer was standing in the middle of I-35 making everyone exit with no cars or traffic on the road behind him. It was beyond my understanding.

After a four-and-a-half-hour drive that should have taken about two-and-a-half, I met briefly with OU President Daniel Chargois. Daniel sympathized with me because we were stuck in the same traffic. He directed me to the house of Pledge Trainer Sean Kelly for my first one-on-one as I tried to snap out of the daze I was in from the long trip. Knowing what I had just gone through on the roads, Sean offered to throw the frisbee around with me in his backyard as we discussed BYX. I was tired of sitting down and needed to get the juices flowing and get out of the glazed over, incoherent state I was in.

Sean is a rare breed, but that’s a good thing. He has an infectious enthusiasm about himself that makes him ideal for the role of pledge trainer. He is a big time dreamer. I feel like many of my officers like to stay within their safe little box as far as their ideas go, whereas Sean would kick the door down and get as far away from the box as he can. He has big ideas for pledgeship and BYX as a whole.

At OU, they elect two pledge trainers to help carry the heavy load of pledgeship. Working alongside Sean is JD Thomas. JD is equally enthusiastic and engaging, but much more logistically minded than Sean. When Sean’s imagination starts running wild, JD reels him back in by asking tough questions as to how they will execute these ideas. They understand each other well and know how they need to function together. The pledgeship that these men put on in the fall will be an awesome experience for all the pledges.

We caught up with the other officers for dinner before chapter meeting. Since it was formal chapter meeting, the men were a little overdressed for Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. There wasn’t much BYX discussion, which was fine with me. It’s good to see the officers able to enjoy each other and have a good time without getting into business mode. These times of brotherhood will only make them better as a group of officers. The men spent the time talking about “The Emperor’s New Groove” and asking me what it’s like to be a grown up. I assured them they were asking the wrong person.

I did a poor job of scheduling this visit because it is one of the busiest weeks of the year for the Kappa Chapter and the rest of the Greek at OU. Many members were missing from Chapter Meeting Sunday night preparing for Scandals. Scandals is an annual event at OU in which every fraternity and sorority auditions for the opportunity to compete against the rest of the Greek by producing their own 15-minute Broadway musical. BYX is paired with Delta Gamma, and they’ve been putting in hours of practice everyday this week in preparation for their performances this weekend. I got to watch practice for a little while Monday night, and it is quite an undertaking, which Daniel further reiterated.

Despite the turnout for Chapter, it went well. Following my talk, the men came together to share prayer requests and prayed over a pair of brothers. Everyone prayed for the men out loud at the same time. It was something I had never been apart of, but it was an awesome display of brotherhood as the men rallied together in prayer for their brothers.

Following Chapter, a couple members invited me to hang out over at one of the on-campus cafeterias. Because last week was spring break, they had a number of pre-purchased meals they had to get rid of prior to Monday morning when the next week’s worth of meals started. A number of members, officers and I had quite a feast consisting of sandwiches, cookies, choco tacos and a pile of bacon. More importantly, we had a great time. The OU Chapter reminds me a lot of my chapter at TCU. You never really know what to expect or what is going to come out of people’s mouths, but it’s always a good time.

On Monday morning, I yawned my way through early meetings with Secretary Lincoln Ferguson and Vice President Sam Valencia. Despite not being all there, the meetings were productive. Lincoln and I discussed general BYX business while Sam and I spent a lot of time on Island Party, as it is just a few weeks away. JD took me to the Tea Café near campus to get some fruity tea drinks and Chinese food. The more we talk about pledgeship and recruitment at OU, the more excited I am to see what these guys do in the fall. They’re hungry to soak up knowledge about pledgeship and add to an already strong pledge process.

Chaplain Ryan Goodwin met with me after lunch. I don’t think I asked any questions until he was about to leave. Ryan likes to talk, so we had a great conversation about anything and everything, and sprinkled in some BYX business as well.

Every officer referenced “Business Dan” when I asked about their officer meetings. “Business Dan” is the serious alter ego of the president that seems to come out every week in officer meeting. The result has led to very efficient officer meetings. Daniel schedules other times on weekends for the officers to get together and share a time of brotherhood and spiritual growth. One meeting resulted in Lincoln falling from a tree in the middle of campus. Daniel does a great job of guiding this great group of leaders that are focused not only on the present, but also how they can set up future groups of officers to succeed once in office.

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