By Robert Bember
I got to stretch the legs on my new car (RIP Mazda 6) and headed to the booming metropolis of Magnolia, Arkansas to visit the men of the Alpha Delta Chapter at Southern Arkansas University. As is typically the case, my week in Fort Worth without a chapter visit wasn’t nearly as restful as I would have liked, but it was back to the grind with the Muleriders.
I made plans to meet with Treasurer Willis Smith in the student union shortly after I got into town, but he shot me a text to tell me that a toilet had backed up and the scent permeated much of the union. So my visit was off to a rather crappy start (pun intended.) We called an audible and re-located to a lounge on campus dedicated to the handful of athletes from SAU currently playing at the professional level. They have been immortalized in fatheadform, even if they played for teams or in leagues I had never heard of.
We had an eventful evening ahead of us. The men had extended bids to six men during rush week, and the potentials would formally start pledgeship by attending the Alpha Delta Chapter’s bid acceptance ceremony on Monday night. However, I was concerned as to whether or not I would be in attendance when the officers informed me I’d be getting dinner with the officers at a local Japanese restaurant. Something about Japanese food in Magnolia sent a chill up my spine. It ended up pleasantly surprising me, and I walked away unscathed.
We had a great time sharing a meal and a number of laughs together. When our waitress came to take our order, her cell phone went off. Much to our pleasure, it wasn’t just some generic ring tone. It sounded as if the phone was on it’s highest volume, and it blasted what sounded like a track straight off of Dance Dance Revolution. Most of us held it together until she walked away, but President Lanse Stephens was forced to bury his face in his hands to hide his laughter.
I went back over to the hotel to suit up for bid ceremony before meeting up with the men. We went over to the location of bid ceremony to set up, but Chaplain Stephen Hubrel and his super strength insisted on breaking the key in the lock. Willis tried to break into the building with an ID card, but wasn’t successful. Reinforcements arrived shortly with another key. Crisis averted.
I can’t share the details of the ceremony, but what I can say is wow. The men did an outstanding job of welcoming the new pledges into their pledgeship semester. The multi-faceted ceremony showed such a strong reverence towards the fraternity. I love that I’m able to be a part of these kinds of ceremonies.
Tuesday came around without any residual effects from the small-town Arkansas Japanese food. One-on-ones with my officers went smoothly. The men are doing a great job of leading the chapter. The Alpha Delta Chapter is young, and Greek life at SAU is far from thriving, but the men are carrying out the vision of BYX effectively under the leadership of six devoted officers who are all-in for BYX.
The six officers took me to lunch at another wonderful dining establishment. We turned onto a dirt road and pulled up at Connie’s Café. It was the type of place that would make my beloved roommate Chris Godfrey miss Georgia. But everything makes him miss Georgia.
I met with Lanse later on in the evening in the school’s new science building. He looked like he was ready to fall asleep. Lanse gets about 3 hours of sleep a night, but says when he wakes up, the first thing he thinks to do is pray for his brothers. He loves his men so well. The Alpha Delta Chapter has such a strong atmosphere of brotherhood. It starts at the top with Lanse and the officers, and the vast majority of the men follow suit.
Last stop of the trip was at the chapter’s step show practice. The officers lobbied to be a part of the step show in some form or fashion, and the university and Greek life welcomed them with open arms. They have a great reputation with the university. The administration thinks highly of our men, and rightfully so.
Lanse led the men through a few different exercises and emphasized how special of an experience it is for these brothers to learn to move in unison for the step show. It’s another way in which the brotherhood at the SAU Chapter is manifested. The men very early in the process of getting ready for the step show, but they seemed as if they were starting to get the hang of it. The event isn’t until April**, but the men expect to practice about four days a week.
The Alpha Delta Chapter may be a small chapter on a small campus in a small town, but the men have some big ideas and big hearts for the Lord, for their brothers and for BYX.
**Note: The Alpha Delta Chapter took second in the step show.