By Brian Baudoin
My visits for the year of 2013 kicked off with the storied halls of Yale University. This would mark my second visit to the Ivy League, and it was a trip that I was certainly excited to make. President and COO Jason Hoyt accompanied me on this chapter visit, as we were going to be in town for Yale’s inaugural rush week. This would prove to be a pivotal week for the men of Yale BYX and their chapter’s young history.
There were many reasons to be excited for this visit, including another opportunity to sport some Yale apparel and feel my IQ spike by 5 points as I walked around the campus. Not included in our list of reasons to be excited was the New Haven weather, which compared to Fort Worth might as well have been the frozen tundra. I think it only got above 30 degrees once the entire visit. I thought throughout the visit that since I hail from a northern state that I would fare much better than Jason in the climate.
This thought pervaded until I had the pleasure of experiencing two flights on the way home with a nasty cold. One of the best nuggets of wisdom that I could pass on to any of you as a BYX advisor would be to never fly with a cold. I give the men at Yale the highest of compliments for braving that weather for months at a time.
In order to understand this chapter you have to know the resiliency of the officer corps at Yale. There have been countless challenges thrown at this fraternity since the founding fathers initiation in August. It would have been easy at many points for these men to throw in the towel. Instead, we are confidently looking towards a bright future with BYX at this campus. The founding fathers here are working tirelessly to provide a good foundation for this chapter’s future, and we are confident that their effort and commitment will pay dividends.
Sunday night Jason and I arrived at the house of President Victor Hicks and Vice President Josh Ginsborg amidst the craziness of the NFL’s conference championship games. After some discussion, we dove right into the chapter budget and calendar for the semester. The men already had a solid game plan for the semester, and we were able to add our experience and input to what they had established. We also reviewed calendars from other chapters to give them an idea of what a healthy social events schedule should look like. The men were receptive, and it was exciting as an advisor to see the wheels turning in the heads of these men as they hashed out the details of their calendar.
The main event for the week that Jason and I had flown up for was the beginning of rush week. Yale follows a policy that freshman can only rush in the spring so the chapter designated this semester as their inaugural rush date. It was important for these men to get off to a great start in terms of recruitment, and it appears that they have done so. We attended the open chapter and informational night on Monday. The event was a success and a good way to begin rush week. The room was set up professionally and the programming was smooth. The men in attendance who braved the snow seemed very excited to be a part of the Alpha Pledge Class of Yale BYX and start something truly special in the Ivy League.
Throughout the week, Jason and I had the opportunity to meet with a majority of the men who were seriously interested in the opportunity of BYX at Yale. What struck me right off the bat was the diversity of backgrounds in which these men hailed from. Some had heard about BYX from campuses that were near their hometown and some first heard of us on campus in New Haven. The men I met hailed from California, Houston, Oklahoma, Atlanta, Mississippi and Connecticut among other places.
If these men truly decide to commit to this brotherhood and its growth, then I believe that the groundwork will be laid for a great chapter. In talking with these potentials, all of them specifically mentioned a need for the type of Christian brotherhood that only BYX can provide on Yale’s campus. I already cannot wait for my next visit to see the fruits of these men’s labor.
Jason and I also got to see the recruitment resources that were produced by Nationals this past year used to their full potential. These men were not shy about putting these materials in people’s hands. Many students that we got a chance to interact with even commented on how professional and legitimate the fraternity looked with the advertisements that they were putting out. We attended table sits, and it was a joy to see how the founding fathers interacted with their fellow students and sold the vision of BYX to college men. It is a special group of men we have the privilege of interacting with when we visit this campus.
The makeup of this officer corps is unique. Five out of the six officers are either currently a varsity athlete for Yale or were at some point this year. An example would be Pledge Captain Javier Duren, who is the starting point guard for the Yale basketball team. Although he laughs it off every time that I say it, I still believe that he reminds me a lot of Will Smith from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
These men come from Connecticut, St. Louis, Colorado, Virginia, Michigan and Maryland. They are all incredibly gifted and have different personalities. It is truly a great expression of the unity that we have as a body of believers that men from such different walks can come together and experience such a great unity.
The rest of our time was spent in one-on-one meetings with the founding fathers. Jason and I both met with them separately, so we got plenty of face time to hear both how their walk with the Lord is going and to further dive into their role within the officer corps. We left this campus highly encouraged for the future of this chapter. The possibility of a double-digit pledge class is very real for the Yale Chapter, which is remarkable for a first attempt at recruitment. It is a testament to both the faithfulness of the Lord in these men’s walks and their faithfulness to the commitment they made to establish brotherhood and unity at Yale.
I ask that you not only be in prayer for this chapter, but that you also hold high expectations for this chapter’s future. These men have earned that so far and I truly believe that through these men the Lord will finish what he started here in New Haven.