Admittedly, the title of this blog post should have read something like: “Florida Boy Rocks Three Layers of Fleece to Yale,” or “Why Didn’t They Take me to This Restaurant Last Time?” Alas, this post is not about my loss of feeling in my fingers or food. It is about my Yale BYX brothers and how a fresh officer team and a fresh semester make a big difference.
The “commute” from Fort Worth to New Haven, Connecticut is no easy jog, nor is it a smooth transition from temperate climate to tropical paradise, but it is nonetheless a journey I love to endure for the sake of my Yale BYX men. I landed in Hartford Saturday night with no complications, but an hour drive to New Haven in the snow stood between me and, well, arriving in New Haven alive. Once I got into town, the officers took me to the infamous Shake Shack, despite my tummy’s epic battle with their burger last semester. Afterward, it was time for some bro time to just catch up and chill. Note: We played Halo, but I got beat every time, so I clearly wasn’t the biggest nerd in the room.
Sunday morning opened my eyes to something I knew not of. Snow-covered lawns at the residential colleges. As I waited to meet President Justin Riner to go to church, I stood in awe, my mouth agape at the beauty. “If only it wasn’t 17 degrees and Connecticut, I could live right here on this lawn,” I thought to myself. After church, Justin and I met up with Pledge Captain Victor hicks for brunch at Branford dining hall. I enjoyed a healthy breakfast, washed down by “Yale’s finest fruit water,” and Justin and I departed for Bass Library.
I had one-on-ones with Chaplain Kevin Ig-Izevbekhai and VP EJ Conway, to learn that, again, these boys are stepping up their game in terms of social involvement and cell group effectiveness. Booyah. After our meetings, we met a few other brothers and walked past the New Haven Green, under which is a crypt and on which was a breath-taking blanket of snow. We were on the way to Prime 16, a New Haven burger joint that was so much better than Shake Shack, I gave the officers a holy rebuke for not having taken me there last semester.
That night was Yale’s bid acceptance ceremony, in which 8 men would enter the brotherhood as pledge brothers. The ceremony was well executed, details however are super-secret and super-official. What’s not secret is this picture of the Yale Chapter after the ceremony, complete with the freshest of the fresh Gamma Pledge Class. This is why I love visiting these guys. And of course, no Yale BYX bro-down would be complete without a rousing game of Muffin, which, of course, is a gentlemen’s game involving billiard balls and much shouting. Justin even gave me a sweet introduction before we started: “We welcome back the ‘Maestro of Muffin’ himself, to whom we are indebted for bringing this great pastime to Yale.” Ok, I might have embellished a little bit, but he did call me a maestro.
Monday morning, I was honored to have breakfast and lunch in Commons (the one that looks like Hogwarts) dining hall, met by a number of brothers who just wanted to get to know me and ask some questions. Then it was back to Bass Library for more one-on-ones. This time, I had a little bit of a break in between them, so I decided to scoot over a nice, solid marble-looking end table to prop my feet up on and doze for a minute. These plans were rudely interrupted when I realized that the solid marble-looking end table was made of solid marble and I couldn’t budge it. Yale don’t play.
Victor talked me through the new and improved pledgeship that would challenge pledges to be 100% committed and invested in this brotherhood from the start. I’ll be walking with him through that this semester, so I am excited for the resulting initiated pledge class. Secretary Tanner Allread laid out a fresh attendance policy and dress code, as well as plans for a new newsletter, all of which will serve to further legitimize and inform the fraternity as a whole. Treasurer Tobi Akindoju emphasized organization in financial matters, especially his “no mercy tire slashing accountability plan” for guys who pay their dues late. Just kidding, none of the guys have cars on campus.
Overall, the new officer team is building a structure for organization and execution by adding chair positions for brothers to fill and casting vision to the chapter as a whole. I encouraged the chapter at chapter meeting Monday night with a testimony of my time in BYX and a challenge to continue to push the envelope. The Yale men understand that as a one-year-old chapter, they’re a work in progress, but they’re doing things well already and they continue to grow in excitement and ambition.
I was glad to return to Texas from the tundra, but sad to leave all of my guys and such a beautiful campus behind. I don’t know if Yale University is ready for what these boys have coming for it. One thing I do know is that next spring, I’m visiting Yale in April, not January.
Feel free to browse more pictures below.