Along with Tyler Owens, I too had the opportunity to go on my first chapter visit as a national advisor this past week when I visited Texas State University. Actives simply like to refer to themselves as the Zeta Chapter and are surely proud that they do things differently than any other chapter. This was my first time at Texas State and my first experience in San Marcos, and I felt right at home with these men.
I arrived in San Marcos on Saturday afternoon and immediately met with President James Atchley and his officer corps to go over the pledge interviews they had just finished. We discussed the interviews and gave out 14 bids that night, which is the highest spring pledge class in Texas State BYX history. Pledge Captain Taylor Gembol did a tremendous job of relating with all the potential pledges and that produced a good recruiting season.
After handing out the 14 bid cards, the officers and I headed to Gil’s, a burger place right in the heart of downtown San Marcos. I learned two things while at Gil’s: the manski roll will absolutely kill any diet you are on, and also, they will give any girl free food for life if she can eat a seven-pound burrito in thirty minutes. Not only that, but Gil’s will put in her will that she may give the privilege of having free food for life to someone else. That sounds like an amazing deal, but I honestly do not want to meet the woman who can eat a seven-pound burrito in 30 minutes.
The officers of Texas State are a great group of men who are ready to lead their chapter well. After having dinner with them, it was apparent that they loved to work together and were really good friends outside of BYX. As it turns out, four officers live in the same apartment, and all six of the officers live in the same complex. It was great to see that BYX gave these men relationships they will have for the rest of their lives.
The next morning Taylor, James, an active named Jeremy DeBaylo and I took a road trip from San Marcos down to Corpus Christi to pick up Taylor’s truck. Despite the 6:00 a.m. wake-up, I was excited to spend some time with these men and have time for good conversations. The trip was not too scenic, unless you are into miles of cacti and flat lands. We were able to get Taylor’s truck and get back to San Marcos in time for the potential pledges’ first mission.
Taylor and I showed up to an active’s house and gave the potentials some instructions to find a piece of trash that starts with every letter of the alphabet. This is a tradition in the Zeta Chapter, and it gave Taylor his first experience in seeing the future pledges work together.
After the pledge activity, the potentials and actives got together to play some football and Frisbee. After many incompletions and an injury, a few officers and I decided to jump in the Guadalupe River, which just happens to flow right through campus. As we jumped in, I could not help but feel out of place for wearing a swimsuit on campus. It honestly felt like a BYX-appropriate version of skinny-dipping, but the water felt great and it was awesome to experience the different flavor that San Marcos has to offer.
Later that night was bid ceremony. This entailed the Alpha Iota pledge chant, a pledge not in formal wear due to shear excitement to get to the ceremony and some awesome Zeta Chapter traditions. The night was well organized by the officer team, and the worship was great. The Zeta Chapter, as they usually do, gave the night some flavor and I had a great time being a part of such a special night for the 13 pledges who accepted bids. After the ceremony, everyone went to Taco Bell across the street and yet again destroyed any hope for staying on my diet during my trip.
On Monday, James gave me a tour of campus before my officer meetings for the day. I met with Taylor, and treasurer Logan Smith, each individually, where we discussed their positions and shared testimonies. These two men have an amazing passion to pursue Jesus, and they clearly show the character qualities that any chapter would want in their officers.
That night, pledges met at some of the officers’ house to learn the a capella version of “My Girl” to sing to what they thought were nursing homes, but turned out to be three sorority meetings the next day. Many actives showed up to hang out, and, oddly enough, the actives fixated themselves on the TV while watching the always-entertaining WWE wrestling. It was not my typical cup of tea, but again the Zeta Chapter showed how different they do things down there.
Tuesday was my final day in San Marcos, and it consisted of four meetings with the remaining officers and chapter meeting. I started with Bryan Lawrence, their treasurer, then to James, their president, then the new vice president JT Corbitt and finally ended the day with their Chaplain Chase Randolph. It was refreshing to have these men ask questions and get insight into their plans for the semester and for the year as a whole. The Zeta Chapter is moving in a direction that strives for excellence and does not settle, and this officer body will be that driving force in some serious movements on campus.
Chapter meeting that night ran very efficiently, and surprisingly finished on time even with pledges singing to sororities. Despite their lack of talent musically, they certainly backed it up with enthusiasm. Finally, before I left to return to College Station, the officer corps and I went to Chili’s. The one thing I learned from Chili’s was that Chase Randolph prefers to make his own lemonade with water and lemons to just ordering lemonade. Chase seems to have forgotten that ordering five cups of lemons may make it tough on the waitress, but nevertheless he still continues to blaze his own lemon-filled trail.
I had such a great time in San Marcos, and could not be more excited for what God is doing in the Zeta Chapter. These men are doing exciting things on campus, and are definitely on their way to becoming a powerhouse fraternity at Texas State.