I recently had the pleasure of meeting our brothers from the Omega Chapter at Auburn University. That’s right it is AU, not to be confused with UA. Do not dare make that mistake, or you may not come back alive. Thankfully, the men were gracious enough to get me up to speed on all of the dos and don’ts of Auburn.
The first was don’t eat Mexican food in Alabama. Being from Texas and having traveled to Mexico on many occasions for mission trips, I know what Mexican food is supposed to taste like. Our dinner at El Dorado was mediocre at best. However, the night was salvaged by plenty of great conversation with Auburn’s fantastic officer core.
The next lesson they taught me was do understand the seriousness of the Iron Bowl. This rivalry runs blood deep, and it has caused a severe divide in the state of Alabama. You could win every game of the season, but if you lose the Iron Bowl then you might as well kiss your season goodbye.
Some of the men were even so bold as to say that they would never even marry someone outside Auburn Tiger fan base. While that may seem extreme, the Bible does say that a house divided against itself cannot stand, so maybe there is some wisdom to their commitment. The final piece of advice for the night was don’t date a “horse girl.” I’ll let you decipher that one on your own.
The next morning President Nick Hoisington and I met for breakfast at one of our nation’s finest 24-hour establishments, IHOP. After we shared sentiments on how much we both despise studying for the LSAT, Nick filled me in on everything happening in BYX at Auburn.
This chapter has seen tremendous growth in its short history. They are headed in the right direction and are continuing to raise the bar as each new pledge class gets initiated. These men are becoming well known throughout campus as they continue to encourage their members to be involved in leadership positions outside of just BYX. They also have a great opportunity to gain even larger campus presence with this year’s Island Party, which will feature Green River Ordinance.
The rest of the afternoon was spent meeting with each executive member for one-on-one interviews. It was refreshing to hear how well each officer’s perspective lined up with their vision as a core group. They know what they are doing well as a chapter, and they have recognized where they need to improve. That kind of awareness is one of the most important attributes of being a leader.
The Auburn chapter also has a number of young members all full of passion for serving the fraternity in a higher capacity. I was able to encourage a handful of these ambitious men and share with them my experience as an officer in BYX. Having younger guys that are eager to get involved and looking for ways to make an impact is exceedingly valuable. With each brother I met, it became clear the multitude of quality men that made up this group.
Before chapter meeting I was given the Auburn campus tour courtesy of previous President Will Culpepper. As much as I love A&M, there’s not much to look at in College Station compared to the architecture of schools like Auburn. Well, not until we complete the renovation of our beloved Kyle Field, which will be the largest stadium in the SEC and the state of Texas. Gig’em. Later, Culpepper and I met up with his little and current Treasurer Will Stout at Momma G’s for sandwiches and their signature Doritos nachos.
The night concluded at chapter meeting. The Auburn Chapter does it a little differently than I’m accustomed to. For worship, we sang acappella directly out of the hymnal. Hearing the voices of 50 men singing the same praises to our God that Christians have sung for hundreds of years was nothing short of amazing.
Chaplain Jeremy Robuck then addressed the chapter on one of the most popular topics of our generation: dating. I have heard some great illustrations, but none quite as entertaining as his comparison of single adults to Pop-Tarts. I was then given the nod to share on the importance of brotherhood, one of the core values of the fraternity.
Following my talk, Nick came up to the front to announce the BYX Brother of the Week. It was no surprise to anyone in the room, except me, that I was chosen. It sounded like quite an honor, but in fact it was not as desirable as I had hoped. I was challenged to consume 5 cans of Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel in under 3:00 minutes. I shrouded in fear as senior Jake Stephens commanded me to “be Alpha” from the audience.
I didn’t want to let the men down, but I couldn’t help but feel like something wasn’t right. When I asked why I had earned this coveted award they smiled and replied, “Because you flew all the way from Texas to see us.” But really their intentions were much more menacing as their eyes revealed what they really meant, “This is for officer training.” Thanks to Loren Hsiao, some of the officers were challenged to consume a full 2-liter of soda, which they later learned was supposed to be shared between the entire group, not just one brother.
This was no prize; this was payback. As I began to chug the fiery, carbonated liquid, the place went nuts. People were shouting, “We haze our advisors!” Four cans later I couldn’t handle anymore and the men gave the reassuring cheers of my feat even though I came up short. I was relieved it was all over, and afterwards I felt like a hero.
The next morning before my departure a group of the guys gathered at the breakfast spot of Auburn, Price’s BBQ House, for a filling yet inexpensive meal. It was the perfect way to cap off a fantastic trip. I was thoroughly impressed by the love and respect that these men showed for one another, including the hospitality they showed me.
The Omega Chapter has enormous potential. It’s only a matter of time before they are recognized as one of the premiere fraternities on the campus of Auburn University. That is the precedent that has been set, that is the objective of the current officer body and I firmly believe that they have everything they need to accomplish that goal.