You know that feeling you get when you walk into a place that you have never been to before, but for some strange reason it feels comfortable, familiar, like home? That’s exactly how I would describe my most recent visit to Nashville to spend time with our brothers from Vanderbilt. There is hardly a dull moment with the men of the Nu Chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I was blessed to spend with these fantastic young men.
BYX at Vanderbilt University is as resilient as they come. I have often heard it said, “If God brought you to it, He will bring you through it.” This of course applies to any form of trial or difficulty in our lives and is meant to reassure us that God is in control. This group of men has faced incredible adversity in recent years, yet they are stronger and more united because of it.
The Nu Chapter had their on-campus status removed by the university just a couple short years ago along with several other religiously affiliated groups. You can read more about this here.
I do not bring this up as a slight against the university, but rather to highlight the persistence and adaptability of our men. They are a true representation of the kind of principled and steadfast men that we strive to develop as a fraternity. This attitude of unwavering loyalty to our purpose, determination to uphold the integrity of our fraternity and commitment to living above reproach is what encourages and strengthens our brothers, actives and alumni alike, across the country.
That being said, I was impressed by what I witnessed on my visit and thrilled to have the opportunity of serving as their advisor. Although, I’m not sure that I can say the same for what the guys thought of me. The Nu Chapter has a playful tradition of calling their advisor, “dad.” The resourceful and ever-competent Jordan Difani was their previous leader. Since I am the new advisor, there was a mix of reluctance and excitement among the chapter upon my arrival.
Being that I will only be their advisor until the end of the semester, I was not qualified to fulfill the role as “dad.” Fair enough. Instead, I accepted the label of “mom’s boyfriend.” It seemed fitting. Many of them asked, “When is dad coming back?” and “Are you going to be the new dad?” I chose to answer their questions with another question, “Who is mom?” To this the chapter erupted with laughter, and I continued by informing them that as long as I was “mom’s boyfriend” they could stay up as long as they liked. Needless to say, it was well received, and we all got along just fine.
In all seriousness, we had a great time together in Nashville. Sunday night I shared dinner with the officers at the always-satisfying Mellow Mushroom, and Monday was spent having my usual one-on-one meetings with the officers. Now, I knew that Vanderbilt students were smart, but these men blew me away. With each officer and member I had the pleasure of meeting, I continued to grow more impressed.
It was clear that this thriving chapter is full of capable, talented and driven men. However, none may be more talented than their Chaplain Harrison Nam. He possesses a particular set of skills that make him stand out among the rest. Harrison’s ability to perplex others with magic tricks captivated the attention of officers across the country at National Officer Training this past fall. One officer, JP Pressier, from SMU described him as, “the coolest guy in Whataburger right now,” which of course was where he performed his mind-bending and unexplainable trickery. After seeing it for myself firsthand, I could not agree more.
Monday was also a special day of deals at Moe’s Southwest Grill. That evening I met up with several members for a meal of regrettable proportions at reasonable prices. Somehow we landed on the topic of sharing stories about ripping our pants. I didn’t think that it was that common of an occurrence, but Josh Jeans proved me wrong. Very wrong.
Afterwards we gathered for the weekly prayer meeting just before chapter meeting began. It was great to recharge and refresh as we lifted up our praises and requests to our Father.
Chapter meeting was eventful to say the least. There were fiery explosions during the opening of meeting, I witnessed my first fake announcement, we were enlightened and challenged by brother Patrick Harmon on the topic of Biblical Manhood, and things came to a close with a brief performance by the lovely ladies of the Swingin’ Dores, an on-campus acapella group.
Before leaving on Tuesday morning I was able to meet with a few more members, both young and old, for breakfast at Panera. If the quality of the members of the most recent pledge class is any indication of what the future holds for the Nu Chapter of BYX, then I can only imagine what impact they will continue to have on their campus and in the community.
Overall, the trip was nothing but successful and enjoyable. I have the utmost respect and confidence in the leadership of this chapter and the fortitude of their members. It is true that trials will continue to come their way, just like they do for each and every one of us. But, we can rest assured that, with the Lord as our Guide, we will continue to overcome no matter what the odds or how high the obstacles. In the same way, the Nu Chapter will continue to grow in numbers and expand in influence as they remain true to their mission, establishing brotherhood and unity.