The drive in from Jackson was one my most enjoyable thus far. There felt like only three exits off of the highway that was lined with trees as if someone had taken an old country road and turned it into a functional highway; just beautiful.
I made it to Starkville, Mississippi around 5 p.m. on Monday after a day of fairly smooth travel, thank goodness. I had planned to meet the officers at one of the few remaining BBQ joints in town and while there, ordered some fried green tomatoes. I hadn’t had fried green tomatoes in at least three years so this was a nice treat. As most of you know, I’m a North Carolina boy and when it comes to BBQ sauce, there’s only one right way to do it. Mississippi must have not gotten the memo.
Before this dinner, I had only talked with a few of the officers on the phone, so it was great to get to know them better. After we had finished our sandwiches, we headed off to the chapter room to get changed and hang out with the pledges and rest of the brothers before meeting.
If you would, pause for just a second. Red brick. Lots of red brick. Everywhere. Mississippi State has a thing for red brick and being from North Carolina State, I know a thing or two about red brick. The difference here is that MSU understands there has to be green to complement the red brick. Immediately, it reminded me of my alma mater, and I began to feel at home.
After a healthy half-hour of talking with the brothers outside the chapter room, we headed in, ready to get started. The one thing you couldn’t have missed while walking into the room was a Yeti cooler on the table at the front; inside there were names. MSU had just held Island Party, and it was a complete success, hosting roughly three times more people than the previous year. There had been a raffle for a Yeti cooler and the brothers were responsible for selling raffle tickets at $5 apiece. For each ticket sold over the expected 10, the brother’s name was entered into the drawing for a second cooler. The fraternity’s sweetheart announced the winner after she gave an announcement.
Tonight’s meeting was special because nominations were held for next year’s officer corps! The future leaders of this chapter will be headed into the spring semester with energy and new ideas for recruitment as well as a desire to continue growing socially while maintaining a strong spiritual focus.
Over the next 24 hours, I met individually with nearly 20 different brothers and got a good feel for the direction and vision of the chapter. These dudes want to head into the spring semester and build on the 21 pledges they intend to initiate this fall.
While Tuesday was incredibly busy, it was equally rewarding after being able to sit down with so many of the chapter’s brothers, from my first meeting at 8 a.m. in the Student Union to my last in the Chapel of Memories, each taught me something new about the culture of the chapter and the future of the fraternity. One of the greatest strengths of Mississippi State BYX is their brotherhood and these men serve each other well.
After that long day running on a little sleep, I was relieved to get to bed at a decent time. Wednesday morning, I met two brothers, one of whom was running for an officer position, for breakfast at City Bagel. This was a special bagel; not just your average sausage, egg and cheese bagel. Everything was cooked up and scrambled together before being shaped into a circle that fit perfectly between the two halves. That’s true genius. After good conversation over breakfast, I hopped back on the road and made the two-hour drive back to Jackson.
Also, special congratulations to brother Jonathan Lancaster for being named Mr. MSU! Go dawgs!