Fort Worth, Texas (September 22, 2016) – Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX), a premier national Christian fraternity in the United States, announced today it has joined the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), a move that will provide BYX with access to advocacy and resources that will facilitate its continued growth, while maintaining its distinct purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ.
The NIC values with high priority the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and supports the right of fraternities and sororities to exist as single-gender organizations under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the exemptions given to fraternities and sororities under Title IX.
“Joining the NIC will allow BYX to receive the same benefits and recognition from colleges and universities that other fraternities and sororities enjoy,” said Jason Hoyt, president & chief operating officer of Beta Upsilon Chi, “and will open additional opportunities for many BYX chapters to be more involved in fraternity and sorority life on their campuses without changing who we are at our core.”
“BYX has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past three decades, and aligning with a prestigious trade organization now will enable us to continue growing even as the collegiate environment becomes more challenging for men of faith,” Hoyt said. “Membership in the NIC will allow BYX to learn from the collective experience of dozens of other fraternities while maintaining our unique identity and our strong commitment to a Christian brotherhood, which reflects our purpose, values, mission, and goals.”
Founded in 1909, the NIC is the trade association representing 70 international and national men’s fraternities comprising 6,220 chapters on 800 campuses. It serves to advocate the needs of its member fraternities through enrichment of the fraternity experience, advancement and growth of the fraternity community, and enhancement of the educational mission of the host institutions.
Since its founding at The University of Texas at Austin in 1985, BYX has grown to include 2,500 men in 34 chapters on campuses in 16 states. It is building a lifelong brotherhood of committed Christian men bound together by the common bond in Christ.
BYX has been the avenue God chose for my growth and transformation as a man in college, and BYX is going to leave a never-ending impact on my life. I’ve traveled the country, met business professionals, seen my family members’ lives changed, learned how to pray, all because of the men in this fraternity. After experiencing what this fraternity can be and is meant to be, I wanted to do all I could to create unforgettable experiences for other men around the nation who are desiring God and Christian brotherhood. Not only that, but I desire men around the United States (and world) to know and grow in Christ so the world can be blessed and flourish because we are answering God’s call on our lives.
I knew if I did not take this chance right out of college, I would grow into an old man filled with regrets, and I don’t want to be Old McRegrets, so here I am working for BYX. Ay, whoop.
2) What did you study at A&M and how will that help you in this job?
I majored in business management with focuses on entrepreneurship and consulting. Focus meaning I took some classes in entrepreneurship and consulting.
I believe learning about the intricacies of business such as evaluation, strategies, and development is going to help me come alongside local chapters and develop them towards growth and expansion. The business background will also help me as I work with BYX on a national scale with administrative responsibilities.
The consulting focus has developed my examination skills, allowing me to assess situations, ask good questions, and make a game plan in various situations.
The many adventures I have been on with roommates and BYX brothers. Arkansas Spring Break trip; forming a band and performing downtown; the rainy day we ran around with our shirts off, Jake put a frog down his pants, and girls thought BYX was hazing us; OH, maybe the best: Texas A&M University B-ingTHO Alabama and all of C-Stat going insane.
I chigaroogarem the heck out of everywhere I go. Thanks and gig ’em.
1. Why did you want to join the BYX National Staff?
I wanted to join the BYX National Staff because I think that BYX is a unique ministry opportunity in that I get to pour into college men on a day to day basis. I grew as both a man and a Christian during my time in BYX and I hope to be a part of that growth in the lives of other men.
2. What did you study at Baylor and how will that help you in this job?
I studied finance at Baylor. So far my degree in finance has helped me with getting stuff with Billhighway ready for guys at the chapter level and has also helped in making decisions related to National Leadership Summit.
3. What is your favorite memory from college?
My favorite memory from college is the Baylor v. TCU game in 2014 when Baylor came back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat TCU 61-58. It was the most intense sporting event I’ve ever been to and the atmosphere was insane.
4. What do you like to do in your free time?
My favorite thing to do in my free time is watch soccer. My favorite teams to watch are the U.S. Men’s National Team, FC Dallas in the MLS, and Liverpool F.C. in the English Premier League.
5. You were on staff all summer. What were some big things you learned in that time (about anything)?
This summer I learned some new recruitment techniques that I can take to chapters and help them apply to their existing recruitment plans.
6. What do you hope to do after your time on BYX Staff?
After my time on staff I would like to use my finance degree to pursue a career in financial consulting or real estate investment and development.
7. You don’t have to name any names, but give us your most deplorable roommate story.
During college I had a roommate for three years that was really into weightlifting and bodybuilding. So, every week he would do meal prep stuff for the coming week, which isn’t a big deal, except that he wouldn’t do his dishes until the next week when he needed them again. This meant that our kitchen would stay dirty for the entire week at a time.
8. What’s your favorite thing about Waco, TX and why?
Anyone that’s been to Waco, TX knows how hard this is to answer…. But if I had to pick my favorite thing about the city it would probably be Shorty’s Pizza Shack near Baylor’s campus.
9. Be honest, how often did you frequent Magnolia Market while you were there?
Unfortunately, I only had the pleasure of visiting Magnolia once.
10. Who was your favorite national advisor while you were in school?
Gabe McKinney. Definitely not Dean Tzobanakis if that’s what you’re asking, Dean.
Bonus: Who would you choose to be your partner in the Amazing Race and why?
I would probably choose either of my brothers as a partner. I think we’ve known each other long enough that we would be able to work well together.
- Why did you want to join the BYX National Staff?
The entire time I was in BYX at Texas A&M, other than my pledge semester, I held at least one leadership position. I love this fraternity. I love what it has to offer men. And I want to continue to work to make it better than what it already is.
- What did you study at A&M and how will that help you in this job?
I studied Leadership & Development which is almost entirely what I’ll be doing working for BYX.
- What is your favorite memory from college?
My favorite memories from college are of taking road trips with friends. I went to Austin one weekend to eat a bunch of good food. I went to Arkansas a couple of times to hang out with my friends. I also went to Austin one weekend to see the Zac Brown Band and then went to Dallas the next day to see them again.
- What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to be around people. It doesn’t particularly matter what we’re doing, I just enjoy hanging out with friends. I also enjoy music — listening to music, playing music or attending concerts.
- What are some of your goals for your first semester on staff?
In my first semester on staff I hope to grow in my understanding of what BYX is and what it means to men across the country. I’m excited to interact with a variety of different men from all different campuses and walks of life and learn what BYX has meant to them.
- What do you hope to do after your time on BYX Staff?
I hope to work in pastoral ministry after my time on BYX Staff. My heart is really drawn towards high school and college-aged kids.
- You don’t have to name any names, but give us your most deplorable roommate story.
I had a roommate once who got hungry at around three in the morning and put a canned French roll in the oven to cook for himself and then fell asleep. I woke up the next morning to a French roll that had been cooking in the oven for about five or six hours. It looked and felt like a piece of charred firewood.
- Are you a 2-percenter?
No, I drink almond milk.
- Some on staff have noticed that you’re a self-proclaimed “Blender Girl.” Care to elaborate on that? Bonus: if you had to choose one of your blender concoctions to go swimming in, what would it be?
Nope, but I would swim in the ocean. I love SCUBA.
- Describe to us the most grueling course you’ve ever played or made on Super Mario Maker.
First off let me say, SMM is one of the best games I’ve personally ever played. But to describe with mere text some of the most grueling courses I’ve played simply wouldn’t do them justice.
As we close out another semester, the national advisors looked back on the moments that made the fall great. Here are the memories that stood out most to them.
One of my favorite weekends of the fall semester is always National Officer Training. For an entire weekend, we as a staff, with the Board of Directors, get the opportunity to throw all the wisdom and teaching we can throw out to the top leaders for this coming year, and we don’t have many opportunities like it. One of the best times of the weekend for me is worshipping with the 200-plus officers, and I am always encouraged by the passion of these men as they pursue Jesus. National Officer Training is definitely the busiest weekend of the year, and we are always sick for a week after it, but I am always encouraged by the love and passion these leaders have for this fraternity as they pursue Christ.
This semester was full of ups and downs, as anything in life is. Every time there was a down, God met me there with a reminder of His faithfulness. Greater highs overshadowed the lows this year. One of my favorite highlights of this semester was National Officer Training. I obviously enjoyed all of my chapter visits but it would be impossible to choose only one to talk about. One of the coolest things for me at Officer Training was being able to spend time with all of my chapters during the same weekend. At National Officer Training, I was able to work with the chapter presidents. This was an awesome opportunity for me to teach and answer questions. Personally, this was exciting for me since just a couple of years ago I was sitting in a room similar to them, learning how to properly lead my chapter.
This may be a cop-out, but the highlight of my semester was a chartership ceremony. This semester, I had the honor of chartering the Chi Chapter at the University of Mississippi. It was especially surreal because of the number of dedicated alumni who came back, some shedding tears of joy at the occasion. Working with the Ole Miss Chapter for the past two-and-change years has been an adventure. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but it was a proud moment to see them achieve this level of recognition. All of the National Staff before me invested heavily into this chapter, and I’d like to thank them all. All of the members who helped set the foundation for this accomplishment deserve recognition too. But in this celebration, the chapter must remember that this achievement is not the finish line, but only the beginning of greater things to come.
Zach Van Meter
I attended the Alpha Theta Chapter at Yale University for the first time this past semester and had a blast. Not only was the campus tour really cool but also getting to meet and know the brothers and how they do BYX at their campus was intriguing. Yale is definitely a different campus culture compared to the south, yet these men are furthering the same purpose established for BYX around the nation regardless of the challenges they face. I also had the privilege of getting to see and help set up their new BYX house on fraternity row! This is a solid add to the chapter and has already been productive in hosting brotherhood events for the brothers and open parties for the campus. I’m looking forward to visiting these brothers again and rallying up for spring rush and pledgeship.
One of my favorite moments of the semester happens to be one that went well off our plan and was changing up until the moment it happened. During the summer, Blake Hankins posed the idea of creating an initiation ceremony for each BYX officers that would take place at National Officer Training. What that conversation led to evolved into an experience that has now set a precedent for years to come and will hopefully serve as a reminder throughout this coming year of the significance of the commitments that they have made before the Lord, to their brothers and to themselves. That feeling I had while looking out at more than 200 men taking their oath in unison around the fires is not one quickly forgotten.
And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. Heb. 11:4
“Next to the Holy Scriptures, the greatest aid to the life of faith may be Christian biographies.” – A.W. Tozer
When I was about mid-way through my journey as a college student I stumbled upon something that would become significantly more valuable for my soul than the education that would take many years to pay off. No, it was not the Bible. I was familiar with the Scriptures from early on and would even read my Bible before going to bed throughout my middle and high school years.
Nor was it prayer, as I had been praying to God for several years at that point. It was also not the latest best-selling Christian book. The “Left Behind” series was a big deal in those days and, fortunately, I did not read one of them. How in the world did those do so well anyway? Strange times those were.
What I happened to stumble upon at 21 years young that has forever changed my spiritual life was biographies of men and women in the Lord who had gone before me and blazed a trail for me to follow.
Some folks call these people heroes of the faith, while some call them spiritual giants. It doesn’t really matter what we call them, as long as don’t forget about them. As long as we are, at the very least, aware of some of the men and women that have radically changed the world and have brought the reality of heaven to earth through their lives and ministries.
With that in mind, I will share three reasons why you should start reading Christian biographies as soon as you finish this blog.
1. As you follow the lives of a wise man and women, you will become wise.
I remember talking with an older lady in the Lord from my hometown when I went home to visit one weekend from school. I was sharing with her some of what God was teaching me in my reading of biographies, and she shared something profound with me that stuck.
She said, “Brian, Proverbs tells us that he who walks with wise men will be wise (Prov 13:20), and when we read biographies we are literally walking through the lives of wise men and women and, in so doing, we become wise.”
Wisdom has been defined as knowledge applied to life. As we read stories, we get more than information transfer. Stories speak to our heart and give us a glimpse of what knowledge and truth look like when they are applied to real life.
2. It is biblical to remember the examples of those who have gone before us.
Men and women who have lived lives worthy of being recorded and passed to the future generations still speak to us. This is what the author of Hebrews tells us. In chapter 11, we get a run down of the biblical hall of fame of faith.
The author reminds us of 16 saints of old who changed their world by faith. Among many other exploits in the passage, we hear about men who by faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war and put foreign armies to flight (Heb. 11:32.) Every one of the examples listed by the author had been dead for centuries, yet the example of their faith lives on.
The author doesn’t end with telling of the deeds of men and women of old. He is actually building towards the critical exhortation in Hebrews 12:1.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
After sharing stories of great faith, the author goes on to tell us ALSO to lay aside everything that is hindering us from living out our purpose in the earth. The point is the author of Hebrews spends the necessary time sharing about the great men and women of faith in order to inspire us to run our race well. Which leads me to my third and final point.
3. You will be inspired by the lives of men and women who have lived well.
Some of the most inspiring God-moments in my life have taken place as I’ve been reading through a biography of a pioneer missionary who paid an unbelievable price to bring the Gospel to an unreached people.
I remember reading through a biography of Adoniram Judson during my senior year in college. He was the first protestant missionary to leave the shores of America to bring the Gospel overseas. He created a Burmese written language and single-handedly translated the entire Bible into a language he created. He started a Gospel movement that continues to this day some 200 years later. And the Bible translated by Adoniram Judson is still one of the only versions of the Bible in the Burmese language.
I distinctly remember reading his story alone in my room one night. I was hanging on every word describing this remarkable man’s life. I remember weeping as I read about him burying child after child while bringing the light of the Gospel of Jesus to the land of Burma. I remember a deep desire welling up in me not to waste my life, but to make it count.
I wanted to be used by God build His kingdom on the earth like Adoniram did. It released in me a commitment to consecrate my life for the Gospel. It was an incredible experience before God. I was and continue to be so inspired by the life of Adoniram Judson that Steph and I chose to name one of our boys after him. Don’t worry, we chose his last name.
As we look to the men and women who have gone before us, to those who have spent their lives for the Gospel, and who have run their own race well, we will gain inspiration to run our own race with all of our might!
I believe Christian biographies should inspire us as well as cause us to grow in wisdom. It is for this reason that most nights find me reading a biography to my children as I put them to bed. They absolutely love stories, and although they are only eight, five and three years old, they are getting to learn about men and women who have changed the world for Jesus.
My children could tell you about Amy Carmichael and Gladys Alward. They remember stories of George Mueller and John Wesley. They know the names of Hudson Taylor, Eric Liddell, and Corrie Ten Boom. My prayer is that my ceiling in the spirit would be the floor on which my children stand. I am sowing into them during these formidable years in hopes that they would get a vision for what a life looks like that is fully lived for Christ.
Whether you grew up to bedtime stories of the heroes of old or this is the first time someone has challenged you to invest time in reading Christian biographies, it is never too late. God has used the standards of men and women who have been dead for hundreds of years to give me a greater vision for my life. Through them I have gained wisdom for my journey, and from their lives I have gained inspiration to run my race well.
So if you are interested in biblical concepts, if you want to grow in wisdom and if you want to be inspired to make your life count, pick up a biography and start reading today!
Below is a list of Christian men and women that I think everyone should know about. You can access many of their biographies online for no cost at all, or better yet, you can invest some money and start building your own libraries. Contrary to popular church belief, libraries are not just for pastors. Also, feel free to email me if you have any questions or would like more direction on where to begin reading at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Men and Women to read about:
- Hudson Taylor
- George Mueller
- Praying Hyde
- Jonathan Goforth
- Rees Howells
- C.T. Studd
- David Brainerd
- Corrie Ten Boom
- Gladys Alward
- David Livingston
- John Bunyan
- George Whitfield
- John Wesley
- E.M. Bounds
- Martin Luther
- William Wilberforce
- Eric Liddell
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- William Burns
- Henry Martyn
- John G Paton
- William Carey
- William and Catherine Booth
- Mary Slessor
Author: Dean Tzobanakis
Imagine your favorite thing. For me, it’s big, soft pretzels. Now imagine doing/eating/swimming in that thing forever, and it never getting old! You’re still going to fall short of the bliss of marriage.
I’ve been married for a month and two days as of this publication date. I want these observations to be concise (I’ve learned a whole lot), appropriate for public readership (sex is cool) and taken for what they are (the observations of a 24-year-old newlywed, not John Piper). I also don’t want to be a stumbling block for those still on their way to their wedding day, but an encouragement that marriage is worth the ordeal of talking to the opposite sex, the formality of courtship, the toil of planning a wedding and the sacrifice of loving someone else like Jesus does.
The first thing I noticed when I got married is that marriage is awesome. When God designed marriage, he designed the best sleepover in the world. It’s lifelong, it’s every night and it’s with your best friend. Marriage is also the most wonderful adventure you’ll ever have, in which you’ll daily learn about the love of your life: how goofy they are when nobody else is around, how to best serve and love them, what kind of peanut butter they like (and absolutely detest), how much Tex-Mex they really eat, even what they look like immediately when they wake up. This is romance.
The next thing I noticed about marriage is that it’s hard. Kelsey had to change her last name from “Harris” to “Tzobanakis,” and I had to start putting the toilet seat down. Jokes aside, the reality is that after 20-something years of sitting on the throne of my own life, taking a step down and putting another before me is not exactly natural.
It’s hard to think of what little things I can do to make Kelsey smile when I’m encumbered by my own numerous responsibilities, but she comes first. Whether it’s surprising her with flowers and a York peppermint patty after my Walmart run or unloading the dishwasher before she gets home from work, loving her is always at the forefront of my mind. It’s counterintuitive for a new wife to be joyful while caring for her incapacitated husband, who suddenly can’t walk thanks to severe lumbar inflammation. It’s even crazier when you consider she was suffering from migraines that week, but my wellness was her top priority. Two individual people become a unit, each with the other’s best interest in mind before their own. Each applying their own strength to the other’s weakness.
Transition: sex. Sex is a glorious gift from God and it’s well worth the wait. Don’t do it unless you’ve just dropped a bunch of money on cake and exchanged vows in front of family and friends. What I’ve learned about sex is that it evokes a closeness and security that I’ve never felt and cannot explain. But beyond the profound glue that it is, I’ve found that it cultivates a mindset of service and selflessness that extends to every area of the relationship. God probably drew it up that way.
Finally, and most significantly, the Lord is the best foundation for a healthy marriage. He designed the thing and he knows how it works best. My marriage is in its infancy, but it’s already clear that a gaze fixed on Jesus produces fruit like humility, patience, joy and gratitude.
When the focus is on Jesus, emulating his love becomes more and more natural. You don’t meet your spouse’s needs so that they’ll shut up and get off your back. You don’t meet your spouse’s needs because you want them to meet your needs. You don’t even meet your spouse’s needs because they deserve it. You love, respect, serve and treasure your spouse directly out of reverence for Christ. A wise man once said: “Give 100 percent and expect zero percent back.”
In fact, if you want to get technical, none of us are truly able to meet our spouse’s needs on our own. Only Jesus can be their source of full satisfaction and joy. You know what’s fun about that though? If Jesus meets my needs fully and Jesus meets Kelsey’s needs fully, that frees up both of us to love and serve one another in everything rather than feeling ungrateful toward each other for anything.
My point is this: my wife is more important to me than me. That’s what Jesus said of his bride and that’s exactly what every man should say of his own bride. You see, marriage is a metaphor. Eating calorie-free pretzels all day for eternity would be great, but it could never stack up to marriage. But neither can marriage stack up to having an eternal relationship with the King of the Universe, who sacrificed himself to be close to me. It’s only a foretaste.
Dean Tzobanakis is the national advisor for the Baylor, Oklahoma State, LSU, Tennessee, and Central Oklahoma BYX chapters. He and his wife Kelsey live in Benbrook, TX.
My deep affection for the game of baseball began as a five-year-old. I remember stepping onto the field for the first time. The smell of the grass, the feel of the dirt, the ping of the bat. Something within me flipped to “on” when I stepped between those lines.
As a youngster, I also began to learn the history of the game. I would look at all kinds of statistics that made baseball such a unique sport. The earned run average of the pitchers, the batting averages of the hitters and the number of steals for the runners. I stepped into something that was much, much bigger than myself and had a history found in the numbers.
That is significant. I didn’t make up the rules of the game of baseball or decide which stats should be kept and for how long. I stepped onto the field that was already established.
In many ways, the playing field strategy of baseball is a lot like our role here at Nationals. Our role and priorities as “Nationals” in BYX has several facets. The first is to maintain the integrity and vision of BYX. The “playing field” for BYX is found within our history and preserved in our Constitution. It is our responsibility to set and maintain the framework in which our local chapters operate.
Within that framework is a whole lot of flexibility for BYX to operate uniquely on each campus, but the framework is built on Christ. Everything that we do is to honor Him and fulfill our purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ.
The second priority is to help our existing chapters grow in their vision. The average BYX chapter over the last 30 years has started with about 18 founding fathers. Our average BYX chapter is about 78 members currently. Our priority is to make sure that each of our existing chapters is growing and thriving in the vision of BYX on their campus.
Each chapter has unique needs. Some chapters experience deep brotherhood, some are excellent in their social campus presence, some chapters are excellent in their service to the campus and community. It is our role to bring the national perspective, looking from a high level to evaluate each local chapter. We encourage them in the areas in which they excel and push them in the areas that they need to improve.
Most fraternities have one national advisor for every 60 chapters. We have one advisor per every 8 chapters. Our desire is to have ever-improving relationships with our local chapter officers and assist them in their duties in BYX so that the chapter may continue to grow in excellence.
The third priority is to grow BYX to new university campuses. In the early years, BYX grew extremely slowly. It was primarily by word of mouth that BYX made its way to our Beta Chapter at TCU. The growth trickled around the state of Texas for the first 15 years.
Sometime in the early 2000’s, BYX reached a real critical mass in which there were many young men experiencing brotherhood and unity in Christ and the pace of expansion began to pick up. From 2000 to 2015, BYX grew by 26 chapters.
The last few years have seen an even greater uptick, now adding four chapters a year compared to roughly two a year previously. It is a priority to identify high-caliber Christian college men who see the need for the vision of BYX. We challenge those men through our new chapter phasing process as they move toward their initiation.
The final priority for BYX nationally is to foster alumni relations. In 1988, the BYX alumni association was formed for the purpose of “keeping BYX on the tracks” by Alpha Chapter Founder and Board Chairman Wendel Weaver. The alumni association grew into our current leadership model over the next 12 years, with a Board of Directors and National Staff now serving the purpose of “keeping BYX on the tracks.
Alumni relations up to this point has consisted of establishing basic methods of communication with our alumni in order for them to stay informed with current happenings in BYX. We have grown in this endeavor tremendously with our online and social media presence over the last decade.
However, improving alumni relations may take more time and effort than any other area of focus right now. We have a vision for the next steps in alumni relations and are just beginning to work with a number of prominent alumni from various chapters to make that vision a reality. If we are successful, BYX could very well be entering another phase of tremendous growth opportunity.
These are exciting times to be involved as a member or alumni of Beta Upsilon Chi. The Lord has always sustained us, always provided for us and always gone before us. We pray that He will continue to use BYX to impact young men on a college campus. We believe what happens within the walls of BYX can and does change lives that will change the world. We believe BYX is the best college fraternity experience available to Christian men.
1. Why did you want to join the BYX National Staff?
I honestly feel as though God opened this door for me. Without going into detail, I believe God has been teaching me a lot in the last year. One thing I’ve learned is to follow His direction instead of seeking my own way then trying to fit Him into it. So with BYX, it was pretty clear that I needed to join the team.
Even greater than that, God began to mold my heart to have a passion for this job. I always had a passion for my chapter but started to see the potential of taking that heart to other chapters and campuses. This fraternity has given me more than I could ever give back. My whole purpose in being a national advisor is to serve my chapters the best I can to ensure they live out the vision and purpose of BYX most fully. There are many reasons I joined staff, but the biggest was God doing work. I’m stoked to be a part of a team ready to do some big things for His glory!
2. Why did you want to bring BYX to Tennessee?
Another God thing. He let me be involved in something much bigger than myself, and I’m blessed to have been used in the entire process. Our main goal and vision in bringing BYX to the University of Tennessee was to create an environment where men were able to grow spiritually, socially and academically. We wanted to create a culture that understood you can be a Christian and have fun, succeed and more.
We wanted to be okay together when things were not so pretty, perfect or fun. We wanted to produce a brotherhood where when life was amazing, brothers celebrated, and when life hurt, brothers picked you up and carried you to Christ. There are not many places where men can be real, raw and transparent, so we sought to make such a place on campus. There was a need that BYX met perfectly.
3. What was it like to found a chapter and serve as the founding president?
Humbling and exciting! On paper it looks pretty, but in reality it is extremely challenging. I learned more in that year than I have in most other seasons of my life.
With all that said, I want to be mindful to mention how much fun it was. It was a blast to be in that role and have input in so many areas of our chapter! Much of the goal in that type of role is creating. We were always starting something new. So the most difficult part is making sense of things that have never existed. Whether it is creating a premise around pledgeship, putting together traditions, developing relationships with Greek life or many other new tasks, we had to think about the decision we were making.
It was important to think about the longevity of the things we did as a chapter. What we were involved in was going to affect not only our time in BYX but the brothers of BYX many years down the road. Having that mindset, we wanted to maximize the potential success of our chapter by looking at the why and how in all aspects of our leadership.
One final note I want to mention is that as leaders in our chapter, we knew God was going to do what He wanted in our fraternity so it took pressure off, and we learned to trust. We did our best and trusted God we take care of everything else.
4. How did it feel to see your chapter grow from just the founders to over 100 men in your time on campus?
Wow! What an experience!? Honestly though, I’m not impressed with the quantity but with the quality. It was such an amazing blessing to see and be a part of such amazing growth in quantity and quality. We have some incredible dudes in our chapter and I’m proud to call those men my brothers!
I also think it is an exciting experience to walk through the many changes an organization faces to run efficiently at different levels. BYX at 100-plus active brothers looks a lot different than 20 and many places between. From the beginning, we tried to do things like we were a 200-person chapter. It just took more effort and participation. I believe having the expectation of how it could be helped immensely; not lying to ourselves, but being visionary and hopeful. It was cool to see the chapter adapt along the way, seeing what is most effective but still clinging to the purpose and vision of BYX.
5. What do you like to do with your free time?
Anything fun and outgoing! I love sports (basketball, golf, football, anything SEC, etc.), the outdoors, live music, anything entrepreneurial and TENNESSEE FOOTBALL! (#ButchJones #RisetotheTop #RockyTop)
6. What are some of your goals for your first semester?
Lead and empower my chapters and their leaders the best I can. That looks different at each school, but I am all about serving them, building relationships with them and being available to them. I’m fortunate to have a wide variety of chapters with many differences, but I’m looking forward to all the challenges that come with that. Look out America, BYX at Alabama, Auburn, HBU, Louisiana Tech, Miami, North Texas and Texas State are playing for keeps!
7. Tell us about your family.
My dad passed away a couple of years ago. He was an amazing man of God and Christ follower. I was incredibly close with him. I miss him, but I learned so much from him. He led so beautifully at home, work and church. This broke my family’s hearts, but God definitely showed up in the midst of that tragedy.
I am one of 5 kids! I have an older brother (Nick), a younger brother (Logan) and two younger sisters (Madison and McKenna). Also, my Mom is super legit! She is a great example of servanthood, parenthood and love. She is stronger than most.
Nick has his stuff together and is married to his high school sweetheart, Ashley. They are awesome! He is a media director for a church in Knoxville after 10 years in the news world. She is an RN at UT Hospital (go Vols!) Logan is a killer tennis player and wears me out with no problem. He is in BYX at UT and also a manager for the UT Tennis Team (Go Vols!)
Madison is a sophomore at Tennessee Tech but transferring to UT in the Fall to pursue her passion in teaching (again, Go Vols!) McKenna is a sophomore in high school and works at a pre-school. She is already planning on attending UT (finally, GO VOLS!) Both my sisters are amazingly beautiful! I am super close to all of my family!
8. What did you study at Tennessee?
I received my degree in marketing and concentration in entrepreneurship.
9. What do you hope to do after BYX?
My ultimate goal professionally is to be some sort of serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist hybrid. I understand I am not going to wake up one day at that point, but I look forward to enjoying journey in getting there. Whatever I can do that is most entrepreneurial will likely be the best fit for me. I’m learning to lean into God in my career choices and follow His direction.
10. In Texas, we have our own UT down in Austin. What are your thoughts on that?
Is this question trying to get people to hate me? What I’m about to say is not out of lack of respect for the University of Texas or those associated. I say these things because I love you and want you to know the truth. I also cannot deny the love I have for my beloved UT (Tennessee).
The University of Tennessee is the official UT for a couple reasons:
- The University of Tennessee was founded on September 10, 1794, more than 50 years before Texas was even a state (1845.) University of Texas founding was in 1883.
- Do the names Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, James K. Polk and Andrew Jackson sound familiar? President James K. Polk (a Tennessean) annexed Texas and brought it in to the United States. Davy Crockett and Volunteers held off Mexico at the Alamo. Texas wouldn’t exist without Tennessee heroes like Sam Houston, James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson and Davy Crockett, among others. Without these Tennesseans this conversation would be about the real UM (University of Mexico).
- Multiple logos/marks Texas uses or tries to use were originally The University of Tennessee’s (interlocking UT, power T, orange and white, etc.).
- We have more national championships in football.
11. What is your favorite memory from college?
Anything BYX related ranging from formals, date parties, mixers, homecoming, All Sing with sororities, Initiation Weekend or BYX rave part 1,2 and 3. Second Thursday Worship Nights, Island Week and Party and anything at the house. The list could go on and on. I had a blast!
12. What are your thoughts and opinions on duck ponds?
They seem pretty cool…
On consecutive weeks, members of the National Staff initiated founding fathers for two new chapters. On April 22, men from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga were initiated as the Alpha Lambda. A number of brothers from the Tennessee Chapter traveled to Chattanooga to support the new brothers. The following week, on May 1, the Alpha Mu Chapter was initiated at the University of Kentucky.
National Director & CDO Brian Lee is currently tending to new chapter leads at Kansas State, South Carolina, Iowa and Iowa State. South Carolina is the last SEC school without a chapter, and Kansas State and Iowa State would give BYX chapters on every Big XII campus. The National Staff and Board of Directors intend to add at least two chapters in the fall in order to reach the annual goal of four per year.
The National Staff added three new national advisors this summer. Zach Van Meter, who served as president of the Kappa Chapter at Oklahoma, will serve eight chapters in the fall. He worked on a part-time basis in the spring by advising one chapter. Zach also attended the inaugural COR Leadership Retreat in August 2013.
Kyle Yarborough joins the staff from the Alpha Alpha Chapter at NC State, where he served as vice president. Kyle will also serve as an advisor to eight chapters beginning in the fall.
Jayson Fisher joins the staff as a part-time national advisor, serving five chapters while also attending Dallas Theological Seminary. Jayson served as the pledge captain for the Gamma Chapter at Texas A&M. He served two chapters in the spring and will work with a number of the fraternity’s newest chapters.
The National Staff hopes to once again add a record number of pledges in the fall by providing the local chapters with resources to aid in their recruiting efforts. For the second year in a row, the National Staff distributed full-color brochures, DVDs featuring multiple videos promoting the fraternity and post cards to send to potentials.
Next week, 20 brothers will join the National Staff in Houston to kick off the second annual COR Leadership Retreat. The brothers will go through a number of sessions with prominent alumni and friends of the fraternity intended to grow them professionally and spiritually. Sessions will also be held in Dallas before heading to Almont, Colorado for a number of exciting team building activities. COR is a special opportunity to invest in the fraternity’s elite leaders so that they can return to their local chapters and help move them forward.
The National Staff continues to move towards its year-end fundraising goals. As of June 30, $59,100 has been given toward the year-end goal of $210,000. In August, the fraternity will promote it’s new non-cash giving opportunities by utilizing email blasts and social media.