Earlier this semester I was asked to facilitate at the 2012 Regional Leadership Academy held in San Francisco, Ca. This was the fourth time I had been to an RLA and second time I had facilitated at one. Like with all Delta Sig national events, it was a great experience.
I was teamed up with an alumni brother from Penn St. to facilitate a discussion around new member education. New member education is a key part of any chapter because it develops your future members and leaders. Of course, a major concern around new member education is hazing. I am proud to belong to a chapter and fraternity that has a zero tolerance policy on hazing but unfortunately it still occurs in the fraternal world.
We aimed to provide a comfortable environment where participants can freely discuss new member education without the fear of getting in trouble for disclosing chapter practices. A big part of contributions to the conversation was about intent. What is the intention of certain new member education/ pledging activities and is that consistent with our values? Often times hazing is done to “earn respect” and because its “tradition.” The intention of that isn’t parallel with the reasons people join our fraternity. There are far better ways to build better men and I think our efforts at the RLA were a step in the right direction. I can’t guarantee that everyone who attended our session will take something from it but if just one person was sparked to improve his chapter and did so, then my day spent in San Francisco was worth it.
On another note, I think it is significant to note that only 3 years ago, our colony (at the time) only sent 12 of our 13 members to RLA and this year we sent 30 men, 1 facilitator, and one Grand Council representative. Ever proud to be a Gamma Epsilon, and ever proud to be a Delta Sig!