Amy Voijta, former President of the Association of Fraternity Advisors and Assistant Dean at Rutgers University, shared this advice at the 2005 Installation Banquet for Alpha Rho.
First, thank you for your kind invitation to be a part of your Installation Banquet. I'm very honored to be here this evening. Second, on behalf of Rutgers University and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, I offer my congratulations to the members of Alpha Rho on their initiation.
As you might guess, my favorite Chi Psi is my husband, John Logan, EΔ '89. When he asked me to attend tonight's banquet and offer a few remarks, much like Lucy Ricardo in the old "I Love Lucy" TV show (and at this point the undergraduates are thinking "Who's Lucy?"), I leapt at the chance.
After listeneing to all of John's stories about Chi Psi, I consider myself quite the expert on all things Purple and Gold and more than happy to have the chance to share my knowledge with you...
All kidding aside, I think the most important piece of Chi Psi knowledge that I can share is that membership in Chi Psi is a gift. Gentlemen, you've just been given a wonderful gift this weekend. Just as the other initiates and alumni in the room will tell you, membership is much more than just knowing the secret stuff.
Membership is a gift allowing you to impact, and be impacted by, other men. I want the Alpha Rho men to look around the room. Study these faces. These are among the most significant friendships you'll ever form. These are among the most significant men with whom you'll ever come into contact outside your own family.
Membership is a gift that equips you with a lifelong blueprint for how to live as a gentleman. Given the times and circumstances we live in, we desparately need more gentlemen on our campuses, in our neighborhoods, running our businesses, and leading our government.
Chi Psi was founded "on the banks" at Rutgers in 1879 and was a part of our Greek community for 120 years until it closed in 1999. One hundred and twenty years...outlasting two World Wars, the Stock Market Crash, countless US Presidents, Communist Russial...it outlasted them all, yet it closed. Why? Members forgot about the gift.
When our members don't honor their relationship to the national fraternity and think only of themselves, they forget about the gift.
When our members reject the good advice and counsel of alumni or refuse to confront brothers who make poor choices, they forget about the gift.
When our members lose sight of the fraternity's values and compromise its principles, they forget about the gift.
For as solid as the concept of fraternity is, you must recognize that the gift of membership is a very fragile thing.
To the alumni who have been responsible for the rebirth of Alpha Rho, I say thank you. Thank you for being good stewards of this gift and sharing it with our students. Having worked in Greek Affairs for thirteen years, I can tell you that without question alumni involvement is directly linked to the success of a chapter. Students need good role models, but they don't just need them during the good times. Everyone loves a successful Alpha, but the true test comes when the Alpha falls on hard times, The collegiate experience of 2005 is a far more complex experience than what it was when we were in school. As such, our members don't need alumni "pals;" they need alumni "advisors" to help them make the right choices during the difficult times. Please continue to share your knowledge and yourselves with our students. Your involvement really does make a difference.
There is a saying, "To whom much is given, much is expected." Speaking as the Assistant Dean of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, I can tell you that Rutgers is expecting great things from Alpha Rho. The University students know this better than I do. Our fraternity community desparately needs an injection of new blood...men who want a different type of fraternal experience - one that focuses on leadership, scholarship, service and friendship for life. I know that the phrase "veiled from the rude gaze of public scrutiny" plays prominently within the history of Chi Psi. But I challenge Alpha Rho's newest initiates to not hide their passion for fraternity from others.
Don't settle for the same old thing.
Don't be afraid to be leaders in our Greek community.
Don't lose the love that you feel for Chi Psi.
Don't forget about the gift.