A Letter to Parents
* Tristian Walters graduated last year but his words are still relevent. I thought it would be a shame to change what seemed a perfectly good letter depicting what Phi Delta Theta is truly about. It truly is more then an organization and definatly not a "frat".
A note by:
Daniel Van Sickle
So, your son is joining/interested in joining Phi Delta Theta. I know what you are thinking; “Oh no! A fraternity?!?” My name is Tristan Walters and I am a senior Biochemistry Major at Southwestern. I joined Phi Delta Theta during the fall of my freshman year and I want to explain to you why your son choosing to join Phi Delta Theta at Southwestern would be both a good college decision and good life decision.
The reputation that many fraternities have is terrible. Movies such as Animal House portray fraternities as an alcohol bingeing, stupid, and male chauvinist group of men that take advantage of women every chance they get, are inches away from getting kicked out of school every semester, and wasted each second of the day. Are there fraternities like that somewhere out there? Probably. Is Phi Delta Theta at Southwestern College like that? Not at all.
Alcohol and fraternities go together like peanut butter and jelly, right? Wrong. Phi Delta Theta is committed to having an alcohol-free pledge process. This means that alcohol is not allowed at any fraternity event during the period that your son might join. You won’t have to worry about getting a call from a hospital at three in the morning saying your son has alcohol poisoning. Phi Delta Theta at Southwestern College doesn’t have a house to drink alcohol in if we were to make that decision. Even if we did have a house, the General Fraternity has an alcohol-free housing policy that would be deleterious to break. Coupled with Southwestern’s dry campus, these things help put a stop to underage consumption and overindulgence of alcohol.
The next biggest stereotype that we have to overcome is hazing. Before I joined Phi Delta Theta, the first thing I thought of when I was contemplating joining Phi Delta Theta was about hazing. Would I be required to embarrass myself to get in? Would I have to do something that would cause me extreme discomfort? The answer was no. As a chapter, we made a joint decision to ban hazing. We determined that there are far better ways to bond with pledges and it also makes our fraternity more appealing to join. On top of this, Southwestern College and Phi Delta Theta as a whole both have anti-hazing policies. If we were ever caught hazing by either, we would be kicked off campus before we could recite the Greek alphabet (and we can say it fast). Hazing is unacceptable and the risks far outweigh any benefit.
Now that those two big things are out of the way, I can talk a little bit more in depth about the positive things our fraternity boasts. Phi Delta Theta centers around three ideals called the Three Cardinal Principles. These three principles are Friendship, Sound Learning, and Rectitude. Phi Delta Theta at Southwestern has things in place to support each one of these standards.
Friendship is probably the number one reason why a young man would want to join a fraternity. Our fraternity’s social program, in particular, provides opportunities for friendship. In the past, some of the things we have done socially include Halloween trips to Worlds of Fun, Wichita Thunder Hockey matches, and Buffalo Wild Wings and Bowling night. We also try and have an event once a week where we can all get together and have a good time. I believe that one of the most awesome things about Phi Delta Theta is the variety of members in the group. If you hop on over to the Members page, you can tell that it is a group of very different guys. I love that I am friends with these guys, and I wouldn’t have had these friendships had I not been involved in Phi Delta Theta.
I’m sure that you want your son to succeed at college. You, or your son, aren’t paying a zillion dollars a semester so that he can fail out of college. Phi Delta Theta at Southwestern has a scholarship policy in place to support the cardinal principle Sound Learning. This policy includes required study hall hours depending on your son’s GPA. We provide somewhere between 10-15 hours of proctored study hall hours per week in which your son would have to accomplish between 1 and 5 hours, depending on his GPA. Since we have incorporated this, and other things, into our scholarship policy, we have seen a large rise in our cumulative GPA. As of the end of last spring, our cumulative GPA as a chapter is nearly 3.2 which is well above Southwestern’s All Men GPA. With the variety of people in our chapter, there are also a variety of majors. This benefits us because we are always able to help out another member with his classes and this is one of the reasons we succeed.
Lastly, I’ll talk about Rectitude. What the heck is Rectitude? Well, there are many ways to put it into words, but I like to say that it is doing the right thing always, even when no one is looking. One way we are upholding Rectitude is through our community service program. By bettering our community, we are also bettering ourselves. Within the Fall 2010 semester alone Phi Delta Theta has cleaned up at Walnut Valley Festival, picked up trash on our stretch of Adopt-A-Highway, moved an extra long dumpster’s worth of trash from SC’s library basement, bought and delivered Thanksgiving meals to five families, and bought and delivered Christmas presents for 20 children in our 4th annual 12 Days of Christmas campaign. One of Phi Delta Theta’s slogans is “Making Men Better Men” and this is one way we are trying to accomplish this. Besides, who doesn’t love serving his community beside more than a dozen of his best friends?
I sincerely hope that your son decides to join Phi Delta Theta and buys into its ideals. I can honestly say that it is the best decision I have made since coming to Southwestern. If I had not joined, I may have moved to a larger college and missed out on the friends and opportunities that Phi Delta Theta has provided me. Phi Delta Theta has helped develop me into the person I am now and I am proud of that. If you have any further questions, contact the current webmaster at Daniel.VanSickle@sckans.edu or Chandler, our recruitment chair, at email@example.com, or to visit www.phideltatheta.org, our international fraternity's website.