Flip That Switch

jesse koch

This is a guest post by Jesse Koch. Jesse currently serves as the Associate Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Jesse maintains his own blog, Fraternal Musings, where he provides guidance and support for undergraduate fraternity and sorority members. Jesse is a proud member of Sigma Pi Fraternity.

As I was reading through Pat’s e-book, The Fraternity Leader, it made me reminisce back to my undergraduate experiences and what shaped me as a leader both within the fraternity and campus community.

Day six, “Learn Something about Fraternity Leadership”, particularly struck me. When I was a sophomore in college, I was elected chapter president after being a member of the fraternity for a little over a year. At the time, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about running this organization (partly due to my natural arrogance, and mostly due to naivety).

That summer, I had the privilege to attend my fraternity’s national convocation. It was this experience, and one particular aspect thereof that truly flipped the switch for me, and finally made me realize what being a member of a national fraternity is all about.

Unbeknownst to me, I was selected to serve as an undergraduate representative at the budgeting committee meetings taking place during the convocation. It was this committee’s task to allocate two million dollars in funds for the upcoming year, and present our proposal to the delegation during the final business meeting.

So there I was, sitting in a hotel room with the Grand Third Councilor (Treasurer), the national fraternity’s Director of Finance, and several other movers and shakers within the fraternity. Admittedly, I did very little work, and mostly just tried to absorb everything that was being discussed at the table. Seeing all of those budget line items, and hearing the explanations of why these programs and services are essential to the fraternity’s membership allowed me to see exactly why it was that we paid our annual dues to nationals, and all the great things they were doing on our behalf.

This experience made me realize that there is far more to this fraternity thing than just my chapter. I was sharing this experience with thousands of my brothers from across the country. I had pledged, just like the 80,524 men that came before me, and the tens of thousands that have come after me to uphold the values of fraternity, and live true to these tenants in my everyday life.

This simple act of attending my fraternity’s convocation served as a catalyst that pushed me towards a career as a fraternity and sorority advisor. Through learning more about my fraternity I became a better brother, and knowledgeable member of the organization. It is this knowledge and inspiration that allowed me to follow my passion, and now sees me working to inspire that same enthusiasm into the students whom I advise.

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