“Through this Wilderness” of Sorts: Understanding how to Embrace Brotherhood & Diversity

by Μichael Lindsay, Zeta Chi – ΚΚΨ, University of South Carolina

Brothers of USC’s Kappa Kappa Psi (Zeta Chi) and Tau Beta Sigma (Episolon Alpha) attend the Probate of Mu Rho, (4/21/18). Brothers pictured are: Michael Saxton (Spring ’17), Austin Myers (Spring ’17), Alexis Bell (Spring ’17), Katie Cashwell (Spring ’17), Savannah Huggins (Spring ’16), Ayla El-Mereebi (Fall ’16), Brandon Smith (Fall ’16), Jason Byrd (Spring ’16), Jonathan Smith (Spring ’16), Petra Robinson (Spring ’15), Maya Ferguson (Spring ’17), Jonathan Hampton (Spring ’18), and Chase Crawford (Fall ’16). Sisters of Epsilon Alpha pictured are Hunter Antwine (Spring ’17), Adriana Benjamin (Spring ’18), Paige Brown (Spring ’18), and Averi McNeil (Spring ‘18).

Most will agree that music, service, and brotherhood are what ties all brothers together. In the chapter room, we are bonded by these desires to promote the ideals of our fraternity. However, there are points during our times as brothers where it feels as if we are treading “through this wilderness here below”. This “wilderness” can symbolize a variety of things… academics, personal/emotional struggles, or just the overwhelming feeling of being isolated in the college setting. Despite this environment and through my time as an active brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, I have learned that you are never alone.

Taking on a little brother and seeing another membership candidate class go through process, I have witnessed first-hand how brothers feel isolated from their line brothers. Oftentimes, we look for some kind of connection – a physical or emotional event – that solidifies that ideal relationship. However, that is just the thing – as brothers, we must be aware of the distinction between brotherhood and friendship. The honest truth is that we are not going to be best friends with all of our brothers – to do that is to create an artificial reality. Rather, it is through brotherhood that friendships are made. Before I was ever friends with many of the people in my chapter, I was their brother. To feel isolated from your friends are one thing, but to be isolated from you brothers is another.

Zeta Chi Chapter was fortunate enough to host
the 2018 SED Convention (4/14/18)

Geographically and fraternally speaking, chapters can also find themselves isolated from the world around them. Whether it is intentional or not, we can oftentimes become fixated on intra-chapter issues without recognizing the inter-fraternal possibilities around us. For instance, beside ourselves, there are three other active chapter in South Carolina (Zeta Eta, Kappa Beta and Mu Rho). In addition, many of us have little brother chapter all we all have big brother chapters. Zeta Chi is currently working on first strengthening the relations in our backyards. By doing so, not only do we assure other chapters that they are not alone, but we remind ourselves of the same idea.

Zeta Chi visiting their little brother chapter, Kappa Beta (Clemson) for their Ritual of the Second Degree (2/23/18). Brothers from Zeta Chi pictures are (front row, L-R): Alexis Bell (Spring ’17), Jordan Eason (Spring ’16), Michael Lindsay (Spring ’17), Blake Adlam (Fall ’17), and Jordan Finley (Spring ’16).

As secretary of the Zeta Chi chapter, one of my primary objectives have been to dissolve this “wilderness” mindset. Ambassadorship of the fraternity’s ideals limits any reason to feel alone. This previous semester alone, we have been fortunate enough to visit and contact little brother chapters, as well as chapters within the state. In addition, the number of Zeta Chi brothers that visit chapters has risen dramatically over the last year as well as interest in reaching out to others. A lot of this was sparked by our hosting of the Southeastern District Convention in Charleston, SC in April. We were fortunate enough to not only host the event itself, but by being relatively close to the convention site, a number of our brothers had the opportunity to witness and experience brotherhood at its finest. Not only was this past convention the first that I had helped host, but it was the first that I’ve been to.

One thing that Zeta Chi is proud to say it has accepted with open arms is diversity. Without an acceptance of diversity, isolation and solitude do creep in. Diversity does something that transfigures a sense of loneliness into inclusion. Whether brothers don’t look like us, think like us, or have the same majors as us, we must recognize the talent within the brotherhood. By accepting diversity, those brothers that are lost in their purpose in chapter get to shine bright -perspectives develop, perceptions change, and brotherhood deepens.

In conclusion, know that you are never alone. This vast network of Kappa Kappa Psi is there for you no matter what. I am proud of the diversity that this organization, and this distinguishing feature will be what will carry us forward.

AEA

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