Published: September 22nd 2011September 22nd 2011
GIVE Day with the Gannon Chapter
Overly dramatic trash pick-up on the rocks...these guys are goofballs
Hello again faithful followers,
Greetings from Erie, PA! I've been here just about a week now. I visited with the Gannon Chapter and am just about to wrap up my visit with the Behrend Chapter, before moving on to Hobart University in Geneva, New York. I've never been to Erie before and after this I never plan on coming back (that's for you Christie!). I'm just kidding, it's a nice town and the people are nice. The men of the Gannon Chapter were particularly fun, as you can see in the picture. They are a good group of guys who like to have fun and joke around, kinda like my own chapter.
So I've been staying in a Super 8 for the last few days. I stayed in a Howard Johnson in New Jersey. At face value I would typically say that a Howard Johnson is a nicer quality than a Super 8. Oh how wrong I was! First of all, I've never seen a Super 8 with multiple floors. Well this one does, and it is by far nicer than the Howard Johnson in Clifton, NJ. King-sized bed that I can actually sleep in between the covers, a
Go Golden Knights!
bathroom larger than a small closet, non-creepy dim lighting, and a staff that does room service at a normal time (aka not 6pm when I'm trying to do work...stupid Jersey!)
Anyhow, a little about Gannon and Behrend. Gannon has 6 fraternities and five sororities. Behrend has exactly 3 fraternities and 3 sororities. At Behrend the IFC President is a Delta Chi, and the Panhel President is an AST. I'd call that a win. While I was there I ran into a Kappa Delta Rho consultant, Hensley, whom I met this summer at the several Greek conferences in Indianapolis. It was good to see a familiar face and briefly catch up with someone having similar experiences as myself. The Greek advisors at both schools are really awesome people and I had excellent meetings with both of them. Behrend's IFC runs more smoothly than any IFC I've ever seen, which was pleasing to see, yet made me wish Duquesne's IFC could have been like this when I was an undergraduate (maybe it's cause they only have 3 fraternities and everyone is pretty much friends with everyone else...Duquesne could learn a thing or two from them).
The hustle and bustle of
Painting classrooms, among other community service we did
back-to-back visits is quite an involved process. Each day I am going to meetings with officers and chairmen, driving to and from hotels, restaurants, campus and the chapter house. By the way, eating by yourself in a restaurant is quite possibly the loneliest thing I've ever done in my life. I don't recommend it. Thank God for bars, because that makes dinning in for 1 a lot less awkward than sitting by yourself at a table clearly designed for 4. But I digress...I'm also making multiple calls to the "A"s', "BB"s', ABT Presidents and Greek advisors of the upcoming schools I'll be visiting each day. I'm constantly using a planner, a nifty little device I've spent the better part of my life neglecting and mocking; I now find it to be an indispensable tool in my arsenal of organization. I'm also using iCal on my computer like a madman, and starting to get a little bit more familiar with Excel than I ever have in my life.
One thing I haven't been able to do much is write poetry, simply because I don't have the time. Although I do find writing these blogs a fine substitute for doing so,
In the Gannon house
I miss having the leisure time to crank out some verses here and there. I suppose I could make time, but between calls, meetings and writing reports (and, frankly, driving constantly) it's just not the same. I have a repository of ideas and phrases built up in my mind and in the notes on my phone that I just can't wait to write down, so hopefully over winter break I can alleviate my mind a bit. Speaking of phones, the new iPhone should be coming out super soon (last I heard it will be announced Oct. 4). Get excited; I know I am!
So that's the abbreviated update of my travels, and of course that nifty map at the top. I can't save that map, so each time I have to meticulously go it and retrace my steps...so by the end of the semester I'll be a pro at finding colleges in the middle of nowhere on that map. I do it all for you; be thankful! :-p
Hmm, what should I discuss with you all this time? Any thoughts...I'm like a DJ, I'll do requests, just write it in the comment box.
Ah, I know!
"Every person is the creation of himself, the image of his own thinking and believing. As individuals think and believe, so they are." - Claude M. Bristol "An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience." - James Baldwin
A past sweetheart made this table for them, full of pictures and memories of the brothers
That's a two-for-one combo right there! It's like the BOGO of quotes, and it's all for you!
But seriously, this is something I was pondering intently the other day. For a while now the thoughts of "integrity" and "people need to stand for something" have been swirling around in my mind as I meet new people and interact with them, and as my interactions with you all and everyone back home evolve into their newest phases, the two thoughts synthesized in my mind and turned into my latest meditation: "You are what you believe in; your identity correlates to that which you believe and espouse through your thoughts, behavior, action, personality, character, etc."
Think about it...no, really, think about it. Don't keep reading this paragraph until you've spent at least 30 seconds thinking about it. You are what you believe in, for better or worse. If
The house from the outside
you think about your thoughts, behavior, reputation and all other indicators of who you are, you can tie them back into things you believe. I've always noticed that people give themselves away in the smallest details (if you spend enough time learning how to observe people well) and those small details are like windows into people's beliefs and belief systems. You can tell when people don't know what to believe, or even don't believe in anything. Have you ever encountered a really bland person, who may be nice enough, but when you try to talk with them you're left severely underwhelmed by what they had to say? Conversely, have you ever met someone who talked your ear off about things you may care about, or may not remotely care about at all? The former doesn't believe in much. They cannot articulate any good thoughts because they haven't thought about anything well enough to become convinced by it and believe in it. And the person who talks incessantly believes to their core in what they are talking about. And even if that talkative person is overbearing, they are at least interesting because they have a belief, and that belief is their
Behrend Chapter House
The only Greek house in their whole Greek system
identity. And so in talking to you so much, they are revealing to you who they truly are, and that is what gives them joy.
Belief and identity are intimate partners. That's why it's important to consider carefully what you do believe in. One day you may be called out to explain yourself and defend it, and if you haven't thought it through well enough, it will show.
This is precisely why Greek life, this job, and everything about the two that makes me who I am, are so important to me. I believe in it, I define myself by it, and I don't just represent it; I live it. I couldn't not live it even if I wanted to. I believe in it, therefore I think about it, therefore it becomes my behavior, translates into my actions, colors my personality, chisels my character, and articulates my words. It permeates all aspects of my being and my life.
Belief is a powerful thing! That's why people of faith are often so inspiring (or infuriating, depending on your own perspectives).
I'm not saying you have to do that for Greek life (though, if you're in it, you really ought to, it's quite rewarding). But whatever you believe in, do not ever be ashamed to show it. You already believe it, and it is who you are and what you do. When you try to hide it, you come off as fake and untruthful to yourself and others. This is why people who clearly don't believe in something, yet act like they do, are the fakest of all people (and nobody likes those people at all!) You do yourself no favors by hiding or denying what you believe in. Own it and be proud of it! In a world today where it seems peer pressure has finally trumped personal constitution and having a backbone, knowing what you stand for and believe in makes you stand out as an individual more than ever. People are afraid to do that these days because our culture has scared it out of them to be unique (or we have taught ourselves to be SO unique that individuality has devolved into a myth or a legend). I say to you, be yourself! Be what you believe in! After all, why not…it’s who you are anyway!
So my challenge to you all this week is to meditate on what you really believe in. Don't be shy; be honest with yourself about everything you believe in. Tackle the trickiest issues in your heart and in your mind and really take the time to think them out. I hope that you will all find that the things you believe are more obvious than you expect, and that through really thinking about it you will learn more about yourself than you ever realized, or re-realize things you already knew, but from a different viewpoint (ah, learning about yourself! My next blog topic...spoiler alert!)
Sorry if that read a little bit scatterbrained...I tried to lay it out as clearly as I could for you. Well, until next time, always yours truly...
- Cam Dawg