Phi Delta Theta is no mere campus interlude. We’ve all heard it. We’ve probably all said it at one point or another. The real question is, have we all lived it? My guess is probably not. Another question: If we’ve all heard and probably said it, why don’t we live it? My best guess? Because we didn’t have alumni role models who showed us, as undergraduates, how to live the three Cardinal Principles after graduation.
I was one of the lucky ones. I have two amazing role models that paved the way. The first is my first chapter adviser, Dean Clark. Dean is a 1963 graduate of the University of South Dakota and former Samuel V. Stone winner. Through his presence at the chapter house, I knew he cared about us. It wasn’t until his son James was initiated that I realized how much Phi Delt meant to him. I had the honor of being James’ big brother and was never happier to let someone else pin the badge on my little brother’s chest as the night James signed The Bond, especially when I saw the look of pride in Dean’s eyes. That was the first time, but certainly not the last, that I thought about my sons being initiated into the Fraternity. It was also the first time I really understood transmitting the Fraternity to those who follow after, not only not less, but greater than it was transmitted to me.
My second role model is Doug Peterson, also my chapter adviser. Doug was the chapter adviser while I was serving as chapter president. During my first term as president, the University instituted a policy around alcohol consumption and left it to the chapter presidents to enforce. The first weekend of the new policy coincided with one of the biggest “party weekends” of the year at USD. After hearing about this, the first place I went was Doug’s office because I knew that if I enforced this policy I would be extremely unpopular with my chapter brothers, especially the seniors who were a year ahead of me. Instead of brushing me off or letting me off easy, Doug held me accountable as a leader. This event sticks out as it was the first time I learned one of the most valuable lessons on leadership: Often times, a leader can be liked or be effective and, sometimes, these two things are mutually exclusive.
These two events may seem like no big deal to some. To me, they are two of the biggest reasons I went to work for the Fraternity and continue to volunteer for our organization. I know I’ve made several guesses throughout this post, so here’s one more: If we had more volunteers to mentor the young men in our chapters, we would produce more volunteers to mentor young men in our chapters. As a volunteer driven organization, this is about as important as it gets. So, I ask one thing. If you’re able to volunteer, please do. You never know what kind of impact you can have a young man’s life.
Jesse Moyer currently works at KnowledgeWorks, an education-focused social enterprise, as Manager, National Advocacy and Partnerships. Prior to joining KnowledgeWorks, Brother Moyer served General Headquarters as a Leadership Consultant and as the Director of Chapter Services. He is a 2003 graduate of the University of South Dakota where he earned a B.A. in contemporary media and journalism. He went on to earn a Master of Education at Xavier University. Jesse has held several volunteer positions within the Fraternity including serving as the current Zeta Province President. Jesse, his wife Courtnee, and two sons Cooper (3) and Bentley (1) live in Hamilton, Ohio.