From The Courage to Be Brothers by John
Robson which was reprinted in The Lifetime Responsibility of
Brotherhood. It is interesting to note that while much has changed
and continues to change in the Greek world, that the essence of quality
Brotherhood remains constant.
The fraternity chapter cannot be supported and
stabilized from afar. When support is required, it must be provided
through leadership exercised on the scene, first through the alumni and
then through the undergraduate leaders.
Alumni should be pleased to be enlisted in the cause of
Brotherhood. The alumni thus recruited would provide additional resources
never before available. In their relationship to the fraternity chapter,
they would come to feel the same relationship that the college trustee has
to the college. They would lend impetus to the organization.
The alumnus must be an ideal man to be an ideal Brother.
He must be a man in whom the cardinal principles are so strong that they
are the deciding influences in his life. The fact that the ideal Brother
must also possess this qualification is obvious, but it is a point which
must be well made and repeated often.
The saying that the good chapter Brother is the father
to a successful alumnus is true. A poor chapter Brother seldom becomes a
good alumnus; in act, many chapter Brothers never become “alumni” at
all. Nor are chronically poor chapters able to produce good alumni. An
alumnus who had a poor chapter experience frequently becomes a bitter and
outspoken critic of ANY and ALL college fraternities for a lifetime. Such
a man was never and ideal Brother.
The ideal alumnus thus described is one out of a hundred
in the roster of the Fraternity. But there is another Ideal Alumnus, who
ranks above him, for he is one in a thousand. No honor seeker, he is
recognized by his work He has the COURAGE to be a Brother.
Every chapter could have this ideal Brother. The chapter
that has one is on a stable course and is never shaky. The ideal Brother
is a stabilizer and inspirer. Although he may be a graduate of another
institution, he willingly goes into a mediocre or faltering chapter, and
although he is far removed from his undergraduate years becomes an
“active” member of the chapter in a real sense. And because of his
devotion and love for the Fraternity he is quickly, tacitly accepted as
such, and to the unsure Brothers he says, “I will show you the way the
chapter should go. Make it go this way. Teach your Brothers who come after
you to make it go this way, and they will never be at a loss. The chapter
will always be strong.” His manner is decisive, yet he is never a
dictator. He does not “run” the chapter but teaches the leaders how to
The ideal alumnus is willing and able to teach the
chapter – which might not otherwise be taught – how to continually
educate all chapter members, how to maintain successful work and study
habits, how to plan a balanced program of activities, and how to keep up
courage and spirit.
He is the key man on an alumni board of his own chapter
and sometimes another chapter, and he is the stabilizer of the alumni
board. He begins at his own chapter but since he is restless and impatient
to broaden his service to the Fraternity, he will offer to help other
chapters. He will become a district governor. He will install a library in
the chapter house and to get it started will donate his best books from
his personal library. He will see that the Ritualistic paraphernalia are
impeccable. He understands how the kitchen and dining room are to be run.
He will see that cleanliness is observed.
He will drop in on meeting nights, chat with many men.
He will consult with the [VP for Member Development] to make certain he is
educating men properly.
He will show the chapter how to organize an effective
alumni program and publish and circulate a newsletter. He will see that
the mailing list is up to date. When the question is asked, “What shall
we do to improve our public relations?” He will reply, “The first and
only really necessary step in fraternity public relations is in being a
good chapter and in each member being the best possible kind of Fraternity
The ideal alumnus will attend the national convention
and because of his expert knowledge and devotion will be sought out by
virtually every committee. He may be nominated and elected to serve as a
Most of all this alumnus will attract other alumni to
aid the chapter. They think they came because of his fine example, but the
alumnus knows they are contributing because he actively recruited them.
This is the ideal alumnus.