My Trinity journey began as an eager 18 year old, unsure of my major, my future or what people meant by “the magic stones.” Between navigating classes, meeting new hallmates and exploring the food scene in San Antonio, there was a lot to learn. This may sound familiar. One thing that clicked immediately, though, was the sense of community that I had never before experienced.
Even as a brand new first-year, I found myself surrounded by students, faculty and staff that genuinely cared about my success and well being. Fast forward four years to graduation, and my sense of community and belonging had grown exponentially in large part due to one thing: Trinity’s Greek life.
I came to college, like many of our members, not initially interested in Greek life. Around October of my first year is when I dipped my toes in the recruitment waters. I had friends who had attended events for weeks, and they finally convinced me to give one a try. One weekend, some fraternity members invited us to grab a late lunch. “Perfect,” I thought, “I could go for some food before hitting the library.” My Texas friends informed me we were headed to The Salt Lick in Driftwood “” considered by many the original mecca of Texas barbeque. Long story short: I had the best brisket of my life and had an absolute blast along the way.
As the semester progressed, I found myself attending more and more of these recruitment events. It became apparent that Trinity fraternities didn’t operate in the manner so often stereotypically portrayed in the movies.
For one, the organization’s events didn’t center around alcohol. Instead, we’d attend concerts, float the river, play frisbee, watch football games, grill unhealthy amounts of meat and yes, even occasionally study. I had the chance to connect with over 40 members that, to this day, I still consider the most diverse group of people I have ever met. There were varsity soccer players and swimmers sharing a meal with philosophy majors and amateur musicians.
Those who grew up on real-life Texas ranches exchanging stories with environmental activists from the Pacific Northwest. Friends that laughed together, grew together and challenged each other. “˜Brothers’ with diverse upbringings and life experiences. “Now this was college,” I thought. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I was hooked. I joined Kappa Kappa Delta in the spring of 2004, and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
As I look back over a decade later, I have realized something amazing. As a member of this community, I have formed friendships that will last a lifetime and I have collected memories that would require lifetimes to forget. I became a part of something bigger than myself. Those swimmers I met as a first-year? One is now a practicing attorney; the other a practicing physician. The amateur musicians? Both now professional with ongoing careers that have included performances at Red Rocks Amphitheater and the South by Southwest music festival. Greek community alumni include doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, entrepreneurs and politicians. The vast majority would jump at the chance to help out a fellow brother or sister “” even one they had never met.
This Sunday marks the beginning of the fraternity and sorority recruitment process. You are likely to hear more than you ever imagined about “brotherhood” and “sisterhood.” You will attend formal and informal events. Camping trips, lunches, tailgates and more await you in the coming weeks. Friendships with active members will surely form, but also take the time to learn more about the organizations themselves. What are that organization’s values? How involved are their alumni? What leadership opportunities are available? Every one of our 13 organizations has something to offer and membership can be a life-changing event. Ask any of our nearly 500 current active members and they will likely agree. Ask any of our thousands of alumni, and you are likely to hear a story somewhat similar to mine. Come February, the fraternity and sorority community will likely welcome between 150 and 200 new members. Will you be one of them? In 10 years, will you share a similar story? There is only one way to find out.