As 2013 closes and a new year begins, I think it is just to reflect on the past. In 2013, the DZAA participated in its first ever philanthropy event, we held a staggering number of social events–Third Thursdays, Football Tailgates, Happy hours, a Christmas Party– we presented the first inaugural USF Chi Phi Scholarship Scramble, created a long term home for the DZAA online through www.usfchiphialumni.com, and enlisted a handful of men to help lead our organization to new heights.
Although, as the saying goes, the past is the past, it’s great to have a storied history to recollect; but those days have come and gone. If there is a single greatest weakness of Fraternities, it’s their past. Not that we had done anything particularly wrong in the past, but we spend more time remembering than we do planning. We like to recall how things were and contrast the differences between then and now. It’s a default mechanism we all have. It hides in our Fraternity mind, this idea that we must daunt on the past, and somehow, through Fraternity wizardry, it will codify our experience as justified. The problem with this scenario is, that if we spend our todays reflecting on the past, then how will our tomorrows look? What has more of an influence on tomorrow? Yesterday or Today? How do we achieve greatness and creative ingenuity, if we simply seek to copy and paste, to forgerize our younger selves?
As an organization, we could simply fall into a complacent bubble, and rest on the achievements of 2013. We could say “hey, we have already done more than ever, and potentially more than anyone else, so we should feel good and be content.” For some of us, the notion that we made an oath at initiation to always be a Chi Phi–to stay involved and to be the best man we can be–is enough to hold our attention. Others feel a nagging responsibility to the Brothers that are carrying the flag, to those phone calls, e-mails and not so subtle asks for money or help. Thank you, to those of you who answered those calls; but I’m interested in a different path. I’m interested in being creative, in looking at our problems in a new light. I want to think as though money did not exist, that we had unlimited manpower and an overwhelming creative attitude.
I, by pure chance, ran into Brother Milo Cambridge the other day, and we reminisced over cigars. Our conversation started with niceties, moved onto entrepreneurship, and eventually became a philosophical discussion about life (cigars always lead to philosophy). Near the end of our conversation, Brother Cambridge informed me about the meaning of life. He said that life was about creation, that what a person creates is the only true immortalization that they can achieve. I instantly thought of the DZAA and came to this paradoxical question: What could an organization that is seemingly immortal (we have lasted 30 years and could theoretically last for hundreds more) create? The answer is only limited by our imaginations.
In conclusion, 2014 will be just that, limited by our imagination. Sure, we need money and support from all of you; but more than that, we will be creative. We won’t say “that failed in the past”—we will say “tell me more about that.” So, tell us more about what you want the DZAA to be. Don’t limit yourself, because we’re immortal, and we are able to create anything you can imagine.
I look forward to a prosperous year filled with frivolity and creation and sharing it with all of you.