As the semester continues and seemingly everywhere except for the state of Texas begins to experience fall, I had the privilege of making my first official chapter visit in the Big 12. Stillwater, Oklahoma was the destination for my trip to see the men of the Oklahoma State Chapter. Given that I love autumn, I was excited to be able to wear my orange loud and proud as I went through this visit. My time in Stillwater was memorable and productive, which leads me to believe that great things are in store for this chapter’s future.
After I checked into my hotel, I was greeted by President Justin Langston and Secretary Drew Renfro. One thing that both Chris Godfrey, my predecessor with this chapter, and I can always say about the men of OSU is that they roll out the red carpet for their national advisor. I was greeted with an official looking itinerary for the visit and enough OSU gear to make me feel like a native. It was enjoyable meeting Drew as he is one of the new officers in the chapter. He was appointed to the secretary position over the summer and has done a remarkable job of filling in the role. He played a substantial role in putting on the OSU legacy chapter weekend and has served well in his limited time as secretary.
Our first order of business was a trip to Eskimo Joe’s, which is a must-see in Stillwater. It is part restaurant and part school spirit shop with the food to match its reputation. Treasurer Heath Vessels and Pledge Captain Kameron Morris met us at the restaurant for a great lunch. I found out that Heath’s younger brother is currently going through his pledgeship process at The University of Oklahoma. It is always exciting to see BYX legacies begin to form within families as our organization gets older and establishes deeper family ties. Heath and Kameron bring strong leadership attributes to the officer corps. It was easy to tell that Kameron is committed to the development of this pledge class, which will serve the fraternity well in the future.
Will Fears and Brad Robinson, vice president and chaplain respectively, met up with us for an officer corps meeting at a local restaurant pot called Tokyo Pot, where you order your food and make it yourself. We had ample time to discuss the vision and the direction of the chapter. There has been a distinct identity shift in this chapter over the past few years. This officer corps has been pushing the chapter towards a more fraternal identity, which is more congruent with the vision of BYX. While this is healthy for the chapter, there have certainly been some growing pains associated with this shift, which we discussed in length.
Saturday was an exciting day for me as I got to experience my first Big 12 football game. The Texas Longhorns came to town to take on the Cowboys and it was evident that the campus was excited for the game. Being a college football fanatic, I could not have been more excited walking up to the tailgate Saturday to see what the rest of the day would entail. The men of OSU started tailgating for the first time this year and have made significant strides in that regard, which I am proud of them for. They utilized cell groups to divide who would set up and take down the tailgate, which worked effectively.
The game was quite exciting even though Texas ended up winning the game on the final drive. I was able to sit with a whole section of BYX men and really experience them in a fun social atmosphere. Boone Pickens is an excellent venue to watch a college football game, and, as an SEC enthusiast, it was a refreshing change of pace to see both offenses run rampant throughout the game.
On Sunday night I attended the pledge and chapter meetings. I was greeted with quite the surprise when the pledges came to the meeting dressed in all sorts of ridiculous costumes. I was even more surprised to find out that the officer corps had a costume waiting for me, which I wore during the duration of the two meetings. The chapter meeting was smooth and efficient and I was highly pleased with the pledges these men have brought in.
If this pledge class is any indication of the future and direction of this chapter, then I am highly confident that bright days lie ahead for these men. The chapter pulled in a pledge class of 26 this semester, and they are highly energetic and ready to dive in to everything that BYX has to offer. On the Friday night in which I arrived, the officer corps took me to Pops, which is a local favorite soda shoppe with over 500 types of soda. While we were there, to our surprise, a group of about 15 pledges had organized a hangout and came to Pops as well. I had a fruitful discussion with the men about their pledge class identity, and I can’t wait to see what these men bring to the chapter in the future.
On my final day of the visit, I was blessed with the opportunity to have multiple meetings with actives and men who are running for office. Some men wanted to get to know me while others were open about their concern and their heart for the chapter. I was appreciative to see the investment and care these men have for their fraternity, and I was able to more clearly discuss the vision of the fraternity with them in a more personal setting.
This chapter is one that is getting over the hump of being a new chapter and learning what it means to be established and not only exist on campus, but to thrive on campus. The past year has been fruitful for the men, and, if their efforts in recruiting stay on track, I have no doubt in my mind they will cement themselves as the best fraternity at OSU sooner rather than later.