Thank You, Fraternity.
You’ve given me so much over the years.
When I came to college, you didn’t just give me friends, you gave me family. You gave me a home. You gave me a sense of belonging and purpose. You gave me a group of people who loved me (though we didn’t say it like that) in a way only relatives had done before — and maybe not even them.
Sure, you gave me stuff to do on the weekends, stuff to wear with pride, and stuff to tattoo on myself. But you also gave me deeper gifts. You gave me pause to consider whether my actions would meet your expectations. You gave me confidence to stand up in situations when others remained in their seats. You gave me direction as I sought my own identity. You gave me a creed, a mission, a set of values to check my everyday choices against.
When I graduated, I thought that you’d given me all you had. But I was lucky enough to experience the gift of our organization beyond the walls of my school. You gave me a continent full of connections. You gave me friends who would celebrate with me and struggle with me. You gave me confidants that would stand behind me on one of the most important days of my life. You gave me a guide for becoming a better friend, a better parent, a better human. You gave me a foundation upon which I could build a life that I could one day be proud of.
Now as I reflect on all I have to be thankful for, it’s clear that so much of what I have, what I am, and what I hope to become is because of you. Fraternity, you have given me more than I ever could have understood you would when someone asked me to join you. I am so thankful for you.
Now it is my turn to give you something. The only gift I can think of that could possibly repay all you’ve done for me… The only thing I can imagine would be worthy of your favor… I pledge to give you more people to bestow your gifts upon. Out of gratitude for changing my life, I will do all I can to help you continue to change the lives of countless others. To help you give college students… home, family, belonging and purpose. To help you give them guidance, accountability, courage and values that will stay with them for life. I will do all I can to help you give the life-changing gift of Fraternity to more deserving people. After all you’ve done for me, it is the least that I could do.