What I Learned From My Initiation

By Associate Director of Leadership Development Alex Combs

Throughout my development as a candidate, my experience revolved around the concept of becoming part of a more exclusive group.  I was trying to join a group whose values and purpose stood just beyond my knowledge, as I still felt like just another student at my university.  I wanted to identify with that group, those values, and that purpose.  Initiation represented my transition to that more exclusive identity as a candidate, but upon initiation, I learned just how inclusive Greek life was.

I am not suggesting the old, tired claim that our organizations are all the same.  Whether that’s the case or not, it’s irrelevant to my point and represents the wrong kind of inclusiveness.  My point is that despite the fact that our organizations all have different histories, different values, and different ways in which to live those values – aspects that make us exclusive – initiation showed me the aspects that make us very inclusive.

Initiation taught me that we might spend the better part of our undergraduate careers, and perhaps our lives, aspiring to attain an ideal state in our moral and ethical lives.  And the men in that room represented an exclusive group with the willingness and ability to do so.  But initiation also taught me that our aspirations, our achievements, our moral and ethical progress are all in vain if we don’t include the rest of society in our journey.  Every Greek organization has the potential to be great.  If we keep that greatness within our own walls, we’ve essentially done nothing.

Initiation taught me that although we are an exclusive group, we have an obligation to include the world and its people in our lives and do our part to make progress together.

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