The Sacred Purpose Blog

Motivated to launch a big idea in your chapter or colony

Who care deeply for the Fraternity and your brothers

Recognizing the potential of our Sacred Purpose and true friendship

Sacred Purpose is the truest expression of what it means to be Theta Chi.  It is a bold idea that needs courageous undergraduate leaders who are willing to be the first to serve with a clear purpose in mind.  Becoming a Vice President of Health and Safety is an honor.  That title goes to men who we trust to serve, to care and to inspire.  The Sacred Purpose movement is dedicated to educating and deploying a new force of innovative leaders who want to address the challenging national and local problems that face our Fraternity and our brothers. 

This fall, 145 men will boldly step forward and will be elected as the first Vice Presidents of Health and Safety.  Drawn to the movement because of its mission, these pioneering leaders will need training to fully carry out the responsibilities of their office.  Each of them will travel to Indianapolis in January to attend the official Sacred Purpose Launch Event.  They will be inspired, equipped and connected.  They will leave ready to serve.

Click here to learn more about the role and what it takes to be one of the 145.

In the first video of our five-part series, we explored why we should pursue our Sacred Purpose. In this second video, we go deeper. Here we ask ourselves the question, “What is our Sacred Purpose?”

We will search even further in the third video, when we ask ourselves the important question, “How will we live our Sacred Purpose?”

Later videos will highlight conversations with current undergraduate brothers. You will see them ask their questions and engage in conversation about Sacred Purpose. To see all videos, click here.

Please take the time to register your email at the Sacred Purpose website. You will automatically receive email notifications when fresh content is added. Our goal is for every brother to show his support of Sacred Purpose by registering today.

The Sacred Purpose movement was born out of a simple but ambitious desire: to improve the life of every Theta Chi brother. In order to create a movement that would be substantial enough to reach every brother in meaningful ways, we had to start  the heart of what it means to be a Theta Chi.

For more than 150 years, we have been defined by our friendships and by our willingness to lend a helping hand to those in need. So what would be the natural evolution of a Fraternity defined by its friendship and charity? Rather than offer another round of finite programming or run a campaign to try to improve the health and wellbeing of Theta Chi brothers, we’ve taken it one step further. We’ve reimagined our leadership structure and implemented at every level of the Theta Chi experience a formal and relevant expression of our fraternal purpose: brotherhood and the helping hand.

At the international level, we’ve already created and invested in a new Director of Health and Safety Programming who will champion Sacred Purpose and oversee the efforts of all chapters. However, in order to be as far-reaching and successful as it can possibly be, Sacred Purpose needs a solid leadership foundation at the local level. To that end, we are creating a new leadership position—Vice President of Health and Safety—for undergraduate leaders interested in passionately launching, elevating and advancing the movement.

In addition to creating new leadership positions, we’ve updated the Ritual and integrated the new leadership structure into the ceremonies. All that to say:  Sacred Purpose is not just another round of programming. It’s not something we’re doing because everyone else is doing it. In fact, to our knowledge, no other fraternal organizations are doing anything quite like Sacred Purpose.

Sacred Purpose is a big idea with goals and changes that might seem drastic at first. However, it is an idea that strikes at the very core of what it means to be a Theta Chi. Sacred Purpose does not break from tradition; it honors the traditions and values that we hold most dear. It pays homage to the core values that have brought us this far—the same values that will see us through the inevitable challenges ahead.

It takes a long time for big ideas to mature. There may be moments along the way when our work feels messy and unfruitful. We will have to ask ourselves the question, “Is this worth it and does it really matter?” We all took an oath that affirms our deep conviction that, when it comes to one another, the answer is “yes.”

Do we think Sacred Purpose will work? Yes. It may not be as easy as we would like, but then again, no truly meaningful endeavor is easy. Yes, we may need to make adjustments along the way. Yes, we may need to help one another out. But that should come naturally to us. After all, we are Theta Chis.

Sacred Purpose will work because it is our collective purpose. It will work because we will work together to make it happen. It will work because we care deeply for one another and we want to see every one of our brothers live the life he is capable of.

Sacred Purpose is good work. It is the work of Theta Chi. It is the work of every brother.

Let’s get to work.

Shawn Bennett ’92 (Gamma Tau chapter, Drake University) inspires the Sacred Purpose movement by dreaming big as the Director of Health and Safety Programming for Theta Chi Fraternity.

I think it is important that you get to know Najja Marshall.  He is an outstanding young man who has impressed me over and over again. He is the type of guy who is always willing to step into the gap and do the things that need to be done—the things that most of us don’t want to do. But Najja is more than a hard worker, a scholar and a student leader. Najja is our brother and he loves the Fraternity.

Najja is a senior at Indiana University which is home to one of the largest and most influential Greek communities in America. He is the former chapter president and served with distinction. About a year ago, Najja was asked to join a task force made up of select undergraduate chapter presidents from some of America’s most prominent Greek systems. Those undergraduate brothers gathered in Indianapolis and were asked to talk about some of the most important issues facing Theta Chi today. They were asked to imagine a better Theta Chi, a fraternity with a deeper sense of brotherhood and purpose.

At first glance, it would seem easy to gather with a group of brothers and dream big. But, as they were to learn, their work was challenging. National President, Dick Elder, tasked them with doing more more than talking about our collective future. He asked them to put pencil to paper and chart a course for the Fraternity and for all of us as brothers. They were asked to create a plan so that we might actually achieve our dream. That is a daunting assignment when you consider our nearly seven thousand undergraduates and tens of thousands of alumni. Naturally, they felt burdened to speak for everyone. I can assure you those courageous young brothers considered all of us and our diverse experiences. But, beyond that, they deeply considered what it means to be Theta Chi and men of high purpose and character.

The outcome of that weekend in Indianapolis has sparked one of the most inspiring visions ever considered in Theta Chi. Sure, they all  rubbed their tired eyes during the wee hours of the night as they wrestled with tons of potential ideas and strategies. But, most inspiring, a diverse group of undergraduates entered a room and found common ground in our fraternal purpose and our fraternal future.

Najja was a part of those historic conversations. I introduce you to Najja so that he can tell you the story of how undergraduates came together to think deeply about all of us. After that weekend, we knew that our work was not complete, but we knew proudly that it had begun. Those early conversations were the first spark of what we now know as Sacred Purpose. At its core, Sacred Purpose was imagined in the minds and hearts of undergraduates who are, like Najja, very good brothers.

I toast them for their courage and vision. They have made Theta Chi better. They have made all of us better.

In the future, I will introduce you to all of the men who were a part of that historic weekend.

Shawn Bennett ’92 (Gamma Tau chapter, Drake University) inspires the Sacred Purpose movement by dreaming big as the Director of Health and Safety Programming for Theta Chi Fraternity.

So,what happens next?

We just hit the ‘go’ button on one of the most significant ideas in our history.  This is a big idea with goals and changes that can seem strange at first.  However, it is an idea that strikes at the very core of what it means to be Theta Chi. 

You are probably wondering what needs to be done next.

Firsttake a deep breath.   It is only natural to feel a bit anxious about things that have never been done before.  Believe me, I have felt that way many times during my life.  At this point, I would bet that you are curious about a lot of things.  Hoping to provide as much useful information as possible, we did our best to imagine the types of questions you might have.  We set up a Frequently Asked Questions section that will be quite helpful.

Secondread our Quick Launch Guide.  The guide gives a step-by-step process for launching Sacred Purpose at your chapter.  The most important thing at this point is to learn as much as you can.  The next important thing is to set a solid foundation.  That means that your chapter will elect its first Vice President of Health and Safety.   After we get through those first steps, we will tackle the process of inspiring and equipping those first 145 brothers who will be taking on this new role.

Thirdtrust the process.  For those of you who have attended the Initiative Academy, you probably recognize this well-worn phrase.  Nobody has escaped the nervous and uncertain emotions that naturally come with beginning something for the first time.  You probably remember your first day of school when you met complete strangers who would soon be your best friends.  Or, perhaps you recall the first time you walked onto the practice field and wondered if your team would ever win a game.  And, don’t forget that time when you opened the first page of a never-before-played piece of music.  Those first sounds may have been regrettable but you will always remember the elation of finally conquering that song.  In hundreds of situations just like these, we have all trusted the process.  That process was not always easy.  We had to work hard, learn, and take some advice.  At times, we may have doubted ourselves and the people around us.  But, we stuck with it.  We were resilient and gritty.  We did not give up even though we may have wanted to.  Fortunately, we had people around us who believed in us, encouraged us, and taught us. We trusted the process and did good things.

The beginning of Sacred Purpose can bring those same nervous and uncertain feelings.  Heck, I have been working on this for quite a long time and I still sometimes hear a faint voice wondering if I have what it takes to inspire an entire fraternity.  But as the days pass, my sense of belief gets stronger and stronger.  You and I—all of us—must trust the process.  We are doing something special and very good.  We are creating a better brotherhood and a better Theta Chi.  We may doubt that we can do it, but we must never doubt that we are doing the right thing.  We must be resilient and gritty.  We must spur one another on to the good work set before us.

Fourthlet us know what you are thinking and feeling.  I am sure there are some questions that we have not thought about yet.  I hope you will take the time to share your questions with us by using the comments feature.   If you are wondering about it, I am sure others are thinking it as well.  We are hoping to create a national dialog among all brothers.  I really believe that national conversation will form and more deeply inspire our collective Sacred Purpose.   I will do my best to answer all of your questions and share them here for everyone to see.   And, don’t forget, I would love for you to share your positive feelings as well.  Those affirming thoughts will encourage all of us to be better brothers and better Theta Chis.

Shawn Bennett ’92 (Gamma Tau chapter, Drake University) inspires the Sacred Purpose movement by dreaming big as the Director of Health and Safety Programming for Theta Chi Fraternity.