The Sacred Purpose Blog

With recent national and world events in mind I sat down and thought about what I would do if I was thrust into a situation where my safety and those around me became dangerous. After a recent attack in what was, up until six months ago my home, I never really thought it could happen to me.dallas

 

Never in my city. Never in my neighborhood. Never on my street.

 

My naivety got the best of me when an armed gunman took the lives of Dallas and DART police officers last week in downtown Dallas, Texas. I’ve spent countless hours at a park suspended over a highway in downtown. I’ve spent days and nights in museums blocks away, plenty of money on basketball games in the same area, and my fair share of brunches on patios downtown. This was my home and the home to many friends and family. My best friend lived in a high-rise 2 blocks north up until 3 weeks ago. He was in his office a few blocks away working late, as usual, when gunshots rang out. When word hit my twitter feed I was stunned. In a panic, I sent him a text, “just stay inside”.

Then an even larger cloud of uncertainty came over me. The protesters; I know them. They were my neighbors, my colleagues, and my friends. How do I make sure they are safe? How do they know what to do? This isn’t something they teach you in school. What would I do? What do you do?

While officials say the likelihood of being caught up in an attack is “very, very small”, the public is urged to follow these steps if you should hear gunshots or an explosion in your office, school, residence hall, or in public.

Run to a place of safety but only if you can.

  • First consider your route. Is it safe? Will it put you in the line of fire?
  • Act quickly and quietly
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Insist on others coming with you

Hide if you can’t run somewhere safely.

  • When looking for a hiding place, avoid dead-ends and bottlenecks
  • Asses weather your hiding place will be substantially protected from gunfire
  • If you’ve locked yourself in a room, barricade yourself in and move away from the door
  • Stay quiet; do not shout for help
  • Turn your phone onto silent and switch off vibrate

Tell the police of the attack.

  • If you are able to evacuate get as far away as possible
  • If it is safe to do so, try and stop others from entering
  • Dial 911 and tell the operator of the location of you and the attacker(s)
  • Include descriptions of your surroundings as well as if there are casualties.
  • When approached by officers, keep your hands in plain sight at all times.

Dallas PoliceWhile this is by no means a catch-all post of what to do in the event of an attack, these steps are proven to have saved lives. You will not know what to do until it happens to you but being as proactive as possible is always a best practice. Sacred Purpose is about keeping our brothers safe and with these steps you can keep yourself, your brothers, and your community safe during a frightening situation.

 

*Information provided from the National Police Chiefs’ Council in the UK

PJ RAM2

There are a few different ways we learn how to be a man. Be it from our fathers, uncles, mothers, friends or society, people tell us what it means to be a man from a very early age. Even before we reach college, society begins to tell us what it means to be a fraternity man. The media, television, and movies paint the picture of a fraternity man and how they are the embodiment of masculinity. These outlets show us how to be masculine in our behavior, personality, and interactions with others. Perceived fraternity culture suggests we ask all the wrong questions which can lead to devastating consequences.

How much alcohol did you guys go through? Did you black out? Who threw up? Did you sleep with your date? How much money did you spend? Did you guys get the security deposit back? How bad were the damages? Did anyone go to the hospital? Are you on so-pro now?

Do these questions sound familiar?

Society’s idea of fraternity culture tells us, among other things, we should have the ability to drink large amounts of alcohol. But how can we prove to other fraternity men we can do it better? We challenge them to drinking games. Sometimes it seems as if the goal is to cause the most damage possible to our bodies, our location, and our reputation to prove how much of a “man” we really are. But what does this mean for fraternity men and the tenet of masculinity we represent?

The Delta Eta Chapter of Theta Chi holds an annual formal event in the Rocky Mountains. For the last two years, Delta Eta’s Health and Safety Advisor, Ryan Barone, PhD. facilitated a discussion with the chapter on how masculinity often impacts the way men behave at these formal events. Dr. Barone shifts the conversation to start asking the right questions.

How does excessive drinking make you more of a man? How can you make sure you and your guests are safe if they choose to drink? Is it an expectation to sleep with your date, and how does this expectation perpetuate rape culture? What if one of your brothers wants to bring his boyfriend as a date? Are you, as a man, expected to pay for everything that weekend?

In an ideal world, these questions would be the familiar ones. The men of Delta Eta discussed ways to challenge culture, expectations and the way society tells men to act. They made the decision to consume alcohol safely, and to watch out for their brothers and guests. They recognized there should be no expectation to drink. To instead ask for consent, not expect it. To respect the location and leave it as good, if not better, than when they arrived

Theta Chi at Colorado State University is challenging the way they personify masculinity. These men decided part of their Sacred Purpose was to have these conversations and challenge the influence fraternity culture has on masculinity. Their Sacred Purpose is to ask themselves what it means to be a man and how their actions represent masculinity and the brotherhood of Theta Chi Fraternity.

PJ Ricketson, Field Executive

Will Maher 4

When I went off to college everyone gave me advice.

My closest friends who had been there a year told me to meet as many people as possible my first month, because that is the narrow window in which strangers will actually welcome conversation. They told me the best routes to class, in order to avoid the clipboard people who only wanted to “ask you a couple questions” about something. I heard about the best burrito in town, the spots open till 4am, the strongest coffee on campus, and the best brunch spot.

My relatives all gave the same advice: go to class. Coming from an Italian family, with reunions of a 100 ‘aunts and uncles’ whom I’ve never met and are probably not even related to, I heard this advice a lot. My parents lectured me on the importance of money; something they still do. I read books and browsed the internet; no shred of wisdom would escape me. I got a lot of advice about college, but what was strange was no one ever said anything about rape or sexual assault.

It was just like any other evening in college and I was sober driver for our group of friends. The party we were at was nothing special but nevertheless, we were there. While I was sipping my water and talking with my Fraternity brother about an upcoming brotherhood camping trip we were planning, we noticed a guy doing a very poor job of hitting on a girl. I began to say frivolously that the guy was so bad at flirting that he was putting her to sleep. Before I could finish my sentence I realized that the woman, who could barely stand, with her eyes fluttering open and shut, wasn’t okay. That night, my Fraternity brother and I said something.

We found this woman’s friend and distracted the guy hitting on her so that she could get home safely. He called us a lot of names that are best left unwritten, but it didn’t matter because we knew we did the right thing. Man code doesn’t matter when someone is in danger of being sexually assaulted.

To me this is what Sacred Purpose is about: the safety of our members and the rest of campus. Always asking for consent in our own encounters is vital to ending sexual assault and rape. The fraternity taught me how to be an active bystander by engaging in conversations regarding consent and sexual assault. I was taught to be open and honest with my fellow brothers about the issue and this helped tremendously. Being an active bystander and looking out for the safety of those around you is just one way to insure our campuses are safe. If only one person at every party were to act as an active bystander maybe this culture shift in our own community will happen sooner, rather than later.

If you want resources on bystander intervention, you can click Here and Here

William Maher, Field Executive

On February 27th, the men of Beta Lambda Chapter at The University of Akron in Ohio held a Charity Dinner in honor of alumnus brother Anthony Capozzi, who was recently re-diagnosed with brain cancer. Brother Capozzi has remained actively involved with the chapter for many years, serves as a volunteer on multiple university boards but really loves stopping by the house to mentor and spend time with the chapter. When the Chapter learned he was diagnosed with brain cancer for a second time, they immediately wanted to take action and come up with something that would honor him.

After discussing the best possible avenues to honor Brother Capozzi during chapter meeting, the group decided a Sacred Purpose Event, would be the best route to take. The brothers hired Dr. Symeon Miseoes, from Akron General to speak at the Dine and Donate event and to share valuable information with attendees about brain cancer and ways to support those around you who are living with the disease. Finally, active brother, C.J. Evans, who also overcame brain cancer during his high school years reached out to his family for further support. They graciously agreed to donate all of the food for the event.

The chapter advertised the event through IFC, spoke to multiple organizations on campus about their event and ended up receiving a phenomenal amount of support from the campus and community. They even had to adjust their original plan of providing 150 seats to 350 seats for attendees. Luckily, a few generous alumni in the area were able to financially assist the active chapter, which made them able to accommodate their overwhelming number of guests.

The chapter ended up raising $2,111 dollars from the event and are anticipating further donations to get their grand donations total to $2,500. This will make the event the largest fundraiser Beta Lambda has hosted in over a decade. Keep up the great work brothers!

Bob Eberling, Field Executive

Before you all head out for “SPRING BREAK 2016!” I wanted to make sure you had the tools needed to be successful.

I asked some SPRING BREAK vets I know if they had any advice for our subscribers and below is what they had to say. So before you head out this weekend (or if you are out right now) take a look at this list and make the most of your time!

SB

Safety

* Know your surroundings and make sure you are with people you trust.
* Be safe, especially if you are out of state or out of the country.
* Stay in a group. Get your own drinks. Stay vigilant.
* Have fun, but don’t be irresponsible. Your health and safety is important.
* If you are planning for outdoor activities, make sure that you remember to stay hydrated.
* Don’t drink and drive.
* Use protection.
* Keep your phone with you at all times.
* Even though you’re having fun, try to remain smart about where you are, what you’re doing and how much money you’re spending.
* Designate a driver and don’t feel like you missed out if you don’t go wild.

Wellness

* Get as much regenerative rest as you can.
* Be yourself.
* Enjoy yourself. Do something that you find fun and relaxing to get your mind off of classes, even if just for an hour or two.
* Go out, meet people and do something you have always wanted to try.
* Life is all about balance.

Be safe out there!

flagbeach_cara

Presented annually, the David L. Westol Sacred Purpose Award goes to the chapter that most exemplifies the spirit of our Sacred Purpose movement.  Launched in the fall of 2013, the Sacred Purpose movement is the modern expression of our motto— the Assisting Hand.  The Sacred Purpose offers programmatic support at the chapter and international levels that concentrates specifically on health and safety related topics.  The movement called for the creation of new leadership positions that help us better care for and understand one another.

The award is named in honor of David L. Westol, Beta Zeta / Michigan State 1973, whose volunteer and professional career have been devoted to the health, safety, and protection of fraternity and sorority members.   After graduating from Michigan State in 1973, Dave worked for his alma mater as Assistant Director of Student Activities and Advisor to Fraternities. He was admitted to the Michigan Bar in November 1979 and became an assistant prosecutor for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in Kalamazoo County, MI.

From 1975-1980, Westol served as a Regional Counselor for Theta Chi before being elected to the Grand Chapter as National Vice President in 1980. He remained in that role until completing his maximum second term in 1988. In December of that year, he was named the Fraternity’s Executive Director and held that position for 18 years. Today, he is the founder, owner and CEO of Limberlost Consulting.

Westol’s interfraternal career is equally impressive. He was elected to the board of directors of the Fraternal Information and Programming Group (FIPG) in 1993 and has served continuously on the board since that time. He has also served FIPG in the roles of Director of Policy Interpretation and Administrator since 1996. In July 1998, he was elected to the Fraternity Executives Association (FEA) board of directors and served as president from 2002-2003. He has also served on the board of directors for HazingPrevention.org and on the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV).

Dave has become a ubiquitous figure at fraternity and sorority leadership development events. He has performed his signature anti-hazing presentation “Hazing on Trial” over 1,800 times since 1981 and has spoken on more than 350 campuses and at over 200 Greek leadership events. Dave has served as a faculty member for AFLV, the Northeast Greek Leadership Association, the Southeast Interfraternity Conference and the Fraternal Risk Management Trust, (FRMT) Inc. From its first session in the early 1990s through 2010, he was a faculty member for “Risk Management on the Road,” an annual traveling consultants’ workshop for women’s national fraternities and sororities.

In 2012, Dave was named a recipient of the North American Interfraternity Conference’s Gold Medal, the most prestigious honor in the interfraternal world. Brother Westol is one of only four Theta Chi members to have received the Gold Medal.

The Dave Westol Sacred Purpose Award consists of an engraved crystal trophy bearing the chapter’s designation and the university or college name.  The award handsomely displays the Sacred Purpose logo as its primary visual element.

The award also prominently features one of Brother Westol’s favorite quotes.  Authored by Edwin Markham, the quote eloquently captures the spirit of the Sacred Purpose movement:

“There is a destiny that makes us brothers

None goes his way alone.

All that we send into the lives of others

Comes back into our very own”

Edwin Markham  1852-1940

All active chapters and colonies are eligible to apply for the award.  And, final approval of the award recipient is confirmed by the National Sacred Purpose Committee.

The winning chapter hosted multiple health and safety related expert guest speakers for their members.  These speakers covered subjects such as fire safety, stress management, sexual health, diversity, and sexual assault bystander intervention.

The chapter created programs that provided meaning and purpose to the campus as a whole, especially in health and safety. They hosted four PostSecret U events focusing on mental illness counseling and prevention, as well as providing alcohol-free parties and activities in partnership with the counseling center to educate on impairment under the influence.

In addition to these impressive programs, the chapter created a video related to the “It’s On Us” campaign to bring awareness to sexual assault.

Fundraising was also high on this chapter’s list of accomplishments as they were able to raise over $12,000 in their first annual G.I. Theta Chi event series which benefited the USO. They also raised over $20,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, and close to $1,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in an Out of the Darkness Campus Walk.

It is my pleasure to announce that the winner of this year’s David L. Westol Sacred Purpose Award is Iota Sigma/Towson University! Congratulations, Brothers!

062715_ThetaChi-050

Pictured above is Brother Kevin Reynolds from Iota Sigma/Towson accepting the David L. Westol Sacred Purpose Award at the Theta Session of this summer’s Initiative Academy.

Today we have received some great news from two chapters who happen to be about an hour and a half long car ride away from each other. It’s only appropriate that we share it with you all, now! We couldn’t be more proud of our Epsilon Zeta/ University of Tampa and Iota Theta/ University of Central Florida chapters. Keep up the good work, gentlemen!

Epsilon Zeta/ University of Tampa

UPDATE: Epsilon Zeta/ University of Tampa had originally expected around 100 people in attendance for their event and topped that with over 180 people in attendance! Great job, Brothers! 

On April 1, 2015 at 7:00pm in the Reeves Theatre (Vaughn Building) on the University of Tampa’s campus, the Epsilon Zeta/ University of Tampa chapter and the University of Tampa Active Minds chapter will be hosting Mr. Jordan Burnham to speak on behalf of suicide prevention and awareness. This event is open for all who wish to attend. Their goal by bringing in Mr. Burnham is to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health all while raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Epsilon Zeta brothers will be selling wrist bands for $2 prior to the event to help offset the costs of bringing Mr. Burnham to campus as well as to provide a cash donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They hope to raise over $500 from now until the date of the event by selling wrist bands and hosting an event at The Outpost after the conclusion of the Mr. Burnham’s presentation. Patrons of The Outpost from 8pm-10pm will have 10% of their meal total donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Outpost is located at 909 W. Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, Florida 33606.

 

Brother McCabe, Vice President of Health and Safety (Epsilon Zeta/ University of Tampa), said, “I hope that this helps other Vice Presidents of Health and Safety and other chapters of Theta Chi Fraternity so that we can all do well in our respective communities and make a real difference!” Thank you to Brother McCabe for sharing your event with us! We wish you the best of luck!

UT CWE1

 

Iota Theta/ University of Central Florida

 

The Iota Theta/ University of Central Florida chapter hosted their first Sacred Purpose campus wide event of the semester at 6pm on March 23,, 2015, in the Cape Florida Ballroom on the University of Central Florida campus. They hosted an event in collaboration with The Florida Abolitionist Movement and the program’s goal was to raise awareness of the terrible horrors of human sex trafficking. Brothers of the Iota Theta Chapter came into their relationship with The Florida Abolitionist Movement through one of their members while he was running for Mr. UCF. Brother Lucdwin Luck’s platform while running for Mr. UCF was based upon spreading awareness in order to stop human sex trafficking. After Brother Luck’s campaign had ended, he encouraged his chapter to continue their relationship with the Florida Abolitionist Movement in order to perpetuate the spread of awareness. Approximately 40 students and guests were in attendance for this event and left with a wealth of knowledge in regards to ending human sex trafficking.

 

Thank you Brother Wallach, Vice President of Health and Safety (Iota Theta/ University of Central Florida), for sharing this with us! Keep up the good work!

UCF CWE1

 

 

National President, Dick Elder addressed the assembled brothers this past summer at our Convention. He cast an inspiring vision for Theta Chi’s Sacred Purpose movement.

Brother Elder recognized that many of our chapters have already received encouraging media attention for their positive impact. In the spirit of spreading Sacred Purpose beyond the walls of Theta Chi, he challenged each chapter and colony to work directly with their campus newspapers and other campus media outlets.

The goal is that every chapter and colony will be showcased in their campus newspaper before January 2015. The article will fully highlight our national Sacred Purpose movement and emphasize the positive impact of our local chapters.

The media exposure will draw needed attention to the health and safety challenges facing today’s students and Greek organizations. It will also position our chapters and colonies as centers of influence and positive change.  As a result, Theta Chi will increasingly be a relevant and powerful voice at our host institutions.

With the Vice President of Health and Safety taking the lead, we are asking all chapters and colonies to immediately connect with the campus newspaper editor and other campus media leaders.

How to get started (total time needed about 15 minutes)
Your logical next step is to engage your local campus newspaper. To make that easy for you, we have created a pitch letter and press release. The pitch letter is a brief email letter that introduces you and your story idea to the newspaper editor/reporter. It is written to quickly capture their attention and motivate them to learn more. The press release offers additional information about the Sacred Purpose movement.

The next steps

1) Identify the names, email addresses, and telephone numbers of the campus newspaper editor and other media leaders

2) Add your name and contact information at the bottom of the pitch letter

3) Copy and paste the contents of the pitch letter into the body of an email(s)

4) Address the email(s) to the newspaper editor and other media leaders

5) Copy and paste the email subject line into the subject line of the email(s)

6) Attach the Theta Chi Sacred Purpose press release to the email(s)

7) Send the email(s)

8) If you do not hear from the editor within two days, place a follow up phone call and request a 15 minute meeting

9) Make yourself available for an interview with the newspaper or other media outlets

10) Email the finalized newspaper article(s) to the International Headquarters so we can highlight your success stories and progress

Thanks for spreading the word about Theta Chi Sacred Purpose. We look forward to hearing about your continued success!!

 

Throughout this first six months, I have received hundreds of emails and phone calls from undergraduates, alumni, parents and university administrators. Those messages have been filled with positive reports, stories and testimonials. I have heard about the good work and impact of our Vice Presidents of Health and Safety. Although the Sacred Purpose movement is still in its infancy, I want to assure you that it is alive and well. I am so proud of what our chapters have accomplished!

Off to a great start
Since January, 119 of our 149 chapters and colonies have reported their positive impact:

Total number of guest speakers                            218

Total number of campus-wide programs            119
Alcohol/drugs 36
Mental health 35
Non-consensual sexual activity 25
Exercise/nutrition 12
Fire/life safety 11

Total number of Health and Safety Advisors       63

Congratulations, brothers!

 

Congratulations to the brothers of Beta Phi chapter at the University of Nevada-Reno for winning the inaugural David L. Westol Sacred Purpose Award.RE_2014_thetachiconvention_-522 - Sacred Purpose General Session - Paul Norstrem Presents Dave Westol Award to Beta PhiThe quality of award applications submitted this first year were truly outstanding. We could not be more proud of what our undergraduates have accomplished during the first semester of our Sacred Purpose movement.

The winning chapter hosted two health and safety related expert guest speakers for their members. The first speaker explored the important topics of sexual harassment, discrimination and sexual assault prevention. The second expert speaker discussed mental health among college students with a special emphasis on depression and stress reduction.

For their campus-wide program, the chapter worked in conjunction with a prominent advocacy group called Zero Fatalities to raise awareness on the dangers of drinking and driving. By reserving space in a large auditorium, the event attracted 130 students from every corner of their campus community.

In addition to these impressive programs, the chapter cultivated relationships with the campus Health Center, the Title IX office, Zero Fatalities, and the Department of Public Safety.Beta PhiBeta Phi 2Presented annually, the David L. Westol Sacred Purpose Award goes to the chapter that most exemplifies the spirit of our Sacred Purpose movement. Launched in the fall of 2013, the Sacred Purpose movement is the modern expression of our motto— the Assisting Hand. The Sacred Purpose offers programmatic support at the chapter and international levels that concentrates specifically on health and safety related topics. The movement called for the creation of new leadership positions that help us better care for and understand one another.

The award is named in honor of David L. Westol, Beta Zeta / Michigan State 1973, whose volunteer and professional career have been devoted to the health, safety, and protection of fraternity and sorority members. After graduating from Michigan State in 1973, Dave worked for his alma mater as Assistant Director of Student Activities and Advisor to Fraternities. He was admitted to the Michigan Bar in November 1979 and became an assistant prosecutor for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in Kalamazoo County, MI.

From 1975-1980, Westol served as a Regional Counselor for Theta Chi before being elected to the Grand Chapter as National Vice President in 1980. He remained in that role until completing his maximum second term in 1988. In December of that year, he was named the Fraternity’s Executive Director and held that position for 18 years. Today, he is the founder, owner and CEO of Limberlost Consulting.

Westol’s interfraternal career is equally impressive. He was elected to the board of directors of the Fraternal Information and Programming Group (FIPG) in 1993 and has served continuously on the board since that time. He has also served FIPG in the roles of Director of Policy Interpretation and Administrator since 1996. In July 1998, he was elected to the Fraternity Executives Association (FEA) board of directors and served as president from 2002-2003. He has also served on the board of directors for HazingPrevention.org and on the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV).

Dave has become a ubiquitous figure at fraternity and sorority leadership development events. He has performed his signature anti-hazing presentation “Hazing on Trial” over 1,800 times since 1981 and has spoken on more than 350 campuses and at over 200 Greek leadership events. Dave has served as a faculty member for AFLV, the Northeast Greek Leadership Association, the Southeast Interfraternity Conference and the Fraternal Risk Management Trust, (FRMT) Inc. From its first session in the early 1990s through 2010, he was a faculty member for “Risk Management on the Road,” an annual traveling consultants’ workshop for women’s national fraternities and sororities.

In 2012, Dave was named a recipient of the North American Interfraternity Conference’s Gold Medal, the most prestigious honor in the interfraternal world. Brother Westol is one of only four Theta Chi members to have received the Gold Medal.

The Dave Westol Sacred Purpose Award consists of an engraved crystal trophy bearing the chapter’s designation and the university or college name. The award handsomely displays the Sacred Purpose logo as its primary visual element.

The award also prominently features one of Brother Westol’s favorite quotes. Authored by Edwin Markham, the quote eloquently captures the spirit of the Sacred Purpose movement.

“There is a destiny that makes us brothers
None goes his way alone.
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our very own”
Edwin Markham 1852-1940

All active chapters and colonies were eligible to apply for the award. Applicants are nominated by the International Headquarters staff. And, final approval of the award winner was confirmed by the National Sacred Purpose Committee.

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