Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sacred Purpose?

Theta Chi’s most sacred fraternal purpose is helping people when they need it most. We believe that caring for and helping another person is the highest expression of manhood and true friendship. By accepting this higher purpose, all brothers have been called to a more noble life. In order to more intentionally live this out, Theta Chi is boldly launching Sacred Purpose.

Inspired by our most deeply cherished fraternal value—the assisting hand—the mission of Sacred Purpose is simple: to inspire a better brotherhood and deeper level of mutual caring for one another. In doing so, the Sacred Purpose movement will do more than assist and protect members; Sacred Purpose will help every member live his very best life.

What does this mean for my chapter’s leadership structure?

To be successful, Sacred Purpose needs a solid leadership foundation at both the international and the local level. At the international level, we have already created and invested in a new director-level position. However, it is at the chapter level where the greatest impact will be made. We must have the right undergraduate leaders in place to passionately launch, elevate and advance the movement. To that end, we are creating a new undergraduate leadership position called the Vice President of Health and Safety.

Is it appropriate to call this a program?

Not really. Sacred Purpose is more than a program, and it extends beyond a new leadership position. Sacred Purpose is about renewing and extending our mission and purpose.

We cannot effectively deepen brotherhood and create an improved culture by simply rolling out a new “national” program. In fact, there are hundreds of programs currently aimed at today’s college students. However, those programs do not have enough far-reaching and lasting impact on students’ lives. That’s why Theta Chi is creating a leadership structure that will inspire a new attitude among brothers and equip members with relevant resources to better care for and support one another.

How will we define success in the future?

It is essential that we establish and develop dynamic local chapter and colony leadership. Every chapter and colony will elect a strong and experienced leader as Vice President of Health and Safety. Beyond electing a new leader, it is important that all chapters and colonies get off to a fast start and establish positive momentum by sponsoring health and safety programs and hosting related guest speakers.

Success we will determine by measuring improved access to resources and changed attitudes and behaviors related to: deepened friendships and brotherhood, recognizing when a brother is in trouble, masculinity, drug and alcohol awareness, mental health issues, fire and life safety, sexual assault/misconduct prevention, hazing prevention and other general health and well-being topics.

Each group will be required to host seven separate, distinct events by May 1st over the course of an academic year covering the following topics:

  1. Alcohol/Drug Abuse Prevention
  2. Sexual Assault/Misconduct Prevention
  3. Hazing Prevention
  4. Mental Health Issues
  5. Fire/Life Safety
  6. Chapter Choice of a Health/Safety Topic I
  7. Chapter Choice of a Health/Safety Topic II

Will Sacred Purpose ever end?

No. Unlike a program or initiative that has a beginning and an end, Sacred Purpose is intended to be a modern and relevant expression of our existing fraternal purpose—brotherhood and the helping hand. In other words, Sacred Purpose will last forever.

Indeed, the new leadership position is a permanent change to our structure. However, the new leadership structure is only a means to an end. Our greatest hope is that we can permanently and increasingly make a positive impact on our brotherhood and the lives of our members.

What is the role of the Vice President of Health and Safety?

Specifically, the VP of Health and Safety will:

  • Champion Sacred Purpose within the local chapter so that a deepened culture of caring emerges, and so that more members get the help they need
  • Learn to recognize the emotional, physical and relational needs of chapter members and proactively facilitate access to assistance and resources for those members
  • Inspire and equip all chapter members to also recognize the needs of others and provide proactive and relevant assistance to each other
  • Serve on the chapter’s executive council as the third-highest ranking chapter officer
  • Cultivate working relationships and serve as a liaison with campus health and safety professionals who will support the mission of Sacred Purpose
  • Identify campus and community resources and make those resources available to individual members, and in the process, break down the barriers to brothers getting the help they need
  • Organize related educational programs that are open to the entire campus community and that inspire a deepened culture of caring
  • Coordinate guest speakers who will provide inspiration, ideas and resources for advancing Sacred Purpose within the chapter
  • Recruit a Health and Safety Advisor and collaborate with that advisor to set goals and create an annual strategic plan
  • Attend training events and maintain regular communication with the Director of Health and Safety Programs
  • Serve as a resource during chapter crisis situations

Click here for additional details.

What topics will be highlighted in Sacred Purpose?

Each group will be required to host seven separate, distinct events by May 1st over the course of an academic year covering the following topics:

  1. Alcohol/Drug Abuse Prevention
  2. Sexual Assault/Misconduct Prevention
  3. Hazing Prevention
  4. Mental Health Issues
  5. Fire/Life Safety
  6. Chapter Choice of a Health/Safety Topic I
  7. Chapter Choice of a Health/Safety Topic II

Why will the new position be the third ranking officer in the chapter?

Although it seems like a break from tradition, we strongly believe it is important to boldly elevate the Vice President of Health and Safety to a prominent place within the undergraduate leadership structure. Because he is charged with advancing our most sacred fraternal purpose, his work is essential to Theta Chi and the lives of our brothers. We did not want his role to be reduced or diminished. Instead, we wanted to ensure his impact and authority. The chapter President will continue to hold the highest-ranking office. The Vice President will continue holding the second ranking office because he must serve as the chapter President in case the President is not able to fulfill his office. Because of his impact on chapter mission and culture, the Vice President of Health and Safety will be the third ranking undergraduate officer.

When should we elect the Vice President of Health and Safety? When will he be installed?

All chapters and colonies are expected to elect their Vice Presidents of Health and Safety during normal elections in November/December. They should be installed before departing for the Holiday break, along with all other newly elected officers. It is imperative that they become familiar with the Vice President of Health and Safety Handbook so they may get a jump start on the semester while on Holiday break.

How will the Vice President of Health and Safety be trained?

Vice President’s of Health and Safety will be trained and educated annually by a number of resources. It is pertinent that all VPHS’ have a transition guide ready by the time they surrender office to the new candidate. It is imperative that all newly elected VPHS’ attend the closest Mid-Year Leadership Conference. There will be additional and follow-up training provided at The National Convention and School of Fraternity Practices, which is held every two years in the summer. Vice President’s of Health and Safety are encouraged to email Director of Education, Anthony Dominguez, at anthony@thetachi.org if they need any additional assistance.

Who should be the Vice President of Health and Safety?

  • A candidate should be a member in good standing according to the Constitution & Bylaws of Theta Chi Fraternity Inc. and your local by-laws, with at least two semesters as an initiated brother.
  • He must have an attitude of caring and a deep desire to help others.
  • He must be able to courageously inspire chapter members to consider their full potential as men and brothers.
  • He must have exceptional interpersonal and leadership skills that can inspire culture change.
  • He must have demonstrated ability to cultivate collaborative relationships with campus and community professionals.
  • He must have keen organizational skills and event coordinating skills.
  • He must be able to function well with ambiguity.

Why is Theta Chi concentrating on local resources versus rolling out our own “national” program?

The scope of this idea is huge. Theta Chi has approximately 7,000 undergraduates on nearly 150 campuses in North America. Our mission is to deeply care for each of those brothers. There is no way that we can accomplish that from one office in Indianapolis. We need good men with “boots on the ground” who can serve our fellow brothers. It is essential that we effectively connect members to campus and local professionals who can provide the very best care and resources.

In addition, we want chapters to partner with those same campus and local professionals. We can do much to advance their health and safety message with the entire campus community. We will become leaders on each campus by passionately advocating health, safety and an attitude of caring. Ultimately, we will be advancing the helping hand beyond the walls of Theta Chi. We will reach hundreds, if not thousands of students with a relevant message that will make a difference. But, even more profoundly, we will reach students with a call to a higher purpose and a more noble life. That is Alma Mater First, Theta Chi for Alma Mater.

Is Sacred Purpose reflected in the Ritual?

Yes. Because our Ritual shines a light on our fraternal purpose and our most deeply held values, these fundamental changes to leadership structure have already been fully integrated into all ceremonies. By updating the Ritual, we ensure positive momentum and permanence. The work and leadership of the Vice President of Health and Safety will be a natural expression of our Ritual and the values it conveys.

How will the Fraternity deliver ongoing information and resources related to Sacred Purpose?

The Fraternity has a Sacred Purpose website that will serve as the main point of contact for all relevant audiences, including undergraduates, alumni, parents and campus health and safety professionals. The site is home to a blog, thought-provoking ideas, relevant resources, multimedia tools and social media links. The blog provides an opportunity for ongoing education and dialog among all stakeholders through the blog’s comments section.

Is the Vice President of Health and Safety replacing the Risk Management Chairman?

No. The Vice President of Health and Safety’s primary role is quite different in scope than the Risk Management Chairman. Although the Vice President of Health and Safety may help educate the chapter about risk management policies, the chapter president will retain responsibility for policy education and enforcement. The President has the option to assign a Risk Management Chairman who can assist with the day-to-day risk management duties, although the President still maintains ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with fraternity policy. Although we have specific chapter leaders whose stated responsibility is to facilitate safety through our formal risk management program, it is important that all members have a working knowledge of all risk management policies and remain watchful for situations that could harm brothers or guests.

What if we have already have a Brotherhood Chairman? Will this new leader replace him?

No. Some chapters utilize a Brotherhood Chairman to plan events, retreats and other fun and meaningful gatherings. Although somewhat related, that role is different in scope than Sacred Purpose and the work of the Vice President of Health and Safety. The role of Brotherhood Chairman will remain an important figure in chapter life.

How is this movement unique within the interfraternal community?

Other Greek organizations have introduced health and safety related programs. However, to our knowledge, we are unique in our leadership structure and our goal to cultivate collaborative relationships with local campus resources. In addition, we believe it is unique that we have started with updating our Ritual as a means of advancing our Sacred Purpose.

Will my chapter have an advisor who will support Sacred Purpose?

Yes. Our goal is that every chapter and colony will have a specific Health and Safety Advisor in place by the summer of 2014. The undergraduate Vice President of Health and Safety will work in concert with the International Fraternity to recruit and train this advisor. Click here to learn more about serving as a Health and Safety Advisor.

Will there be a special reward or recognition for highlighting top chapters in this area?

Yes. Undergraduate Chapters are encouraged to apply for the David L. Westol Sacred Purpose Award. The award packet and description can be found here! The deadline to apply for this honor is April 10, 2016.

Is there an International Headquarters staff person who supports Sacred Purpose?

The Director Education will champion the Sacred Purpose by inspiring membership engagement, providing world-class education and cultivating relationships with campus health and safety professionals. For additional support please email Anthony Dominguez, the Director of Education at anthony@thetachi.org or call 317-824-1856.

How will undergraduates and alumni be involved in the ongoing vision and usefulness of Sacred Purpose?

Composed of undergraduates, alumni, and health and safety professionals, a national committee will be maintained and called upon for support. Working closely with the International Headquarters staff, the committee will be charged with inspiring and advancing the relevance, usefulness and impact of Sacred Purpose.

This is a big idea with lofty, non-traditional goals. Something like this has never been tried before. Will it really work?

We agree that this is a big idea with goals and changes that can seem drastic at first. However, it is an idea that strikes at the very core of what it means to be Theta Chi. This big idea does not break from tradition. Instead, it honors the traditions and values that we hold most dear. We believe that the spirit of the helping hand and true friendship will guide us through any challenges that we will face. We will not give up on Sacred Purpose. It is too important to the men we call brothers.

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.” It is during those times when each of us will be faced with other questions: “What can I do to help? How can I change my attitude to advance our Sacred Purpose? What action will I take next?”

Do we think it will really work? Yes. It may not be as easy as we would like, and we may need to make adjustments along the way. It will work because it is our sacred and collective purpose. It will work because we care deeply for one another. Sacred Purpose is good work. It is the right work. It is the work of Theta Chi. It is the work of every brother.

What if I have questions or comments?

It is important that we maintain a national dialog about our organizational Sacred Purpose. We know that members will have much to say about this big idea. We believe that questions and comments are the raw material for advancing our mission and inspiring a bright future. We will actively utilize the blog to share ideas and create dialog among undergraduates and alumni.

How can I get involved in the Sacred Purpose movement?

The greatest need for involvement is at the local chapter level, where undergraduates and alumni can serve as leaders and advisors.

Click here to learn more about serving as a Health and Safety Advisor.

For additional information about volunteering as the Health and Safety Advisor, please email Bill Russo, Chief Programming and Volunteer Officer, at bill@thetachi.org

For additional information about Sacred Purpose, please email Anthony Dominguez, Director of Education, at anthony@thetachi.org.

Why did we choose the title Sacred Purpose?

The two words, Sacred Purpose, come directly from the Creed of Theta Chi.  In fact, those words hold a prominent place in our Creed that has been revered and spoken by thousands of Theta Chis since it was written by Frank Schrenk in the 1920’s.  Schrenk’s elegant expression of belief would become a tradition and was later institutionalized when the Grand Chapter passed a resolution requiring that an engraved copy of the Creed be hung in all chapter houses.  It continues as our statement of expression today.

As we searched for language to describe the principles that would eventually be known as Sacred Purpose, we wanted to use words and phrases that are familiar, that honor our heritage, and that also define our work and mission.  We chose the name Sacred Purpose because it accomplishes all of those things.

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