Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Phi Sigma Kappa Convention Honor

By Kevin Abel, '11

My summer was almost half complete when I received a call from Lehigh's former Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs, Michael Carey, now the Executive Director of Phi Sigma Kappa. The call was simple, and yet confusing. He asked me to be a member of the Nominations Committee at the upcoming Phi Sigma Kappa Convention in Boston, MA. The first confusion was to the meaning of my involvement in this new task. Was this a joke? Was this committee involved in anything actually relevant?

As it turns out, the Nominations Committee is the most prestigious committee in all of Phi Sigma Kappa. It is the group of brothers that determines, out of many qualified candidates, who is to be in the slate of candidates for Grand President and Grand Council Directors. These being the two most important positions in the entire fraternity, I knew that my position would somehow be relevant.

The other obvious question was: why, over everyone else in the fraternity, would our International Headquarters choose me? Was it because I was randomly chosen? Was it because I was so loyal? (I mean, I have been a lifelong Orioles fan, but I seriously doubt that would help.) Most likely, it was our lovely Accreditation system that helped to show that our individual chapter was a terrific representation of not only Lehigh University and Phi Sigma Kappa, but the fraternity system as a whole. (I believe the Accreditation Committee should give us Gold this year purely based on that answer.)

Regardless, it was my job to positively influence the success of the fraternity. Unfortunately for me, I found out once I arrived at Convention that this committee is known as the most difficult, intensive, and important committee in the fraternity because of the vast influence that it had on the fraternity's future. It was an enormous honor, but I hadn't seen who I was working with yet. Those who composed the committee were past Grand Presidents, Grand Council Members, Medallion of Merit recipients (the highest honor of Phi Sigma Kappa), and alumni who not only remain dedicated to the fraternity, but were founding fathers of their respective chapters. And now realize that there were only seven of us. I was definitely the odd man out.

There were many hours of interviews. There were multiple hours of deliberation. I missed several fraternity-organized events and quality programming. It was all worth it.

I not only learned about our personal international fraternity system, but I met and became friends with extremely dedicated brothers. I began to see the true meaning of fraternity and what my place in it was. The fraternity is larger than any individual, and the greater good of the brotherhood is what should prevail over everything else.

Choosing between the candidates was difficult, but in the end we nominated three qualified Grand Council Directors and re-nominated the current Grand President. As tough as it was to choose the four men out of the entire group of qualified brothers, I was amazed at how brilliantly every brother on the committee came together. Whether it was talking about nominees or talking about our respective chapter over lunch (purchased by the alumni on the committee, of course), we remembered why we became Phi Sigs in the first place.

With the Convention wrapping up, free shirts give out (once again courtesy of the alumni on the committee), and the slate of nominees accepted, the only last thing to do was to join together in one last truth: we were all damn proud to be Phi Sigs!