Lending a Hand: A Q&A With the High Phi of a Big Brother Chapter
By PARKER GLEESON, Delta Phi Zeta
Delta-Phi Zeta at Southeast Missouri State University serves as a Big Brother Chapter. We helped conduct three initiations this semester, including our own. Our chapter lended a hand to Southern Illinois University—Carbondale and Vanderbilt University. Delta-Phi is the Big Brother Chapter to Carbondale, and was asked by Vanderbilt to help reestablish the chapter there. I sat down with our new High Phi, Andrew Leonard, to ask him some questions about what the experience was like for the High Phi of a Big Brother Chapter.
PG: How do you feel the “little brother chapters” treated you as you stepped in to help out?
AL: Carbondale has a small chapter, but they’ve already been pretty well established, so they were really on board with everything. With Vanderbilt, it was really cool. A lot of the alumni from the original chapter came by to help out and get involved. The (Educational Leadership Consultants) were a lot of help, too. They helped organize a lot for me.
PG: Was it beneficial for you doing three initiations in one semester?
AL: Yeah, beneficial in a way that I won’t make any mistakes in (our chapter’s) rituals in the future. So I guess it benefited me a lot in my (officer position).
PG: The High Phi is a very important position that requires a lot of skill in terms of delegating and planning. How do you think holding this officer position will benefit you in the future?
AL: I think it’s been a super good experience for me in terms of not just being the High Phi and organizing stuff for the chapters, but also for me in terms of future employment and things like that. It gives me a lot to talk about in interviews from event planning to coordinating between 50-60 people in these chapters, the ELCs, making conference calls to figure out everything at Vanderbilt … I think it gives me more experience managing large groups of people and the struggles that come along with that, such as dealing with people who aren’t taking it seriously.
PG: What advice would you give to someone who is also in this position, or might be interested in running for High Phi in the future?
AL: Plan ahead. While that’s a great way to put it, it’s not always possible to plan ahead. I faced a lot of issues with scheduling conflicts and there was nothing I could have planned to fix that. Planning is one thing, but I think the biggest thing you need to do is basically take all of the responsibility on yourself, especially pre-initiation and during ritual. Some of these things are too important to give to someone else unless you can really trust them to know exactly what sort of vision you have for an event or the way you want things done. I definitely do a lot of micromanaging and I think it made my life a little stressful for a while (during ritual and in general), but it made it a lot more accurate to the way I wanted it done, and the way I think it should be done.
PG: Would you like to share any other advice for fellow brothers?
AL: You never know what’s going to happen. You can’t plan for everything. You just have to have all of the resources available to fix it, and then when it happens, just work on it.
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