Building Phi Delta Theta

Brooks Raiford recalls his participation in the founding of the NCSU chapter of Phi Delta Theta and the challenges associated with establishing a new fraternity.

Interview on 2012-04-19


00:00:00.000 Well, one of the activities I got involved in early on
00:00:02.928 was I was part of the founding group of a fraternity here,
00:00:06.798 Phi Delta Theta fraternity,
00:00:08.918 so that took a lot of our time. We were creating from scratch
00:00:12.766 a chapter of a fraternity and part of the reason for that was
00:00:15.822 there were already nearly two dozen fraternities on campus
00:00:20.426 but a lot of students who were involved in student leadership in one fashion or another,
00:00:23.656 who knew each other, a lot of us were friends anyway or at least acquaintances,
00:00:28.786 wanted to start something that was new, that would be unique to us.
00:00:33.326 One of the advantages of joining an existing fraternity is it's already in place;
00:00:37.315 one of the disadvantages is you inherit whatever baggage or reputation, for ill or for good,
00:00:42.593 that it may have, and we wanted to really do our own thing.
00:00:45.100 It was a great experience. I think doing things like that really help you in your professional life later,
00:00:50.404 which you don't think about at the time,
00:00:53.024 but you have to organize a lot of the business side of an organization
00:00:58.619 if it's not already in place. You're creating the by-laws, you're establishing the rules of the road,
00:01:03.343 you're establishing recruitment policies and procedures, you're establishing eligibility for membership,
00:01:08.685 you're helping set standards on what kind of people you're looking to bring in
00:01:13.972 and how broad or how limited that's going to be.
00:01:15.689 You are trying to build out a reputation for being strong not just in one area, like academics or sports,
00:01:21.268 but to be really strong across the board,
00:01:24.236 and we were able to do that very early on, so we won a lot of awards and campus recognition in the early days,
00:01:30.288 sort of set the standard for ourselves and an expectation, and it was compelling
00:01:35.574 to have the opportunity to do it and see the fruits of our labor pretty quickly.
00:01:40.086 So I'd say the last thing on that is you learn very quickly that you can't be irresponsible for long
00:01:47.850 because if you are you're letting down an entire group of people.
00:01:51.064 If you have a job to do and you don't if affects others,
00:01:55.261 sometimes financially, sometimes in terms of their calendar,
00:01:58.680 sometimes in terms of their just general expectations of what they think is going to happen,
00:02:02.404 and it doesn't take too often of making the mistake of falling down on the job
00:02:08.694 to quickly learn that even at a young age being responsible, being reliable,
00:02:14.183 following through on details and so on, is very important and those are terrific lessons in general.