16. Phi Beta Delta: The Chapter Cycle

In earlier times, when most people lived in rural communities, there was an undeniable cycle to the year. The sowing and reaping imposed a sense of time, which is now missing in our fast-paced urban cultures. Without overly romanticizing what was a hard and strenuous life, we can accept that something is now missing, a feeling of the passage of the days that framed and ordered life.

A successful Phi Beta Delta chapter will have a year that catches something of that missing sense of time. There should be some sort of autumn start to its affairs, perhaps a lecture or other program that catches the attention of new students and new faculty. There should be a fall induction so there will be workers for the coming academic year. The holidays should be noted and observed, because they are part of the educational experience of the foreign students that the campus is hosting. By the same token, the national holidays of our visitors from abroad should be marked, because that is part of cultural understanding.

A January induction is a fine way to start the New Year. The midwinter is a good time for solid work. Just as it was time for farm matters that spring and summer gave little time, it is a time when the chapter can work on long-range projects -- and chapters should have long range plans as well as monthly events. For example, with the help of your chapter historian (and, do you have a chapter historian?) now would be the time to research the ties of your college with overseas, both through alumni and research done by faculty. What are the countries with which your college has historical associations?

Spring comes and with the approach of graduation it's a priority to have some sort of event to mark the departure of some members. Summer comes and too often chapters forget about all the foreign students who will be on campus. Yes, the seasons do exist for our Phi Beta Delta, and a thriving chapter will have a calendar as rewarding as that of the rural scene of long ago. Consider well your chapter cycle and how you can enrich it.

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