2. Phi Beta Delta: The Torch

One of the symbols of Phi Beta Delta is the torch, common enough in the iconography of academic institutions. The obvious meaning is the illumination that knowledge gives, and that is certainly part of the story and part of what Phi Beta Delta represents. But reflect for a moment on the fact that the torch is a particular kind of illumination -- it is generally carried by someone. The most obvious example is the famous Olympic torch, carried by a succession of runners after being lit at the site of the original games.

Someone must carry the torch! And not someone anonymous. The torch needs you and me. Without us it cannot do its job. So for all Phi Beta Delta initiates, there is a double meaning to the presence of the torch on our shield. Not only are we committed to the ideal of knowledge lighting the world, but we undertake as members to carry that light and to pass it on.

The torch then teaches us Deltans responsibility: not that the other fellow will do it but that we must do it. Not that progress will come if someone else carries the burden but that progress will come if we do our fair share. The torch needs to be carried and when we become members of Phi Beta Delta, we solemnly undertake to help carry it. With honor comes duty.

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