37. Phi Beta Delta: Collages

Collaging is one of those once fashionable hobbies, which has faded into the past, rather like cribbage or canasta. It still has its devotees, but they are limited and number. Once it was fantastically popular and people would spend their evenings around the fire cutting images out of magazines and old calendars and pasting them on to screens or even on walls. Occasionally an auction house will offer a screen from the nineteenth century and it will fetch a merry price, because with its mosaic of steamer tickets and old menus it brings back another era as perhaps nothing else can.

Collages are assemblages of small things from here and there which when brought together make an impact. Alone, the tulips from a seed catalog cover, the cow from off a milk bottle, the Highlander from an old diary frontispiece, and the bird from a seed packet are not much to attract our gaze. But the collager brings them together and they become something far more important than what they were in their solitude.

Phi Beta Delta is a collage. Many chapters, many projects, many individuals. Each alone might not be significant, but together as our worldwide society, we take on a real significance and are a real presence on campuses from Geneva to Cholula and from Syracuse to New Orleans. We are indeed a collage, a human collage of all kinds of different people who share a commitment to internationalism in its finest sense. The collages of the Victorians may no longer be in fashion, but our collage, Phi Beta Delta, most certainly is.

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