Getting a Grip on the First Principles

Getting a Grip on the First Principles

The men of the Carleton chapter, the Epsilon Upsilon of Beta Theta Pi,

came out of their chartering with a strong sense of purpose and direction.

These were soon to be tested by the almost inevitable onset of “post-charter slump.”

The way in which the chapter handled this challenge says much about its character, different from — and yet similar to — its sister chapters in eastern Canada.

The chapter had been given an effective guide in its motto. In Beta terms, there can be no doubt as to which are the “first principles” here referred to.

The Seven Obligations, the Three Stars, the Phi-Kai-Phi, all explained and expounded upon by great Betas past and present, gave the chapter all the direction it needed.

The question was: would the Carleton chapter follow these directions? Would the men truly take hold of the first principles as guiding stars for their Beta lives?

At first, it appeared that the answer was an unequivocal “Yes.”

During the year of chartering, the chapter continued with its winning ways,

pledging two more groups of topquality members, continuing their philanthropies, and winning the Greek Olympics for a second year.

 Also continued were projects to heighten the profile of the Greeks on campus, and to improve relations with the surrounding community on Sunnyside Avenue.

Getting a Grip on the First Principles The chapter finished that first year in excellent shape, with improved records in all areas, from academics to finances.

When the time came to apply for the Sisson Award, the chapter was able to make a highly creditable showing indeed.

At the 153rd General Convention in Washington, D.C., in 1992, the chapter president proudly stepped forward to accept what all hoped would be the first in a long string of Sisson Awards. Everything looked terrific.

Getting a Grip on the First Principles But under the surface, the rot was beginning to set in, so subtly that few even within the chapter were aware of it.

The problem was a familiar one: cliques were dividing the chapter, degrading chapter brotherhood and fracturing chapter unity.

There was more and more dissension about chapter direction and priorities.

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