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Reflections on our Ritual

March 5, 2012

 By: Ritual Task Force Chair Onuka Ibe, Truman State

As chapters across the country make preparations to initiate their spring pledge classes they will be implementing important changes to our Ritual.

Delta Sigma Pi’s Ritual provides a foundation for professionalism, conduct and integrity for all brothers. Our Fraternity’s history and principles are represented by our Greek letters, badge, coat of arms and other symbols within our Ritual. But the Ritual also provides operational guidance. Think back to your chapter’s challenges with attendance, dues, recruiting or member conduct. Could you have resolved those issues more effectively if someone had consulted the Ritual book for direction?

So, if the Ritual is so important and useful, why was it changed? Our Ritual has been in a constant state of evolution. Next time you visit the Central Office, browse through old Ritual books. Many passages have been removed or updated to reflect changing times. However, you may be just as surprised to see how much of the original language has remained unchanged for almost a century.

Some of the more notable changes adopted at the 2011 Grand Chapter Congress in Louisville were to the regulations governing our Ritual. The Grand Chapter clarified which groups of brothers can make changes to the contents of the book and how each of them does so. Because these regulations are important for all brothers to know and understand, they are reprinted – with Board approval – in the National Policy & Procedures Manual.

Among other updates, sections of the book were consolidated and reordered, making it easier to find relevant information. The Grand Chapter also struck a balance between increasing the consistency with which initiations are to be performed across the nation and made important provisions for flexibility. To complement the updates, efforts are ongoing to improve Ritual training and support for chapters and volunteers.

What can you do to ensure our Ritual is central to our identity as brothers of Delta Sigma Pi? In the coming weeks, I urge you to take three simple actions to get better acquainted with our Ritual. First, get a copy of the new book and read it cover to cover. Reflect on the meaning of our letters and symbols. Review the obligations of membership we all take an oath to uphold. Read the book with fresh eyes.

Second, talk with brothers about our Ritual. Discuss what it means for you and how you demonstrate the principles within it. Share your observations and questions. Ask others how they have experienced Ritual as a pledge, brother or alumni. Ask alumni brothers about changes to our Ritual over the years. You may even ask members of other Greek organizations to share impressions about their Ritual.

Third, make every Ritual ceremony a national event. Visit the Pledging and Initiation Ceremonies of nearby chapters. Invite area brothers to your chapter business meetings. Attend an installation or reactivation. Reach out to chapters about conducting joint initiations. Delta Sigma Pi’s Ritual belongs to all of us; seek out opportunities to share in it with others.

Let us all commit to using this opportunity to reaffirm those core values that define us as Deltasigs. 

The author of this article is a Golden Council member, a past Northeastern Provincial Vice President and Delta Sigma Pi’s most recent Ritual Review Task Force Chair.

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