An abridged conversation between Tony Grimaldi (BX '06) and his father Pat Grimaldi (BY '79) on the importance of being an active alumnus:
Tony: Hey, Dad. The guys from HQ asked me to write a Phi Kap Phix piece on the importance of being an active alumnus. Since you've been an active alum much longer than me, I was wondering if you'd want to contribute some advice?
Pat: Ha. Funny. Seriously though, that is an important topic, and probably good to talk about. What were you thinking of putting in?
Tony: Well, I figured I'd start with the basic “Once a Phi Kap, always a Phi Kap,” and also talk about the promise to stay active and involved that chartering members take. A lot of people don't really know about that one.
Pat: That's good, but you should also mention all the people you meet and get to know when you stay active. Like, take Wayne (Delia BY '79) – even though we were at school around the same time, we weren't close friends until the 10 or 15-year reunion when we both started getting active nationally.
Tony: That's true. I wouldn't have been friends with Dave (Smith BH '06) or Mike (Landefeld DY '11) if we hadn't been Grand Deltas together.
Pat: Exactly. And it's not just brothers your own age. I'm pretty close with guys who graduated almost 20 years after me, that I never would have even met if I hadn't been active. And we have some pretty amazing people out there.
Alright, that wasn't exactly what was said, but still some very good points.
I've looked over a few of these posts and several discuss alumni involvement – like Dave Smith's “Alumni Committee Update” or Orion Pelausa's “Why I Volunteer”. Both Dave and Orion make great points and I could easily take parts of either, re-label it “The Importance of Being an Active Alumnus” and call it a night. However, that really wouldn’t be doing justice to this topic, and I’m sure they’d never ask me to write one of these again.
Anyway, what exactly is an active alumnus? Most people would say “National officers/Volunteers”, “The guy who returns to his chapter for every event”, or “The guy who’s always donating money.” While it’s important to have alumni that do these things, that’s not the only measure of an active alumnus. I know a guy who holds a picnic – though it’s practically become a festival – at his house each summer open to all Phi Kaps who wish to attend. I know an ever growing group of brothers who go camping together every year. And there are numerous stories of brothers connecting in the unlikeliest of scenarios – I once met a fellow alumnus at a stoplight because he saw a Phi Kap sticker on my car. All these, and countless more, are examples of active alumni.
Not everyone is going to be Grand Alpha, or Volunteer or Alumnus of the Year – most of us in fact won’t – but that’s no reason we can’t all be active alumni at some level. So I encourage you: Go to an alumni event or help an active chapter if you can. But remember: that’s not the only way to be active. Simply keep a look out for the signs of another brother – like letters on a shirt or the standard rec lapel pin – and say hello when you find them. You never know just who the next brother you meet might be