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Evan Marsh (ΓX '08)
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What we talk about when we talk about development

Listing personal and professional development as reasons for why someone ought to do something within the Fraternity—Men of Honor, CSI, Ambassador Program, etc.—is easy to write off as the same low-hanging fruit every college organization uses to promote its programs: “Sign up for Men of Honor. It’ll help with leadership development”; “Run for an office so you can learn how an organization runs”; “Apply for staff. It’ll give you a chance to network and grow professionally.”

But it’s not about how many people register for these things. At its core, it’s about committing to a lifelong journey to find your best self, using the programs the Fraternity offers as a map. As one alumnus discovered, participation in Men of Honor tends to impact chapter operations directly; however, its best results don’t show up until 5-10 years down the road.

When Evan Marsh (ΓX ’08) joined Ithaca Chapter in 2005, it was mismanaged, in debt, and unrecognized. By the time he graduated in 2008, he had served once as Psi, twice as Alpha, participated in Men of Honor, and the chapter had turned itself around. Evan credits this to his focus on objectivity, a skill honed during Men of Honor: seeing a problem to its conclusion rather than when it “feels” resolved (an easy distinction on paper alone).

Marsh, who today co-owns Capital Area Physical Therapy and Wellness, is focused on objective results in every facet of his professional career. “What other physical therapy clinics do is they help in whatever way they can until the patient says, ‘I feel better now. I’m done.’ Then they leave. What we’ve done is come up with a way for us to look at the results of [a patient’s] rehab, detect potential performance issues, and keep them in an intimate therapeutic environment until their performance not only returns to normal but, in some cases, improves.”

When I ask him to elaborate, he explains that decisions based on tangible, objective outcomes where negative consequences carry as much weight as positive ones in the decision-making process ultimately lead to better long-term results.

He says his experiences at Phi Kappa Sigma, as an officer, an active member, and a Men of Honor participant shaped this mindset. The ability to compartmentalize, delegate, and lead are all focuses of the Phi Kap experience, but the often-overlooked ability Marsh is talking about is taking a problem that looks solved and asking, “Is it really?”

He’s put athletes back on the field with this mindset. In reality, he has probably saved lives with it as well.

“That’s awesome,” I say, “but what are these tangible results that set you apart?”

Evan dives into the facts he has on-hand: patients whose ages range from four months to 98 years old see similar results at CAPT; athletes at the high-school, D1 collegiate, and professional levels often return to their sports but keep CAPT as their go-to clinic for future injuries; he boasts a 20% patient return rate (almost always for unrelated injuries); and, astoundingly, 70% of his discharges are “complete discharges,” meaning they are performing at or better than they were before they were admitted.

“It’s because we prefer that intimate relationship with our patients instead of admitting as many people as possible because it makes more money.”

CAPT is rising with certain distinction as one of the most effective and personal PT clinics in each of its two locations. It is praised by patients for the tailored treatments, the attitudes of the staff, and the intimacy of the rehab experience itself.

Of Evan, one patient said, “I felt like [he] treated my condition with knowledge about what I should do—not just hot packs and a sheet of exercises to do. I was very impressed with how personal each visit was.”

We hope stories like Brother Evan’s will push you to think and act deliberately during your time as an undergraduate, to pay attention to the subtle ways you are developing as a leader, and retain it. When the registration link for #MOH18 reopens, register. We need more people like Evan Marsh to identify problems and see them to their objective conclusions. Phi Kaps are men of honor, but, with the right tools, we are also creators, innovators, and makers of a better world.

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