Alpha Delta Gamma and UD: a unified mission

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William Remmes,  Contributing Writer

 

At an ADG town hall last year, members argued for official recognition of the fraternity by the university.   –Photo by Rebecca Rosen
At an ADG town hall last year, members argued for official recognition of the fraternity by the university.
–Photo by Rebecca Rosen

It is well known that the prospective University of Dallas Chapter of Alpha Delta Gamma experienced a sound dismissal by many UD students and faculty last fall. The school’s decision was very discouraging for ADG hopefuls, and we were faced with the question of whether our efforts to be officially recognized by UD were worth further pursuit.

We considered it deeply last spring, but realized that a more fundamental question must be answered first: What role could a fraternity play at a university with such a unique culture of students and faculty? The answer is not simply the sponsoring of new service projects, building strong friendships, promoting campus involvement and so on; while these purposes are meaningful, they do not capture what it really means to be a student at UD. To help us consider this question, we turned to our university’s mission statement.

It first states, “the University seeks to educate its students so they may develop the intellectual and moral virtues, prepare themselves for life … become leaders able to act responsibly for their own good and for the good of their family, community, country, and church.” Immediately, we noticed a striking similarity to the national mission of ADG: “Alpha Delta Gamma is a group of men whose lifestyles are enriched by a common set of ideals, goals, and realistic purposes. An intrinsic part of this lifestyle is the responsibility to many things: self, fellow man, school, society and God.”

With specific regard to our campus culture, however, we found that the following piece of UD’s mission was able to shed more light: “The University is especially dedicated to the pursuit of liberal education … the recovery and renewal of the Western heritage of liberal education … [and] to fostering principled, moral judgment.”

Having attended UD for just over two years now, it has become increasingly clear to me that this mission is not simply promoted by the faculty, absorbed by the students and then regurgitated through exams and essays. On the contrary, our professors inspire their students to promote and discuss this mission in their daily lives. I have observed that a genuine love of learning is common among UD students, setting the foundation for what I believe is the most recognizable trait of our campus culture: conversation.

There are always great conversations to be had with both students and faculty on campus. If a fraternity could have a worthwhile presence on this campus, it would be to stimulate this campus culture, its love of learning and its conversations.

We firmly believe a particular and unique fraternity, ADG, could complement the unique culture of UD. UD’s culture of student life, so rich with enthusiasm for the Catholic intellectual tradition and unified through the Core, must be preserved. The preservation of this culture would be our primary goal as a chapter of ADG at UD because it goes hand in hand with what our fraternity stands for. In helping to protect and promote our cultural traditions at UD, the fraternity would be realizing its own goals “[to] foster the mind, body and soul in order to strengthen and enhance the world around us.”

Sadly, for many students, the opportunity for “UD” conversations becomes very limited upon graduation. A brother of ADG, however, would not be so cut off when he leaves our campus. He would have a lifelong connection to thousands of likeminded ADG brothers from around the nation, mutually encouraging intellectual and spiritual growth.

In a sense, ADG would act as an extension of our beloved campus culture throughout our lives after college.

For these reasons, my fellow ADG proponents and I have decided to push forward with our bid for university recognition. We stand by the mission of UD; we cherish its culture of student life, and we hope to further enrich the academic and professional careers of our brothers and the entire university.

7 COMMENTS

  1. “IF [emphasis mine] a fraternity could have a worthwhile presence on this campus[…]Sadly [cue violin music], for many students, the opportunity for “UD” conversations becomes very limited upon graduation. A brother of ADG [unlike regular UD brethren], however, would not be so cut off when he leaves our campus. He would have a lifelong connection to thousands of likeminded ADG brothers [but non-UD brothers from another mother] from around the nation, mutually encouraging intellectual and spiritual growth[…]In a sense, ADG would act as an extension [replacement?] of our beloved campus culture throughout our lives after college [because UD grads forget campus culture so quickly, hence the plethora of legacy students].”

  2. As an alum, I can tell you that there is no cutoff when one reaches graduation. Wherever you go, there will be UD students in the area, and more importantly, a community of likeminded Young Professional Catholics, who had their own (somewhat inferior, admittedly) liberal arts education, their own Rome programs, etc.

    As an alum who graduated in ’13, I recall that during the initial discussions/meetings with the university public your organization was asked what would happen if you were denied recognition. You told the community that you would disband. The fact that you haven’t should only lessen your credibility in the eyes of the UD community, both graduated and yet to graduate.

  3. I would just like to make a simple comment to the editors. When editing an article such as this, it might be wise to make the use of important punctuation marks consistent.

    I’m not sure if it was the editor of the newspaper or the author of the article who deleted the comma, but the university’s mission statement has a comma between “country” and “and church.”

    I do love the University News, I just thought that might be fun advice.

  4. I would like to start by wondering at the dismissal which took place last fall (if a member of ADG could answer me on this point, I would be appreciative). Many of my classmates and I (yes, yes, we were some of those who opposed AGD) were informed that, upon dismissal by the University, the UD chapter of ADG would cease to exist. This was not merely implied in some conversation that some student had with a member, it was explicitly stated on multiple occasions that the chapter would no longer exist once the University had made its decision (what follows are my questions). What were/are the circumstances surrounding the continuing existence of the chapter? Was this a lie fabricated by members of the fraternity to make their situation seem more dire (if you vote us down now, we’ll go away forever!!)? Was it simply the fact that THEY lacked information (and, as a result, were unable to give the rest of the student body accurate information)? If the University were to soundly dismiss the fraternity again, would the fraternity cease to exist THIS time? What impact does the University’s decision actually have on ADG? What benefits will it receive once it’s made an official club? If it can act without the University’s express permission, if it can exist that way, why bother voting at all, if the club will simply ignore the decisions of the University, its faculty, and its students? I don’t mean to attack the fraternity or any of its members under this line of questioning, I simply seek answers to questions which I feel are important.

    I want to take a moment, for the benefit of the members of ADG, to address a question mentioned in the article; the question which, I believe, is the point around which the entire article turns: “What role could a fraternity play at a university with such a unique culture of students and faculty?”

    When I answer this question with what is, in my opinion, the only true answer to this question, many of you will be tempted to stop reading. Please don’t (not yet, anyway). Honestly, having attended the University of Dallas and moved on, I believe the answer to this central question is “none.” The University of Dallas is, as the author posits, a university with a very unique culture. There is, honestly, no special role that a fraternity could play at a university as unique as the University of Dallas.

    The primary role the fraternity could play, as posited by the author, is that of a conversation extender. While this sounds nice, the fact is that the fraternity would extend the UD conversation no more than having friends at the University would. Those who are not tempted to have UD conversations while catching up with their old college chums are not going to be the sorts of people who benefit from the fraternity as a conversation-opportunity creator. Additionally, I’m not convinced that because the University and ADG have similar sounding missions, everyone from the fraternity will be engaged in the sort of conversation that the UD culture promotes.

    The problem is, I believe, that you members of the fraternity are attempting to answer the wrong question. The answer to your question, as I said, is “none.” You might disagree with me, but you’re wrong. I don’t know what the correct question for you to answer is, I’m not going to pretend to know. It might be “for what reasons should the University consider the fraternity despite it not offering to play a unique role in the university (but it probably isn’t)?” I don’t know the answer to the question: “what is the question?” I stand opposed to you as it is, but I’m willing to be convinced. Find the question. Ask the question. Answer the question. Convince me.

    It also strikes me that, if you really cherish the culture of UD, you might not continue to push the fraternity when it was “soundly” dismissed by the faculty and the students.

  5. For Giddy:

    “What role could a fraternity play at a university with such a unique culture of students and faculty?”

    I’m 100% against an ADG chapter. But I hardly think the answer to this question is “none.” Every organization at UD plays a role. The question is what’s the role, does the organization makes a positive or a negative contribution. (It’s like writing on your resume, “I want to make a difference.” This is a ridiculous statement. Everyone makes a difference. The question is what type of difference do you want to make.)

    ADG advocates think it will contribute positively. If you think it will contribute negatively, then make an argument. (There is no neutral, if ADG doesn’t do anything for UD, I consider this a waste of time/resources and thus a negative contribution).

    And as far as arguments go: “You might disagree with me, but you’re wrong” doesn’t count.

    • Thank you for your reply. Your post highlights exactly what I was hoping somebody would pick up on. The way that MOST people at UD read that question is (or, at least, was), “What unique role could a fraternity play at a university with such a unique culture of students and faculty?”

      I answer none to the question and offer no argument (note: real argument) because I think the discussion needs to move away from this question. It is a question that is easily misread, and if I know anything about discussions at UD, I know that once a discussion bases itself around a misreading of a quotation or question, that discussion never finds its way back to the actual quotation or question.

      The answer is not “none” because that happens to be the correct answer (as you correctly stated, it could not possibly be); the answer is what it is because that is how the discussion has developed.

      My goal was to urge them away from asking this question, to find another question: one that was less likely to be misread or misinterpreted. The alternative is clearly to urge a proper reading of the question, as you did.

      I apologize if I offended you, I meant no harm.

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