The Fraternity is proud to announce that Brother Dale Penny, Beta Delta ’68, has been selected as the Fall 2017 Pledge Class Namesake Honoree.
To the fall 2017 pledge class,
Congratulations to each of you for choosing to pledge Alpha Phi Omega this fall. I can’t think of a better way to make a positive difference on your campus while enjoying the fellowship and friendship of your brothers.
My personal journey with APO started in 1968 during my freshman year at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University – Commerce). The decision to pledge enabled me to continue following the principles I had enjoyed in Scouting within a community of like-minded brothers.
Those were tumultuous times in the USA and throughout the world divided by war, ideology, race and nationality. I was proud to be a part of a brotherhood who worked to bring respect and civility to our campus by running open student government elections, inviting diverse speakers to campus and facilitating respectful dialogue, and leading service projects on campus and in our community. That experience helped influence my professional and personal choices ever since.
Today, the world seems more polarized, more disconnected, more fearful and less civil than any time since the 60s. In much of our public discourse, it seems it is no longer enough to have differing ideas or opinions. Many seem to believe disagreement gives license to demean, vilify and insult those with opposing views. Such extremist rhetoric only leads to more division and for some to justify distrust, abuse or even violence.
This nation, and world, needs leaders who will take a stand against incivility and for building respect, tolerance and understanding… and finding common ground with those “not like us.” You have an opportunity to be among those leaders.
That is my challenge to you…to work toward a more civil society on your campus, your community, this nation and the world. How do you do that? Some simple but powerful ideas include inviting divergent groups to join your chapter on service projects to improve your community while learning more about each other or sponsoring campus forums representing divergent opinions. But, really it is up to each of you and your brothers to decide what works for your campus. All efforts should begin by respecting others regardless of our differences, listening to understand the other side before responding and putting the values of Leadership, Friendship and Service into action.
This is not the easy way to go in today’s world, too often defined by extreme views, but I believe this pledge class can make a true difference in building a more civil society and a healthier future. Thank you for accepting this challenge!