Remarks at the Greek Life Banquet and Awards
March 26, 2010 at 7:30 PM
The Stockdale Center at Monmouth College
Since last year’s banquet, a lot has happened. IFC has continued to step up, the Greek President’s Council has promoted better inter-chapter communication, Mr. DeMarkco Butler has been hired by the Phi Delta Theta international headquarters as their first African American leadership consultant, and some cool new housing is in the works with the Greek Life Initiative. And that brings us to tonight’s Wørd… PROGRESS.
(A word of explanation for those not familiar with Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report, which airs on Comedy Central: These remarks are patterned after Mr. Colbert's recurring "The Wørd" segment. As he discusses a topic, an on-screen set of bullet points appear to cleverly comment upon the commentary, which is itself delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The style is reminiscent of cable news network commentators. In the text below, the words in square brackets appeared over my shoulder on a large screen at the appropriate points in my spoken remarks.)
Yes, that’s right, progress. More than ever before, we as a Greek Life Nation are rolling forward. [FINALLY TURNED OFF PARKING BRAKE.] Nation, over the past year, nearly everyone has heard about or participated in the huge debate. And it’s been a big conversation, with lots of discussion and talk and discussion, because the topic is so central to everything we stand for: [CAMPUS PARKING REFORM?] Living our fraternal values.
Yes, our fraternal values, our guiding light, our moral compass. We are starting to truly measure ourselves against the only ruler that counts [MUST BE AT LEAST THIS TALL TO GO GREEK], the centuries-old dreams of our founders.
So let’s talk about those dreams, Nation. Let me paraphrase the leader of the greatest social movement in history [STEPHEN COLBERT], Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream,” he said. I have a dream we will one day live in a nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Well I have a dream, too. [WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!!] And just as Dr. King wanted us to be judged on things not simply skin-deep, I too want our Greek Life Nation to be judged by something deeper than the Greek letters on our shirts. [ALPHA BETA GAMMA [email protected]$$] Nation, let us also be judged the quality of our character, our actions, our values. We need to let the best parts of our fraternal selves really shine. [BLING!]
Now, it’s not always easy. “Brother Daniel,” you’ve said, “it’s not always that easy.” [NO SCHOOL TODAY, GOT WIMPY.] Yet we’ve already taken the first steps and been recognized for them. The president and trustees of the college have endorsed a strengthening of Greek Life. Next fall, for the first time in history all of our women’s fraternities will have homes to live in, and the prospect of new houses is on the horizon for all chapters.
Nation, I thought the theme of this Greek Week was particularly appropriate. [“TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!”] No. [“GREEKS GONE WILD!”] No, c’mon, Jimmy. [“THE GREEK WORLD”] Yes, “The Greek World.” Think about it for a moment, we here, all of us, are citizens of the Greek World. We are sisters and brothers, united by common history, common values, and common challenges. [“DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION?”]
Some of those challenges are internal, like the challenge of figuring out how to best support our brothers’ and sisters’ academic success. Some challenges are external, like overcoming stereotypes and assumptions about Greek Life [AFTERPARTY IN DANIEL’S OFFICE].
But Nation, the great thing about The Greek World is that we are all in it together. And although it is not easy to shed all the things from our history which stand in the way of progress, perhaps we should be just as careful to remember certain other things. Like our greatest threesome ever. [REALLY? DID HE JUST SAY THAT?]
Oh c’mon Nation, get your head out of the gutter. Dean Condon is here. [BLANK] I’m referring of course to the Three Musketeers, whose motto was “ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL.” Now, more than ever before, the actions any one sister or any one brother affect all of us. As we begin to raise funds for our future homes, raise awareness about our Greek Life cause, and raise our own standards of excellence, we’ll need to be looking out for one another. [I’VE GOT YOUR BACK] Thanks, I got your back, too.
So, Greek Life Nation… or World… even as we finish this week of competition, let’s celebrate tonight that what we’ve accomplished together, and then look into the future to see what other great things we can accomplish together.
If we do that, then we’ll be making some real PROGRESS.
And that’s tonight’s Wørd. Thank you, Nation!
(I respectfully ask forgiveness from Mr. Colbert, who is much more humorous, and from my students and colleagues, who not simply tolerated but even encouraged this presentation!)
Daniel M. Reck, M.S.Ed., is Assistant Director of Greek Life, Leadership, and Involvement at Monmouth College. He is affiliated with Sigma Nu Fraternity.