The gentlemen of the international Delta Upsilon fraternity are combating the modern fraternity man stereotype by creating a comprehensive plan that ensures members are poised to become leaders — and the plan has been in full swing at San Diego State University for more than a year.
"Building a Better Man" is a strategic plan designed to provide leadership, character development and professional training programming to members of the fraternity. The plan also encourages alumni to get involved with their local chapter by providing mentorships and networking opportunities.
Vaughn Jeffery, an SDSU alumnus and member of SDSU's Delta Upsilon chapter, played an active role in implementing the strategic plan on campus.
“This is world-class leadership training,” he said. “We expect the best from the members of the fraternity so we aim to give them the best.”
A higher standard
Brett Bueck, a senior studying business administration, credits the fraternity for providing opportunities for personal growth.
"We're held to a higher standard," he said. "It's not just about parties and being social — we have cultural events, community service opportunities and leadership summits."
Members of the fraternity are required to complete community servce hours, but many of the brothers choose to go above and beyond the minimum. The chapter is actively involved with local elementary schools, assisting with tutoring and after-school programs.
Each Friday, brothers visit Lexington Elementary School in El Cajon and help distribute food to needy families through the Feeding America program. In addition, they interact with the students on the playground, help with reading in the classrooms and support after hours programs, including science fairs.
Delta Upsilon is a non-secret, no-hazing fraternity, meaning all rituals are open to the public and there is a zero-tolerance policy for hazing.
Delta Upsilon credits this policy for expanding the national organization’s diversity.
“We are an extremely diverse organization,” said Bruce Howard, an SDSU Delta Upsilon alum and founding member of the chapter.
The fraternity has initiated more than 125,000 men since the chapter’s inception in 1834. The commitment to diversity stems from the chapter's four founding principles; the promotion of friendship, diffusion of liberal culture, development of character and advancement of justice.
One of the main pillars of the fraternity's strategic plan is to focus on alumni engagement.
“It’s our job to show the collegiate what a Delta Upsilon man is,” Howard said.
Using strategic programming, leadership summits, frequent meetings and socials, alumni are able to stay engaged with the chapter. There is also an alumni mentor program that connects local alumni to current students.
“If chapters aren’t living up to the standards, they get cut,” Jeffery said. “Our organization prides itself on holding our members to high standards and if those standards aren’t met, the chapter doesn’t get to continue.”
The Delta Upsilon strategic plan also focuses on character development for each member.
“Why would you join a fraternity if it’s not going to make you a better person?” Howard asked.
The fraternity is constantly developing programs and implementing new ideas at the national level to cater to the needs of modern men.
“This is a work in progress,” Howard said. “We’re not satisfied yet — we're always improving and we’re always looking to do more.”