When I was a freshman entering the University, the idea of rushing a fraternity never even crossed my mind. However, by impulse and the nudging of a friend, I happened to stumble upon the table for Beta Theta Pi. After hearing more about this organization, I decided to push aside any and all reservations or concerns about joining a fraternity and went through with the rushing process. Today, two years after my initiation into the fraternity, I have grown as a leader and a young man. I’ve served in officer positions, done just about every job possible and made some great friendships. In one of my officer capacities, I was charged with overseeing a unique part of our fraternity: our Men of Principle Scholarship.

The Men of Principle Scholarship is one sponsored by our national fraternity. For us here at the University, it’s a $1,000 scholarship awarded to a non-Greek male who best embodies our values and ideals. Our fraternity has five core values: mutual assistance, intellectual growth, trust, responsible conduct and integrity. We look for these qualities in young men here at the University, and seek to reward them for their honorable sense of morals we share. The process consists of a preliminary application, interviewing applicants, the selection of finalists and an awards banquet to announce the winner.

The funding for the scholarship comes twofold: $500 from our general fraternity and $500 from dues collected from our own brothers. Many Beta chapters across the country do this scholarship with the $500; we are somewhat unique in adding additional money to make it more of a worthwhile financial reward. And yet, why should fraternity brothers give part of their own money just to give a scholarship to a guy who’s not even in their chapter? We do this because in our minds, the qualities of these young men who apply to the scholarship prove the merit and caliber of their worth, and to that end we seek to reward them for their values. When we conduct these interviews and actually meet these guys, we find so much more than just an application can read. Personal stories of working several jobs to afford the cost of college, balancing several commitments with difficult family life and doing everything possible to be the best young men they can be are relayed to us; I assure you these young men represent some of the finest this University has to offer.

We are not alone in our commitment to non-Greek students who embody our values. Sigma Phi Epsilon has a similar initiative through its Balanced Man Scholarship. The Greek community here at the University is committed to giving back; funding through scholarships such as these can make a significant difference in a young man’s life. Many of us are unaware of the stresses of affording college. While I pay for things such as gas and groceries myself, I am fortunate and blessed to say my parents saved enough money to finance my tuition and housing. We at Beta, and the Greek community at large, recognize that many students here at the University struggle not only with the stresses of class, student organizations and family life, but with the stresses of finances and other costs. To that end we extend financial support to these individuals who reflect our values: people who pay for their own education and still embody fine qualities and morals.

With the recently started Victors for Michigan campaign, we see the scholarship as relevant to our mission as a fraternity as ever. Giving for the sake of advancing education and promoting values worthy of a Michigan Wolverine, are what we and others in the Greek community seek to accomplish. We hope to continue giving back to the men that make this University the prestigious institution it is today, and work toward giving so that, as former University President James Angell said, “an uncommon education for the common man,” can be made the reality of any who seek it.

Paul Parker is an LSA and Engineering junior.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.