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journal prompt 8

November 15, 2011

Bononia

The Bononia is a book that contains the history of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. There are many terms that we, as pledges, must learn. The information in this book is specific to the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and no outsiders would know about anything in this book. Everyone in my pledge class can say anything as simple as “lily,” and we will all immediately know that he is talking about the lily of the valley, the flower of Kappa Sigma. We all have taken the same tests, and know all of the same history about Kappa Sigma, and can easily make references that only all of us would understand.

Facebook group

On our pledge class facebook group we talk about what we have to do in the fraternity. We discuss what we have to know for certain tests, and when we have to do things. We talk about upcoming events, what we need to wear at what times, and everything. We talk about how we will complete certain tasks, and we also have inside jokes that the brothers do not understand when they read our page. If an outsider read our page, they would not be able to read in context, and thus would not understand what we were talking about. Our Facebook page is a major form of communication for us because all 30 of us are not always in the same room, and we all need to know things, so we communicate mostly via Facebook, or Simple texts.

The Simple

Simple texts: All pledges receive a mass text from a service called “The Simple”. The messages have initials tagged onto them that tells which member of the executive council is requesting us to do some certain task. The texts could not be understood by an outside person because of the specificity of the message.

First day narrative:

I got my “bid”, which is an invitation to join the fraternity, before actual rush, so when rush came around I already knew some things that no one else knew. I felt like I was ahead of everyone else, but I was very wrong. My first day with the pledge discourse community started after we became pledges. At rush, I met all of my pledge brothers, but only for a few seconds, and everything was so chaotic that we never really met each other. The first day in the discourse community was the day after we all got pledged in. Our pledge class was not at all a discourse community the first day. None of us knew anything, and we barely even knew each others names. We did not know what we were supposed to do, how long we would be pledges, or anything at all for that matter. I heard terms such as “balled” and “initiated,” as well as “chapter” and “ritual.” All of these terms were foreign to me, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. Maybe I should have watched more fraternity movies. Balled means being released as a pledge, or kicked out. If you become a pledge and never get balled, then you can get initiated. Chapter is a meeting that is only attended by brothers, and ritual is something I really do not know anything about because I am a pledge.

After weeks and weeks we all became great friends, and our discourse community was in full swing. We had our Facebook group, with all of our inside jokes, and a ton of strange things to do for the fraternity. We all had nicknames that no outsider would understand. We all did a ton of activities together, had to pass the same tests, and know all of the same things. We could say a few words such as “you ready?” and everyone would know exactly what we were inquiring they were ready for.

Shared memory:

We are the Beta Lambda pledge class, and we do everything last minute, which is why we just scheduled our retreat, and we are leaving tomorrow. The plan is to go on a camping trip in Ormand beach at a camp site called Tomoka state park. We all set out separately, all 30 of us in around 7 different cars. We have just arrived at the camp site our stupid pledge antics have already started, and we are now cutting down every tree in sight with the one ax we have. We have no food, and a lot of people do not even have tents. Like I said, we are always unprepared. Right now we are going to Publix to buy burgers. Once back at the camp site the burgers started being cooked over an open fire, burning everyones hands due to the fact that we have no spatula, knife, or anything. We just have our ax. Now that everyone has had an unsatisfying dinner we gathered around the camp fire and did what we did best, talk about ourselves, and tell jokes. We really do have a tight knit pledge class. And after last night talking around the camp fire, we have a whole new set of inside jokes, and a generally feeling of trust towards each other. We left the camp site the next afternoon, all having a new found appreciation for our pledge brothers, and a bond that can be called brotherhood.

I interviewed Jason Roydhouse:

What are some things you learned as a pledge?

  • Development of teamwork, learn to work with others.

What is the goal of a pledge, in your opinion?

  • To learn to become a gentleman, learn to respect others and yourself
    • give respect to get it
    • and obviously to get initiated

What is some terminology that you remember from when you were a pledge?

  • Fist of all “I did some research and I knew what was getting into”
    • GDI -god damn independent
    • simple texts, chapter meetings, and chair meetings throughout the week
    • as far as brothers are concerned, the ritual is what binds them together
      • we have our pledge class letters, that bind us together

What is the fraternity all about?

  • Its about the brotherhood mostly
  • also, you can get a job
  • its a great college experience
  • out of a group of 50,000 kids its hard to find your niche

Why did you choose Kappa Sigma?

  • “Me and my roomates last year came out to rush and just picked kappa sig”
  • “I liked how it was a smaller group of guys”

What is the common purpose of fraternity?

  • “bring people together”
  • “help people mature and get better”
  • “people can acquire leadership skills”

What is some advise you can give to someone hoping to join a fraternity?

  • “Rush as many fraternitys as you can”
  • “find your own place”

Once a person is a pledge, what is the best advice you can give them?

  • “have dilligence and commitment once a pledge”
    • our 2 watch words

 

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One Comment
  1. nholic permalink

    You’ve got some good material to work with, Ryan.

    Be careful about the word “Brotherhood” as you continue to develop your analysis and essay. What is it that you mean by “Brotherhood,” after all? Is it friendship? Is it the same thing that a soldier talks about when he mentions the “brotherhood” he experienced while at war? Is your 30-man pledge class even experiencing the same sort of “brotherhood” that your founders talked about when they had a seven or eight-man chapter? I mention this not to dispute the feelings that members have about their community, but as a challenge to get more specific with what “brotherhood” means specifically to this group, here and now.

    There’s a lot to still be discussed with the facebook page and the pledge book, too, so I hope to see what you come up with.

    –NH

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