A Catalyst for Change
Treasurer. Sergeant-at-arms. Risk manager. IFC executive member. New member mentor. It is an enviable roster of undergraduate accomplishments for 21-year-old senior, Alex Linton (University of Cincinnati, 2016), which also includes frequent Relay-for-Life volunteer and organizer of the TedTalks UCincinnati. The catalyst to his impressive display of undergraduate involvement was his attendance at Delta Tau Delta’s emerging leadership experience, Ignite.
“I didn’t know what plans I had or what was in store for me after joining Delta Tau Delta,” explained Linton. “Ignite really helped spark that process. It was the beginning of it all.”
Linton attended the first-ever Ignite session at Camp Tecumseh in Brookston, Ind., and returned to his chapter in Cincinnati with a renewed sense of purpose, a mindset to challenge the status quo, and a goal to empower his brothers to speak up.
“The biggest thing I took back from Ignite is being able to think for myself. A lot of times you come into a fraternity as a freshman or sophomore in my case, and do what has been done before just because that’s all you’ve ever been told,” explained Linton. It is his belief that there is no more detrimental an attitude to the progress of a chapter or organization than the halting of new ideas.
“One of the most dangerous phrases I’ve heard is, ‘this is how it’s always been do, so let’s continue to do it this way,’” said Linton. “That doesn’t leave much room for growth. We have to evolve the way we do things and not just stay stagnant.”
According to Linton, one way to ensure a chapter avoids stagnancy and continues to forge a path of evolving excellence is by empowering the younger members and future leadership to challenge tradition in light of new ideas.
After Ignite, Linton donned the cap of chapter treasurer, served on numerous committees including parents weekend and homecoming committee, and finally applied for The Charge, describing the retreat in Chicago as his “greatest Delt experience.”
Linton charted the course of his five-year plan while discovering his greatest strengths and how to utilize them in the pursuit of his life goals. But the most inspiring moments during the experience were the candid and open discussions between attendees about their fears and the circumstances which shaped them.
“The Charge was so unique and you will never take anything like that away from the basic functions of the chapter,” said Linton. “It’s an experience that when you sign up, you think, ‘Do I really want to go to Chicago with a group of people I don’t know?’”
“The answer is yes, you absolutely do.”