Kappa Epsilon: The Great Ride

On November 1, 2017, I had the opportunity to witness one of the greatest traditions among Delt chapters today. The initiated members of Kappa Epsilon Chapter at The College of New Jersey braved the brisk chill of nightfall to perform “The Great Ride” for their new members. One by one, each new member embarked on a journey of introspection, pausing along the way to hear an initiated brother relate the actions of Rhodes S. Sutton and Samuel S. Brown to a challenge he will face in his own life. As I watched the facial expressions of the participants, I could see the impact this ceremony had on them. The initiated members approached this ceremony as an opportunity to encourage their brothers-to-be to build off their accomplishments and never stop improving the chapter. The new members applied the information provided to their own lives and felt inspired to give their all to the betterment of the Fraternity.

Adopted from an activity at Ignite, the Fraternity’s premier leadership experience for recently initiated members, this ceremony allows members to commemorate the brave actions taken by Sutton and Brown to save the Fraternity from extinction in 1862 and challenge each new member to leave his own legacy as a Delt. “The Great Ride” was a highlight of my first semester on the road because it exhibited undergraduate members living out the true purpose of the Fraternity – to challenge young men to a pursuit of excellence. Fraternity members on today’s college campus quite often lose this intention when creating or continuing traditions, resulting in activities that do not encourage personal development. This tradition, on the other hand, was intentionally planned to ignite the spark for improvement within each participant, and I am confident that each man present walked away with an understanding of how he will advance himself and the chapter.

-Ben Grothe (University of Iowa, 2017)