I admit it….and I’m very proud to say it.
In any serious discussion, whether the subject is religion or politics, commerce or enterprise, family matters or love life, sports or entertainment, stock market or 401K, golf score or next trip overseas, the words that are music to my ears are these:
Part of this stimulated by my all time favorite Business Guru, Peter Drucker and my all time favorite Revolutionary, Ben Franklin. Part of it comes directly from Walter Isaacson’s tremendously gifted biography of Steve Jobs. And part of it from the eulogy given by Teddy Kennedy where he extolled Robert’s virtue of “seeing things as they could be and asking why not?“
But a whole lot more if it is caused by the hard and painful fact that after more than four full months since we laid to rest the late great Brother Robert Oscar Warr, I have been stopped from making any progress toward the dedication of a Bob Warr Luminary Room in his honor — this inside the upstairs of the Sigma Chi House, at the University of Oregon.
In fact the word ‘progress’ is a stretch longer than a football field. I’ve managed to have a single one hour of conversation at Starbucks with Clarke McAllister, but not one single moment with Daryl Egbert — neither by phone nor face-to-face. (We have exchanged a number of email, which I have uploaded in a “protected” web page here; those who wish to read them, send me a note and I shall happily provide the password. I some ways it feels like trying to deal with the Vatican – there’s never an end to the run-around. In other ways closer to the bone that that — Daryl Egbert has been a “one-man band ‘in charge’ of Chapter matters, from itsy-bitsy to grave and monumental.
All of which returns me to the title of this post: WHAT IF?
WHAT IF…… the Chapter were governed by the Bi-Laws formulated in the 1920’s? I have posted them here, but the most relevant parts had to do with Trustees, “Building Committee”, Elections, the recording of Board Meetings by a “Secretary”, not less than twice a year?
WHAT IF.….we could find five Trustees (as required by the Bi-Laws) to serve on behalf of the Chapter? Reasonably “active” men willing to ‘take on” the (reasonably weighty) matters of the Chapter. Mostly by email and phone, but sometimes in person, at the House?
WHAT IF….we could find ten Building Committee Members to whom some of the (more or less) routine (oversight) tasks of the Chapter could have “regular and ongoing adult supervision”?
WHAT IF….we could find an Executive Director willing to work 40, or 50 or 60 hours a week on matters decided by the Trustees and the Building Committee?
WHAT IF …..these “adults” required budgets, forecasts, financial statements and banking records both transparent and regularly and independently audited?
WHAT IF.….we decided that the Sororities have a great model and we could learn from them? Their Houses are immaculate, brim full, landscaped and the pride of both parent and University….with stunning balance sheets with cash-on-hand never less than six figures.
WHAT IF….we operated the House all 365 days a year? What is we could do this in ways that would substantially increase net revenues, go far to Drive a Stake in the Heart of Animal House, and improve results in the regular school year?
WHAT IF……we redirected all the energy the Chapter spends raising money to cure cancer we spent it on raising money for Youth Organizations in the business of improving lives for boys and girls, age 10 and up?
WHAT IF..…the we had “adult leadership” that would embrace – rather than block – undertakings that celebrate the life and legacy of people like Bob Warr, Bill Dillinger, Stephen Cannell, Dyrol Burleson, Jerry Tarr, John Robinson, plus those who supported the Recognition Program — with “Halls of Fame” on each wing of the House upstairs? (See this two minute video.)
WHAT IF…..the whole entire House was a bee-hive of enterprise and ambition, to include day-long seminars (weekends, spring and winter breaks, all summer) where the emphasis was on job finding, fund-raising, -start-up launches, Big Idea Development?
WHAT IF…...the fact that there are 5,500 Greek Chapter Houses on 800 college campuses that are idle and empty every summer — and that IF “we” (in Eugene) could develop the “right” model for others to follow, what would THIS do for the Chapter?
WHAT IF…..we had given support to the (age 16-18) Sigma Chi baseball team John Hibbs fielded while he was House Dad? Would we now be “running” Greek Baseball tournaments in the summer — in Portland? Eugene? Medford?
WHAT IF……we had followed through with a Beta Pi Ten Award, given annually for Very Special Recognition of Sig Houses in Oregon?
WHAT IF….the job of “House Dad” would be substantially upgraded? Where the person employed would be well paid for the job of On Site Property Manager? With bonuses for increasing net revenues by optimizing both the facilities and the human beings who sleep there?
WHAT IF….as much time and energy was spent getting good jobs for the undergraduates – both in the summer and post-graduation as is now spent in the acquisition of winning a Peterson?
WHAT IF….we had a Parent’s Club, premised on the rock-solid conviction that nobody, nobody, nobody has more interest in the kids in our House than the parents?
WHAT IF.….we were known, far and wide, as the most innovative, most forward thinking Chapter in the entire Greek World?
WHAT IF….we could find someone so ambitious that he could get imagine the need for and get made a dynamite film called the Miracle of the Beta Pit Ten?
WHAT IF…..we could find someone who was awarded the Fraternity’s Best House Parent Award?
WHAT IF…….we could annually fill the House with 30-40 of the most enterprising Greek collegians for purposes of holding in Eugene something akin to the the World Economic Forum in Davos — geared to innovation, enterprise, next-big-thing — out of our Greenhouses? (See Greenhouses – Mighty Oaks Where Tall Acorns Grow.
WHAT IF…..we — the whole Greek Community — were ‘joined at the hip” with Tracktown USA and the City of Eugene to help establish Eugene as World Headquarters for Youth Empowerment?
WHAT IF….we could quit thinking like managers doing business that is now fifty years out of date? And start thinking like 21st Century owners, with a multi-million dollar facility and, presumably, the “best and brightest” coming to the University….all right at hand, right now?
WHAT IF …..we really and truly kept front and center in all of our decision making the sad memory of the most beautiful Chapter House at the University of Oregon — that once stood at the corner of 13th and Alter, the best location of all — being torn down for two reasons…and two reasons only: (1) Alumni apathy and indifference; (2) a corrupt President of the Building Corporation.
WHAT IF…..we held a nice banquet and honorarium for Brother Egbert, thanking him for his 35 years of service, congratulating him for his Constantine…— perhaps we could even talk him into leading the effort to erect the Gerlinger Lighthouse — 100 miles from the sea. (Just kidding.)
WHAT IF....the leaders of the Beta Pi Ten, and the leaders of those who lived in the House when I lived there, could be the ‘driving force’ behind “the first step”….Remember — “Even a journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.“