The brotherhood of Alpha Chi Rho (AXP) – Delta Sigma Phi have always had a strong bond of brotherhood and has always been a great fraternity to be a part of. But with any large organization, there always lies issues, and the key to solving those issues is first realizing what they are. This term AXP took our yearly brotherhood retreat to self-evaluate the fraternity where it stands. The retreat was most graciously hosted by Mike Henry, a 1992 WPI alum and brother of AXP, at his house in Worcester. Henry has maintained consistent involvement in the house since his graduation, being on the Board of Directions and always being around and available to the house. The retreat was organized by Fraternal Chairman Andrew Davis (WPI class of 2016) and President Eric Corriveau (Class of 2015) to help identify the issues within our fraternity and to help strengthen our bonds as brothers.

After arriving at Henry’s house, the first event the brotherhood partook in was the Scavenger Hunt/Hike. The brotherhood broke up into small groups and set off on the trail nearby. Each brother was given a list of statements that they must match up to a certain brother. For example, one statement was “This brother worked for Apple” and the answer was our Eric Corriveau. But knowing the answer was not all they must do, each brother would then have to find that brother and have them sign off on it. And of course this was happening while each group of brothers was scattered through the trail, so it made for a fun and interested event as brothers explored the trail and searched for each other. The problem that this event was addressing was that even though we as a brotherhood love to talk to each other and to hang out, but we sometimes don’t ask the obvious questions about each other’s lives. What did you do over the summer? Where did you work? What do you like about it? This event also helped to do just that, to have everyone catch up with each other after a long summer. There’s no reason as brothers that we shouldn’t know more about each other’s lives.

After enjoying a hefty meal from the BBQ (only a few things caught fire), we moved onto the next event. Davis presented the brotherhood with a puzzle box. But it just wasn’t one puzzle, it was four puzzles mixed together in one box, and we were to solve them as quickly as possible. So naturally, we all started scrambling and trying to connect every little piece to each other, and that obviously didn’t work well. We soon realized that we should probably strategize to get this done, and so we started flipping puzzle pieces over and separating the corner pieces. Since there were four puzzles, breaking up into four groups was another logical choice, and so at this point we had four different groups sorting and connecting puzzle pieces together. One of the puzzles was of a unicorn and we had tried to separate puzzle pieces that looked like it belonged to that, however some pieces clearly weren’t fitting. It then became apparent that there was a 5th puzzle inside the box, another unicorn, mainly as a curveball to the activity. But that didn’t stop us, we finally completed all five puzzle (with the exception of a mysterious missing puzzle piece) about 30 minutes faster than Davis had anticipated. The point of this exercise was to emphasize how much power we have as a brotherhood. When working together we can get things done much quicker and easier than we ever could going alone. It was also apparent that diving into a problem head first without a plan never works, there also needs to be some sort of strategy going in. This is true for any issue the brotherhood has, as well as any personal issue a brother may have.

We took some time afterwards to directly reflect on our brotherhood as a whole. We were asked to think about some questions and to give out responses to them. Where do we want the brotherhood to be in ten years? What we can we do accomplish that? We were then asked to share some of our responses on the matter. Overall, the purpose was to get brother thinking about what changes they want made, and how we can make those changes.

The next event involved breaking brothers up into groups and having them balance a hula hoop. Each brother was setup in a circle and was to hold up their side of the hula hoop with a single finger underneath it. The goal of the activity was to get the hula hoop all the way to the ground without anyone breaking contact, a task that sounds deceptively easy. The instant reaction of each brother was to push upwards to attempt to correct the angle of the hula hoop, which led to a strange phenomenon of everyone pushing the hoop straight up instead of down. After lots of trial and error, it was clear that this hoop wasn’t going to get to ground just by continuously trying. Brothers started communicating strategies to each other, such as each person slowly moving downwards one by one or timing the intervals in which each person moves. We eventually all got the hoop to the ground. The lesson behind this activity is that sometimes, no one brother can do it alone. But it’s okay to go to each other for help and to share the load. We are all in this together and we are all open to helping each other. On the flip side of that, sometimes we overlook when someone is in need of help, but it’s just as good to offer that brother help, even if they may not need it.

The final event for the night was a “debate” between the brotherhood. We were split up into two groups where one side was defending reasons to join the brotherhood, and the other side was defending reasons against that. Each person went and gave one point defending either argument, and in the end we stressed our major strengths and weaknesses. The point of this event was to get the brothers thinking what made them join the brotherhood and what we need to do to make it stronger. Again, the self-reflection is important in making the brotherhood better in the future. And with that, the events for the night was over and we all hung out, watched some movies, and went to sleep for the next day.

The next morning we had one final event planned before we all returned home. We took cinder blocks and wrote on them all of the brotherhoods problems, as well as some brother’s personal problems, and pummeled them into the ground with sledge hammers. This was not only a good stress reliever, but also signified a new beginning for the brotherhood, and how we plan to crush all of our problems now that we’ve now addressed. Overall the retreat was very beneficial to the brotherhood as a whole, as most of the brotherhood was able to attend and as we really address the hard issues in the house. We are all optimistic about the future and we all expect a great change in the future.