By: Educational & Leadership Consultant for Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity Cory Stopka, Phriend of Phi Tau

Last year at about this time I took a risk. I moved 700 miles from home to start on a new career path as an educational and leadership consultant with the co-ed professional fraternity Delta Sigma Pi.

The move was difficult. My family, friends, and brothers were my life and being so far from them took a hefty toll. Luckily, the brothers of Phi Tau—and fellow Deltasigs—were there for me.

Phi Taus specifically gave me a new place to live with other Executive Offices staff, which became a welcome environment. All of the brothers that I met were quick to extend a helping hand.

My interests became their priority. Their inquiries were genuine from the day I arrived in a U-Haul.

Over time, we became close friends. We shared stories and thoughts about life.

Many activities fostered this bond—roasting a hotdog over a bonfire, smoking a cigar, spotting eagles while kayaking, sharing a meal or watching a ballgame. They all provided an avenue for each of us to bond and develop an understanding of each other.

Those activities took place because we all genuinely cared for each other.

Granted, some of these experiences shed light on some weaknesses of others and myself. I was forced out of my comfort zone and also did some forcing. We realized each other’s quirks and tendencies.

Disagreements happened. Silences happened. Anger happened.

In the end, a family happened. Although I am not a Phi Tau, I can honestly say that I have come to call these men my brothers. I understand what the Fraternity is all about—not because my roommates told me, but because they showed me.

I’m grateful for my experience with the great men of Phi Tau that now live in Oxford, away from their own families. We have learned from each other and grown, both as men and leaders. As a Deltasig and a business major, there can be times when you forget that you don’t need a degree in management to be a leader…

A leader is one who sees a need and humbly fills it while making those around him better. Phi Taus taught me that.

So go ahead and take your own journey. See what you can learn from complete strangers while learning about yourself. And while you do, take a lesson from the men I mentioned—show people your values through your actions.