Delta Chapter Honored with True Merit Award
by Ross McSwain (’13)
Brothers, we have done it! After many years of knocking on the proverbial door, the Delta Chapter finally won the True Merit Award in 2011! The True Merit Award, awarded each year by the Alpha Tau Omega national fraternity, recognizes Chapters who excel in true brotherhood, alumni relations, philanthropy, scholarship, financial management, and ritual. The number of winners varies annually depending on the number of worthy recipients, and we were one of only 37 Alpha Tau Omega chapters to be so recognized last year. As part of the process, we send in an Annual Report each year that summarizes our Chapter’s operations and activities during the previous year. A committee reviews each Chapter’s report in order to determine that year’s winners, and the awards are presented at the ATΩ National Awards Banquet over the summer.
Former Worthy Master Aaron Bernstein (’12) was in Indianapolis last summer to represent the Delta Chapter and receive the True Merit Award at the banquet (see the nearby photo). He met Brothers from Chapters from all over the country, as well as the leaders of the national fraternity. When Virginia Delta’s name was called to receive True Merit, he had the opportunity to stand with ATΩ’s leaders on a national stage for the first time in our Chapter’s long, distinguished history. Every Tau in the room applauded our landmark achievement, and many thanks are due to all the Deltas whose hard work over the years laid the groundwork for this important milestone.
A year of hard work by the active Chapter culminated in this truly special moment. In particular, our innovation in philanthropy and continued strong brotherhood and alumni events contributed greatly to this honor.
First, we’ve had two successful years of philanthropy. The True Merit Award heavily weights a successful “signature event” that the University community recognizes. Over the past two years, we’ve moved our annual philanthropy event to Mad Bowl and opened it up to not only the University community, but also the larger Charlottesville community.
Second, we’ve always had great brotherhood and alumni events. The True Merit committee values demonstrations of brotherhood, such as attending athletic events, and alumni events such as the annual reunion in the fall. It also likes to see strong overall commitment to rituals such as formal meetings and initiation.
Finally, we added a Chapter Judicial Board to address any infractions inside of the brotherhood before they become a problem. ATO Nationals has been stressing the importance of a Judicial Board for some time, and it has proved a valuable addition to our fraternity.
Again, thanks to everyone whose hard work over the years made this award possible. Next time you’re in Charlottesville, whether it’s for a reunion, a football game, or whatever, please try to stop by 125 Chancellor Street to see the True Merit Award in person!