Hello brothers! I hope this Xi-Lights finds you all in good health. I am happy to report that all 20 new pledges of Theta Chi have become brothers. They have learned the purpose of our fraternity, and there is no doubt in my mind that these new members will embody the “assisting hand” motto that we all pride ourselves in having. Although we said goodbye to 19 members who graduated this semester, our strong rush leaves our total membership count at 51 going into the next semester.

We had an excellent philanthropy this semester. Over the past few years, we have struggled to find a spring philanthropy event that embodies what we stand for and also has the potential to raise money for a good cause. In the fall, our annual Battle of the Bands philanthropy event always sees good turnout, and we really wanted to have another annual event for the spring that could reach those same numbers. We decided to hold a Music for Mental Health at Crozet’s bar. Our expectations were not only reached but exceeded. We raised over $4,000 for On Our Own, a local mental health center for those who need assistance while going through a rough time, whether that be addiction or domestic abuse. All of the brothers were thrilled with the event, and we are very proud and excited to have a philanthropy for both semesters now that reflects our ideals and values.

The IFC has been pushing for some significant changes in the past year.  Examples include attempting to address party safety at events outside of fraternity houses and at rush events, working with the ISC to ensure that both fraternities and sororities provide responsible and sober members to ensure mixers and date functions are safe as well as fun, and demonstrating responsiveness and sensitivity to race issues following the rioting tragedy that struck Charlottesville last year.

In navigating these complex issues, I am pleased to say that the IFC has been very easy to work with and really consider the mindsets of the presidents before making a change.  In some cases, IFC solutions have been well-intentioned but not practical to implement.  As president of Xi Chapter, I’ve attempted to work with the IFC leadership and my fellow house presidents to find common ground.  I was happy to support the initiative to ensure that both fraternities and sororities are responsible for safety at our joint events.  I support increasing safety at fraternity-hosted events held at locations outside our houses, but with many other presidents feel the IFC needs to find a practical and enforceable solution (as a result this item will be re-addressed in the fall).  And with regard to race issues, we support the efforts of the IFC to become more inclusive and to initiatives that expose us to different points-of-view, such as the panel our brothers attended in March on The History of Greek Life and Race Relations at UVA.

Looking forward to the summer, I will be attending the Theta Chi Nationals Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the end of June with recent graduate Doug Abramowicz. The conference is an annual event and requires attendance by current chapter leadership.  New in the past few years, the national chapter began requiring attendance from at least one alumnus as well.  I look forward to my first time attending this event, and I promise to represent our fraternity well and to inform everyone of any relevant news from the conference.

James Childress ’19