The Essence of Alpha

Sixteen years ago I became a member of the Rho Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. At that time, most of the gentlemen featured in the short clip below were in preschool. While almost two decades separate our respective pledge experiences, watching this video brought back so many of the powerful emotions that made and make Alpha dear to me. Coincidentally, if you ask a Man of Alpha why he pledged or what the fraternity means to him, chances are he will struggle mightily to find the right words to convey its essence.

Spring 2011 – Beta Gamma Chapter from John Ledbetter on Vimeo.

Alpha is more than the pledging, the stepping, the strolling, the chanting, the signs, the gear, the partying, the debauchery, the brotherhood, the service, the academics, the secrets, the history. Yet, it is all those, too. I share this video because it captures the essence of Alpha better than I can and does so with no words. Now you know.

In the process of preparing to write this post I realized it is quite conceivable that, in sixteen years, Owen could be that skinny kid, standing with his line brothers in the rain, Alpha Phi Alpha emblazoned on his chest. How powerful would that be?