Hardly Home. Always Reppin.

Though I was born in Florida, I am from Cincinnati, OH -home of Major League Baseball’s first professional team, Skyline Chili, and the world’s famous Graeter’s Ice Cream! Growing up, I quickly learned how important the city of Cincinnati was in African-American history, as it was a destination for many people escaping the bonds of slavery through the Underground Railroad.

Yet, I did not know how powerful the Fraternity and Sorority Life community has been at the University of Cincinnati and within the greater Cincinnati community.

freedom_center

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Cincinnati, OH

This weekend, I learned firsthand how purposeful this community has been as I had the opportunity to speak with student leaders at the University of Cincinnati’s Greek Leadership Retreat. The discussion was one of the best conversations I have had since becoming a fraternity man four years ago. We discussed what it means to be an ethical leader, accountability in action, and most importantly, how to translate one’s vision into unified success.

snellen

This conversation did not come as a surprise. Fraternity and Sorority Life at UC has been influential since its inception in 1840. More recently, in July 2016, the council leadership released a joint statement on the one-year anniversary of Samuel DuBose’s death. (Samuel DuBose was an unarmed black man shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer in July 2015.) The council leadership was humble and transparent, stating they “have not adequately advocated for our community members, and extend our sincerest apology.” In response, they have devoted to “support identity-based campus resources and will implement education and development opportunities help cultivate a more purposefully engaged community.”

joint-statement

WOW! If you read the above statement, which you absolutely should, all you can say is wow! Three unique councils and one unified vision?! This is literally a dream come true!

The media will be the first to tell you that Greek life is not perfect and there is a lot of great work to be done. However, leaders at UC were vulnerable and not only recognized where they failed to speak up, but pledged to stand together to be change they wish to see. This is congruent to the vision I have for Greek life communities nationwide – to identify areas of improvement and collectively use our strengths to overcome.

Driving home from Bagdad, KY, I am excited! I cannot wait to witness the positive social change the Fraternity and Sorority Life community will create at UC, the greater Cincinnati community, and ultimately the world. I’m hardly home these days, but I’m always reppin for my city!

Encourage somebody to be great today!

Tim Bryson

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