I guess I’m writing this as if I’m speaking. What is INΔ? It’s quite a question because when you take a step back, this is way more than one thing. But what exactly is it? Hard to explain something that has brought all of us equal amounts of joy as it has stress. In any organization, team, or family there are those who came before, some if quantified, did more than others. While some members hard work went unnoticed. And some were just amazing company along the way. But we all did something. If nothing else at all, at the bare minimum each one of us did one thing – We pledged ourselves to this organization.
Why? What got us into it? And what kept us going? In what direction is this organization moving?
Along with others, those were, and are the questions I find myself pondering. As I’m sure all of us have wondered the same. Although I have not come up with concrete answers for why one decides to start pledging nor where this organization is headed, I do know that all of us took away something from that one thing we have in common. Armed with an experience very difficult to define or explain to those who did not choose to try, or did not see it through. I’ve heard others describe it as some kind of magnificent galvanizing bond amongst brothers, or the ice breaker when you meet a brother for the first time. I’m not one for the theatrics of imaging we are some kind of band of brothers or other such depictions. Quite simply, I call that armor of experience brought to us by what we are a part of… The Beta Test.
A beta test is the trial period; the time when you can afford to point out and diagnose the glitches. So in that sense, in my opinion, the entire Iota Nu Delta experience serves as the beta test for what’s to come in our lives. I think I speak for all alumni from National Founding Fathers down to recent grads – Adversity, persistence, planning, event coordination, team management, and to an extent, chain of command are all part of what comes with being involved with this well-knit organization. These experiences we partake in allow us to make mistakes, so when in the real world we go to implement, for example, a team management skill in a professional setting, our performance is that much more refined.
Ask any brother in any professional setting, from Health Care, Legal, Engineering or Business. You will face adversity in your future. Something will always be in your way.
You will have to do event planning, whether it’s your own marriage, or setting up a volunteer event for your hospital/place of employment. You will always have to work with others, whether you are the follower or the leader of the group. And you will always need to assess the best way to navigate yourself through these obstacles. The values we learn from this organization become the tools we are able to use in our daily lives because of this beta test. Participating in events whether as a prospect, active brother, or alumni sharpens our capabilities of knowing how to react in all different scenarios life throws at us. For actives, if you’re in a position to contribute through going out on campus gaining ground, providing chapter with financial stability through fund raisers, successfully executing recruitment, having sustainable intake and expanding this organization to higher levels – or something as simple as being responsible for pre-party organization - you will walk away with intangibles that you will be able to use throughout your life. The beta test will truly teach you how to get to the top of your professional game, and personal life regardless of what the future has in store for you.
Everyone’s life experiences are obviously unique to that person. Countless times I’ve been around brothers, some of whom I see daily, others once a year, maybe… And the conversation of INΔ somehow comes up. All of us have our reasons for how we feel about our experience. But, however your opinion differs from one another, the opinion itself is irrelevant to my observation of what Iota Nu Delta is.
Happy New Years!
by Giri Kulkarni
Let’s take a trip back in time.
The year is 1994. I am turning five years old. Bill Clinton is the president of the U.S. It costs about a buck for a gallon of gas, and only four bucks to see a movie. Michael Jordan has left basketball, the World Series is cancelled, and the Dallas Cowboys are the Super Bowl champions. Nirvana is one of the biggest things in music, and a young rapper by the name of Nas is releasing his first album.
And in upstate New York, eight young men are turning a dream into reality.
On February 7th, 1994, these eight young men stepped forward to the world and dared to be the first for generations to come. They created the first South Asian Greek organization in the world, Iota Nu Delta Fraternity, Inc.
And what better of a year to create history than 1994? It was a bold time. It was a time when America challenged its people, no matter the race or creed, to step forward and claim what was theirs. The South Asian community was still building its identity and was often misunderstood. These misunderstandings built the common stereotypes South Asians are challenged with, even to this day. The courage of immigrant parents leaving their lives behind in order to build a future for their children had gone unnoticed. But many of those parents knew something important; their children would have the opportunity to justify a South Asian’s place in America. This is exactly what IN∆’s eight founding fathers dared to accomplish.
There was no such thing as a “South Asian fraternity”.. or sorority. South Asians involvement in Greek life was essentially non-existent.
But not after 1994.
These eight men envisioned a family of brothers that would provide service to humanity and leadership in society while uplifting the beautiful South Asian culture. But how could a group of eight men do this and continue to do this, forever? They began to expand their fraternity through family and close friends, working their way from New York to Philadelphia. This gave birth to two ideas that IN∆ lives by: One – the quality of the brother is more important than the quantity of brothers. Two – the fraternity must remain a family to truly emphasize “Brotherhood Eternal”. And twenty years later, in 2014, the fraternity remains true to these ideas.
In the years following 1994, similar organizations arose. These organizations grew rapidly and boasted of their fast growth and membership rate. IN∆ remained true to its identity and the vision of their eight founding fathers. In 2014, similar organizations that began after IN∆ proudly boast 2,000 – 3,000 members.
As for IN∆? Nine-Hundred and Nine.
That’s it. Nine-Hundred and Nine brothers worldwide. Which, not by coincidence, is just the right amount.
Now, how does IN∆ continue to “keep it in the family”? No longer is blood or friendship a primary indicator of potential. Being a brother now means more than sharing a pre-existing bond, it means building a bond through a common journey, a common goal, and a common will. No matter race or creed, individuals who show the potential to become a brother and uphold the fraternity’s mission are eligible.
How does IN∆ find this individual?
IN∆ does not rush. IN∆ recruits. To maintain the idea that the quality of brother is more important than the quantity of brothers, the fraternity strives to actively search out unique students who exhibit the ambition to achieve the greater things in life. The fraternity’s expansion team is active all year round in search of prospects at colleges and universities around the nation who wish to bring IN∆ to their respective campus.
There has never been a more exciting and promising time to be a brother of IN∆ than right now. The fraternity is experiencing its own renaissance, exploring new ideas and practices in all its fields. Reaching twenty years of brotherhood has been a humbling and enlightening achievement. It has allowed our leaders to return to the roots of our fraternity’s success: setting precedents for the world in the boldest and most professional manner.
Twenty years ago, I was turning five years old. My biggest fears were drawn from my imagination, my biggest concerns revolved around the Power Rangers, and my biggest dreams came during nap time. I didn’t know it then, but twenty years and Nine-Hundred and Nine brothers later, I can truly appreciate what eight young men were dreaming up.. in 1994.
by Binoy Babukutty
Feature Piece for Brown Girl Magazine
What Is INΔ?
-The Flame Staff, Creative Competition