"We can look to the future pondering with wide-eyed wonder, but we are here, and it is now, and something must be done."
Founded in 1839 by eight young scholars at Miami University, Beta Theta Pi is social collegiate fraternity whose purpose is made clear in the Mission:
Beta Theta Pi is dedicated to building men of principle for a principled life. Our brotherhood aids the individual, builds the Fraternity and strengthens the host academic institution through lifelong devotion to intellectual excellence, high standards of moral conduct and responsible citizenship.
The Men of Principle initiative was established to further align Beta Theta Pi with its time-proven principles and obligations. In February 1997, the Board of Trustees appointed the Strategic Vision Steering Committee, 25 men and women, including collegians, to study the issues in the Greek community and chart a course for the future.
After 10 months of intense work by the dedicated committee members, the Men of Principle initiative was born. Guided by the Fraternity's principles and obligations, the committee developed a mission and vision, focusing collegians and alumni on Beta's original purpose. The following is known as the Vision:
Beta Theta Pi will be the exemplary standard for collegiate fraternal societies. Through implementation of Men of Principle, Beta will have successfully implemented policies and programs to achieve these objectives:
- Betas will be universally known as friends, gentlemen and scholars.
- Beta Theta Pi will be acclaimed and respected by the academic community.
- Beta Theta Pi will be endorsed by parents who will advocate membership for young men.
- Betas will be in high demand by leaders of business, government and the professions.
- Beta Theta Pi will engender bonds of friendship and brotherhood which create a lifelong commitment to serve and support the Fraternity.
The committee also identified nine goals which serve as guideposts for chapter programming:
I. Cultivation of the Intellect
The achievement of intellectual excellence is an enduring object of Beta life. Commitment to the cultivation of the intellect requires the culture of the chapter to encourage and support academic achievement.
II. Leadership Development & Self Governance
It is incumbent upon each chapter to identify future leaders, provide for their education and training, give them progressive leadership experiences and help them assume positions of leadership within the chapter, the host academic institution and community.
III. Commitment to Community
Beta Theta Pi calls for a commitment by the chapter and by each member of the chapter to make a meaningful contribution to his university, fraternal and local community.
IV. Member Education
Beta Theta Pi rejects hazing as a part of fraternity life, and emphasizes an educational experience which is morally uplifting and intellectually stimulating. The ongoing member education program teaches Beta ritual as the critical element of lifelong brotherhood.
V. Responsible Personal Conduct
Betas live by the highest standards of social conduct. The elimination of substance abuse through education, intervention, mutual support and progressive sanctions calls for and imposes the highest level of chapter self-governance, monitoring and discipline.
VI. Chapter Advisors
A network of advisors is a chapter resource of inestimable value. Advisors can enrich the intellectual culture of the chapter, assist with the administration of chapter affairs and help instill as sense of lifelong brotherhood.
VII. Member Recruitment
The process of consistently identifying good men year after year is a critical responsibility of chapter leadership, calling for the implementation of a Member Recruitment Management system, with Recruitment Through Scholarship as a natural element of this goal.
Each chapter and the General Fraternity must address the specific communication needs of their constituents. These include alumni, college faculty and administrators, prospective members and parents.
IX. Lifelong Fraternal Brotherhood
Fraternal brotherhood is created and strengthened by the intensity and integrity of effort required for success and enriched by the shared responsibility for achievement that endures.
These nine goals describe the distinctive character of the Beta culture. They flow directly from the Mission and anticipate the Vision. While these goals are listed in numerical order, they are in fact interrelated and of equal value. There is no hierarchy. No single goal is more or less important than the others. They work together systematically.
Reading them in sequence gives a sense of systemic wholeness, of how they relate, fit together and mutually support one another. The programs relate specifically to the goals. When successfully implemented, the cumulative effect will be the achievement of the Mission and Vision.