The following is an insightful submission by Br. Allen Eastlund ’05 who reflects on his fraternity experience and how it shapes his and our dedication to the past, present and future of Alpha Delta Phi. A must-read for actives and alumni alike, it recounts the journey of an undergrad and how it affects new journey of an alum.
Over these last few months I have been reminded in spectacular fashion of my favorite part of the alumni experience: the alumni. The warmth and welcome of the preceding season is always brought to light most strongly by the Brothers of Alpha Delta Phi. The shared experiences of the fraternity transcend age, life, and location. Every year that we spend in the company of our shared family, we rededicate ourselves to the ideals that Samuel Eels set down.
One cold December evening, Brother Jake Jacobson ‘89 opened his house to the alumni board and any active willing to attend; under the watchful gaze of Elf on the Shelf, Jake showed us the hospitality that comes from the heart and spirit of Alpha Delta Phi. While carefully lulling us with choice appetizers and draft beer, he then grudgingly allowed active and alumni alike to sit in his leather-wrapped “daddy’s chairs” and covet his home theater system. By allowing others into his home and playing the churlish but lovable barman and host, he exemplified how we rededicate ourselves every year, season, and month to the fraternity and brothers that we have grown to love.
In the waning weeks of 2015, I spent a jovial evening in the company of Brothers Steve Ehrfurth ‘06, Nik VanDenMeerendonk ‘05, Mark Kimitch ‘05, and John Komarek ‘07. While I have been away at grad school for a number of years, upon my return I was immediately invited and welcomed back to the annual tradition of watching Christmas “classics”: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Garfield Christmas, and Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special. Through our good cheer and comradery, we renewed our bonds of friendship and brotherhood while eating exotic mustards and carefully arranged deli meats.
Brother Joshua Schultz ‘04 stopped by my house late one afternoon on his way back home to Leavenworth, Kansas. We shared a less-than-traditional meal of pho and a soup so blindingly spicy, Josh remains unable to sit to this day. Josh and I have been close since our years in the fraternity and have remained close ever since, visiting each other wherever our lives go, to different states and different countries. Little of the meal was spent eating; the majority of our time was spent back and forth between past and present. While reconnecting over our shared experiences at the fraternity, we also found time to catch each other up on our respective present situations: a father of one, soon to be two, with a house and a new job at the University; a career Army Major, enrolled in Intelligence Academy, traveling the US and world abroad, defending his country. With this brief but important stopover, we also planned for the future: Josh hopes to be in Norway in the near future. Perhaps not coincidentally, I also hope to find myself in Norway in the near future.
In all my years, I have never been ice spear fishing. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Thankfully, that is something that Brother Louis Manka ‘04 hopes to cure by the end of this month. Louis works repairing railroads across the Midwest during non-winter months but I was able to snag some time with him on his way out to Utah. After sharing dinner, playing with my toddler, and catching a movie together, he told me that he had unfettered access to a spear fishing house, invited me up, and made sure that I said yes. Even after years apart, Alpha Delts are always looking for the next excuse to see each other.
When we dedicate our lives to the mission of Manus Multae Cor Unum, we do it alongside a class of strangers. We do it in front of a group of men we have just met. Though we begin in unfamiliar surroundings, we are immediately welcomed as compatriots. You come to know your class, their failures, foibles, and strengths. These individual characteristics are rapidly absorbed by the existing house to blend and strengthen the foundation. The house is where we make time to know each other, regardless of class year, and through this time spent together, we create bonds and brotherhoods. We share histories to find common ground. We make lasting memories of our time together.
When we graduate college, a fantastic transformation happens. We become alumni. We are welcomed and united with decades of history and personal relationships. We are asked to help shape the fraternity for years to come, with our time, ideas, and abilities. We are welcomed again as neophytes in a new chapter, and made brothers once again with those who have come before.
I charge unto the class preparing to graduate in the spring to reach out to this body of men and find new friendships.
Allen Eastlund ’05
MN Alumni Board Member