Will Lopez: The Journey from Volunteer to Brother
I don’t know about your chapter but in mine, we have our adviser (Hey Doc!) and then we have our undergraduate brothers.
It wasn’t until I met Will Lopez that I realized the power of volunteers and the bond they form with undergraduates.
Will not only serves as an adviser for the SigEp chapter at Texas Tech but also just went through the ceremony to become a Renaissance brother.
How did this all start for you?
It was really Archie Messersmith who got me involved as a volunteer. I was involved at Carlson two years ago and I didn’t realize how much these guys needed guidance. My job right now at Texas Tech is to work with students and provide information that helps students make the best decision on a variety of issues. I love working with college students during the day and those moments where I am able to do my job with the brothers, that’s when I remember why I do this.
What was it like when the chapter asked you to be Renaissance brother? What does it mean to you?
It means a lot actually. They don’t give this type of membership to just anybody. It means a lot to me because they believe I meet the standard to be a SigEp and live our Cardinal Principles. Being given the opportunity to be a brother, I’m continually working on meeting the expectations of my brothers but I know they wouldn’t have given me this opportunity if they didn’t believe in me and that means a lot. *laughs* It’s just awesome.
What does this mean to you moving forward?
Right now, I am going through graduate school getting my Ph.D. and working full time. Knowing the Cardinal Principles like diligence has helped me realize that nothing is ever going to be given to you. Just having these values has given me a greater sense of purpose. Having young men encourage me as I go through this process and still being able to lift me up even when I am trying to lift them up has been really cool. I really love embodying this value every day.
One thing I want the chapter to strive for is becoming a better version of ourselves, whatever that is. I think that being a SigEp and going through the journey is going to be filled with ups and down in life. It is about getting yourself back up and creating a better version of yourself. That is what I think a balanced man is. I try to communicate this to the guys, and I know we can do better.
Favorite SigEp moment?
I was at program called UIFI and at one point of the program, every Greek member stands and says the creed of their organization. Before this year, I’m usually one of the few who is non-affiliated and this year, three members from SigEp invited me to say the Creed with them. I didn’t expect the invitation and so standing up with them and saying our Creed was amazing.
What do you say to people who look down on fraternities?
I have seen the good side and the bad side of fraternities. One of the experience I will always remember was two years when we had a death in one of our fraternities because of recruitment and hazing violations. The president had the whole chapter in the room and in the front and said “one of our members just died,” that was one of the most professionally difficult moments I have had.
My response to those that criticize is that they are absolutely right. These things happen because we let them happen. The hazing, underage drinking, the alcohol abuse, we let this happen. I have seen the good side of fraternities too. I have seen people who have been in a fraternity and led very successful lives, and I have also seen it fraternity ruin a lot of lives. Both paths are very real and I am working with these guys to stop the latter from happening. We all need to stop this from happening. We need to hold our brothers and sisters accountable and set higher standard.
When did you know SigEp was different?
After facilitating some great programs nationally, I always come back to SigEp. It was so much more welcoming to be able to interact with SigEps at the different conferences where there was just something different … I can’t describe it. It was just not like other fraternities. I think it is because we have always held ourselves to a higher standard. Before I joined, I was always like “Man, that is the group I want to be a part of.” I could tell this group wanted to make a difference in the world and face challenges head on. It is cool to be associated with those guys now. What makes this Fraternity so great is the people within it.
Out of the Cardinal Principles, which one do you value the most?
This something the guys hear me say all the time. For me it is diligence. You are always striving to be better. It is something we are all striving towards, and we should never stop because it is so easy to take the easy way out and not be disciplined. I always say “keep rowing the boat.” There are too many times when things can be really good and quickly become not so good and we just have to keep to rowing the boat.
College can be a bad environment. Being with my brothers as an adviser and as a brother *laughs* I wouldn’t have it any other way.