A Look at How One Small Decision Can Impact the Lives of Thousands
by Jared Grieve
Kansas State University, '19
"My advice is to take chances in your life, no matter how little, because you have no idea where you might end up."
Kansas State University, '19
2018 Phi Kappa Theta Executive Office Intern
I have lived in Kansas my entire life, so if you told me I would have a chance to live in a big city over 600 miles away, I would have just laughed and called you a liar. This past summer I had the best opportunity to do just that.
This is my story, from a small town in Kansas to making an impact around the country.
Growing up, I was what some people might call your average Midwest kid. I played football, basketball, baseball and golf. Although, I was never the star athlete or the smartest kid on the block, I knew that some day I would have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world around me.
After graduating from high school in 2015, I decided to attend college and pursue a mechanical engineering degree. During my senior year of high school, I decided to start looking at colleges to attend. Because I have never lived out of Kansas, and probably because I was too scared to leave, I decide to narrow my search to only schools in Kansas.
Growing up, I thought the University of Kansas would be where I would end up. But the minute I walked onto the campus of Kansas State University I knew that this was the place where I wanted to live.
Bill Snyder, Hall of Fame coach, and current coach of the K-State football team said, “We came to Kansas State because of the people, stayed because of the people and returned because of the people, and that remains unchanged.” I can’t say how true this was for me.
“Family” is a word used all the time at K-State and to tell the truth, I really had no idea what it meant to K-State until I arrived on campus. Manhattan, Kansas, is truly one of the best towns in the Midwest, consistently ranked as one of the “Best College Towns in America” and I am so happy to have called this place home the past few years. The people are truly the ones that make the difference. And the people here have really helped me learn what being a servant leader is all about.
During the spring of my senior year all I could think about was how excited to move into my dorm and start college. But then I saw a letter about Greek Life at K-State. I have never considered myself to be someone who would join a fraternity, but I was interested in the idea.
Throughout that spring I attended many different recruitment events at many different fraternities. While I did receive bids from other chapters, I knew there was something different about Phi Kappa Theta.
When I joined the Kansas Iota Chapter, there were about 40 members. During my first year, I loved most of my experiences, but good things don’t always come easy. Throughout my first year, I could tell that the chapter was having some issues. There were groups forming in the house and many different visions of what a Phi Kap should be.
After the end of my freshman year a change had to be made. Unfortunately, that was a membership review, which took our chapter down to seven members.
Our chapter decided that everything we do should always live out our mission that “Phi Kappa Theta activity develops men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, Fraternity and God.”
To make an impact on the lives of our members, this is what had to be done. That November, I was elected to the position of Chapter President.
During the second semester of my sophomore year I started to really look at what my future had to hold for me, and really, I did not like what I saw. I knew that I could be a decent engineer, but something was missing.
Through arguing with myself, I decided to change my major to Organizational Management. I knew this was a great decision from the first day. With this new major I could really see how I could make an impact on the people around me.
That summer I had the privilege to represent our chapter at the Phi Kappa Theta Biennial Convention in Washington D.C.. During the convention I learned about the open positions on the Undergraduate Advisory Committee (UGAC).
When I heard about this, I knew that this was going to be where I can start to make a major impact. After being elected to represent the Midwest Province, I was also elected as Chairman of the UGAC. With this, I also serve as a member of the Phi Kappa Theta Board of Trustees.
Through this position, I have been able to travel to the chapters in my Province assisting with things from recruitment to governance models. With this, I started to really make a positive impact on those around me.
This most recent summer was my chance to live out of Kansas for the first time. I was offered an internship with the Executive Office of Phi Kappa Theta, which meant I would be moving to Indianapolis. To say I was excited would be an understatement, but going from a population of 5,000 to 900,000 is just a little intimidating.
After getting settled, I was ready to get started. I worked on many different aspects of the Fraternity, some of which I had no idea were even a part of the operations of a not-for-profit organization. Most of my work was focused on member engagement and chapter operations, spending a lot of my time developing resources for our collegiate leadership.
With resources that we already had, I compiled and developed a day-long recruitment workshop. Not only was I able to develop the workshop, I traveled to the University of South Dakota to be the facilitator of the new program. I received great feedback from the chapter and I could tell when I left that I have made a positive impact on their chapter and possibly hundreds of members to come.
Another project that I got to work on was the planning and logistics of this summer’s national conference, IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL. The work of Dr. Michael Brown, his team of coaches, the national staff and all alumni involved made this experience an unforgettable one.
The theme of the conference was “Live Beyond Yourself” which is our fraternal commitment to servant leadership and our passion to “Give, Expecting Nothing Thereof,” Luke 6:35.
This conference was extremely beneficial to everyone who attended, especially myself since servant leadership is such a major part of my life.
As I return to school I take back more skills and inspiration to make an even bigger impact on the world, investing in that which will outlive myself. I also take time to reflect on how all of this would not be possible if when I was in high school I just threw out the letter about Greek life.
My advice is to take chances in your life, no matter how little, because you have no idea where you might end up. My one small decision to even consider Greek life has made a life changing experience on my life. With this, I have left an impact on thousands of people around the country.
I have to say, I am truly blessed to have been given these great opportunities to make a difference in the lives of many. Probably the most important people who have really shaped who I am today are my parents. They are my biggest role models in my life teaching how to be loving, generous, humble and are the main reason I am able to do the things I am doing today.
I will end with a few things Dr. Brown explained that will happen if you live your life as a servant leader. Your impact will outlive you, your final days on this earth will be without regrets and your example will be emulated by others who follow.
Visit myfraternitylife.org for more information on the #myFraternity initiative raising awareness of fraternities that build better men.
Jared Grieve is an undergraduate student at Kansas State University. Brother Grieve is also the Chapter President for Phi Kappa Theta’s Kansas Iota Chapter at Kansas State.
He grew up in Paola, Kansas, and graduated from Paola High School in 2015. Brother Grieve is currently a senior at Kansas State University, studying business management.
He serves as Chairman of the Undergraduate Advisory Council for Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, representing the Midwestern Province, which includes chapters in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. Through this position, he also serves on Phi Kappa Theta’s Board of Trustees.