As 2016 kicks off into gear, a time for reflection has set in and brothers across the nation reminisced on what 2015 brought with it. 2015 not only brought Jacob Martinez’s reign at the helm of Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc. as National President to an end; it also brought with it a much contested campaign for national president.
2015 saw a change in routine as the National Undergraduate Council conference usually held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was done away with. Brothers were a bit disappointed to hear the news since the NUC conference provided yet another opportunity for members to convene and experience the bonds of brotherhood.
“I was a bit relieved to know our chapters would not be liable for financing another trip to a national conference but the more I thought about it, the more disappointed I became. I was let down because the elimination of NUC gave us one less opportunity to convene as a national brotherhood” said Jose Lozano, undergraduate member from Delta Chapter at Texas A&M University.
Brothers competed and brought back big wins in stepping and strolling competitions which resonated
with brothers and Greeks across the board. The Alpha Delta stroll team, the Hypenotic competed in various shows but their crowning moment came when they placed 1st in a field against the likes of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. chapters from UT Arlington and University of Houston, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc’s UTSA chapter which won the inaugural Knuck if You Buck Stroll Off hosted by the Texas State chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. This win came on the coattails of the 2014 victory which the Tau Chapter at University of Texas-Arlington earned in the 2014 Step Up to Injustice Homecoming Step Show.
“We went in with the original intent to just show face at a historically NPHC dominated event. But
eventually we realized we wanted to push the envelope a bit and see if we could keep our win streak alive” said Jalen McKee, undergraduate and initiate of the Alpha Delta chapter at UT-San Antonio.
McKee noted that it hit the team to walk into the event as underdogs and come out as champions. The support they received from NPHC groups and the greek community caught them by surprise, he mentioned. The team had previously secured a 1st place finish at the Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority’s Senorita Stroll Off at Texas Christian University.
2015 saw a huge change to the elections process which was supervised and implemented by the National Elections Committee. Delegates at the National Convention in San Antonio, TX were able to vote in person for the fraternity’s National President and National Undergraduate Council representatives.
After a highly contested race between Epsilon alumnus Tony Pagliocco, Xi Chapter alumnus Lateef Ipaye, and Tau alumnus Oscar Rodriguez; the brotherhood elected Pagliocco to serve as the 17th National President of Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc during the 2015 National Convention in San Antonio, TX.
The 2015 National Convention took place during July 23-25th at the El Tropicano Hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. National Founding Father Dwight Christopher Forbes served as the keynote speaker and guest of honor during the weekend long event. This conference was the last for the outgoing administration led by Brother Martinez. Regional Directors who would not be returning addressed their regions for one last time at a national function and delegates were allowed to cast their ballots.
“National Conference was a time to be alive, 28 years felt like eternity in San Antonio” shared Kyle Thomas, undergraduate at the Beta Alpha chapter at Northeastern Illinois University.
In the midst of all the reflection of what 2015 brough, brothers also acknowledged those brothers who were called home and became part of the Omega memorial chapter for departed brothers. Brother Luis Santos Vega, initiate of the Beta Chapter at the University of Texas- El Paso was born into new life on October 6, 2015. Prior to his passing, the brothers at Alpha Mu Chapter at Texas A&M Kingsville were grieving the loss of two brothers, only several weeks apart. Hector Rodriguez and Sergio Garcia passed away and earned their way into the Omega memorial chapter. Alpha Chapter faced a tragic and heartbreaking loss when beloved and longtime supporter and alumnus Adrian Galvan was born into new life on April 8, 2015.
Reflection, heartbreak, and grief; each loss, just as tough as the last and brothers were forced to come to terms with the reality of it all. The Omega Ceremony during National Convention allowed brothers to convene and pay their respects to all brothers who had gone towards eternal rest, all in the spirit of unity and in the name of the brotherhood that all members revere and love.
The National Alumni Association continued to thrive under the direction of Chairman Nick Pecina, an alumnus of the Alpha Lambda chapter at Stephen F. Austin State University. DFW Alumni Association chairman JJ Chapa, of Alpha Chapter, will serve as his successor.
Brother Jose Lara from the Alpha Omicron chapter at UT Dallas will take over for Chapa as DFWAA chairman. Chairman Isaac Hernandez, Delta Chapter alumnus and his team gave the Houston Alumni Association new life.
President Pagliocco and his team secured a partnership with ride sharing company Uber which provided some excitement and a generous discount to all members who signed up and began to use the app.
Chapters and colonies around the nation celebrated 28 years of Omega Delta Phi with marquee Founder’s Week events which showcased what ODPHI brings to the table at each respective campus. The events were aimed at showcasing the values of ODPHI: Unity, Honesty, Integrity, Leadership while celebrating and honoring the fraternity’s commitment to service and outreach, higher education, and brotherhood.
“#ODPHI28 it’s a brotherhood of diversity and integrity. It’s about bettering the man you already are in every aspect” tweeted Alpha Lambda initiate Nicholas Harris.
“These letters dont make me better than you, they bring out a better version of myself so that, I, can in turn bring positive change #ODPHI28” shared Prairie View A&M Colony Founder Victor Garcia on his twitter feed.
Greek organizations such as Kappa Delta Chi, Delta Phi Omega, and others showed Omega Delta Phi plenty of love and support on Founders Day.
All in all, 2015 brought with it many changes and a sense of uncertainty for members of Omega Delta Phi. Changes in leadership, changes in protocol for fraternal business all came to the forefront. Brothers handled these changes with grace and professionalism and everything went along without incident.
The brotherhood welcomed new entities such as Our Lady of the Lake University and Prairie View A&M University and chapters and colonies activated new Knights who were welcomed with open arms and high expectations for success. As the brotherhood gained brothers, we also said farewell to others as they were laid to eternal rest; but not without leaving a mark on those brothers and chapters on whom they made an impact on throughout their lives. The legacy of these departed brothers will forever be one with the rich history of Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Just as 2015 brought success, change, love, brotherhood, loss, heartbreak, and much HYPE, 2016 will charge on and brothers will rise to the challenge, that of continuing the work of building and making the founders’ vision a reality; brotherhood and service and overcoming barriers one step at a time.