Few Things You Didn't Know About Probates

Eight men clad in black-and-red masks stand in a straight, disciplined line. It’s a chilly November night, but over 100 people are present in the crowd at the Visual Arts Building. One man dances out of line to cheers from the crowd, then an anxious silence envelops the auditorium as he waits to take off his mask.

A probate is a new member presentation where the newest members present history, reveal who they are and often step or stroll.  It is an exciting time for the Greek community when new members join.

 

“My name is  Jimmy … Hu ...,” he yells. “I’m a freshmen studying psychology… I’m from Orlando (‘O-town’) Florida.”

 

One by one, the rest of the men reveal themselves to the community, sharing their newly-given line names, or intimate nicknames acquired during the pledging process, their hometown and majors. These are the men of the Phi chapter of Pi Delta Psi  — who are ready to wear their letters with pride.

 

Members of Pi Delta Psi, commonly known as Pdpsi, were unveiled in a probate, or a display of fraternal history, brotherhood, dancing and discipline. Led by a constant swaying of head nods from alumni and students alike, the new brothers made their way through a roll-call of fellow Diversified Greek Council (DGC) organizations in attendance, performed highly elaborate and synchronous dance routines and recited facts about the ideals and history of the fraternity with an high level of discipline and precision.

 

Pdpsi are one of the ten DGC fraternities and sororities on UCF’s campus.

To the uninitiated, the new member process that NPHC and Diversified Greek Council (DGC) organizations go through may seem unusual — one observer at the Pi Delta Psi probate likened it to a mixture between a boot camp and Bar Mitzvah — but the processes are steeped in history and tradition unique to each organization.

 

Tom Nguyen, Vice President of the Diversified Greek Council, said that each organization has a different terminology for the process, whether it be a probate, new member presentation or reveal.

 

In 1990, to combat hazing, the organizations of the NPHC banned public pledging as a form of new membership admission and instead focused on an underground secret membership intake process that culminates in members revealing themselves to campus as a new person who has pledged to uphold the ideas and values of their respective organizations.

 

While the specifics of the respective new member processes largely remain secret, new members spend their time “online,” or undergoing the new member process outside of the public eye, learning about the ideals and histories of their organizations, growing closer with the rest of their pledge line and performing several song and dance routines at their reveals.

Additionally, most of the MGC organizations are required to be affiliated with an alumni chapter that provides mentorship, the chapter advisor and an emphasis on lifelong dedication and service to the organization.

 

In regards to the new member process and the NPHC and MGC groups on campus, Nguyen encourages students who may not be familiar with the organizations to reach out and get to know more about them and what they do.

 

“Most of the service and philanthropic endeavors these groups take on are every week, they’re in the communities and very hands on,” Nguyen said. “That’s stuff I think a lot of people don’t see, and if they did, there would be a lot more understanding about the NPHC and MGC groups.”

 

Nguyen added that the new member process is an opportunity for those who go through it to become more aware of themselves and grow into a newer, better person.

Hu echoed Nguyen’s sentiment and said the new member process is unique because it forces you to really think about your strengths and weaknesses as a way to build yourself during the process.

 

“The process allows you to think of yourself in the context of a brotherhood,” Hu said.

Additionally, Hu said that skills learned through the new member process transcends the fraternity.

 

“The entire process is so applicable because I’ve been able to take away so much and translate it into different environments as well,” he said. “I’m constantly reminded of what I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown both as an individual and professional.”

 

Hu said that the moment he and his fraternity brothers were able to reveal themselves to the community was the biggest sigh of relief he has ever had.

 

“During our new member process, I had to pretend as if I wasn’t undergoing one of the most challenging and time-consuming moments in my life,” Hu said. “I had to carry on with my classes, extracurriculars and leadership positions as if I had everything under control.”

 

Hu pointed to the fact that the extensive process was made less challenging by his fraternity brothers to be able to undertake together.

 

“[My brothers were] also why I was able to finish,” Hu said. “I had seven other individuals who supported me when I didn’t have the energy or courage to juggle it all.”

 

In between different parts of the presentation, cries of “I see you Ace! I see you Tail!” echod from members of the MGC communities, chapters from other schools and a number of curious onlookers there to learn more about what was taking place.

 

“This process has shaped my life in ways that extend beyond my time at UCF and I’m so excited to continue this lifelong journey as a brother of Pi Delta Psi” he said.

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