Although the semi-annual Iron Arrow tap-in ceremony has well passed, I still find the status of their highly-exclusive society to be well worth discussion. Each time I see them roaming the campus in utter sanctity, the disturbance that resides in the bowels of my brain is pushed just that much closer to the surface.
What is it that keeps me from getting down on my knees and kissing the ground that their feet have treaded upon? What is it that keeps me from spouting desire from every part of my being to be a part of the upper echelons of the UM community that embodies the ideals we strive for? What prevents me from wanting to wear pseudo-Native American shirts and beating an old drum from the music school that seems to imply “we. are.so much better.than you” twice a year?
Maybe it’s because I don’t believe that a society trying to embrace an ideal such as humility should be trotting around campus showing off their all-honorable status as leaders of value and character. Maybe it’s because the little respect I did have for them was lost when they made fun of gays symbolically getting married on the rock. Or maybe it’s because when someone stole their holy bird bath in an attempt to show campus dissent against their existence, they proceeded to get an obnoxiously larger one.
Whatever it is that keeps me up late at night fantasizing about what a world without Iron Arrow would be like, it shows that something is wrong with this campus and much of society at large. Too often, are we pushed by the awards and rewards that we hope to attain in the future. We think that when someone is tapped into an honor society, they automatically embody the ideals that such a society supposedly represents. We continually make judgments about others based on the number of medals pinned to their uniform rather than their daily courses of action.
If Iron Arrow members were truly humble leaders, they would be able to recognize their honor without outside approval. A true leader doesn’t gloat about his achievements.
I certainly understand that those who are chosen to be a part of the society are nominated by others, which does legitimize the process to a certain degree. However, I think that a nominee truly emitting honor would reject the invitation due to their own personal acknowledgement and confidence in their dedication to society, school, and self. The ideals that Iron Arrow preaches (love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship, and humility) should not be flagrantly celebrated, but put into practice.
Iron Arrow should promote these ideals in positive ways rather than pretentiously waving them around. It is when changes such as this occur that our student body have confidence in our school as a source of these values.
Miles Kenney-Lazar is a sophomore majoring in geography and international studies. He may be be contacted at the Iron Arrow bird bath or firstname.lastname@example.org.