For a young man just beginning life's journey, finding and holding the proper course can pose a daunting challenge. Hazards abound. The right path is rarely easy or without risk. With great foresight, the founders of Alpha Gamma Rho recognized that to hold the proper course, it helps to surround ourselves with proper influences and men of high character – brothers who can inspire and guide us to achieve the qualities we want others to see in us.
The Brotherhood Program is the expression of that ideal.
A foundation built on respect:
Alpha Gamma Rho leadership has endorsed the "no hazing" principle for years. In a society struggling to eradicate all forms of prejudice, it is inconceivable that our Fraternity would continue to perpetuate a system which provides the opportunity for hazing to occur.
The Brotherhood Program is designed to eliminate the possibility of hazing. It is a plan that will continue the tradition of leadership every Brother has come to expect from Alpha Gamma Rho. The elements of the program are embodied in the four cornerstones of our Fraternity.
The Brotherhood Program was adopted after considerable thought and effort. Elements of the program have been in effect in some Chapters for many years. The Brotherhood Program has been further refined and strengthened since it was first adopted in 1992.
A legacy of high character:
Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity was founded in 1904, and grew from the hearts and minds of men who believed in the inherent values found in American agriculture: respect for our neighbors and commitment to doing what's right. This legacy helped convince the AGR National Board of Directors to adopt the Brotherhood Program.
The Brotherhood Program has since propelled Alpha Gamma Rho to new heights. It's helped the Fraternity attain stature never before achieved by any fraternal organization. How? By attracting and retaining the finest quality men available.
The four fundamental elements of the Brotherhood Program are the four pillars of our Fraternity, as laid by our founders: recruitment, commitment, education, and recognition.
You can identify each of these cornerstones in a letter written by Brother Poston, one of our founders (see below). He describes the charter members and first recruits as men who were honest, good, unselfish, hard working and earnest – model attributes for the entire student body.
Our founders took the best qualities each individual had to offer, and made them the standard for our great Fraternity – a standard by which other Brothers could be selected and initiated.
Your National Leaders have examined these guiding values, asking, "do they still work for our Fraternity today?" The answer is a resounding "yes." They then set out to design a program that would reinforce these values in today's Alpha Gamma Rho: the Brotherhood Program.
Treating every man as a brother:
The Brotherhood Program is a comprehensive plan designed to eliminate the reprehensible act of hazing, in any form.
There are four parameters of the Brotherhood Program:
1) No more pledging.
2) If it's required of a freshman, it must be required of a senior.
3) No more dominant/subservient relationships.
4) Rewards must be based on objective criteria and must not encourage class division.
The Brotherhood Program is based on the belief that, like the members of a family farm, each Brother is an equal contributor based on his ability and experience. Just as a father teaches his son to plow a straight furrow, the Brotherhood Program will ask the Big Brother to help his Little Brother to steer a true course within AGR. The sharing of this experience helps both Brothers become better men.
• The Chapter recruits prospects in their homes prior to their arrival on campus. Follow-up continues once the recruit arrives at college. Early contact ensures top quality candidates.
• The Chapter decides when a candidate has been properly screened, then decides whether or not to extend a bid.
• Once the bid has been accepted, and prior to initiation, the prospective member must agree to live up to the Fraternity's and Chapter's specific Basic Expectations.
• Prospective member signs the AGR Covenant.
• The prospect pays his initiation fee in full.
• A Big Brother is assigned to assume a leadership role in the new Brother's education, assimilation and participation in the day-to-day life of the Chapter.
• Initiation occurs within 72 hours of acceptance of the bid.
• Big and Little Brothers meet weekly to set personal, educational, and AGR goals, and to review progress.
• All Brothers work to obtain all other Brother's signatures and biographical information.
• New Brothers are tested on Alpha Gamma Rho.
• Chapter programming promotes Brotherhood, bonding and Chapter unity.
• Each Brother is held accountable, through a vote by his peers held twice yearly, for his record of meeting the Fraternity's and Chapter's specific Basic Expectation
"It was the fall of 1904 that Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity came into existence. We were seven, three seniors, and four juniors.
Our motive for binding ourseles together was to help each other in every way we could. We were to be brothers even if the same blood did not flow through our veins.
As we were all agricultural students, it could easily be seen that we would be of great assistance to one another in our class work.
Brother Fromme had many accomplishments. He was our theatrical man and our musician: His mandolin and witty songs were the main things that held us together that winter. He also gave us our name: Alpha Gamma Rho.
From the beginning brother Martin, as president of the Agricultural Club, was our political leader.
Brother West's career on the baseball diamond was a great prestige to us.
Martin and Allen brought us fame when they came back with laurels from the Chicago International Judging Contest that year. It was with pride that all the boys pointed Martin out to the Freshman as the best student judge in the United States.
Brothers Wallace and Synder were the firm foundation of our Fraternity and it is their hard and earnest work that we owe our existence.
It was not until after the holidays that we considered ourselves strong enough to be announced in public. A January copy of the Latern read, "New Fraternity started in Agricultural College."
In February we initiated our first two candidates.
From the first our new men were just as much interested in the welfare of our Fraternity as we charter members. If we ever had earnest workers, they were Williams and Kitchens.
Already we could see the good we were doing, not only to ourselves and to our new brothers, but to all our fellow students. That was our aim. We desired our brothers to be good, honest, unselfish boys so that they might be models for the coming student body. From the first it was our ambition that some day the name of "Alpha Gamma Rho" in every agricultural college would stand for all that is honorable and just."