More than 30 years later, a Consul initiates his son. What happened next is "every Sig's dream"
The emotional moment came last year during initiation when Steven Blokdyk (AU ‘90) pinned the White Cross on the chest of his son Andrew. So proud was Steven that he brought some of his Sig brothers with him. Eyes everywhere welled with tears.
It was especially gratifying for Steven because, in 1990, more than 30 years ago, he was Consul at Alpha Upsilon. And here he was initiating his son.
Little did Steven know that one short year after he pinned a pin on Andrew that his son would, just like him, be elected the new Consul at Alpha Upsilon for 2021-2022.
“I treasure my dad so much and look up to him,” said Andrew. “It’s really great to follow in his footsteps.”
“That means a lot to me,” Steven says. “I think it’s every Sigma Chi’s dream to have a son and hope he might become a Sig one day. For that to happen and to also be elected Consul at the same chapter I was Consul, makes me so unbelievably proud and quite frankly a little emotional.”
Undergraduate brothers at AU voted to make Andrew their new Consul during chapter the last week of April. He takes over from Cooper Allen who has done a remarkable job steering the ship during an existential pandemic storm that blunted nearly every fraternity activity and struck at the spirit of the undergrads. We should all give deep gratitude to Coop’s leadership. It may not have been the kind of year he envisioned as Consul. But we’re glad to have had him during such a historically challenging time.
“After this long year of Covid,” Andrew says about his brothers, “I just want to make sure the rest of their time at college and in the house is up to their expectations.” Almost all traditional events were cancelled.
“It was pretty tough for a while,” he says. ““I’m just really excited for this position. Especially with opening school next semester.” In fact, Andrew believes it’ll be one of the most rewarding years to be a Consul because Covid is coming to an end and there’ll be a feeling of rejuvenation.
Andrew, a junior, is from Huntington Beach. He’s an EMT when not at school, is majoring in business and intends to be a fireman after graduating.
His other priority for his term as Consul is communicating with alumni.
His father is a Senior Director with Salient, an investment firm.
“I know some alums through my dad,” he says. “They’d love to come to the house.” So, Andrew intends to hold alumni events at the chapter house as soon as Covid is fully behind us.
Steven remembers wanting to make certain his son considered other fraternities and did not push Sigma Chi. He even told the Consul at the time to give Andrew no special treatment. “I let him know Andrew should not be chosen because he was a legacy, but because he possessed the qualities they were looking for. I also asked that he not share Andrew’s legacy status with the brothers, so that they would choose him based on his own merit. I let Andrew know that he needs to make sure any house he chooses was for the right reasons and it had to be a good fit for him. Thankfully the best house on the row chose one my son and my son chose them.”
In his first days as Consul, Andrew reflects back on his moment during initiation with his dad. “It was a pretty emotional experience for him as well.” And Andrew contemplates that, someday, perhaps his son could come to USC, be a Sig and make a third generation.
NEW CONSUL: Andrew Blokdyk "treasures" his dad.
STEVEN BLOKDYK: "Every Sig dad's dream."
ABOVE: The Blokdyk family. From left, Brother Steven, 1990 AU Consul; Andrew, 2021 AU Consul.
AND: Good times at Alpha Upsilon.
2020 Consul Report:
"Coop's Consuls Column"
Worthy brothers and readers alike,
I am addressing you all from somewhere above the Appalachian Mountains, as I return home to Charlottesville, Virginia during semester break 2020-2021. In my long journey back home, I have had time to recollect this semester as a whole. I consider our successes, and more importantly why we were able to achieve such great things in such an unfortunate time.
The paramount mantra that has served as my guiding light, especially in my tenure as consul, was delivered to me throughout my youth by my father (Consul ‘84 - Alpha Psi chapter): “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.” To paraphrase in a more appealing and relevant way, as I do frequently to my brothers in our chapter meetings, “It’s not the cards we are dealt that matter, it’s how we play the hand.” The whole world, and especially our country, has been obviously derailed due to the pandemic. To continue the poker analogy, we were dealt a sort of 2-7 offsuit hand this year. However, adversity is part of the game. And after concluding this semester, I am extremely proud to report that we played our hand with competence and a zest for the game.
Being located in one of the worst possible areas in terms of COVID outbreaks, we were met by harsh policies and an unforgiving administration as we returned to campus this fall. Luckily for me, however, I was also greeted by a phenomenal undergraduate executive board made up of my best friends and exceptional young leaders (who are looking for jobs by the way, get ‘em while you can, they’re going fast). Upon returning to school in August, we gathered (socially distanced of course) at the home of our new Chapter Advisor, Jeff Schwartz, and discussed the upcoming year. It was there that we realized together, firstly, how fortunate we are to have Jeff and incredible alumni support, but also that we were all eager and able to lead the house toward a successful year, despite the circumstances.
So, fast forward to now, where I sit in the window seat overlooking the beautiful Southern-American landscape. It is difficult to measure the success of a fraternity, but it is worth addressing the various things that have made me proud of the Alpha Upsilon chapter during this trying year. We began the year without a playbook, as the school hit us immediately with formidable expectations for COVID response. However, we responded swiftly and drafted COVID policies that the IFC actually used for their own and encouraged other chapters to adopt. These policies, and a care for the well-being of the chapter, limited our cases and kept our house from becoming a hotspot - which may not sound like a lot, but in a house of 36 socially-driven 20ish year olds, it is quite impressive. Next, we entered rush with an adept committee of rush chairman inspired by the Jordan Standard. The result was more than 90% of the potential new members out of 203 total listing Sigma Chi their first-choice chapter out of 15. We ended up with a pledge class of 21 phenomenal young men with different temperaments, talents, and convictions. Lastly, while we were told to stay hidden and were kept from having any sort of social event, our sense of brotherhood certainly remained strong. Through virtual chapter meetings we continued to practice limited ritual, and people found ways to safely spend time with their brothers. We held elections for various new positions and, in each role, we had a number of brothers step up and show interest in furthering the well-being of the house. Having set the standard on the row for what it means to be a successful fraternity during a pandemic, I have all the faith in the world that we are in for round two of progression and prosperity in the spring, as well as a triumphant future in general.
In hoc signo vinces,
Sigma Chi at USC
Alpha Upsilon 2020-21 Consul Cooper Allen