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5 Questions with Tristin Maximilian (George Washington)


Tristin Maximilian (George Washington), who attends both Howard University and George Washington University, reflects on his Grand Chapter experience, what lessons he's learned from his military service, and how his journalism education has made him think about the concept of truth.

What part of Grand Chapter will you remember the most?

This was my first Grand Chapter and I had no idea how it would run. What stuck out the most to me were the business sessions. It reminded me of how Congress would be set up. It was really cool to witness and be a part of the session. Those meetings opened up a door for more conversation amongst other Sigma Nus not only to hear their opinion but hear their story.  

In what ways did attending Grand Chapter change how you feel about Sigma Nu?

Attending Grand Chapter confirmed that Sigma Nu goes beyond just your chapter and college. I am really fortunate to have met other brothers from across the nation and to even find that we have had similar experiences in life; inside and outside of Sigma Nu. I think all members should at least attend one Grand Chapter in their lifetime. I would like to eventually see more joint-chapter events for the purpose of exposure to brothers who may not be able to attend a Grand Chapter, but still can get something to the same effect. Attending Grand Chapter has motivated me to be more engaged and encourage my brothers to do the same post college.

What has your military experience taught you about leadership?

Being in the military I’ve learned that great leaders are mentors. There is a phrase in the Army that we use called “meeting the standard.” It applies mostly to everything. As a leader, your job is to get all your soldiers to meet the standard. You can achieve this through mentorship. Affording everyone the same opportunity to reach the goal along with being fair and consistent, I believe, are key starting points in mentorship, as it allows you to evaluate and create teaching moments. The great thing about mentors is that they are an excellent point of reference even when you have moved on to another position.

Has studying journalism changed how you think about truth as it relates to Sigma Nu?

Yes, it has changed how I think about truth. One of the things that I never really considered was how truth is presented.  Before something is published or put out we ask ourselves: Is this all factual? Can this information change? (If so, we need to mention that), and is it in good taste?  How will someone perceive this message?  Truth in good taste establishes creditability.  How you convey a message determines if people are willing to hear from you or if anyone wants to work with you.  I have learned here that we want to always be truthful in good taste when communicating. Truth can be damaging and your intent shouldn’t be to damage but just to inform.

How would you describe the difference in Greek culture from George Washington and Howard?

The Greek cultures are so entirely different that it would be unfair to compare the two; it would be like comparing apples and oranges. Each culture is unique to its campus. I have had the opportunity to experience both in some way, shape or form. I can say when new Greek organizations are established at each campus they adapted to how Greek life functions at that university. Greek life serves the same purpose on both campuses like supporting the university and local charities. I would say you have to go through the culture at both schools to capture the essence of it. You can learn best practices from both.  

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