Ceres Fraternity has five attributes. They include commitment, agricultural orientation, leadership, scholarship and fellowship. Below each attribute is described in greater detail. This information was obtained from the Ceres International Fraternity Pledge Manual.
- Agricultural Orientation
COMMITMENT: "Lifetime bonds are created through love and dedication by committing one's mind, soul and body to the attributes, goals and objective of our organization. There is a responsibility to the development of your sisters and the fraternity but also to oneself. In doing so you are setting an example for present and future generations."
Commitment is defined as "the act of doing or performing something - or a promise or pledge to do something." Whichever definition one chooses, it represents a firm, almost contractual arrangement.
Young people living in the latter portion of the Twentieth Century have sometimes been characterized as the uncommitted generation. It is significant then for the Founders of Ceres to have chosen commitment as the first of the attributes of this fraternity. It is especially significant that the commitment is not only to the fraternity and to the sisters buy to oneself, for until each person learns to accept, yes to love herself, she is not capable of sharing the fullness of her love with another.
As history clearly records, from its very beginnings Ceres has had Agricultural Orientation as one of its most fundamental and central attributes. The charge given at each initiation says: "The three founding women's clubs were aware that some persons still demean the role of farmers in society. Moreover, women were not duly recognized as significant contributors to the field of agriculture. It was with this in mind that the name Ceres was chosen to signify the membership of the organization, and to indicate pride in, and the importance of our agricultural heritage.
Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture - grain, harvest, fruit, flowers and fertility of the earth - represents the historic involvement in and importance of the role of women in agriculture. Our name, Ceres, is one of the few non-Greek names among women's fraternities, and is proudly retained for reasons that led it its selection."
The university climate provides many opportunities for young people to assume leadership roles and to learn from the experience. The fraternity is especially well adapted, providing a wide range of unique opportunities for leadership within the Chapter and Association.
In a very real sense a Ceres chapter operates both as a family unit and as a small business. It has freedom to develop the pattern for governance of the organization, collecting and paying bills, managing a budget, operation of the house, and implementing group decisions. There are programs and projects which the chapter chooses to carry out. Each of these provides leadership opportunities and responsibilities.
So, too, are the social activities within the chapter and arrangements for participation in all-campus functions. This experience as a community and working as a team for the mutual benefit of the sisterhood is a priceless experience.
Members are encouraged to be selective in their activities, choosing projects of merit. Each person should be encouraged to do no more than she can do well - and can learn from the experience, whether working by herself or within a group setting. The emphasis is on excellence of purpose, excellence of choice, and excellence of performance. Progress is made by those who set goals, lay out courses of action and move in straight lines rather than in circles. There is a powerful distinction between business and busyness.
SCHOLARSHIP: Universities provide the atmosphere, faculty, staff, classrooms, libraries and laboratories where formal education can occur. They set the scene for the student who wishes to learn.
The student enters seeking knowledge, and the capacity to use that knowledge to prepare oneself for life and living, usually in some profession or specialized field. The true scholar will acquire the facts, probe the knowledge and experience of the professor, and learn to use the fact and opinions obtained in the pursuit of truth, judgment and wisdom. She accepts the challenge to seek for herself, to look around, beneath, beyond and within the facts and opinions learned in the classroom, toward becoming a truly educated person.
Ceres, like FarmHouse fraternity, after which it has been patterned, places emphasis on excellence in scholarship. It is intended that the environment of Ceres will provide a home-base for the scholar as she searches, and researches, that she will be strengthened in her desire to seek the ultimate and that here Ceres relationships will encourage her, in no way deterring her in her goals.
It is important that every member of Ceres consider the difference between "gradesmanship" and scholarship. In an effort to preserve one's scholastic standing it is easy to concentrate on "getting the grade" rather than pursuing knowledge that will be valuable later. If one is to be a true scholar she or he should discipline oneself to study for the sake of knowledge and the use of that knowledge rather than memorizing fact to parrot back in a final exam.
In its finest form a fraternity provides a climate and laboratory for practicing the art of interdependent living, for learning to live together well.
"Fellowship is intrinsic to a fraternity. Fellowship never truly grows if it is fed on the forfeited freedoms of honest and earnest individuals. Fellowship has its highest expression in volunteered conformity. It attains its lowest expression in volunteered conformity. It attains its lowest expression when likeness and uniformity are pre-reqs to admission as well as requirements of day to day life in the chapter,
It is the symbolic relationship of (persons) of varied talents, divergent backgrounds and differing views, engaging in honest and earnest quest, sustaining and challenging themselves and each other, that the full meaning of fellowship can be known. And it is in precisely the same pattern of relating that the largest hope - in fact the only hope - of man's ultimate survival on our spinning sphere is to be found."