The Impact of the Big/Little Relationship

Published on June 9, 2023 in News

More than ever, young men need mentors in all areas of life, not just academics & careers. Brothers Dylan Rhodes, UNC Charlotte, and Zack Kearney, UNC Charlotte, understand that mentorship is essential to a lifelong bond of brotherhood.

Dylan is Zack’s Big Brother, and has helped be a sounding board and role model for Zack since 2016. At first, Zack was intimidated by Dylan.

“I was terrified. At the Epsilon Tau Chapter, new members can rank the brothers they want to be their Big, and he wasn’t on my list. He was then vice president of membership for the chapter and was only a year older than me, but he just had this commanding presence about him. He was involved on campus, brought me into the world of chapter and campus leadership, and was someone I needed as a mentor.”

As vice president of membership, Dylan didn’t think Zack would be a great fit for the Epsilon Tau Chapter.

“Zack came into the chapter during the spring, which is typically a smaller new member class, and I didn’t have the best initial interaction with him. I actually didn’t vote for him to be given a bid, but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong,” Dylan said. “We had to sit down and get quality time to get to know one another. I love to have fun; however, one of the non-negotiables was that he needed to carry himself in a way that reps Sig Tau and the campus correctly. I told him I wanted him to be in the chapter for the right reasons and that I needed effort and trust as your brother. Zack is the biggest example of how someone can be on fire for Sig Tau and have a framework to make their life better.”

Zack quickly learned how Dylan operates and to turn to him for advice in academics, relationships, business, and personal growth. Seeing the relationship evolve as it did, Zack couldn’t imagine life without Dylan.

“Our relationship is extremely strong. I trust him and know he always has my best interest at heart. Things take active and intentional effort, and our relationship is something we both highly value.”

Dylan knew this relationship would be different after one eventful night that led to him losing the election to become Epsilon Tau Chapter President.

“I ran for president and lost by one vote, and that stung. Instead of saying sorry and dwelling on it, Zack told me to shake it off and be the guy I know you are, a passionate brother who cares about the fraternity. After that loss, I became an officer in the IFC and was elected Order of Omega President. Me losing the election benefitted the chapter more and pushed me into another dimension of leadership.”

Today, Dylan and Zack talk weekly and are both successful professionals; Dylan is a Marketing Director, and Zack is a FireFighter. What has brought their relationship even closer is continuing to give back at the local and national levels. Dylan serves as president, and Zack is vice president of the Epsilon Tau Alumni Association, and both have been serving as facilitators for Webb Academy since 2020.

“Having a little brother in the Fraternity meant that I had somebody actively watching how I carried myself daily. There was a constant promise I had to keep to uphold our Principles, and knowing I was someone he looked up to, kept me accountable in all aspects of life.”

Dylan has helped me grow as a man and a brother. Sig Tau can be credited with giving me someone I look to as a role model and someone who I know will be in my life for the rest of my life.”