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Four fraternities vie for new spot on campus

Over the past month, representatives from four national fraternities have come to campus in an effort to showcase their organizations in the hopes of becoming the next new fraternity on campus.

Earlier in the semester the Interfraternity Council, an umbrella organization that oversees 10 campus fraternities, expressed its desire to induct a new fraternity onto the UM campus.

In all, 20 fraternities were invited to submit material for consideration. Of these, 16 fraternities sent materials to the university and the expansion committee selected four finalists to come to campus and present their organization to the IFC.

The four finalists were Pi Kappa Phi, Theta Chi, Beta Theta Pi and Sigma Nu.

Kara Miller, coordinator for Greek affairs, said when selecting these fraternities, that the committee looked for an organization’s national strengths, its total number of chapters in Florida and the amount of alumni and alumni support the fraternity had in the Miami area.

The four fraternities each held hour-long presentations in which they listed their group’s strengths, such as its mission statement, commitment to service and academic excellence and alumni participation. These informational sessions began on March 21 and concluded on April 11. All ten chapter presidents of the IFC fraternities, as well as the fraternity advisors and IFC will vote on the new fraternity this week.

Pi Kappa Phi

Pi Kappa Phi was founded in 1904 at the College of Charleston by a group of men who wanted to move into leadership positions in the college, but were deterred from doing so because they were not members of a fraternity. The fraternity currently consists of 132 chapters in 41 states, with Texas and Florida having the strongest membership. Following its mission statement, “leaders by choice,” the organization takes part in promoting voluntary leadership programs for its members as well as academic coaching programs.

“[Pi Kappa Phi] is building better men by giving them the choice to be better than they were five minutes ago,” said Steve Whitby, a former staff member for Pi Kappa Phi.

Pi Kappa Phi also expressed its commitment to service through its work with Push America, its national service organization that provides assistance for people with disabilities.

The organization also stressed that it was not a dry, or alcohol-free, fraternity, although completion of AlcoholEDU, an online alcohol education course, is mandatory for a member to be initiated into the fraternity.

Theta Chi

The Theta Chi fraternity was founded in 1856 at Norwich University. It consists of 130 active

chapters and 11 colonies, fraternities who have yet to receive their charter to baecome a full chapter. It is currently the 11th largest fraternity in the nation. Theta Chi is not affiliated with a single philanthropic organization, but rather chooses to apply its motto, “extend the helping hand,” to serving many different charitable organizations. The fraternity expressed an emphasis on community service as part of its mission, and members are required to fulfill at least ten hours of service per term with a local charity.

Theta Chi is also known for its alcohol-free housing and enforces strict adherence to this policy.

“We have closed down chapters because of alcohol violations,” said Joe Wachs, director of chapter services.

Beta Theta Pi

Founded in 1839 at Miami University in Ohio, Beta Theta Pi emphasized a dedication to its mission for “building men of principle for a principled life.” The fraternity invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in leadership programs for its members each year and has received seven national awards for these programs since 1999.

Also highlighted was Beta Theta Pi’s amount of alumni support in the Miami area. According to J.B. Sherpelz, director of expansion and recruitment for Beta Theta Chi, a total of 34 Miami area alumni volunteered their support for a new Beta chapter at UM. These alumni have promised to serve as advisors and mentors for the chapter should the fraternity be selected for expansion.

Beta Theta Pi is also a dry fraternity that sponsors alcohol-free housing and activities among its members.

“Our brotherhood is not based on the bottle, but on relationships between brothers,” Sherpelz said.

Sigma Nu

The Sigma Nu fraternity was founded in 1838 at the Virginia Military Institute as a secret society, which later grew into a campus fraternity. After the Civil War, hazing practices were characteristic of many fraternities. As such, Sigma Nu is vehemently dedicated to preventing hazing among its chapters. According to Russ Hammond, director of expansion and recruitment for the fraternity, chapters accused of participating in hazing are dealt with seriously.

Sigma Nu’s commitment to service is done in cooperation with Helping Hands, an umbrella organization that includes many charitable organizations including St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Habitat for Humanity. The fraternity also hosts its annual Founder’s Week of Service on the first week of April to commemorate the birthday of one of its founders as well as to promote active service efforts among its members.

While Sigma Nu is not a dry fraternity, Hammond stressed that chapters had to earn the right to have alcohol at their functions by adhering to minimum G.P.A. requirements and maintaining good standing with their universities.

Marina Nazir can be contacted at m.nazir@umiami.edu.

April 14, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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