The University of Miami could welcome a new fraternity to its campus if freshman Brandon Zaldivar gets his wish.
Zaldivar posted a message onto the official UM Class of 2019 Facebook page asking if there was anyone who felt like they did not belong to the current fraternities on campus, but would be interested in exploring a new option: Theta Chi. He said all students deserve an equal opportunity to join Greek Life and he wants to bring the Theta Chi chapter to UM to present students with more options.
Theta Chi was founded in 1856, according to its website. The fraternity was chartered at the University of Miami from 1950-63, and it’s possible that its disappearance was due to low membership numbers, according to Theta Chi’s Senior Director for External Relations J.D. Ford.
Zaldivar’s own interest in Theta Chi came from talking with his friend who joined the fraternity at another university. After seeing how much his friend loved it and how much he grew because of the fraternity, Zaldivar decided to do more research.
“I have seen my friend develop into a responsible, studious, well-rounded student,” Zaldivar said. “I have a lot of respect and admiration for Theta Chi because I have seen firsthand how influential they have been in my friend’s growth as an individual and a brother. It is my hope to have that same experience at the University of Miami alongside some of my classmates.”
Aside from watching his friend change for the better, Zaldivar also mentioned Theta Chi’s Sacred Purpose program, started less than two years ago, as part of his motivation to bring the fraternity on campus. He believes the program is unlike anything other fraternities offer and will be a great way to develop character in his fellow classmates.
“Theta Chi’s Sacred Purpose program is a movement dedicated to improving the health, safety and well-being of students,” Zaldivar said.
More than 2,400 students belong to greek life at UM. Fraternities and sororities help students make connections, take part in philanthropic events, find leadership opportunities and gain strong academic support.
The first step to getting Theta Chi on campus is demonstrating that students would be interested in joining the fraternity. Ford said there is no set number of members needed to sustain a chapter on campus; however, the numbers must be substantial.
“We’re working with him and supporting him through that process,” Ford said. “Should there be enough interest, then we will be taking the next step of working with the IFC [Interfraternity Council] president and working with the Dean of Students.”
Even if people are not interested, Zaldivar is still a huge fan of the fraternities already on campus. He believes they help students who are dealing with depression and can propel students forward to successful careers.
“Although I am from Miami, I believe that many of the long-lasting friendships I held with my high school friends might suffer from the distance hindrance,” he said. “I believe Greek life gives students the opportunity to make new friends and provide life-long friendships.”
For those interested in Greek life, IFC President Matt Getzoff said that spring recruitment will start on Sunday, Jan. 10 at the IFC BBQ from 4-7 p.m. on the Intramural Fields.