STORY BY MADISON OTTENBACHER
Drake Relays is a time for track and field and fun times with friends. However, this year a group of fraternity men look forward to it for a different reason.
On April 25, the Delta Omicron chapter of Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) will be chartered.
After two years of dedication, hard work and a 400-page petition, the colony is approved to become an official chapter with ATO nationally and in the Greek life community at Drake.
Leaders in the fraternity dedicated multiple late nights to complete the necessary paperwork for the petition.
Daniel Hammer, sophomore business management and international business double major, is the chapter president. He said the process of applying for the charter took a lot of work.
“It essentially became a full-time job to complete that and make sure that the colony was still trying to reach out to other Greek and student organizations,” Hammer said.
The fraternity’s specific focus on leadership is possibly what drew Hammer to join the organization.
“I think ATO is a little different than most Greek organizations in the fact that we focus on our core values and the leadership aspect. We try to be the best men that we can be,” Hammer said. “We try to hold ourselves to a high standard and conduct our business in a professional way so that we can have a stellar reputation not only on campus, but also in the community.”
Twenty years ago, ATO was an official chapter at Drake. Because of risk management violations, the fraternity’s headquarters decided to remove ATO from campus. Instead of making excuses, Hammer expressed his gratitude for the fraternity’s decision.
“We really appreciate that because the chapter wasn’t meeting the fraternity’s high standards and upholding the values that we really try to uphold,” Hammer said.
Hammer looks ahead to what the future holds for the fraternity.
“We’ve been focused on recruiting, growing and meeting the different goals for chartering that we haven’t have had as much time to develop our specific identity, who we want to be at Drake and also reaching out to other organizations on campus,” Hammer said. “We’ll be doing a lot more outreach and try to establish our reputation here at Drake and become a fraternity powerhouse.”
For Tom Scearce, sophomore public relations major and chapter historian, the chartering of the colony has brought the group closer together.
“I really feel that since we are not a chapter yet, we were all working towards that same goal to get our charter back,” Scearce said. “That was just an added element to push us even more, to work hard and do the things that we needed to do to make relations with other fraternity and sorority chapters here on campus.”
Greek life wasn’t always part of Scearce’s plan.
“When I came to college I knew that I was never going to join a fraternity,” Scearce said. “Meeting the guys of ATO and seeing how people can still be in a fraternity, but want to make an impact on campus and be a leader, helped change my viewpoint. ATO has taught me leadership styles that I didn’t really know [before],” Scearce said. “I really think that if it weren’t for ATO, I wouldn’t have wanted to be an orientation leader or have a drive to be in all [of] these organizations on campus.”
Jeffrey Hersheway, sophomore advertising and writing double major and chapter recruitment chair, appreciates the support from the organizations on campus.
“We had at least one recommendation letter from at least every house. To say that, it’s just incredible. When we announced chartering, a few chapters’ twitters reached out to us and said congratulations,” Hersheway said. “Across campus, people that I knew (and people that I didn’t know) would look at me and look at my letters and be like ‘congratulations.’ It was a really cool feeling.”