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The re-newed house on the block

Photo courtesy of Ally Carroll Photography

As of last Dec. 3, the Beta Delta chapter of Pi Kappa Phi ended its 17-year hiatus and become an officially chartered fraternity at Drake University.

Originating in 1949, but disbanding in 1994, the men of Pi Kappa Phi recognized the need to resurrect the fraternity to make their status as a national brotherhood official. After over two years of countless hours of work, volunteering and fervent recruiting, the men of “Pi Kapp” can call themselves the chartering class.

So what exactly does chartering entail, and why is it so important?

Senior Pi Kappa Phi president Benjamin Hoffman said that chartering is a way of making the chapter official on a national level. The men had to prove their commitment and dedication by passing written tests about the history of the fraternity, organizing philanthropy events, designing protocols and meeting regulations.

Sophomore Shardul Soni is also a member of the fraternity.

“Now that we have been chartered, we are considered an active chapter on campus and can get the full potential out of the fraternity by going to active-member-only events, touching base with more alumni, and focusing on other goals for the fraternity,“ Soni said.

Members said that as a newly chartered chapter, the fraternity will have more opportunities around campus and will be able to make its name well known. The chapter will still maintain the fraternity’s signature friendly, easy-going attitude while adhering to the high standards it has set.

When a fraternity is relatively new on campus, it would seem much harder to recruit new members, but this is not the case. All of the current members of Pi Kapp will be able to call themselves founding fathers, which was a huge pull for the rushing class. Many men were intrigued by the idea of being able to help build a fraternity from the ground up.

Because the new members were officially starting the chapter, they could design it however they wanted. First-year Matt Wright is one of those founding members.

“Pi Kapp was something that I could help mold into what I think a fraternity can look like, Wright said. “I could be a founding father, yes, but Pi Kapp is something that can really be a catalyst for change, and I wanted in before the ball really got rolling.”

Now that the initial push for recruitment is done, the brothers can focus on molding the fraternity into what they want it to be and building its reputation. Hoffman said he hopes that now that the recruiting is done for founding fathers, the chapter will be able to recruit based on its lifestyle, philanthropy and high academic standards.

The men go out of their way to make sure their philanthropy event stays true to the cause. Instead of focusing on crowd-pleasers like T-shirt sales, they prefer a more hands-on experience. Pi Kappa Phi’s yearly philanthropy event is called PUSH America, and it benefits children with disabilities. PUSH America works to raise awareness and fundraise money for things like wheelchair ramps.

The men also spend time at Camp Sunnyside, a weekend retreat for children with disabilities. Instead of fundraising around campus, the men along with anybody else who wants to get involved go to Camp Sunnyside to work with the kids and help them have a good time. The men said they like being able to see the effects of their hard work first-hand. They strive to keep their philanthropy events as true to the cause as possible, taking a more hands-on approach to educate instead of entertain.

The chapter is slowly making its name known on campus with a strong performance at Sweetheart Sing, a close second place at the Adam Emmenecker group challenge at Jethro’s and the highest collective grade point average among Greek houses last spring. The chapter would like to get more integrated on campus by getting closer to it and is looking to purchase a house on Greek Street. Members continue to stand out as a different breed and say that they’re not a frat but a fraternity. It is only through the dedication and hard work of past and current members that Pi Kappa Phi has become the nationally recognized fraternity it is today.

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