Apr 142008
 
Authors: Cece Wildeman

Conversation about cartoons, sports and personal backgrounds flowed freely between the 30 college guys, void of any tension or awkward silences.

These young men have gathered to find brotherhood, meet new people and invest in their futures.

This is Kappa Sigma fraternity, CSU’s newest, at work.

Kappa Sigma currently has 19 members who are putting on events like the abovementioned in order to sign 21 more members and become a chapter within the next 9-12 months.

Jeffory Elliott, a senior international studies major, decided to attend the event after his friends, who are members, sparked his interest in the fraternity.

“They are cool guys,” he said. “They are very personable and knowledgeable about what they do.”

Despite the carefree nature of their conversations, each one has come to learn more about the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Among the biggest questions this group is asking itself is whether the fraternity will be getting a house.

Ray Daniel, a senior double major in marketing and finance and president of Kappa Sigma, said that the fraternity has a five to six bedroom house lined up for next semester, but doesn’t have anything set right now.

Members also answered questions about the history of the fraternity and the majors of their members.

But the main focus of the evening was getting to know new people.

While the group has a lot of work to do before it becomes a chapter, Chris Woolery, the area recruitment manager, said he expects success.

“The guys we have right now are very solid and want it for the right reasons,” he said.

Kappa Sigma members said that one of the main goals of the fraternity is to change the negative image that many CSU students have of Greek Life.

Some members admit that they used to have a negative image of Greeks on campus, but that Kappa Sigma changed their views.

“I never thought I’d join a fraternity because I didn’t want to pay for friends,” said Rusty Baker, a junior sports medicine major. “But it’s not that. It’s an opportunity for the future and, on top of that, you meet a ton of people.”

Ben Lythgoe, a sophomore finance major, said that his negative image of CSU Greeks was changed by a childhood friend who brought him to a Kappa Sigma event.

He said that the majority of the members don’t fit the stereotype that people create for fraternities, and that this was what sparked his initial interest.

Daniel said he has enjoyed learning about everyone’s personal backgrounds and working to get the fraternity up and running.

“I really enjoy a challenge, trying to build something up that I can come back to,” he said.

Triangle is another fraternity currently seeking a charter. But unlike Kappa Sigma, they have previously had a chapter on the CSU campus, which was shut down several years ago after struggling with low participation.

Last semester, national alumni came to campus to recruit guys and get the fraternity started again. Triangle currently has 13 members and must work to sign 18 more in order to re-charter.

Patrick Andrews, Triangle president, said the fraternity has been successful in working toward its charter, but that it is all a learning process.

“Right now we are trying to piece together how a fraternity runs,” he said. “We are mixing everyone’s skills together and adapting from each other.”

Beta Kappa Gamma, another new fraternity, has been working to acquire its charter for about four semesters now and has just become a colony.

The fraternity is multi-cultural and service-based, and members said they want to focus on getting people exposed to different cultures.

Carl Olsen, a senior sports medicine major and president of Beta Kappa Gamma, said the biggest challenge has been fostering effective communication with everyone involved.

“Communicating all that and making sure everyone is on the same page is just crazy,” he said.

Along with fraternities and sororities trying to start up and re-charter, some choose to rebuild.

The fraternity known as Farmhouse has recently had the opportunity to remodel its house and chose to rebuild its members at the same time.

Many of the members graduated last year and others moved into early alumni status, allowing the fraternity to recruit all new members.

There are currently seven members, most of whom are freshmen. They are working to establish new programs and events unique to their visions.

“Since we don’t have older members, we have the opportunity to make the fraternity what we want to make it,” said Ryan Siefkas, president of Farmhouse. “In this fraternity, if you have a vision of something you want to do, this is a good opportunity to join in and do it.” Farmhouse does not have a national quota for the number of members in the fraternity, but the house has a capacity of 65.

Siefkas said he hopes the small group of guys will continue their upswing in the fall and be able to recruit new freshmen.

Sonja Jensen, director of Greek Life, said the fraternities and sororities that usually start up on campus have a pretty strong alumni base in the area. They tend to do their research in order to guarantee success, she said.

“Normally when they come, they are serious about being successful,” she said.

And although Greek Life may seem rather large, only six percent of CSU students are involved, which Jensen said she thinks is an indication that Greek Life is not hitting the needs of everyone on campus. She said this is why it is important for new fraternities and sororities to come to campus.

“New organizations bring a new lifeline to the Greek community,” she said. “New organizations challenge the status quo of what we do because their values are fresher, so they challenge the system.”

Senior Reporter Cece Wildeman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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