When it was disbanded for alcohol-related violations in 2004, CSU’s Delta Sigma Phi fraternity chapter posted a reaction on its Facebook page.
It read: “For anyone who was a CSU Delta Sig. OK, so we got kicked off campus for drinking and doing other various stupid things, but together, at our peak, we were a group of dedicated alcoholics with a really bad GPA … ”
Now, after receiving permission to start the fraternity anew, several student leaders are determined to quash the “frat boy” stereotype perpetrated by the former chapter.
“We are trying to start this new thing on campus where we’re not the stereotypical frat guys. We want to be known as gentlemen, scholars and athletes,” said Sam McArtor, a sophomore business major and president of the CSU Delta Sigma Phi colony.
“Our fraternity now has nothing to do with the Delta Sig chapter that started here back in the early ’90’s,” McArtor said. “It’s a completely different group of guys. We have a completely different outlook on what we want our fraternity to be nationally and here at this chapter.”
McArtor, along with DSP Secretary Ben Margilot, a sophomore civil engineering major, went to the Greek Life Office in the spring to start a new fraternity. They soon discovered that DSP represented many of their own values and proceeded to request permission to re-start a chapter from the DSP national headquarters in Indianapolis.
With the approval of the Intrafraternity Council and CSU administration, national headquarters sent McArtor and Margilot two expansion coordinators, John Regner and Doug Sweeney, to help with recruitment.
Avoiding what they thought to be stereotypical recruiting methods –/T-shirts and Rush events — McArtor and Margilot simply talked to their friends about who they were and what, if anything, they wanted out of Greek Life.
“I would probably say 70 percent of the guys we got weren’t interested in Greek Life until we sat down with them one on one and actually got to hear a little bit about their lives,” McArtor said. “Then we told them a little bit about the fraternity and how we want to make a difference in the world.”
Three weeks after its establishment in August, DSP had about 35 members, marking a point in time when leaders realized, “It wasn’t just like a pipe dream anymore,” Sweeney said.
In about six weeks, its membership climbed to more than 50, making DSP one of the top-five campus fraternities in terms of size.
What could explain this swift response to rush DSP?
“The difference really is, personally, one-on-one recruiting . finding people’s passions,” Sweeney said. “Basically looking for ways to meet people and have conversations, get the level of trust and friendship up.”
Those recruited do not make up the “Average Joe fraternity.”
“We have guys from every inhabited continent right now,” McArtor said.
Dean S. Zaid, one of the first recruits and treasurer of the new colony, is one of the many international members, originally coming from France.
Zaid said this diversity is what sets DSP apart from the other Greek organizations.
Leaving behind the “Animal House” stereotype of booze and bad grades, McArtor wants his chapter to excel academically as well as in the community.
“Basically, we want to be the go-to guys for the whole campus. If anybody needs anything, like a big group of guys to do something, we want to be there,” he said.
DSP has numerous goals for this year, with the main focus being to become a fully chartered fraternity.
The requirements are each member must:
Be a member of another organization,
Complete at least 10 hours of community service,
Hold a GPA above the campus average and,
Either keep all of its current members or recruit 20 percent more men, Sweeney said.
“If we complete our goals of getting our charter and growing even more, to like 70 or 80 men, then hopefully we can get a house in the fall,” McArtor said.
But, the new chapter will have to face some challenges.
“It’s hard when there’s not a group of guys the new guys can look up to, or set an example for . us all being new guys, we have to set an example for each other,” Margilot said.
Staff writer Lauren Leete can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.