Feb 222004
Authors: Leigh Pogue

After being absent from campus for the past six years, the Beta

Theta Pi fraternity is beginning the process of recolonization.

Beta was originally colonized in 1986, but was eventually closed

in 1998.

The fraternity was closed when its actions were not representing

the organization well, said Ethan Braden, associate director of


“From day one a Beta represents something much larger than

himself,” Braden said. “The actions of one chapter do speak a lot

to those throughout North America.”

While Braden did not know if there was a specific incident

involved in the CSU chapter’s closing, he said it probably had to

do with hazing or alcohol.

Once a fraternity or sorority is closed there is not a set

amount of time before a new chapter can be started at CSU.

Braden said Beta chose to wait more than just two or three years

to allow any negative feelings to dissolve over time.

From the students’ perspective, they don’t really have any idea

of the fraternity’s past, said Jackie Weiner, assistant director of

Greek Life. “Usually when a group is gone long enough there’s

really no implications for the new group,” she said. “They have

been gone for a while so they don’t really need to worry.”

Starting a new chapter of a fraternity is an involved process

that includes a seven-week founding father educating process.

“The founding fathers are entrepreneurs of a life-changing

experience,” Braden said. “They’re truly creating their own

fraternity experience.”

These founding fathers will learn the basics of running a

fraternity, including how to manage a budget, form a constitution

and bylaws and organize philanthropic projects. Twenty-five to 30

men will be chosen to be the founding fathers and help with these


“Starting a new fraternity is very hard because you’re starting

from scratch.” Weiner said. “At the same time though it’s very


The challenge of starting a new fraternity is one thing that

drew Jesse Lauchner, senior business major and the Associated

Students of CSU president, to become a founding father.

“You have the opportunity to take it and make it into what you

bought into it to be,” Lauchner said. “You’re setting up all the

structure, all the foundation for long-term success.”

In order to achieve long-term success and prevent the fraternity

from repeating its history, Beta has three strategies. The

strategies are to recruit quality men, build a strong culture of

excellence and have a supportive advisory team, Braden said.

“Beta wants to develop leaders who are responsible gentlemen,”

said Alexis Kanda-Olmstead, assistant director of the Honors

Program and leadership development adviser for Beta.

In 1997, the national organization for the fraternity invested

money, time and manpower to developing the Men of Principle

Initiative. This initiative was designed to realign the

fraternity’s actions with its principles.

“We’ve asked them to carry Men of Principle in their back

pocket,” Braden said.

The Men of Principle Initiative involves lifelong friendships,

cultivation of the intellect, responsible leadership, responsible

social conduct and commitment to the community.

“I got into Beta for this sole reason: to be part of what the

fraternity exemplifies,” Lauchner said. “There’s a lot to say about

how something starts and how it’s going to endure.”

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