Judging by Saturday night, one would never guess the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is suspended from CSU for alcohol-related offenses.
Middle school kids danced, giggled and shot hoops in a substance-free environment under the watchful eye of the outlaw fraternity at the Fort Collins Senior Center.
“PIKEs aren’t just the bad boys of Fort Collins,” said Matt Tippett, a freshman business management major and PIKE spokesman. “We interact with the community a lot. It’s bad that we have this rep.”
The ousted fraternity partnered with Team Fort Collins to bring to life Splashdance, which officials estimate about 350 middle-schoolers attended.
Scoot Crandall, executive director of Team Fort Collins, said Splashdance has been trying prevent substance use in middle-school students for 10 years.
“We could not do Splashdance without the PIKEs,” he said. “Their help is huge, and the kids love them.”
Not everyone loves PIKEs, however.
The fraternity was suspended in 2005 for alcohol violations. The university slapped penalties on eight fraternities and sororities, but PIKEs got the worst of it: they had their university recognition revoked.
Cory Johnson, the 22-year-old president of the fraternity, said PIKEs contributed more than 1,800 hours of community services and raised $5,000 for charity.
In addition, they helped out with Cans Around the Oval and teamed with Partners Mentoring Youth.
“We still get a lot of resistance from the Greek community though,” he said.
At Saturday night’s event, youngsters played volleyball, too.
Johnson said that a group of girls came up to him and asked him by name where the volleyballs were.
“These kids remember us,” Johnson said. “It’s pretty crazy.”
Ross Carpenter, a senior finance major, has been a PIKE for seven semesters. He said the community service PIKEs do generally goes unrecognized.
“Its something we’re trying to change,” he said.
Carpenter has participated in eight Splashdances.
“One year there was a dance-off,” Carpenter said. “At first, no one was dancing but then some of our members and some middle schoolers started a break-dance fight. The middle-schooler won. But in his defense, the middle-schooler was pretty good. He had to have practiced.”
Dave Thorpe, a City of Fort Collins patrol officer at Splashdance, was hired for security and to support the Team Colorado staff.
“All of the PIKEs I came in contact with seemed really enthused to be here,” Thorpe said.
Tippett said he became a PIKE after they lost university recognition. The massive fraternity had about 120 members when they were booted. The numbers are now growing again; Tippett said they count about 85 among their ranks.
“The values and morals of Pi Kappa Alpha are parallel with what I believe,” he said. “The three words are gentleman, scholar and athlete. And everyone in this fraternity exemplifies those words.”
Staff writer Nikki Cristello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For internship and volunteering opportunities with Team Fort Collins call 970-224-9931.