Feb 082007
Authors: Nikki Cristello

Alpha Tao Omega is the newest fraternity to arrive at CSU but is on the lookout for new members so they can live in a recognized house.

The fraternity was launched last spring and is currently under “colonization,” a status that gives the brothers official recognition from CSU and the national chapter. However, in order to get a recognized fraternity house, they need more people.

ATO had a chapter at CSU until it was shut down in the late 1990s. None of today’s members claim to know why. Subsequently, the ATO house was sold and later torn down, leaving current members of the fraternity without an official house.

Currently at 19 members, ATO needs a total of 40 members in order to buy a house and it call their own.

ATO is looking to officially charter their fraternity this fall.

CJ Sexton, a senior speech communications major and ATO’s social chair, said that in order to become an official chapter, they have to document philanthropy efforts, hold social events and recruit enough members.

On Sunday, the fraternity will be hosting a speed dating fundraiser in the North Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. The philanthropic event will benefit the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center of Fort Collins.

Only college students can participate in the event. There will be raffle prizes, snacks and drinks, and admission is $5.

“I was interested in Alpha Tao Omega because they are different from anyone else,” said Cole Bershinsky, a sophomore microbiology major and ATO’s recruitment chair. “These guys are great; I would go to the end of the earth for them, and they would do the same for me.”

Rocky Giarratano, a senior economics major and president of ATO, said that theirs is radically different from most fraternities.

“If we looked at fraternities as businesses, Alpha Tao Omega would stand out,” said Giarratano. “We operate differently and are completely legit. We do so well in everything we attempt, we are closer to embodying what it’s all about.”

Charlie Hallenbeck, a senior landscape design major, is ATO’s vice president but said he wasn’t always interested in most aspects of Greek Life.

“When CJ called me about starting it up, I thought I was being set up,” Hallenbeck said. “When I finally got involved, I realized that all of Greek Life gets a bad name and has to deal with a double standard. Greeks as a whole do a lot of good.”

Sexton said he never thought of himself as a “frat boy” either.

“Rocky called me out of the blue and I went to the info session,” Sexton said. “After that I realized it really could be done so we called our friends who called their friends and now we are more diverse and more accepting to anyone who is interested.”

Recruitment for the fraternity will continue throughout the spring semester and will include events like a casino night and a movie night.

“There is so much more to being in a fraternity than people think,” Sexton said. “There is philanthropy, Habitat for Humanity, participating in Homecoming. There is just a lot of extra effort involved. I wouldn’t have done any of it if I weren’t in a fraternity.”

Stephan Tuchfeld, ATO social chair and a freshman business major, said being part of the fraternity has helped him academically.

“Last semester I was having trouble with a class,” Tuchfeld said. “I got some notes from Charlie (Hallenbeck) and some of the older brothers helped me out.”

Staff writer Nikki Cristello can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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