Fraternities with a forward twist

Several fraternities at GW focus on furthering the professional goals of their members as well as enjoying social activities. At GW there are chemistry, business, engineering, honors, community service and band fraternities, most of which are coed. Some share similarities with their traditional counterparts, like rush periods where members pledge and are initiated.

“It’s the combination of the social and professional aspects that makes it ideal,” said Mike Kuhne, vice president of Alpha Chi Sigma, the chemistry fraternity, which initiated its new pledge class Thursday night.

Some members of the specialized fraternities said they are not as well known on campus because they cater to a specific group of people. Alpha Chi Sigma, for example, recruits its members from GW’s general chemistry and organic chemistry classes. Kuhne said the group seeks students who have a professional interest in chemistry.

According to the Web site of the Alpha Chi Sigma GW chapter, its purpose is to bind members with a tie of friendship, to strive for the advancement of chemistry both as a science and as a profession, and to aid its members in attaining their ambitions throughout their lives.

As the only national professional chemistry fraternity in the United States, Alpha Chi Sigma has about 40 chapters across the country. The national fraternity is about 100 years old and boasts 50,000 members nationwide. GW’s chapter has about 40 members, including professors, and both graduate and undergraduate students.

Past events for the GW chapter included tours of the U.S. Postal Service’s explosives lab and the FBI chemistry lab. In the area of community service, Alpha Chi Sigma offers free peer tutoring in chemistry twice a week and participates in the Kids and Chemistry program in local D.C. schools.

“Alpha Chi Sigma is a place to go to find people who know about and are involved in the profession of chemistry,” said Leanna Roche, president of Alpha Chi Sigma. “They can help give you more direction.”

Delta Sigma Pi, the business fraternity at GW, is in the process of becoming a full chapter.

“We are working hard to reorganize and meet the requirement necessary to become a chapter,” said President Linh Vuong. To become a chapter the group at GW has to accumulate 50,000 points, given for various professional and fundraising events. They also must have 25 returning students, $1,000 for a charter, and they have to petition the main office of Delta Sigma Pi. The GW group has about 15 current members.

Delta Sigma Pi’s purpose is to foster the study of business, some members said. Its main objective is networking through close ties to the business world. The fraternity helps members develop leadership, resum? and interviewing skills. Delta Sigma Pi participates in the School of Business and Public Management sponsors speakers from the business world to lecture at GW. Its community service activities have included a professor appreciation day and car washes. “Delta Sigma Pi has helped me become more well-rounded and more active in the business world,” said Vuong.

Theta Tau Delta is the largest and oldest professional engineering fraternity in the nation. According to its Web site, the goal of Theta Tau Delta is to develop and maintain a high standard of professional interest among its members and to unite them in a strong bond of friendship. The fraternity seeks excellence in the areas of social growth, academic success and professional development.

Kappa Kappa Psi is a national honorary band fraternity. The fraternity has five purposes, says Chris Wilson, president of GW’s chapter: promoting the band, honoring outstanding band members, stimulating campus leadership, fostering relationships with other college bands, and providing a pleasant social experience.

“I was in every band at my high school and joining Kappa Kappa Psi gave me the opportunity to stay involved,” said Wilson. Members of Kappa Kappa Psi have to be actively involved in a university sponsored music ensemble. Wilson said that most of the 15 current members are involved in symphonic band or pep band. Kappa Kappa Psi helps GW’s band by moving and building equipment, sorting music, obtaining supplies, and fund raising. All the fraternities say that their members are just as close as those in social fraternities.

“The brothers are, to an extent, my family here at GW,” said Wilson.

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