After a six-year absence, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity will be recruiting students this March as the organization hopes to re-establish itself at GW after a mixed history.
The national organization discontinued its GW chapter in 1997 after documenting hazing, but said they hoped to bring the fraternity back to campus under better circumstances.
“We decided to close down the group when it became pretty much all about parties and wasn’t running up to standards of membership,” said Ryan Van Andel, director of expansion for Pi Kappa Alpha. “There is a history of hazing but we’re not a hazing fraternity. We’re going to lead a safe group now.”
Van Andel said while there were some issues with members in 1997, the fraternity was previously regarded highly by students.
“To have a fresh, clean start, we had to let time pass before coming back,” he said.
Last year, Pi Kappa Alpha International discussed the idea of returning to GW with the administration and presented their goals, mission statement and standards to GW’s Interfraternity Council, Van Andel said.
The IFC invited the fraternity to return to campus this spring.
“They were a very successful chapter while they were here,” said Laura Tadeucci, director of Student Activities Center, adding that Pi Kappa Alpha already has substantial support from advisers.
For the first couple of weeks, Van Andel and two other representatives of Pi Kappa Alpha’s international headquarters will meet with student leaders, administrators and other Greek-letter organizations to get a general idea of what people would like from the fraternity.
Official recruitment dates have not been established, but Van Andel estimates Pi Kappa Alpha representatives will come to campus in early March with recruitment to begin mid-month.
While this will be at least three weeks after the 11 already existing fraternities hold rush, Van Andel said he is not worried about finding quality members.
“We will be recruiting a different student than those who go through typical recruitment,” he said. “Plus, we want to make sure we are welcomed into the other frats and for them to understand that we’re not here to compete with them.”
“We’re looking for scholars, student leaders, athletes and guys that are generally going to be respected on campus and who respect themselves,” Van Andel said. “We’re not ethnically based and we’re not recruiting out of one demographic.”
After two weeks of talking to student leaders and University officials, recruitment will begin. After five weeks, Pi Kappa Alpha plans to be a full-functioning organization
Once the fraternity assimilates into GW, it aims to become actively involved in the student community.
“This group will have goals for community service hours, fundraising, programming and becoming a known part of campus,” Van Andel said.
Founded in 1868 at the University of Virginia, Pi Kappa Alpha has many chapters in the area including the University of Maryland and American, George Mason and Johns Hopkins universities. There are currently 208 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
While new members will not receive special housing, Tadeucci said she hopes to create a Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity home in the next couple of years.
“I think students will be very excited and I think (Pi Kappa Alpha will) be very successful on campus,” she said. “They’re known to be a very strong national frat and have a very good leadership program.”