Though a pair of U.S. Senators failed to show up as expected, GW’s chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity formally dedicated its new townhouse on Saturday.
Active brothers, alumni, friends and members of the fall 2009 pledge class attended the ceremony, which celebrated the acquisition of the organization’s first official house on campus since the fraternity returned to campus in 2007.
“It’s just the beginning. This house is a resource for us, but it’s not going to define us,” Sigma Chi President Chris Cafero said. “The state of our chapter is strong. We are stable and we are back.”
Sigma Chi alumni Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., had initially said they would attend the event, but the chapter learned late this week that they would not be able to make it. Instead, the Senators’ offices sent along letters of congratulations. Enzi is an alumnus of GW’s Sigma Chi Chapter.
Cafero addressed the crowd assembled on the lawn in front of the new townhouse located at 22nd and F streets, along with John K. Forst, president of the Epsilon Housing Trust, Inc. and Bruce Casner, a grand trustee on the Sigma Chi International Board of Trustees. Both were instrumental in the conception of the new Sigma Chi house, Cafero said.
Because of its past misconduct – the fraternity was kicked off campus in 2000 for bad behavior and financial problems – the chapter had to endure the examination of the University administration, the national Sigma Chi organization and even the Internal Revenue Service in order to re-establish itself and its new house.
“No matter what came at us, our alumni and our brothers shook it off and just stepped up. There were many obstacles but they refused to let the chapter die,” Cafero said. “We are very confident with where we are today and it’s also comforting and encouraging to look toward the future.”
Alumni and friends of the chapter all pooled together their resources to help work on the new house, Cafero said. Michael Graves, a renowned architect and fellow Sigma Chi brother, designed the interior of the new building. Graves’ other work includes the Humana Building in Kentucky and the International Finance Corporation Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The dedication also came on the same day that the chapter announced its fall 2009 pledge class of new members of the fraternity, the largest class yet in the history of the chapter.
“It’s been years of buildup. This is the final step in a long process,” said Jason Lifton, executive vice president of the Student Association and chapter member.