New fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, looks to recruit ‘gentlemen’

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

The Interfraternity Council voted last winter to add Delta Sigma Phi to campus, and officials from its national organization have been looking for the right candidates to join the chapter.

GW’s newest fraternity hopes to recruit members who might have been “turned off” by Greek life, a spokesman for the organization said.

Director of Fraternity Growth and Services Nik Koulogeorge said Delta Sigma Phi has sifted through about 300 referrals so far, some from members of sororities, to establish a fraternity on campus with 40 to 50 members. Representatives from the national organization are pitching membership to students who might not have found a good fit with other Greek chapters at GW.

The Interfraternity Council voted to add a chapter last fall after the majority of students who completed the rush process did not join an organization. Delta Sigma Phi was announced in July.

“We hope to create something intriguing and fresh, and attracts men who have previously been turned off by fraternities, who didn’t like what they’ve seen online or on TV,” he said.

He confirmed staff representatives for Delta Sigma Phi Ben Riesmeyer and Alec Van Huele, who are on campus for six weeks recruiting new members, have visited sororities to ask for names of men to contact that might be a good fit for the chapter.

“We find out what men of good character or gentlemen are looking for,” he said. “Who hasn’t been introduced to fraternities in the right way?”

Nine students who were congratulated on the GW chapter’s Facebook page for “accepting a bid of membership” declined to comment for this story. One student said he was “told that because I am not an initiated member of the fraternity, I am not allowed to answer any questions at this time.”

Riesmeyer and Van Huele declined to comment.

In an email obtained by The Hatchet with the subject line “New Student Organization on Campus,” Riesmeyer pitched membership last week to potential new members.

“What would it look like to become a founding father and be able to start a chapter on this campus, to shape the traditions, decisions, and leave a legacy for years to come? It isn’t something you typically think about when you wake up in the morning, but Delta Sigma Phi isn’t looking for the typical man,” the email reads.

The chapter will be the fraternity’s second in D.C. Delta Sigma Phi has been active at Gallaudet University since 1991. The University of Maryland, Towson and James Madison universities also have Delta Sigma Phi chapters.

In recent years, two GW fraternities were closed and at least one reduced its membership. Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national organization removed several members from its chapter at GW last month. Tau Kappa Epsilon was shut down in January after an investigation by its national organization and Alpha Epsilon Pi disbanded in 2014 after more than a dozen violations came to light.

Panhellenic Association President Mollie Bowman said she has met with Riesmeyer and Van Huele, and said she is looking forward to seeing the group grow on campus.

“They seem eager and committed to recruiting a great group of men,” she said in an email. “With new organizations, founding members have the opportunity to build a chapter in their vision and establish the chapter true to the values of the national organization and of the members. I am looking forward to seeing that become a reality for the IFC.”

Director of Greek life Christina Witkowicki said whenever a new organization launches, GW helps it understand University policies and expectations. She said the Delta Sigma Phi’s national organization is working with GW to recruit new members.

“Staff of the national organization are looking to understand the GW student and community and learn how to best support a new chapter on campus,” she said. “The staff will be looking to students, student leaders and GW faculty and staff to help them join the community and to nominate men they feel exemplify the values of the organization.”

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