Sigma Phi Epsilon returns to campus after losing charter

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February 12, 2010

2:53 AM

Sigma Phi Epsilon, returning to the College of William and Mary after a six-year hiatus following the loss of its charter, will begin recruitment Feb. 20, after all other fraternities’s Bid Signing Days. It will be the 19th fraternity on campus.

While re-establishing itself on campus, representatives of Sigma Phi Epsilon said the organization hopes to change the recruitment process by discarding recruitment tactics.

Now, after a member joins, he will go through a self-paced, four-step advancement through the organization. Sigma Phi Epsilon created this new program to encourage member retention.

The program is credited with improving Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national GPA and giving Sigma Phi Epsilon the largest undergraduate membership of any fraternity nationally. Other fraternities have introduced similar programs at the College.

Along with this program, the Sigma Phi Epsilon national organization created a voluntary board of nine members to nurture the chapter at its inception and pledge support to the growth of the new chapter.

Representatives from Sigma Phi Epsilon said they were excited to re-establish the organization on campus.

“We are confident that this college has many outstanding students who are currently not involved with the Greek community and [who] have the potential to be great leaders,” Sigma Phi Epsilon Director of New Chapter Development Ryan Dressler said.

To ensure that Sigma Phi Epsilon does not take students bound for other fraternities this semester, the Council for Fraternity Affairs barred it from recruiting until the pledge classes of this semester have already committed.

Another fraternity — Sigma Alpha Epsilon — came to campus last fall.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the largest fraternity nationally, but has had considerable difficulty in recruiting at the College, garnering only four total brothers.

“I think when you’re starting an organization from the ground up, challenges arise where you’re trying to establish a working process,” Sigma Alpha Epsilon President Andrew Tran ’11 said. “Nothing is set up for you and getting everything created and organized takes time and a lot of energy.”

A number of current brothers and alumni have since developed an organizational foundation, giving Sigma Alpha Epsilon the ability to focus on recruitment. Tran acknowledged this as a difficult task in a school with 19 fraternities.

Although Sigma Alpha Epsilon still lacks the manpower to launch events that larger Greek organizations are able to host, the organization has contributed philanthropically including hosting a poker tournament to support William and Mary Supports Haiti.

The organization also plans to send as many brothers as possible to Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s leadership school over the summer.

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