Fraternities seek out new brothers

Posted Oct. 6, 2006

Sergio Sandoval

Sophomore Phi Delta Theta member Matt Dominguez socialized with prospective fraternity members while making his own burger Sept. 27. Recruitment Chair Jeffrey Craig organized a last-minute barbecue because the bowling event scheduled for Sept. 28 was cancelled due to Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s absence this semester. Phi Delta Theta extended nine invitations.

The Interfraternity Council mandatory opening session called all unaffiliated men at the University of La Verne interested in brotherhood to an informational meet and greet Sept. 25, kicking off a week of both formal and informal fall rush events.

Activities that ranged from a laid-back barbeque to a ceremonial preference dinner gave potential recruits the chance to experience the social aspect of fraternity life firsthand, resulting in Phi Delta Theta’s extension of nine invitations to go Greek.

Noticeable changes this time around included the elimination of deferred recruitment and the absence of Sigma Alpha Epsilon in rush events, as the organization decided to abstain from Greek participation until spring to build from within.

Both Phi Delta Theta and SAE, along with IFC – the governing body for men’s Greek organizations on campus – agreed that freshmen needed time to adjust to college, earning at least 12 units, before committing to a fraternity.

“The leaders within our Interfraternity Council wanted to ensure that men who wished to join their organizations had well-balanced and successful first semesters at ULV,” said Chip West, Greek adviser and assistant dean of students.

Members of SAE also agreed to bow out of fall recruitment to spend needed time focusing on leadership development, philanthropy, brotherhood and risk management, though the organization will maintain an “active” role on campus, Ray Kodadek, president, said in an e-mail.

 “If anything we feel that this will give us an advantage by giving us more time to meet new young men on campus and to get to know them better,” Kodadek said. “Then when it comes time for spring, we will have solid guys strong and ready to rush SAE.”

Jeffrey Craig, Phi Delta Theta recruitment chair, said SAE members had taken commendable actions to enhance their organization.

“I thought it was a responsible and mature decision because one semester out can cut your fraternity in half,” Craig said. “Hopefully, they’ll come back strong and be able to take care of business.”

As the mandatory opening session began, Phi Delts could easily be differentiated from potential members by dress code.

Suited active members sat to the left of the La Fetra Hall auditorium, while plain clothed pre-pledges sat to the right, absorbing information about the benefits of brotherhood.

 “There’s nothing to be nervous about, just enjoy yourselves,” Chris Skraba, Phi Delta Theta president, said to about 10 potentials.

The Phi Delta Theta men shared a slideshow highlighting the three qualities they look for in new members: friendship, sound learning and moral rectitude.

Leaders such as Skraba, Craig and pledge educator Wilson Hawkins also stressed that a variety of men were involved in their organization, prompting fellow brothers to snap their fingers in approving unison.

“Most organizations have an ideal participant, but we embrace diversity,” Skraba said.

Besides the opening meeting, rush events included an unofficial gathering in the University Mall on Sept. 27.

It was a night of organized chaos as active members and potential pledges mingled; tossing Frisbees and barbequing hot dogs until the timed sprinkler system went off, spurring a location change. Vice president Alex Lester held his foot over the disturbing spout while everything was packed up, “taking one for the team,” as he said.

The organization’s official gathering was held at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rancho Cucamonga on Sept. 28 and was followed by Preference Night, an exclusive dinner held at the home of a fraternity brother for all who participated in the week’s events.

Each of the men who received bids – invitations to join a Greek organization – was given the option of partaking in the six-week pledging process.

Though some students naturally have misgivings concerning initiation, Hawkins said the experience was worthwhile and emphasized the lasting friendships typically formed between pledges en route to legitimate fraternity membership.

“My best memories of college were during pledging; it’s just six weeks out of your life that create a lifetime of memories,” Hawkins said.

Greg Estevez, a junior psychology major, said he first became interested in joining a fraternity freshman year and that he looked forward to the possibility of pledging.

“They’re a great bunch of guys and I feel really welcomed,” Estevez said.

Kady Bell can be reached at

Swept up in sisterhood

Fraternities seek out new brothers

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