Fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi is recolonizing this spring after a lengthy hiatus from Penn’s Greek community.
The national Alpha Sigma Phi organization is set to begin gauging interest within the Penn community at the end of this semester and is planning to officially begin colonizing after formal spring rush in 2013.
“They are returning after a long time off campus and have already begun to mobilize Penn alumni to work with the chapter,” Director of the Office of Student Affairs/Fraternity Sorority Life Scott Reikofski said.
The Omicron chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi was originally founded at Penn in 1914 and closed in 1978, according to Reikofski. Both Reikofski and the fraternity’s national office were unsure why the chapter left campus.
Alpha Sigma Phi Vice President Matt Humberger cited a long history between the fraternity and Penn as a main reason for recolonization. Penn’s Omicron chapter was one of the first Alpha Sigma Phi chapters to colonize in the country, and includes notable alumni such as former Wharton student Warren Buffett.
“It is always good to see the Greek community expanding,” Interfraternity Council President and College senior David Shapiro said. “The fact that Alpha Sigma Phi wants to recolonize at Penn speaks to the vibrancy and health of our Greek system.”
Alpha Sigma Phi is following a five-step process in colonizing as an officially recognized fraternity on campus.
Step one is called prospecting. Starting in mid-December, Alpha Sigma Phi national will begin reaching out to students through Facebook and other social media, looking to attract both freshmen and upperclassmen according to Humberger.
For male students, this is the first opportunity to join a new fraternity since Alpha Delta Phi Society, a small co-ed chapter, joined Penn’s Greek community in fall 2010. Before that, fraternity Phi Delta Gamma recolonized in fall 2008.
“Our plan is to make the community stronger and to create a new experience to students on campus,” Humberger said. “Bringing fresh organizations to campus is good for the community as a whole.”
Step two is recruiting. Alpha Sigma Phi staff will arrive on campus and will pin down a concrete interest group. They are hoping to find between 35 to 65 interested students by mid-to-late February.
“We’re looking for students in the top five percent,” Humberger said. “We’re looking for students who want to make a difference and leave a legacy on campus.”
Humberger is confident that Alpha Sigma Phi will be able to find dedicated students who will quickly assume leadership positions in the Greek community.
“Alpha Sigma Phi is nationally known for its strong emphasis on fostering leadership amongst its members,” Shapiro said. “The leadership element, along with the additional programming and diversity Alpha Sigma Phi will bring to the existing community, will add significantly to both IFC and the greater Greek community.”
In step three, colonization, the interest group becomes a colony and gets one step closer to being a chartered chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi. Five weeks after colonization, the students will become fully initiated members of Alpha Sigma Phi. This is planned to take place near the end of the spring 2013 semester.
The final step in the process is chartering. Penn’s chapter will become an official chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi, which normally takes between six to 12 months after initiation.
Reikofski believes Alpha Sigma Phi “will provide another option for those who are seeking a values-based fraternity experience.”
“A good fraternity or sorority chapter that is living by their values and doing what they are designed to be doing provides a superlative support for students and their academic pursuits,” he said. “I am confident Alpha Sigma Phi will be excellent partners.”