Fraternity returns to campus after 35 years
Alpha Sigma Phi was first founded at Penn in 1915, but the chapter closed in 1978
February 4, 2013, 11:49 pm·
After 35 years, Alpha Sigma Phi is back.
Yesterday, a national representative from Alpha Sigma Phi arrived on campus to gather student interest for the recolonization of Penn’s Omicron chapter.
Geoff McDonald, Alpha Sigma Phi’s director of expansion and growth, will be at Penn until March 3, letting students know about the new Greek opportunity.
McDonald will hold two interest meetings each week and will have a table set up at various places across campus to provide information about the fraternity. He said he also plans to seek referrals of students who might be interested from Penn’s sororities, the Multicultural Greek Council, and community service student groups.
Alpha Sigma Phi was first founded at Penn in 1915, but the chapter closed in 1978 due to low membership, according to Matt Humberger, vice president of Alpha Sigma Phi.
The national organization reached out to the University and the Interfraternity Council to begin recolonization efforts about a year and a half ago.
Alpha Sigma Phi then presented to IFC early in the spring of 2012, where the board voted in favor of their return. “We’re always to happy to have more chapters,” said College junior and IFC President Andrew Turell.
McDonald said IFC has been “extremely welcoming” and provided him with a “no-bid list” of students who went through the recruitment process and either did not accept or were not offered bids.
When looking for students who may be interested in joining a new fraternity, McDonald said, “That’s usually a great place for us to start.”
About 25 students have already reached out to McDonald expressing interest in the fraternity. While he doesn’t want to turn this into a “numbers-driven experience,” McDonald says he would be happy to find anywhere from 25 to 50 students interested in Alpha Sigma Phi.
McDonald says he’s looking for students who are interested in a nontraditional fraternity experience. “If there are guys who think that fraternity life isn’t their fit, those are the guys we really want to have a conversation with,” he said.
Turell said that Alpha Sigma Phi’s new presence on campus will, “reinvigorate that alumni network hopefully and bring more people back into the community.” He added that with this year’s drop in recruitment registration, another fraternity on campus will be helpful in getting more students involved in Greek life.
Once McDonald finishes the recruitment process in March, an interest group will be established on campus. From there, the group must work through a series of five benchmarks before becoming a colony of Alpha Sigma Phi.
The next step is transitioning from a colony to obtaining their charter, a process which typically takes nine to 15 months, said Humberger. The colony will work through the 13 chartering benchmarks, which include items like membership education and hosting a philanthropy event.
In mid-April, Alpha Sigma Phi’s development team will visit the colony and work with them for a week to develop goals and future plans for the group. By fall of 2013, Humberger expects that they will receive their charter and be officially recognized as a chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi.
According to McDonald, the recolonization efforts at Penn are part of a larger national growth initiative that began in 2009. Since then, the fraternity has seen 62 percent growth, establishing five to 10 new chapters every semester.
The fraternity’s website lists seven Alpha Sigma Phi groups that will begin during this academic year, including the chapter at Penn.
“With this expansion plan we’ve definitely targeted the Pennsylvania area, so it’ll be good for us to get back,” McDonald said.