Of the University’s nearly 60 Greek chapters, one rises above them all. With 131 initiated members and 11 pledges, Pi Kappa Alpha – more commonly known as Pike – is the largest fraternity on campus.
Pike’s membership has grown steadily for several years, said chapter president Jon Marks. He said each year’s pledge class is normally 5 to 10 percent larger than the year before. Membership first topped 100 members in winter of 1997.
Over the years, Pike has not had a constant presence on campus. Pike was founded at the University in 1922, but subsequently left in 1936 because of the Great Depression. In 1968 the chapter was refounded, but enrollment dropped during the Vietnam War and Pike left the University again in 1974. In 1992, Pike made it back to campus and has remained here ever since.
In the early 1990s the chapter held meetings at Cottage Inn Pizza before it had a permanent location.
In 1993, the chapter moved into 800 Oxford Avenue, the current home of Sigma Alpha. Two years later, Pike moved again – this time to 1601 Washtenaw Avenue, the current home of Lambda Chi Alpha. Since 2001 Pike has been located at 1501 Washtenaw Ave.
The current location houses 61 people. Even though only half of the chapter’s members actually live in the house, Marks said Pike’s large membership makes it an exciting chapter.
“There are so many people living in that house,” he said. “There’s always something interesting, something crazy, something hilarious going on.”
Marks also noted that having such a large member base creates a wide range of diversity within the chapter. He said that he likes that Pike members have a variety of interests and talents.
The fraternity participates in a rivalry run with the Ohio State University chapter for the Ohio State-Michigan football game. Members of the fraternity take turns running a football about 180 miles between Ann Arbor and Columbus, Ohio. The Pike Charity Football Run raises money for charities.