Thirty-six years after closing its doors because of insufficient resources and membership, Sigma Pi will get a second chance when it returns to campus this fall.
The Interfraternity Council unanimously voted last week to approve the return of the fraternity, placing it on expansion status beginning this fall. Sigma Pi follows in the expansionary footsteps of the Pi Lambda Phi international fraternity, which founded a University chapter last semester and is currently an IFC expansion chapter.
“The Greek community continually welcomes strong chapters that look to further the ideals of brotherhood, philanthropy and scholarship,” IFC spokesman Brian Millman said.
Representatives from Sigma Pi’s national organization began communicating with the University last year. Last week’s vote finalized plans to set up a colony on campus, said Jim DiVita, Sigma Pi’s senior expansion consultant and campus recruiter.
Unlike most fraternities on campus, Sigma Pi will not participate in IFC fall rush. Instead, consultants from the national organization plan to recruit new members through referrals from alumni, local chapters and other student organizations as well as information sessions and interviews on campus.
“We are looking for leaders, athletes and scholars of campus. We are looking for a diverse group of individuals,” DeVita said.
DiVita, an alum of Sigma Pi’s chapter at Michigan State University, said the national organization will officially declare the University organization a colony when it meets the goal of 20 to 25 new recruits.
To form a new chapter on campus, the national fraternity, or a group of students representing the national organization, must engage in a multi-step process outlined by the IFC. If approved by the IFC executive board, the representatives present their plan for expansion to the 27 campus fraternity presidents.
The initial stage of the process is the expansionary period, during which the group recruits new members and attends IFC meetings without voting.
After a semester, IFC evaluates the progress of a fraternity’s expansion efforts and votes on whether to move the group to probationary expansion status. At this point, members must pay dues, attend meetings and vote on issues brought before the council.
At the conclusion of this phase, typically a semester in length, the fraternity presidents conduct a final vote to determine whether to bring the colony to active status. If the vote passes, the fraternity is granted full membership in IFC.
Millman said the presidents may vote to accept the group, extend the house’s probationary expansion stage or deny the house completely.
A house may be denied membership if, for example, the presidents feel the members have not accomplished their expansion plan to a sufficient degree, he said.
Under this framework, Sigma Pi could achieve active membership in the fall of 2007.
Another Greek house is hoping to found a chapter on campus.
In February 2001, low membership prompted the closing of Delta Tau Delta, a fraternity at the University for more than 100 years.
Next Wednesday, representatives from the Delta Tau Delta national organization will present their plan to re-establish a chapter at the University. Pending a vote by the IFC presidents, DTD will enter the expansionary phase in the fall.
Based on input from the University and the support of local alumni, DTD director of expansion Nick Goldsberry said the national organization has the necessary support to rejoin the University’s Greek community and launch a successful chapter.
Goldsberry also said that if approved, he expects DTD and Sigma Pi will join forces in recruiting efforts this fall. As with Sigma Pi, DTD will not participate in IFC’s formal recruitment.
“We are more than comfortable working together to ensure successful colonizations for both groups,” Goldsberry said.
Sigma Pi, one of the most prominent Greek organizations in Michigan with 11 chapters, is currently in the process of re-establishing chapters on five additional campuses across the country: Kansas State University, Ohio State University, Montana State University, Fresno State University and the University of Delaware.