Phi Gamma Delta, known as “FIJI,” is returning to CU after forfeiting their charter due to alcohol-related issues in 2005, said Jesse Hitt, director of expansion for the national Phi Gamma Delta.
The fraternity is implementing a recruitment process this fall primarily based on recommendations, as well as individual interviews, to ensure that the fraternity values are strongly represented, according to a Phi Gamma Delta press release.
Hitt said the fraternity is looking to various members of the CU community for these recommendations.
“We’re seeking out recommendations from CU faculty and staff, as well as sororities, in hopes of trying to match up men with our values,” Hitt said.
In addition to recommendations, the fraternity has other recruiting methods, according to Marc D. Stine, the Greek advocate at CU.
“A number of men weren’t offered or didn’t accept a bid during [Interfraternity Council] fall recruitment 2009,” Stine said. “We provide that data base for the expanding chapter because these men indicated an interest in a fraternity and didn’t find one.”
Stine added that FIJI will be looking at transfer students who were members of FIJI at other campuses, as well as legacies, who are men whose family members were affiliated with the fraternity.
Hitt, who will be recruiting founding fathers of the fraternity for the next six weeks, explained why FIJI is deciding to return now.
“We have gotten together with Stine and our local alumni and decided to come back now because of how well the fraternity system is doing,” Hitt said.
Although the numbers are not finalized, Stine confirmed that fraternity member numbers are up, and CU should have about 1,250 to 1,300 fraternity men by the end of the semester.
“The overall interest was way up from last year, and it looks like the final numbers are above last year, plus retention rates are up about 15 percent,” Stine said.
Fraternity men have said they are excited about the increased interest in the fraternity system.
“The fraternity community is definitely on the rise with respect to numbers and reputation,” said Kevin John, a 19-year-old sophomore pre-journalism and mass communication major. “We all consider ourselves leaders on campus and are very proud of all of our successes in these last few years.”
John said he is a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
Hitt added that FIJI waits at least four years to return to a campus to ensure that there will be all new members.
There are 64 national fraternities, 14 of which currently have chapters at CU, said Stine.
Stine explained the need for national fraternities, such as Phi Gamma Delta, to gain a certain number of members during recruitment.
“There is a significant financial investment that the national fraternity incurs that needs to be returned by membership numbers,” Stine said. “National fraternities research where they want to expand or re-establish carefully to ensure a market.”
He explained how a national fraternity starts a chapter at CU.
“When a national fraternity wants to expand or return to CU, their national headquarters contacts the Interfraternity Council and indicates their interest in forming an interest group,” Stine said. “The IFC then looks into the support of the group, such as alumni, chapter advisors, finance, housing issues, etc. Afterwards, the IFC grants the fraternity permission to create an interest group, and tells them when they can do so.”
The IFC allows one chapter to expand at CU per semester to prevent two new chapters from competing, as establishing a fraternity chapter can be demanding, said Stine.
According to Hitt, Phi Gamma Delta is trying to recruit men who are looking for a house that works for them.
The fraternity will recruit men based on the four focuses of academics, leadership, teamwork and the “FIJI gentleman factor.”
Hitt explained the focus that is unique to the FIJI fraternity.
“We are trying to find men that are well-rounded and most importantly well-behaved,” Hitt said.
To emphasize the importance of academics, Phi Gamma Delta is providing numerous academic-based scholarships to benefit CU students, according to a Phi Gamma Delta press release.
“We really want to put our money where our mouth is, and that is why we are giving $250 scholarships to men that maintain a 3.0 GPA after their first semester,” Hitt said.
Phi Gamma Delta will also offer up to $2000 in scholarship to CU men of all classes through its White Star Scholarships, according to a Phi Gamma Delta press release.
Hitt said there will be a lot of leadership positions as the fraternity needs men that will step up and help start the chapter off.
FIJI could potentially participate in Interfraternity Council recruitment as early as spring 2010, said Stine.
“Assuming that they have a successful recruitment of an interest group this fall, they will participate in IFC recruitment this spring,” Stine said.
The fraternity is primarily concerned with quality over quantity, Hitt said.
“We’re not putting a minimum or maximum on chapter numbers right now,” Hitt said. “We’re going to stick to our values, and as long as we’re recruiting the right people, we’ll be a strong fraternity.”
For more information about Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, visit their national Web site.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kendall Schoemann at Kendall.firstname.lastname@example.org.