After eight years of working towards official recognition from the college, the local chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu, informally known as Sammys, finally received official college recognition on March 3.
In 2002, eight students decided to start the fraternity because they felt that none of the existing fraternities shared their values. "From what I've been told, Greek life [then] was much, much different," senior Eric Dostal said. "The culture was something they didn't really agree with. They decided to start the fraternity to make sure that the guys who entered it were doing so for the right reasons."
In 1996, the Greek Task Force report capped the number of Greek organizations on campus at 10 fraternities and 10 sororities. When the fraternity Sigma Epsilon went out of existence in 2002, though, the eight founders of Sammys approached the college looking for recognition but were told they had to wait seven years as per college policy.
According to sophomore Bob Viglietta, the organization was told to stop existing until the seven-year period had passed. Members of Sammys received several cease and desist orders during that time.
"It's been a real hindrance in many ways to exist as an organization," Dostal said. "We were not allowed to have any presence whatsoever on campus. There was no advertising allowed, and we could not associate our names to any events on campus."
Viglietta said that Sammys members became increasingly frustrated with the recognition process beginning last semester. "We went from [Greek Affairs Coordinator] Wendi Kinney to President [Christopher] Dahl," he said. "It became clear that the process wasn't defined - there was no single document that was going to guide us through this process."
Viglietta also said that the process was halted halfway through the fall 2009 semester and that Sammys had to attain Inter-Greek Council recognition before going any further. They finally received IGC recognition in January and have since obtained the needed signatures to make themselves official.
According to Viglietta, official recognition will matter the most during the rush period. "During our recruitment periods, we couldn't have a presence on campus," Viglietta said. "We couldn't advertise like everyone else does. Brothers would seek people out in classes and people they'd run into."
Dostal said that, though frustrating, the underground recruitment process ended up providing the group with a very strong base. "We definitely won't change that aspect," he said. "Now we will be able to supplement [the loyalty of members] with having late-night events and associating with other organizations." He said that Sammys consists of men who are friends first and foremost - people who enjoy each other's company.
Each member of Sammys is required to complete 20 hours of community service every semester. According to Viglietta, Sammys members have the highest average GPA of existing fraternities.