Gimpelman: New national fraternity will compete with local recruitment

Geneseo will become home to national fraternity Pi Kappa Phi this year. As president of the Inter Fraternity Council, I believe I have a unique responsibility to echo sentiments held by the overwhelming majority of Greeks here at Geneseo: adding a new fraternity is completely unnecessary.

The very tradition of Greek life at Geneseo is to be involved in a locally-founded organization. Many organizations here were founded in the latter part of the 19th century; some started as literary societies before evolving into what they are today. The way that Pi Kappa Phi will be founded in the coming months is unlike other fraternities here, even the existing national ones.

There are essentially two ways to start a college fraternity. The first method involves a group of existing friends that codify their relationship using Greek letters and an agreed set of values. The group can then apply for recognition with the school. This is the way that almost every organization on campus gained recognition—starting from the ground up—and with an internal approach.

The other method for founding a fraternity involves a national organization coming in and starting from scratch. In the coming months, expansion representatives and leadership consultants from Pi Kappa Phi will come to Geneseo with the hopes of persuading young men to subscribe to their ideology. In due time, they will assemble a group of unfamiliar faces with hopes held high and letters unearned.

For those who say that there is a lack of opportunity or variety in Geneseo’s Greek life and insist on starting something new, look at the many organizations at Geneseo that already exist. There are 11 fraternities, 12 sororities, four multicultural groups, a co-ed fraternity and several professional organizations that people choose to identify with.

Two of these Greek organizations, Alpha Sigma Tau and Kappa Sigma, emerged in the previous year alone. Although Greek life at Geneseo is becoming more popular, this does not warrant the need for a new organization entirely.

The move to establish a new fraternity is just the latest push by an administration with a clear agenda to phase out local Greek organizations. Generally, having more national organizations would be beneficial. They provide undergraduate members with potential lifelong networking opportunities and make the school more attractive to newcomers. This, however, is simply not the tradition of Greek life at Geneseo.

Adding a new fraternity to campus will only detract from every established fraternity by creating competition in recruitment for future semesters. At the onset, Pi Kappa Phi will attract an entire host of new members who were blackballed from existing fraternities this semester.

Maintaining high numbers is a crucial part of national organizations and is achieved at the expense of brotherhood. Starting from the ground up with a group of friends is a more appropriate method––everyone already shares a bond. They do not want to be part of an organization just to go to parties on the weekends; they create something because it matters to them.