Sigma Pi fraternity to receive chapter status

The fraternity began colonization in 2005, and will now be officially recognized as a chapter.

Joy Petersen

Like many other fraternities, Sigma Pi has a fraternity house on University Avenue, participates in homecoming and welcome-week activities and hosts charity events.

However, Saturday marks the first day it will be recognized as a chapter in the fraternity’s international organization.

The members will take part in an initiation ceremony, in which Larry Rovira, the fraternity’s international president, will stamp his approval on the chapter and reveal the traditional ritual to its 37 members.

Rovira said Sigma Pi’s “greater visibility on a great campus” equals success when the two century-old institutions work together.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.

The fraternity began colonization – the first step in becoming a fraternity – in 2005, when Bryan Roeser, a genetic cell biology junior, met Sigma Pi representatives at an activities fair in Coffman Union.

“My dad is a member of Sigma Pi and he asked me to take a look,” he said.

With four of his friends, Roeser signed up to begin a fraternity chapter at the University because he saw potential in the organization.

“I liked what I saw,” he said. “It was an opportunity to do something new.”

Men who join the fraternity now will be part of the establishment of a legacy, Will Wojcik, Sigma Pi’s current president, said.

Wojcik said members will have the opportunity to be the “founding fathers” of the fraternity, which isn’t possible with older, more established fraternities on campus.

While the University’s Sigma Pi chapter will gain recognition internationally, little will change locally.

Wojcik said that dues paid to become a member won’t change, and neither will their recruitment standards.

“We look for well-rounded individuals,” he said.

In addition, the organization has been a part of the Interfraternity Council since it was colonized, Chad Ellsworth, coordinator at the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said.

While it is not uncommon for fraternity colonies to charter and eventually become chapters, Ellsworth said this will be the first new chapter on campus since 2004, when Alpha Epsilon Pi became a chapter.

The men of Sigma Pi will initiate this weekend, but they won’t stay in their current house permanently, Roeser said.

The members currently rent their lot from Zeta Psi, a fraternity that disappeared from campus in 2001.

Roeser said the current owner is “unwilling to sell,” but this isn’t stopping members from saving for a down payment on a house of their own.