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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Q&A: UA’s new fraternity chapter starting up

Alpha Sigma Phi, a national fraternity, started recruiting men to become the founding fathers of a UA chapter this fall. Geoff McDonald, the coordinator of chapter and colony development with the Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity, is at the UA for five weeks interviewing viable men to join.

Daily Wildcat: Why did your fraternity want to start a chapter at the UA?

Geoff McDonald: Alpha Sigma Phi used to have a chapter here until 1967, but it fell by the wayside, much like a lot of Greek communities did in the ‘60s. We are currently on an expansion plan and we have seen a 38 percent national growth since 2009. We are currently represented at more than 90 universities and we continue to grow each semester. Our growth plan was designed to increase resources in order to better serve undergraduates. While we build a bigger fraternity nationally, we build a better one as well. Arizona was a great fit for us because we have very active alumni in the area that wanted us to come back. The Interfraternity Council, UA Greek Life office and our alumni are above and beyond as far as their commitment to the students and their success. Ultimately, we came back because we want our fraternity to become the “gold standard” for all fraternities, Greek Life and leadership.

What are you looking for in a potential member?

We are looking for gentlemen to become the founding fathers who value silence, purity, charity, honor and patriotism. We want our members to make a difference in the community and bring the idea of brotherhood back. On a national level, the idea of fraternity has taken a turn as just a social experience. Our national philanthropy is Livestrong, and our chapters do at least one Livestrong event per semester to benefit them. I think a lot of organizations fell victim to the idea of “frat,” and a lot of it was earned. Some groups are going away from values that were supposed to make them successful in the first place. Our men are looking to create the idea of brotherhood, get involved, be well-rounded and have involvement in other organizations outside of the Greek community.

*Does the UA chapter already have members? *

The UA chapter has 32 members so far, and our pledge ceremony was Monday night. Our chapter has rolling recruitment, meaning men can continue to join throughout the year. I started recruiting two weeks ago on campus and will be here another two and a half weeks reaching out to people. So far, I conducted well over 200 one-on-one interviews to find out what the men are really about and to tell them what our fraternity can offer. I did a lot of tabling, received a lot of referrals from sororities and other fraternities and utilized social media.

Does the UA chapter have plans for a house?

I understand our fraternity needs a house in order to be successful (in the) long term. In order to do that, we have a housing initiative designed to help new chapters secure housing. We provide down payments to many of our chapters and our extremely strong alumni help us do that. The UA chapter seems really motivated to look for housing. For our fraternity, coming to campus without housing is almost a blessing, because we know the men joining are not just looking for that social aspect. Our men want to service philanthropies. We are building a strong base without a house, which will be that much stronger in the future once we secure a house.

Has the UA chapter begun planning events for the semester?

Once I leave, our development team comes in, and they will settle dues and goals with our group for next semester. Right now the UA chapter is a group and they will then become an interest group, a colony, then a chapter. In order to climb that ladder, they must take the steps we require, including service and philanthropy events. This collaborates well with Interfraternity recognition requirements. Currently, we are developing our group with a deeper understanding to start a plan, and they have already started planning for next semester. Right now our UA chapter plays basketball, football and ultimate Frisbee weekly. They are an extremely motivated group, and we have to tell them to take things one step at a time.

Why should men want to join this fraternity above others?

Men should want to join because we are bringing back “the fraternity” to the UA campus and nationally. We are looking for people who are looking to better their undergraduate experience. Only .001% of men have the opportunity to start a chapter, and it is their opportunity to lead a legacy. Years from now, they can look back at their names on the founding fathers plaque. These men can start healthy traditions for years to come.

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