Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity forms colony at AU

Twelve AU students formed the founding class of AU’s colony of Lambda Chi Alpha in a Feb. 18 ceremony in Butler Boardroom.

The new members will begin to take charge of the colony, a provisional group, as it develops into a full chapter, in the coming weeks under the guidance of an advisory board of Lambda Chi Alpha alumni, according to Nick Ludwig, an educational leadership consultant for national Lambda Chi Alpha. The process takes about two years.

Alumni Advisor Derek Abrams, a Lambda Chi Alpha alumnus from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and a few interested undergraduates tried to bring Lambda Chi Alpha to campus in 2009. The University didn’t open up a new spot for a fraternity on campus until last fall.

Last spring, 130 undergraduates received bids to fraternities, while 130 interested undergraduates did not, Curtis Burrill, coordinator of fraternity and sorority life for Student Activities said.

“We clearly have need for another organization,” he said.

Lambda Chi Alpha and six other fraternities applied for the spot, Burrill said.

Student Activities chose Lambda Chi Alpha for its learning model, which emphasizes going out into the community and then reflecting. Student Activities also liked the fact that Lambda Chi Alpha offered to send full-time staff that work for the fraternity’s national office to develop the colony at AU, according to Burrill.

“Institutions with strong, active undergraduate communities are places where the fraternity can thrive,” said a statement from Lambda Chi Alpha’s national office. “The campus culture is a good fit with the values that Lambda Chi Alpha offers to young men.”

To recruit new members, Lambda Chi Alpha staff and Ludwig tabled throughout last week, in addition to running a variety of events, he said.

“We’re trying to reach the students that never thought they’d want to go Greek: the good guy who sits next to you in class, the boyfriend who’s totally faithful,” Ludwig said. “That’s who we’re looking for.”

Lambda Chi Alpha eliminated its pledge system in 1972. The fraternity allows new brothers to enter the organization with full voting rights and the ability to become an elected official in the chapter, Ludwig said. In other fraternities, new members join as pledges and do not have the same chapter rights until they are initiated.

“Other organizations and fraternities aren’t doing what we’re doing,” Abrams said.

As founding members, the 12 new associate members will begin to charter the colony with Lambda Chi Alpha and become an official chapter, Ludwig said.

In order to gain chapter status, the colony must be financially solvent and maintain an average GPA above the average AU male’s GPA of 3.17, Ludwig said. The colony will continue accepting new members over the next week and will take part in the rush process next fall.

“Later in life, I’ll look back and say, ‘I started that,’” Billy Erickson said, a new associate member and a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The new associate members will begin seven weeks of education in the fraternity’s core values — loyalty, duty, respect, service, stewardship, honor, integrity and personal courage — led by the Alumni Advisory Board, Ludwig said.

“I’ll work with the colony to help give them direction,” Abrams said. “It comes down to whatever these guys put into it.”

Abrams, as well as three other members of the alumni advisory board, have served as educational leadership consultants for Lambda Chi Alpha.

The Lambda Chi Alpha chapter at the University of Maryland will act as the new colony’s ‘big brother chapter,” helping the new associate members to build into a chapter, according to Abrams.

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