By Sam Cross
After four years of work, Cornell’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity will regain its charter in the upcoming fall semester as the New York Beta chapter.
In order to gain formal recognition as a chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, the members had to undergo a recolonization process, in which they proved to the national fraternity their ability to thrive.
“It was a pretty straightforward process but it’s not easy,” said Evan Caruso ‘11, current president of Cornell’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. “The national fraternity has high standards because they want to ensure that the chapter is going to be successful.
The requirements for regaining their charter include a brotherhood of at least 70 members and a grade point average higher than 3.3.
Failure to meet these guidelines within five years would result in losing any chance of regaining recognition.
“A colony has five years to regain full chartership and if a colony doesn’t after those five years, then the national fraternity will remove the chapter from the campus,” Caruso added.
While both the stakes and the rigor were high, Caruso looks back fondly on what he called the “worthwhile” process.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said. “It was definitely a great learning experience to start and run an organization.”
One of the most difficult parts of recolonizing, according to Caruso, was recruiting high-quality brothers in such a large Greek system.
“With so many fraternities on campus, it was a competitive process to attract high quality guys,” Caruso said.
Scott Dudis, a SigEp alum from Ohio State University and counselor of Cornell’s chapter, has played an integral role over the past five months, advising the brotherhood as well as coordinating between the current chapter leaders and alumni leaders.
“The current and past executive boards and the alumni board has spent an incredible amount of time and energy in order to make sure that we we’re providing something positive to our members,” Dudis said. “It really belongs to a lot of people.”
As a SigEp alum, Dudis emphasized the importance of the recolonization process, which hopes to not just build men of character for four years, but a lifetime.
“[SigEp] is a long-term commitment, a lifetime commitment to brotherhood, and this is me fulfilling my commitment and my responsilibity of brotherhood,” Dudis said. “SigEp is not about four years of fun and that’s it. There are a lot of guys who are going to graduate and stay involved in SigEp in some way.”
Scott Purdy ’10, former president of SigEp, was “excited” to hear the news. He hopes that regaining their charter will help SigEp build even stronger ties with its alumni, who have been “very helpful to us.”
“It will definitely help our alumni involvement,” Purdy said. “This is usually very good because we have been around for so long ... regaining the charter and the press that comes along with it will bring alumni back to the house. The banquet in the fall will also be a great opportunity to connect with alumni.”
SigEp fraternity members have plans for continued expansion, including reaching 100 brothers in membership and achieving a grade point average of 3.5.
“We want to continue to move upward and not stagnate,” Caruso said. “We want to establish a residential learning community, which includes a dry house, a live-in scholar, and an extended study space.”