Pride and tradition in Greek life on campus

Jason Jones and Jason Jones

The University is home to several Greek organizations that are full of unique traditions.

Three of those organizations are the fraternities of Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Phi Delta Theta originally came to campus in 1950, but experienced some problems during the 1970s. The fraternity became subject to discipline after one particular incident.

“It turns out the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity would build a float for the homecoming parade each year,” said Anthony Colarusso, president of Phi Delta Theta.

“After it was finished, they would have their pledges stand around the float to make sure that no other fraternities would mess with it. Phi Delta Theta brother Tim Conway saw this as a challenge and an opportunity, and shot a flaming arrow into the float, which then burned to the ground.”

Colarusso could not identify which year in particular it was that the event took place, because there were actually numerous incidents involving the fraternity throughout the 1970s. Conway failed to be reached for his comment.

Tradition and pride remain evident within the walls of Phi Delta Theta today. The island on the campus golf course is home to a rock, which is known for displaying the letters of a fraternity. More often than not, they are the letters of Phi Delta Theta.

“We’re not saying we put them there, but they do always seem to be there,” Colarusso said.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon has a claim aside from being the recipient of the Phi Delta Theta flaming arrow. Sigma Alpha Epsilon was the first-ever fraternity to arrive in Bowling Green in 1948. They closed their doors in 2000, but, after a short absence, came back in 2004 as a colony, and in 2007 have once again joined the ranks of the campus fraternities.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is also the largest fraternity in the United States. Each spring, a week-long event takes place at all campuses where the fraternity is located.

“We’re really hoping to surprise everyone on campus,” said Ryan McDermott, president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

McDermott’s wish has a distinct possibility of becoming a reality, since a large percentage of the students at the University were in high school the last time the event came to Bowling Green.

McDermott would not reveal the name of the event, but did mention that it was created at the University of Idaho during the 1920s and has spread across the U.S.

Sigma Phi Epsilon also has its own unique tradition. Each year, anonymous members of the fraternity are given the responsibility of producing school spirit within the Greek organizations.

“It’s kind of like our very own SicSic.” said Adam Russell, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

The Greek spirit crew rotates in and out on a yearly basis and prides itself on anonymity.

While a lot of the Greek organizations on campus pride themselves on secrecy and refuse to open up to anyone from outside their fraternity, some manage to stay away from such secret keeping. They allow the public to see their fraternity, its beliefs and its traditions.

“We’re not going to tell you that you need to be in our fraternity to know anything about it, but instead we’re going to give you an honest look and let you form your own opinion about us,” Russell said.