Clarification appended: Jan. 14, 2013.
After a five-year hiatus in the Penn State Greek community, the fraternity Chi Phi will re-join the Interfraternity Councilafter vote by the IFC President’s Council on Tuesday.
The IFC President’s Council has chosen to accept Chi Phi as part of IFC’s council after it disbanded in 2008, following a mandate from the State College Borough to install a sprinkler system.
The new chapter of Chi Phi will face a mandatory one-year probation, said Rishi Mittal, secretary of Penn State’s Chi Phi.
Mittal said that during its probation period, Chi Phi will not vote on any IFC legislation, but its members will be able to participate in IFC activities.
“It’s about learning to be a part of IFC,” Mittal said. “Any rules and regulations they have, we really learn to grasp them.”
And many IFC members look forward to having Chi Phi back on campus.
“From what I have heard, they were a great group of gentlemen,” Jordan Rolon, IFC vice president of communications, said. “They contributed a lot. We look forward to having them back.”
In 2008, the Borough of State College mandated that sprinkler systems be added to all fraternity houses, Mittal said. Bob Martin, the adviser to Chi Phi, said that while Chi Phi did have the funds to put a sprinkler system in, the house was “dilapidated” and that installing the new sprinkler system would be like “putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm.”
The house closed in May 2008, and the fraternity’s members had the option to remain an active fraternity on Penn State’s campus, but they chose not to keep the chapter going, Martin said.
“It was time to close the home,” Martin said. “We could have kept the home operating, but it wouldn’t have been a wise business decision. [The house] was very old and needed a lot of work.”
For the past five years, Chi Phi alumni have raised money, totaling just under $1.5 million, to complete an entire renovation of the house’s interior, Martin said.
In the spring of 2012, Martin said that a variety of people showed interest in starting Chi Phi, but once Chi Phi’s house environment was revealed, some people had a change of heart.
“When I told them we wanted to be dry and no hazing fraternity house, they decided that wasn’t for them,” Martin said.
But Mittal fit the mold, and he teamed up with a couple other people to start Chi Phi at Penn State again. Rolon said he respects the decision to be a dry fraternity house, as it shows Chi Phi is not rushing into greek life for the partying. Rolon noted that all fraternities at Penn State are considered “no-hazing fraternities.”
“It shows a lot of merit,” Rolon said. “They look at greek life to be professional men.”
With the help of the Chi Phi national fraternity, the Penn State chapter recruited nine members in the spring, Mittal said.
In the fall, Chi Phi held rush events that attracted upwards of 70 members, resulting in 22 new members, Mittal said.
The 31 new members of Chi Phi, made up of the spring and fall class, were initiated together at Bucknell University, with the help of the Bucknell University chapter of Chi Phi.
“The 31 are considered the founding fathers, but the nine started the process before,” Mittal said. “We have two classes of founding fathers.”
The fraternity will participate in spring recruitment by hosting events in its house and outside the house, including wrestling matches and basketball games.
In terms of the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, Chi Phi will not be able to participate in THON as a greek organization this year because it’s too late to register. But its members plan to partner with an organization or participate independently under the Chi Phi name, Mittal said.
As for the long term, Mittal said Chi Phi plans to “participate in THON 100 percent” as a greek organization.
Mitall said that there are challenges in beginning a fraternity, but he is focused on attracting the right men that hold Chi Phi’s values.
“At rush events, we will be discussing what our values are,” Mittal said. “If those aren’t your values, that’s OK. We will say, ‘Hey, we will just be friends.’ ”
An earlier version of this article unclearly stated information about Chi Phi fraternity. While the fraternity’s house is dry, Chi Phi is not a dry fraternity. The Daily Collegian apologizes for this error.