Sigma Pi International Fraternity to SJU Greek Community
St. John’s University has recently taken in Sigma Pi, an international fraternity new to the Greek community on campus.
The fraternity was colonized on February 23rd 2014 with 35 brand new members. In the few months succeeding its colonization, Sigma Pi has been making an impact on campus with participation in the ACE Project (altruistic campus experience) and events such as Relay for Life, where it raised about $1,400 in just two weeks.
“Expansion consultants came over to St. John’s and recruited 35 amazing guys. They were active Sigma Pi members who work at headquarters over in Tennessee”, Tyler DeFranco, Vice President of Sigma Pi said.
Sigma Pi expansion consultants got numbers for potential new members from the Inter-fraternity Council. They also reached out to other sororities on campus such as Delta Phi Epsilon and Gamma Phi Beta to get recruits from active sisters.
“I can speak about this on behalf of my other brothers. We looked into other fraternities and it wasn’t what we really looked for”, DeFranco said. “Sigma Pi is not only what we are looking for but we get to make the fraternity what we want it to be. We can make the presence what we want it to be. It really starts with us and stops with us”.
The new member education process works differently for the new members of Sigma Pi. To become a founding father one must go through a rigorous selection process. The candidates have certain degrees and checkpoints they need to fulfill with nationals. It is like pledging or being a new member of any other fraternity or sorority. The one difference is that they do not get big brothers as mentors. They have to take a national test like any other organization and work towards that according to DeFranco.
“We are all new members. We are working on chartering. One of the biggest mix-ups we get is hearing: ‘Hey did you guys cross yet?’ We didn’t technically cross yet but we are brothers of Sigma Pi,” DeFranco said. “We started wearing letters about a week ago to advertise Greek Week. We are trying to make more of a presence on campus with the letters since we are obviously allowed to wear them.”
Being the fledgling in the Greek community can be intimidating and challenging. With the other fraternities and organizations on campus, one of the biggest concerns is whether Sigma Pi is receiving the respect deserved from the rest of the Greek Community.
“We all agree that respect is earned; it isn’t given. We take it as a challenge. I feel like my brothers have earned the respect,” DeFranco said. “I know the community is still up for judgment and they’re going to be. We are extremely hard working. Just because we haven’t crossed per se, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be respected. We are just like Kappa Sigma or Pi Kappa Phi or Sigma Chi Beta or any of them. I feel like we have earned our respect. We are outreaching meeting new people and we have connections in many sororities including Delta Phi Epsilon.”
With Greek Week now here, the brothers of Sigma Pi started off strong, winning third place in the Greek Week Banner Competition.
“I am personally most excited for Lip Synch. We have been working hard on it,” DeFranco said. “We just started practicing two weeks ago. All 35 brothers are going to be participating. We are going to make a fool of ourselves just like everyone else. We are also looking forward to basketball. I know a whole bunch of brothers are also excited for the trivia.”
DeFranco, who currently holds the position as Sigma Pi’s Vice President on e-board, had to go through a rigorous process in order to get elected. Everyone who has a position on e-board had to submit applications and partake in interviews with nationals. DeFranco feels that every one of his brothers is a leader and each of them could be been president.
“We don’t want to be the stereotypical fraternity. We will be recruiting with the intangibles and other things that other fraternities do not see,” DeFranco said. “We want to be the gentlemen of St. John’s; the leaders. We have everyone from mock trial to [resident assistants]; some have internships in the city waiting for them all the way to freshman. We are looking for a diverse group of people who want to succeed. I am extremely proud of my brothers and the impact they have had on campus. They have gotten so many compliments already. I am really excited to see [our] growth. We can go as high as we want.”