The past semester has seen the term suspension of the Tri-Sigma sorority, an income of pledges during Rush Week in January, and now, the potential rise of a new official fraternity, Kappa Sigma.
Kappa Sigma has been at the university for the past five years, but due to membership troubles, leadership conflicts and probationary sentences, it has never been given official UAA fraternity status. Membership languished largely over the course of the previous two semesters, and according to current members, the fraternity appeared to be spiraling into obscurity.
Now, however, UAA junior James Decker is attempting to pull Kappa Sigma out of its death plunge. As president of the frat since the beginning of spring semester, Decker has presented Kappa Sigma to the Greek Council in hopes of gaining official university recognition.
“It’s been a long process so far,” Decker said of the application requirements leading up to their presentation. “There’s only six of us full members, so the paperwork was a long process, but we were able to turn it in on time.”
Decker and several members met with a group council of Student and Greek Life on Friday March 23, including Dean of Students Dewain Lee and Greek Council president Stephanie Schuman, explaining their fraternity workings, policies and future goals—in an effort to sway general favor their way.
Greek Council will ultimately review Kappa Sigma’s application packet and presentation, and submit a letter to Dean Lee by April 6th with their recommendation. Lee has the option to grant Kappa Sigma with a trial-period status, a temporary semester status, or official fraternity status.
According to Decker, it’s been a difficult and time consuming process to overhaul Kappa Sigma in a positive direction, but one he feels was completely necessary.
“We spent a lot of time reorganizing over winter break,” he said. “There were several members involved with us for the wrong reasons, and we effectively had to jettison them to head in the direction we want. But large changes have been made, and things are looking a lot better.”
Among the revisions made to Kappa Sigma’s operation is the improvement of their pledge program, in an effort to avoid some of the problems in the past. Academic standing now plays a significant role in membership acceptability, as well as mandatory fraternity workshops and community service.
Kappa Sigma currently has six active members, as well as nine pledges, gained largely during Rush Week. As a group, they are required to complete 48 hours of community service over the semester.
At the moment, UAA officially recognizes one fraternity and one sorority, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Sigma Alpha. Another sorority, Tri-Sigma, was recently put on suspension until September 1st over paperwork filing difficulties.
“I’m pretty excited to have another fraternity joining us,” said Marko Almieda, the Greek Council rep for Sigma Alpha Epsilon. “Some friendly competition is always a good thing.”
In this spirit, Decker gave his own competitive statement for Kappa Sigma.
“I feel we’re a lot fresher than Sigma Alpha Epsilon; they’re kind of old hat compared to what we’ve got going.”
Ultimately, however, Decker says there are far more important stakes than one fraternity’s superiority over another.
“No matter what our final ruling turns out to be, we’re committed to Greek Life’s success on campus,” he said. “We want Greek to succeed, and to grow. Whether or not we are recognized, boosting Greek Life is the most important thing.”
Jessica Dyrdahl, the Leadership Coordinator for Student Clubs and Greek Life, agrees.
“I think it is great that UAA students are wanting to grow the Greek culture on campus. Personally I am a member of a Greek letter organization, and see the benefits of being involved and an active member of the Greek community during college,” she said.
Decker believes Kappa Sigma’s own success lies in improving the fraternity’s public image.
“We went from being in a total nosedive, to on the rise again,” Decker said. “Last semester we were kind of a ghost fraternity—people had heard of us but we weren’t really seen on campus. And now we have nine pledges. It’s a matter of showing Kappa Sigma is together on this, that we do care. We’ve got to show our commitment to the school.”