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Freshman ignores frat failures

BY MATTHEW BECKMAN
beckmanma@mnstate.edu

Many students have attempted to start fraternity chapters and have had those plans fall through.

Cody Meyer, a freshman political science major, hopes to change that trend with his new chapter of Kappa Sigma.

“When I pictured my ideal college experience, I pictured a fraternity,” Meyer said, who was initially disappointed with the lack of fraternity options on campus.

With that goal in mind, Meyer chose to pursue a chapter of Kappa Sigma.

“They’re the most preferred fraternity in the world,” Meyer said.

He began discussing the idea with his friends Ryan Larson and Justice Witt, whom he considered solid material for the beginnings of his fraternity. He started a Facebook group and took to campus with flyers.

“It’s never easy to start something new on campus,” said Nic Josey, area recruitment manager.

Josey and Meyer have been in communication on a weekly basis, with Meyer giving recruitment updates, and Josey giving him helpful ideas and tips.

It hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows for new start up fraternities at MSUM though.

MSUM senior Mark Radcliffe has attempted on two separate occasions to get a new fraternity on campus.

Radcliffe aimed high with his first attempt, trying to create a fraternity from scratch.

“Which I learned is basically impossible,” he said.

On his second try, Radcliffe wanted to start an MSUM chapter of Sigma Chi, a fraternity he was already a member of at NDSU. Plans fell apart when his time and efforts were needed at Sigma Chi at NDSU.

Junior Rachel Wassberg tried to start a coed fraternity her freshman year, but fell into similar troubles.

“Convincing people that a new organization is worth the time and effort is the biggest challenge,” Wassberg said. “Without a track record, you have to work a lot harder to recruit and retain people.”

She also said a major factor was the heavy amounts of dues required by a national organization, which many of the underclassmen couldn’t keep up with.

“The success rate for new student organizations, whether they’re fraternities or something else, is not high. Many organizations are started by upperclassmen, and the groups struggle when the founders graduate. Also, the majority of MSUM’s students live off-campus, so participation in student organizations is lower here than other schools,” Wassberg said.

Radcliffe thought part of the problem might be the death of a Phi Sigma Kappa student Patrick Kycia in 2005, who drowned in the Red River after a night of heavy drinking with the fraternity.

“MSUM pointed a finger at Greek life, it had ruined the reputation of Greek life on campus,” he said.

Meyer is aware of the luck of past fraternities, but isn’t intimidated. He plans to set himself apart from the stigma sometimes attached to fraternities.

“I’m being selective. This isn’t just a social club. This is a brotherhood,” Meyer said. He said he wants something students can be proud their associated with. Meyer also won’t personally allow frowned upon behavior under his leadership.

“Once it slides, it keeps going,” he said. “It’s a responsibility I’m willing to take on. They’re looking to me to be a patriarch.”

According to Josey, recruits have to be students who excel in the classroom, and are expected to give back to MSUM and the community by being involved through service and on campus activities.

Those interested in the honors fraternity can find them on Facebook or Twitter, or contact Meyer at codymeyer70@gmail.com.

To read more from this writer, view his blog at mattjbeckman.blogspot.com

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