Fraternity looks to make history on campus

Students attend an interest meeting for Omega Psi Phi fraternity on Nov. 6.  If admitted on to campus, Vice President for Enrollment Management Thomas Calhoun will serve as group adviser.

In search of at least eight young men who were willing to consider making a pledge to the organization, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity held its first interest meeting on campus Nov. 6. 

The organization must obtain at least eight pledges to start the group and take up residence at UNA for the first time. 

“We are looking for willing young men to step up and make a pledge to Omega Psi Phi to make history on this campus,” said Omega Psi Phi member Ron Collier. 

Before Omega Psi Phi can get the OK to begin its UNA chapter, the Office of Student Engagement needs to determine if the fraternity would be a good addition to the list of campus organizations.

The goal is to see if the fraternity would be a good fit on campus, said Julie Fletcher, assistant director of Student Engagement for Greek Affairs. 

“We are only at the information gathering point right now, not at the point of making a decision,” Fletcher said. “We need more information. 

Another concern regarding Omega Psi Phi coming to campus is retention, she said. 

“NPHC just has lower numbers than other fraternities,” Fletcher said. “We want to see if this group can sustain itself, especially since they have such tough membership requirements.”

To become a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, a student must be male, be enrolled as a full time, student have a 2.5 cumulative GPA and have completed 36 credit hours. In addition, potential members must obtain five letters of recommendation  — two of which must be from an Omega Psi Phi member — and have a physical form completed by his doctor. 

Because the NPHC requires that members have completed 36 credit hours, freshmen cannot be involved, thereby limiting the number of potential pledges for any given year. 

The limitation is also one of the biggest struggles for NPHC organizations, Fletcher said.

“Of approximately 6,000 students at UNA, only 53 students on the entire campus meet all of these requirements, if race is taken into consideration,” Fletcher said. “Omega Psi Phi is predominately an African American organization, but it is not prejudiced against members of any other race.” 

Freshman Ethan Eck does not think the organization will make it on campus, due to the limited pool of pledges, he said. 

“Since freshman can’t be involved, I don’t think they’ll make it here,” Eck said. “By the time you have 36 hours completed, you’re into classes for your major, and not thinking about a fraternity pledge. “

Student Loren Sutton thinks the fraternity would be a good addition to campus, but that he doubts that Omega Psi Phi will be able to keep enough members to stay on campus, he said.

“I figure it might last two semesters after it starts, but I don’t know after that,” Sutton said.

If the Office of Student Engagement and the Omega Psi Phi community determine that the fraternity will be a good fit on campus, the decision will then be left up to the NPHC and its delegates. 

The biggest question facing the Office of Student Engagement was whether the university should just maintain its focus on the fraternities already on campus or let the new fraternity become part of its agenda, Fletcher said.  

If Omega Psi Phi gets clearance to start its UNA chapter and obtains at least eight pledged members, Vice President for Enrollment Management Thomas Calhoun, an Omega Psi Phi member, will serve as the adviser. 

Editor’s note: Editor-in-Chief Corinne Beckinger is a member of Greek life and did not contribute to the reporting of this story.