Fraternity returns after 25-year absence

Originally posted on the-standard.org on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.

Sigma Tau Gamma began its return to Missouri State in December 2012 after a 25-year absence. The social fraternity was banned in 1987 due to low membership, according to recruitment and growth coordinator Dean Anderson. Now the group is back with high hopes of establishing a long-term charter. This year, they are beginning to recruit members back into the chapter.

Due to the lack of membership and financial framework in 1987, Anderson — who has been talking to potential new members — said the fraternity was not able to keep its place within Greek life.

“The group lost its charter and that was due to really low membership,” Anderson said. “They had a house at the time, so they kind of realized they weren’t really in a good financial place to remain a recognized chapter. The group kind of just dismantled at that point.”

When a fraternity or sorority chapter gains its charter, it is a recognized Greek organization to its national headquarters. However, once it loses the charter, the chapter also loses certain rights, like voting on issues dealing with their national organization.

For now, the new fraternity is considered a colony, making it the 72nd section of Sigma Tau Gamma.

“Right now, it’s the provisional chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma, or a colony,” Anderson said. “They are a recognized chapter, but they don’t have all of the full rights within Sigma Tau Gamma. Once they are chartered, they are a fully recognized chapter of the fraternity.”

When senior marketing major Brandon Alejo-Morgan first heard about the fraternity’s comeback, he decided to take a chance and test the new opportunity.

“I was referenced by a friend in a sorority,” said Alejo-Morgan, who is now the colony’s president. “I ended up calling (Anderson) to see if I could set up a time to meet with him and see what he had to offer.”

Throughout the whole conversation, Alejo-Morgan said the one thing that stood out to him was what the fraternity was looking for in its members.

“The biggest thing that always drew me in about this organization was (Anderson) said it was a gentlemen’s organization,” Alejo-Morgan said. “The majority of fraternities I have seen on campus have a negative connotation about them, so it was nice to hear him say that this was going to be different.”

Also recommended by a friend, freshman psychology major Alexander Durbin said Sigma Tau Gamma offered something that he couldn’t find in other fraternities.

“I just really couldn’t find what I was looking for,” Durbin said. “It’s really amazing to be a founding father because now I can make it what I’m looking for.”

Currently, its official name is the Omega Provisional Chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma. Once it is chartered, it will become the Omega Chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma. In order to reach this goal, Anderson said the fraternity must go through a series of steps to earn its full rights.

“Sigma Tau Gamma has provided what we call ‘chartering benchmarks,’” Anderson said. “It’s a to-do list of what the group needs to do in order to get chartered. That provides a lot of the initial goals for the chapter, whether it be hosting a philanthropy event or doing a community service project or holding weekly chapter meetings.”

As the fraternity president, it becomes Alejo-Morgan’s job to ensure these benchmarks start getting accomplished. He said the first step is deciding what guidelines need to be put in place for the chapter to run smoothly in the future.

“Right now, the biggest things we need to get completed are our constitution and bylaws so we can be seen as an official organization by Missouri State,” Alejo-Morgan said. “This will give the framework for how everything works within our chapter.”

Once it achieves its goal, the Omega Chapter must maintain its charter. Anderson said they have a game plan for what will be different the second time around.

“The group is very focused on academics and service that I think they will benefit from,” Anderson said. “I also want to ensure that the group is well-supported. Having our headquarters in Warrensburg just a couple hours away really helps out.”

The group plans to complete its to-do list in a little less than a year. According to Alejo-Morgan, this may be an ambitious goal but the hope is what keeps the group motivated.

“Our biggest goal is to get chartered faster than other organizations,” Alejo-Morgan said. “Usually it takes about a year or two, and our group wants to do it in a little less than a year. I love the optimism but I still think it takes a little time.”

All in all, both Alejo-Morgan and Durbin can both agree that Sigma Tau Gamma is worth the addition because of the amount of respect and character the group aims to exemplify.

“If I had to narrow it down to three characteristics for our current and future members, it would be well-mannered, concerned and open-minded,” Alejo-Morgan.

For member Durbin, he is hoping that throughout time, the members will evolve into better people, strengthening the chapter as a whole.

“I want the men we select every year to be such strong gentlemen,” Durbin said. “You’re building such better men every year, that at the end of your undergraduate career here, the idea is that you wouldn’t be able to get in coming in as a freshman.”

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