Sigma Phi Epsilon looks to make comeback on campus

By Andrea Azzo

One of the largest fraternities is returning to NIU as a changed organization.

Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep) is recruiting members and hopes to be housed by fall 2013, said Mike Fruchtman, New Chapter Development director.

The fraternity had a chapter at NIU in the past but was suspended after members were involved in a fight in 2007. Police responded but no arrests were made during the incident.

Fruchtman said he thinks the incident occurred because previous Sigma Phi Epsilon members weren’t implementing their program “Building Balanced Men” properly. They had the basic skeleton of the program but did not run value workshops.

“There’s the Sig Ep of old, which was one of high social stature, but maybe not as high moral character as the Sig Ep we have today,” Fruchtman said. “It sounds like they did something stupid. The face of our organization has changed [since then].”

Sigma Phi Epsilon is different than other fraternities because it has the highest GPA of any other fraternity at 3.1, Fruchtman said. Sig Ep also does not have a pledging process. for most fraternities, the pledging process can take anywhere from four to 12 weeks before an individual becomes a member, said Tyler Boggess, Chapter Services director.

“We represent a very prestigious organization,” said Jeff Horan, New Chapter Development director. “Sig Ep is about challenging guys and getting guys out of their comfort zone.”

Fruchtman said the fraternity works with YouthAid, a charitable organization, and participates in philanthropic activities to help the community. Sig Ep also provides scholarships for members.

Boggess said he joined Sig Ep because of the brotherhood he experienced.

“I formed relationships with other men in the fraternity,” Boggess said. “The other big benefit was personal development as a leader. I took on leadership positions because of the connection with Sig Ep.”

Freshman physics major Steve Boi said he might join Sig Ep for scholarship opportunities.

“It would [also] be interesting to have connections,” Boi said. “Who you know [gets you] further in the world.”

Fruchtman and Horan are staying at NIU for the rest of the semester, working full-time to recruit students. Horan said they are the “two guys in suits.”

NIU invited Sig Ep back to campus, Fruchtman said, so they “don’t want to represent [NIU] in a negative light.”

“Our entire mission is to break the Animal House persona,” Fruchtman said.

Fruchtman said he has the impression that NIU is a sleepy campus. He has been on campus since Monday.

“I feel like there’s a diverse population,” Fruchtman said. “There’s a different feel. [The campus] feels like it could use more to connect with the neighborhood.”