Pi Kappa Phi revisits NIU

By Sara Adams

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is returning to NIU after a 44-year hiatus because of low membership numbers.

“There is a tremendous amount of diversity and potential on campus,” said Mike Podobnik, leadership consultant for Pi Kappa Phi. “We want to reach out to undergraduates and pull in a group you never thought would go Greek.”

This is an opportunity for students to start a fraternity with rules and traditions they want to follow, Podobnik said.

“Instead of joining a fraternity, members get the opportunity to build one and really set a name for themselves,” he said. “It’s a very excellent opportunity.”

Pi Kappa Phi started a chapter at NIU in 1958 and left in 1960.

“They are being brought back because they petitioned to come back (in accordance with the Greek Life Standards Board) and the Board accepted their petition and granted them colony status for fall 2004,” said Christopher Juhl, activities adviser for Greek Affairs.

The last chapter to recolonize at NIU before Pi Kappa Phi was Alpha Kappa Lambda in 2001.

The fraternity is not concerned with reaching a specific number at this time – they are just looking for high-quality students.

“We’re looking for men of class,” Podobnik said. “We’re shooting for as many quality men we can find.”

The organization decided to return to campus because of the potential they saw in NIU students. Less than 7 percent of the undergraduate population is involved in Greek organizations, which is low for NIU’s student population, Podobnik said.

Pi Kappa Phi will be a social fraternity with a strong focus on academics. Instead of having a normal adviser that will stop in from time to time, Pi Kappa Phi will pay a faculty member to act as the academic coach for the fraternity to tutor the members and help them succeed, Podobnik said.

One thing Pi Kappa Phi wants students to know is that they do not believe in hazing in any way, shape or form.

“I know this is a large concern with a lot of people we’ve talked to,” Podobnik said.

Because Pi Kappa Phi is a new fraternity, whether or not they will have a house on campus depends on the number of members after a few semesters, Juhl said.

Although Student Association officer form deadlines have passed for organizations to be recognized, there are separate guidelines that new Greek organizations must follow. For now, Pi Kappa Phi will operate as an associate group to Interfraternity Council, but once they have achieved certain goals, they can register as an SA-recognized organization, Juhl said.

Pi Kappa Phi is the only national fraternity to own and operate their own philanthropy, “Push America,” Podobnik said. The philanthropy’s goal is to build leaders of tomorrow by serving people with disabilities today. “Push America” raised $500,000 last year during their Journey of Hope fundraiser. The Journey of Hope, a Pi Kappa Phi tradition since 1977, has raised more than $8 million to help people with disabilities and raise awareness. The Journey of Hope involves 70 men cycling 4,000 miles from San Francisco, CA to Charleston, SC.

If you are interested in joining Pi Kappa Phi, contact Podobnik at 704-504-0888, or attend any of the informational meetings listed.

Pi Kappa Phi

Informational Meetings

All meetings are held in the Campus Life Building

Room 100 at 7:03 p.m.

– Monday, Oct. 4

– Thursday, Oct. 7

– Tuesday, Oct. 12

– Thursday, Oct. 14

– Tuesday, Oct. 19

For more information, call 704-504-0888