The Theta Chi Fraternity will return to the University of Wisconsin campus this semester after closing in 2003 due to low recruitment numbers.
The fraternity will kick off its return to campus this Thursday, when it will officially be allowed to offer bids to interested students.
According to Theta Chi Expansion Coordinator Corey Fischer, Theta Chi is known at a national level for strong philanthropy and substance-free houses.
“The guys that we are trying to get here on this campus are the guys who are not interested in the alcohol aspect,” Fischer said. “You join a fraternity for the brotherhood and the opportunity to improve your community and campus.”
Fischer and his co-coordinators have already collected a list of students interested in joining Theta Chi. He said he is confident the fraternity will have a stronger membership than it did when it was forced off campus six years ago.
“Our numbers fell off around 2003 so we couldn’t sustain ourselves anymore,” Fischer said. “The national council decided to shut us down for a while until we could come back with strong numbers.”
According to Fischer, the house’s decline began after members became confused about their purpose in the UW community and lost motivation to recruit males to pledge to the fraternity.
UW junior Matt Forrest expressed an interest in joining the reestablished Theta Chi, citing his father’s involvement in the fraternity in the 1980s.
He said the substance-free aspect of the house appealed to him as it would help attract a solid group of people who are not exclusively there for the party scene.
“It was a pretty strong house here,” Forrest said. “A lot of people were in it, and it had a strong reputation. It was looked pretty favorably upon by the campus community. It was a really good experience for my dad, and that is the main reason I’d want to check it out.”
After recruiting new members, the fraternity will go through a long process of internal elections and training to re-establish itself on campus.
Fischer said that after training on national bylaws and procedures is completed, leadership roles will be handed over to students to carry on the development of the fraternity.
“We will act as facilitators in the beginning, but we really want them to start learning on their own without us having to be there,” Fischer said. “In the beginning of March, we won’t be there anymore to look over their shoulder.”
While Theta Chi will not have an official house this semester, they do own a building on Langdon Street that is currently occupied by Alpha Epsilon Pi. Plans are already underway to find temporary housing for next semester, after which they will consider moving back into the old house.
Fischer said a house is an important aspect of their fraternity because it allows members to compete as a presence on campus.