Pi Kappa Phi says bye for now

The Greek community mourns the loss of one of its organizations after Pi Kappa Phi packed its bags Feb. 4.

The colony left Northern Kentucky University at the order of its national organization.

“The organization felt that the colony wasn’t the best allocation of their resources and shut them down,” Mark Gallondorn, president of the Interfraternity Council, said. “It was most likely due to the lack of manpower that the chapter had.”

The Pi Kappa Phi colony, started in the spring of 2007, but struggled to recruit new members.

“(The National Organization) wants us to recruit quality guys who don’t sell the common Greek stereotype,” Brandon Hamilton, former president of Pi Kappa Phi, said. “The guys we were going after already had a bad taste in their mouth about Greek Life. They said they knew it wasn’t for them even though they had no idea about what Pi Kappa Phi stood for: leadership and service.”

Pi Kappa Phi is the second colony to leave NKU in the past year. Kappa Sigma left in fall 2007, also at the order of its national organization. But having a colony leave campus is not the same as having a chartered fraternity leave.

When a group of students want to bring a fraternity to campus, they create a colony through that fraternity’s national organization. Once the national organization recognizes the colony has completed the tasks required, including recruitment numbers and community service goals, it can give the colony a charter to become a full-fledged fraternity.

However, starting a colony and helping through the chartering stage can be an exhausting task, Gallondorn noted.

“In the case of most colonies, there are no experienced members around to teach the younger members the business of the organization or how to recruit,” he said.

“Colony members spend time with headquarters staff and local alumni volunteers learning the things that other chapters hand down from one class to another – it can be very draining.”

Even with the loss of two colonies, NKU’s fraternities and sororities are still boosting the ranks.

“Our Greek community is growing in numbers without additional chapters. It takes a lot to start a new chapter and this just may not be the right time,” Kim Vance, assistant director of student life and Greek advisor, said.

Some former members of Pi Kappa Phi chose to leave the group after it was dispersed while others joined different fraternities. Unlike the initiated members of a chartered fraternity, pledged members of a colony are free to join other Greek organizations at any time. But those Pi Kappa Phi members who have stuck it out aren’t giving up just yet.

“There is a small solid group left that I am proud to call my brothers,” Hamilton said. “We are planning our next move. NKU hasn’t completely gotten rid of us. We will be back.”