Sigma Phi Epsilon officially receives charter

Erin Reback

Sigma Phi Epsilon received its charter and became an officially recognized chapter and fraternity at Villanova on Nov. 15. The fraternity was considered a colony for over two years before being chartered by the national Sig Ep organization.Sig Ep was founded at the University of Richmond on Nov. 1, 1901. Today, it is the largest fraternity in terms of undergraduate enrollment in the nation with over 14,000 undergraduate members at approximately 250 chapters.Two and a half years ago, Villanova students (now graduates) Thomas Forster and Brian Sharp approached Villanova’s director of Greek Life with the idea of starting a new on-campus fraternity. They said they were drawn to Sig Ep’s cardinal principles of virtue, diligence and brotherly love and decided to bring the fraternity to Villanova.With the approval of Villanova’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and support from the national Sig Ep board, Sig Ep become a colony at Villanova and began working toward becoming an official chapter through gaining a charter.”The chartering process is somewhat like a trial run for the fraternity,” said Dan Kervick, current president of Villanova’s Sig Ep chapter. “If the national organization did not recognize our chapter, the colony would be disbanded.”To prevent being denied as a chapter, Sig Ep had to meet requirements as a way to prove itself worthy of acknowledgment as a chapter of the fraternity. Of these requirements, academics and recruitment were most important. Currently, Sig Ep has a national minimum GPA requirement of 3.0. Villanova’s chapter has an average of 3.24.Besides having the highest average GPA for a fraternity at Villanova, Sig Ep also has 72 active members, the most out of all Villanova fraternities. These 72 brothers are now considered to be the founding fathers of Villanova’s chapter. “We will never take for granted this opportunity,” said PJ Smith, vice president of programming.In addition to academic standing and manpower, Sig Ep had to prove itself in regard to philanthropy, member development programs and university involvement. “The chartering application was over 80 pages long,” said sophomore Gian Carlo Bruno, a Sig Ep brother. “We turned in the application in August and received official notice we were to become a chapter in mid-October.”Before turning in the application, Sig Ep held many meetings with members of the Alumni-Volunteer Corporation to discuss correct protocol and people to contact in order for the colony to advance to becoming a chapter. Toward the end of the chartering process, an important topic at these meetings was the charting banquet where the official handing over of the charter occurs, bringing a fraternity from colony to chapter.Sig Ep held its chartering banquet at Philadelphia’s Union League. “It was a very fun and well-organized night,” said Gretchen Lally, who was present at the event. “It was clear how much pride the brothers have for Villanova and the fraternity.”The night started with a cocktail hour and was followed by a gourmet dinner. Next was the presentation of the charter and a variety of speeches. “He gave a very flattering and moving speech, and we are very grateful that he took the time to be present with us,” Bruno said.”There is much to be said for starting something new,” Kervick said. Bruno agreed, saying, “We see being chartered not as a finish line but as a starting line.”