Marywood opens new fraternity chapter

Brooke Williams, News Editor

A group of male Marywood students recently received approval to open a chapter of the Phi Mu Delta national fraternity on campus.

Tyler Smith, a senior accounting major and the chapter’s vice president, said the group chose to affiliate with Phi Mu Delta because they believed the organization’s small size would fit well with Marywood’s small campus. He also said the group agreed with Phi Mu Delta’s values.

“Their main three things are brotherhood, service and democracy, and that really hit well with us,” Smith said. “Especially the service part of it, given that it’s one of Marywood’s core values. We thought this fraternity would be absolutely perfect.”

Nine students, including Smith, first brought the idea to Marywood President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. Once she approved it, the group began discussing their plans with Dr. Amy Paciej-Woodruff, Assistant Vice President for Student Life.

According to Paciej-Woodruff, other fraternities have formed at Marywood in the past, but eventually disbanded. Most recently, the fraternity Mu Sigma Pi disbanded following hazing allegations.

“There was an investigation through the Student Activities office… The students were given a choice,” she said. “There were various workshops and a program that we recommended or required them to go through in order to continue with the fraternity. They chose not to do that.”

Around the same time, one or two other groups of men wanted to form fraternities as well, but Paciej-Woodruff said Student Life decided to put a moratorium on it until Marywood’s stance on Greek life could be discussed.

Paciej-Woodruff selected a committee of students, faculty and staff that would be “invested in this type of interest.” The committee recommended that Marywood support Greek life, but acknowledged that Greek organizations on campus need support to be properly advised, she said.

For this reason, Marywood fraternities would need to affiliate with a national organization.

“National organizations have standards that all their chapters have to meet,” Paciej-Woodruff said. “They have to do certain programs about hazing and binge drinking, they have to do some service hours… It’s like an extra layer of advisement, and things to strive for that are positive.”

She said that Marywood sororities could also affiliate nationally, but it is not a requirement because less national Greek organizations exist for women, and it is often “more of a selection process” for them to be accepted into a national organization. However, they are required to explore the idea of affiliating nationally, Paciej-Woodruff said.

Paciej-Woodruff sent an email to students gauging their interest in joining a national fraternity on campus and received some feedback. Additionally, the group of men set up a table at Flapjack Fest last semester and had over 20 students express interest in the fraternity.

Paciej-Woodruff said she believes the men of Phi Mu Delta will have a positive reputation on campus.

“I think this group in particular is very aware of whatever kind of negative stereotypes there are out there and they want to make sure they’re demonstrating behaviors that are only positive and noble,” Paciej-Woodruff said.

Smith said the chapter plans to have a “good presence” on campus and make areas like sexual assault prevention a priority. He added that the group will also focus on the service aspect of Phi Mu Delta.

“It’s service-oriented, so if the Marywood community needs help with something, get in touch with us and we’ll try and do our best to help you out,” Smith said. “That’s really important to us… Every little bit counts.”

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