Acacia returns to campus with focus on old values



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Acacia prepares to finalize their return to campus Sunday afternoon at the Acacia Crest unveiling. The fraternity brought together past and present as alumni and new brothers reclaimed their house from Phi Sigma Kappa. Andrew Williams and Andrew Williams Buy Photos

For alumni and current members of Acacia fraternity, the thing they want most is a clean slate.

After being accused of drug dealing, drug use and hazing, Acacia had its charter revoked in May 2012.

Acacia is back on campus with a goal to focus on the fraternity’s initial values of community service and academic achievement.

Their return was made official Sunday when brothers gathered in Acacia’s front room to witness the unveiling of a new crest over their fireplace.

Acacia president Ryan Williams said one thing he saw during the house’s last few years was a total separation of Acacia’s values. People were only in Acacia because of the parties they threw, not because they liked what it was about.

“It turned into a total animal house,” Williams said. “It was just there to party.”

Another problem was a lack of senior leadership, Williams said. Almost no seniors lived in the actual house. To try and prevent this, Acacia will be giving out scholarships to seniors who choose to live in the house instead of off campus.

One of the most helpful aspects during the recolonization process was Acacia’s alumni base. Alumni helped with funding, renovating and recreating Acacia’s values.

“We have a much stronger alumni base now,” Christ Drossos, alumnus and house director, said. “We are all going to help them.”

After Acacia was kicked off, the alumni began a strategic group whose goal was to think about what kind of house Acacia should be when it returned.

Acacia added advisers for academics, recruitment, rush and development, among others. They also brought in Drew Sherman, a graduate advisor who will live in Acacia’s house for the next two years.

The most important part in ensuring Acacia doesn’t end up where it was four years ago is the selection and recruitment process, Jeff Lindauer, alumnus and chapter adviser, said.

Last year, alumni chose 10-12 students be part of Acacia’s first class after returning. Those 10-12 students invited others, adding up to a total of 42 students initiated in the first class.

“These guys are good guys, smart guys,” Lindauer said. “We want members who make good decisions.”

When Acacia’s chapter was revoked four years ago, Phi Sigma Kappa moved into their house. Phi Sigma Kappa moved out at the end of the last academic year, beginning a long process of renovations for Acacians.

This process included monetary donations from alumni, work days with current Acacia members and a lot of clean up.

The difference between how Phi Sigma Kappa left the house and how the house looks now is like night and day, Williams said.

“Seeing how they left the house makes you not want to leave it like that,” Thomas Gaier, Acacian human services chair, said.

Gaier said greek life can have a negative reputation, but with the right people involved, it doesn’t have to.

Drossos agreed, saying Acacians want to give a new outlook on fraternities.

“We want to throw out all the old, harmful traditions of the past,” Drossos said.

Williams said old houses get in bad habits of repeating old traditions. Acacia, however, has the opportunity to create a new set of traditions.

Students should realize it’s a privilege to be able to rush Acacia, and it’s important to start off on the right foot, Williams said.

“All my goal is to plant the right seed and get us of on the right path,” Williams said.

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