A new fraternity is circling its way back to IU.
Chi Phi is a national fraternity with more than 50 chapters spread throughout the country. Students at IU founded the Iota Delta chapter in 1958 but disbanded in the late 2000s due to a lack of interest and financial troubles.
“They got down to about ten or fifteen guys and just called it quits,” said Chris Fernandez, a Chi Phi National Office consultant at IU.
Now, after being gone for about ten years, Chi Phi is making its return.
Until early March, Fernandez will be spending his days talking to undergraduate men around campus and recruiting new fraternity members. For now, the brothers will be part of a colony until they go through the accreditation process to become a chapter, which will ideally take about three semesters.
Fernandez said about six men have joined so far, but dozens have shown interest. Some are waiting for grade checks, which must comply with the university’s standard of a 2.8 GPA to be eligible.
Instead of normal fraternity rush, which took place a few weeks ago, Chi Phi is taking a different route.
Fernandez and another recruiter from Chi Phi nationals, Jason Santiago, are reaching out to both greek and non-greek organizations to get recommendations on who might like to join the fraternity. Then they will meet with the recommended men one-on-one and talk about what they want to get out of their college experience.
“It’s a bit unorthodox,” Santiago said. “It’s very personalized.”
Santiago said they are not looking for any specific type of man to join but rather anyone curious about greek life.
Fernandez said they are looking for men who are interested in professional and leadership development in addition to the sense of belonging that each fraternity provides.
“We want people who are driven to see and make change in their community,” he said.
To help with professional development, Fernandez said the fraternity’s alumni will play an important role in helping the men get the careers they want.
Jeremiah White, who joined Chi Phi in 1999 and graduated in 2004, said he might not be happy with his career in financial services now if he did get involved with greek life at IU.
“I give the fraternity all the credit in the world for my career development,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without it.”
When White was at IU, Chi Phi lived in a house at 1400 N. Jordan Ave. Now, as the fraternity adds new members, getting a house is not part of the plan.
“Sometimes a chapter house can be a distraction from your real purpose,” White said.
Without a house, Fernandez said the group will still be able to build a sense of brotherhood.
Instead, members will be able to focus on exemplifying the fraternity’s three core values: truth, honor and personal integrity.
White said the values can be hard to understand in the abstract. But for him, it comes down to just being a good person.
“It’s simple stuff in life that a lot of people forget,” he said. “You know, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ hold the door open for someone for a little longer, things like that.”
Fernandez said he and Santiago are hoping to recruit more than 50 members by March and start the process of becoming a chapter.
“It’ll be special to come back 30 to 40 years from now and say, ‘I started that,’” Fernandez said.
Fernandez said Chi Phi is mostly recruiting through its Instagram, Chi Phi at IU Bloomington, which has a referral link in the bio.