Lambda Chi Alpha Returns to Campus

February 28, 2011

Lambda Chi Alpha
Photo by J.D. Casto (Class of 2011)

Since its inception in 1902, fraternity and sorority life at Rollins has undergone significant changes. As time passed and the student dynamic altered, certain fraternity and sorority organizations died out while others were born. One of the newest sororities, Delta Zeta, burst onto the social scene in 2009. And, in February of this year, the fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha (LXA) made its grand re-entrance at the College.

Though Lambda Chi may be new to many on campus now, the fraternity in fact has a long history at Rollins. On October 11, 1939, Theta Kappa Nu Fraternity merged with Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, creating the Theta-Gamma Zeta chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. This iteration of the fraternity was active until 1970 when the Lambda Chi Alpha group de-affiliated, calling themselves simply “Lambda.”

A Values-Based Approach to Recruitment

When LXA decided to return as a colony at Rollins earlier this year, it chose to follow an unorthodox recruitment process. Rather than participating in formal recruitment, LXA used a referral method, in which they met with administration, staff and sorority organizations, asking them to refer individuals who would be ideal founders for the Lambda Chi colony.

After the initial week of receiving referrals and promoting outside of the Cornell Campus Center, Lambda Chi representatives interviewed a select number of referred men and offered them bids based on how they matched up with the fraternity’s core values.

“The values-based approach is something fraternities are starting to focus on,” said LXA Educational Leadership Consultant Justin Fisher. “I think this is going to be a different kind of fraternity on campus.”

Rather than undergoing weeks of pledging, which Lambda Chi Alpha’s national headquarters abolished in 1972, new members will work together as associate members in a program called the True Brother Initiative, which focuses on instilling members with Lambda Chi’s Seven Core Values: loyalty, duty, respect, service and stewardship, honor, integrity and personal courage. After the associate members complete seven weeks of fraternity education and a week of pre-initiation and initiation, Lambda Chi representatives will return to Rollins to initiate the new members of LXA.

“I am completely satisfied with our selection of men to start the Theta Gamma Colony at Rollins,” said LXA Educational Leadership Consultant Chase Simpson. “We believe that through multiple conversations, we have acquired the men who will carry out the Seven Core Values and beliefs of this fraternity. Each of them will bring something different to the table but have come together to see what they want to accomplish within the fraternity and the fraternity and sorority life community.”

Influencing the Campus Community

At a school with only four previously active fraternities, the return of an organization that hasn’t been on campus for over 40 years will produce an unknown affect on the dynamic of fraternity and sorority life.

“I believe Lambda Chi Alpha will bring an entirely new energy, direction and enthusiasm to the fraternity and sorority community at Rollins College,” said Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Cynthia Rose. “Our fraternity community has not seen an expansion in over 20 years, so the ability to bring in an incredibly impressive international organization to our community—one that consistently pushes the values and definition of fraternity to a new level—will, in my opinion, only inspire our current chapters. We have faith that they will be a long-lasting contributing member of our community."

The arrival of Lambda Chi Alpha will not only stir the waters of student social circles, but it will also affect Rollins’ offices that work directly with student leaders, including the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership (OSIL), the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) and the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA).

OMA is especially eager to welcome Lambda Chi because of the fraternity’s program TRUE ID, which promotes open discussion regarding issues of culture, race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation within the fraternity.

“One thing that is essential about fraternity involvement is being able to discuss topics about men and women and gender relations,” said Director of Multicultural Affairs Mahjabeen Rafiuddin. “I think it is important when building community. It’s great that they take the time to train and talk to their guys about what it means to be a man—character and integrity.”

The campus is eagerly anticipating the impact that the return of Lambda Chi will have on the college community as a whole. Once the colony initiates its associate members, it must function for one year before becoming a chapter. During this time, the colony will be guided by some of the 300 Lambda Chi Alpha alumni residing within a 50-mile radius.

“I’m excited for them and the campus,” said Lenny Bendo, a Lambda Chi Alpha alumnus who graduated from California State University. “It’s an amazing network. I have my current job because of Lambda Chi Alpha. Joining this fraternity was life changing.”

Notable Rollins’ Lambda Chi Alpha alumni include Chairman of the Board of Trustees Duane Ackerman (Class of 1964 ’70MBA), former CEO of BellSouth Corporation, and the late Donald Cram (Class of 1941), who received a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1987. The Rollins community is eagerly anticipating the next generation of leaders that the Lambda Chi chapter at Rollins will produce.

“I believe in what they want to accomplish and am excited about the potential that these men have in leaving a legacy of Lambda Chi Alpha on the Rollins campus,” said Simpson. “It’s going to be hard to leave Rollins since Justin and I have made ourselves at home. Not to mention all of the great individuals on campus who have welcomed us and supported us through this process. We are excited to return to campus in April for the initiation of our Founding Fathers!”

For more information, visit Lambda Chi Alpha at Rollins on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

By Brittany Fornof (Class of 2011)

Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
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