Guest Writer, Beck Stanley ’13
The Inter-Fraternity Council announced last week that over 150 men accepted bids this year to become a part of the college tradition that dates back to 1849. This year’s class of Greek candidates is one of the most diverse and academically-driven the college has seen in its history. Since their beginnings in the 19th-century, fraternities on campus have created a social, academic, professional, and philanthropic backbone of student life cherished by students and parents alike.
“The numbers are up 61% since last year, and I hope to see the incoming IFC leadership take that improvement one step further in the coming year,” said August Widmer ‘13, the outgoing chairman of the Inter-Fraternity Council. Widmer and others on the IFC implemented new programs this semester aimed at increasing student-pledge GPAs. “The IFC should be congratulated for coming up with a serious plan of its own to address [academics],” wrote Dr. Michael Utzinger, the current Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Religion. His optimism represents a growing consensus among an administration devoted to student academic performance.
When you look at which houses are really outperforming their peers in the classroom, the newly re-chartered Chi Phi house stands tall. In fact, they were ranked #2 academically among Chi Phi’s entire international network. “We decided when drafting our strategic plan for re-colonization that academics and creating a system to help brothers achieve academic success would be two of our primary goals,” noted Chi Phi president-emeritus Richard Pantele ’13.
Despite all this, some criticize the system for consuming too much of students’ time. But when you talk to those who have accepted bids and undertaken a fulfilling academic and social workload, you get a much different response. Indeed, a competitive nature is alive and well among Hampden-Sydney’s freshman class. “The academic requirements of pledging can be easily met,” said student-pledge Josiah Flemming ’16, an aspiring doctor and son of Hispanic immigrants. “It isn’t hard to put in three hours of studying a night. Every student should be doing this regardless of his participation in a fraternity. This is college.” Mr. Flemming isn’t alone. Many freshmen are sure to inquire about the academic standings of fraternities during formal rush. And while it comes as no surprise that the all-IFC GPA has been above the all-men’s for most of the last century, pledge academic performance will nonetheless remain a top priority for both fraternity leaders and college officials.
For more information on becoming a part of Hampden-Sydney Greek Life, contact Nate Shepherd at email@example.com