In a fortified effort to promote brotherhood, Marist senior, Cody Brooks, spearheads the charter of Kappa Sigma (KΣ) Fraternity to his school’s Poughkeepsie campus.
Kappa Sigma, founded in 1869 at the University of Virginia, boasts the largest membership of any college social fraternity with over 230,000 living members throughout the United States and Canada.
“My dad was a brother of Kappa Sigma at University of Central Florida when he was in school, so I thought I would carry on the tradition,” Brooks said. Previously a rower with a lack of time as his biggest deterrent, Brooks is optimizing his first free fall semester since freshman year.
Beginning a chapter, however, is not an immediate pronouncement. Particularly at a private college like Marist, where Greek life must first be applied for an assessed as a club, Brooks is in the early stages of a three-tiered, judicial process.
“Some clubs take years, some take months,” Student Government Association (SGA) Chief Communications Officer, Sam Policano, said.
The process begins with a club application that is reviewed by the VP of clubs, Erin Myers. From here, the Club Affairs Board will work with Brooks and his undetermined executive board, as well as a national representative of Kappa Sigma, to see if the club is a good fit for Marist. Finally, contingent on the prior two decisions, the judgement will be put to the board of SGA for a vote.
“We’re still waiting on approval from the school to get this going,” said Daniel Kennedy, the northeast representative for Kappa Sigma. “It’s my hope that this group will be able to move forward quickly.” Should Marist’s charter of KΣ gain approval, Kennedy and other KΣ alum in the area would oversee the initial pledge class.
Already, Brooks has enlisted 34 pledges, recruited mostly through word of mouth. “We have freshman reaching out asking to pledge, but we can’t do anything about that until later in the process,” Brooks said.
For the formation of a club, Marist’s student government mandates all applicants must first have the following criteria:
In his written proposal to SGA, Cody Brooks explained what KΣ would bring to Marist:
Upon approval we plan to host an on-campus recruitment stand informing the Marist community about our fraternity. We plan to host a multitude of philanthropic, communal, formals, and athletic activities during our meetings. An event that we would like to host is a Kappa Sigma Doggie Day. This would involve working with a local Hudson Valley animal shelter and allow students to walk homeless shelter dogs. This will give the doggies a chance to get exercise, attention, and find a possible home.
Of the approximated 95 clubs at Marist College, the school presently recognizes two fraternities, making Kappa Sigma a potential third addition. Theta Delta Chi (TDX) and Zeta Psi combine with four sororities to compose 3% of Greek life on campus.
TDX President Kevin Dingelstedt said, ” We are always looking to expand Greek life at Marist. Speaking from a fraternity standpoint, another organization could benefit our school greatly. It would also create a bit of friendly competition between us!”
Despite positive reception of the charter, however, Kappa Sigma faces an onerous process before recognition can be established. Senior Ben Hayes similarly was part of a motion to bring Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Dennis J. Murray’s brotherhood, to Marist two years ago, but lost momentum when they were told how long the development would take. Hayes illuminates the pitfalls in his own experience:
The biggest issue was timing. More than half of the people that were going to be members were going into junior year at the time, and more than half of those people were also going abroad. We were told that the process was going to take about two or three years until our chapter was going to be an official fraternity, so that really killed the drive for most of the members. I was one of the few sophomores in it, but when most of the juniors started backing out the whole idea of it kind of lost its appeal.
Whether or not Kappa Sigma will be established before Brook’s graduates in May remains unknown, though he is hopeful.
“I want this frat to proceed our time at Marist,” he said. “I want to be able to come back in 20 years and see a strong and competitive following. I want to promote a great fraternal experience.”