March 16, 2012 by Lily Reed
The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Drexel University will be hosting a banquet March 31 in honor of its transition from colony into a full chapter after refounding two years ago.
Lambda Chi Alpha was re-established on campus after a four-year hiatus,which began when the fraternity’s International Board of Directors declared the chapter inactive by a unanimous vote on June 4, 2006.
“Lambda Chi Alpha had its recognition withdrawn by the international headquarters because they determined that the chapter had been operating below the required standards of the international organization,” Dean of Students David Ruth explainedina 2006 article of The Triangle. “The chapter was placed on interim suspension based on allegations of hazing, not because of a ‘fairly major drug incident.’”
The drug incident referred to a search of the Lambda Chi Alpha house in 2006 by Drexel Public Safety, which resulted in the confiscation of an assortment of illegal drugs, including cocaine and mushrooms.
Ryan Pratt, the outgoing external vice president for Lambda Chi Alpha, believes the fraternity’s sordid past has affected its members within some circles of Drexel.
“Among some older Greeks and some current faculty, I think that had some impact on our campus reputation,” Pratt said. “For the most part, however, the community was fairly supportive to our recolonization efforts. I think enough people know that we aren’t the ‘old Lambda Chi’ at this point.”
Jonathan Andrus, the vice president of external relations for Lambda Chi Alpha and one of the refounding fathers of the fraternity, agreed.
“I don’t think people really identify that as‘us’ anymore,” he said. “We just do as we’ve always been doing since recolonizing: act as gentlemen. We always conduct ourselves honorably whether we’re at sporting events, socials, at class or just walking around campus. … I honestly feel this ‘stigma’ hasn’t been an issue for us.”
Andrus,who takes the subject of hazing seriously, lists Lambda Chi Alpha’s national level advocating against hazing as one of the reasons he was drawn to the fraternity.
“All my roommates sophomore year were looking into Greek Life, so I decided to give it another chance,” Andrus said. “The thought of being a ‘founding father’ of a fraternity is what sold me on looking into it more. I was involved with a ‘Cookies for Kids’fundraiser they were doing with Alpha Sigma Alpha, and I laughed so much my sides hurt during the event. I felt like I really fit in with thegroup, and every guy I met seemed really driven to succeed, and I wanted to be a part of a group dynamic like that.”
Pratt similarly wanted to be part of something bigger than himself when he joined Lambda Chi Alpha during the initial recolonization process.
“I always refer to it as a perfect storm. I didn’t enjoy my first term at Drexel. Discovering Lambda Chi Alpha helped me to grow as a man and a leader, while also giving me a support system and a home away from home,” he said. “I may have come nine hours to Drexel for school, but I stayed for Lambda Chi. The chance to be a part of starting something as a freshman that will leave an impact on the campus and the lives of men for generations was a main reason I joined.”
In September 2010 the brothers reoccupied the Lambda Chi Alpha house,which was built in 1886 by George Burnham,vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. During the chapter’s hiatus, the house had been rented out to another Drexel fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
The nine members of SAE livinginthe house were prematurely evicted in August 2010 after Drexel’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life cited violations in fire and life safety, as well as alcohol and hazing violations, which led to the organization’s closing.
“We’re going to see two anda half years of hard work for the refounding fathers and the classes since culminate at the end of the month with the rechartering banquet,” Pratt said. “Even though we still have more to achieve, I’m excited to take some time to look back on what we’ve accomplished so far.”
According to Andrus, numerous Lambda Chi alumni, including one graduate who was initiated in 1943, will attend the banquet. Lambda Chi Alpha currently has over 40 active members at Drexel.