Greek expansion committee picks Beta Theta Pi as newest fraternity

Photo from Butler Interfraternity Council Twitter post.

KATIE GOODRICH | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | kmgoodri@butler.edu

Butler’s final four fraternities will add a new chapter to the mix when Beta Theta Pi comes to campus in the fall.

After more than a year of searching and the closure of Lambda Chi Alpha, the Greek Expansion Committee finally selected Beta from a pool of 25 candidates. The decision went through interim Vice President for Student Affairs Anne Flaherty, President James Danko and the Board of Trustees. The news was announced shortly after returning from spring break.

Martin Cobb, Beta’s communication director, said the national organization is thrilled to be starting a new chapter here.

“Butler’s students, faculty and administrators could not have been more welcoming during our time on campus,” he said. “And it’s that hospitality and warmth that validated the very reason we have been pursuing establishment of the chapter to begin with.”

The three finalists —  Theta Chi, Pi Kappa Alpha and Beta Theta Pi —  came to campus for open forums with the community, campus tours and interviews with committee members.

Greek Life Director Becky Druetzler said the committee took almost two hours to make the final decision.

“By the time you get to that point, you hope all the candidates would make a good addition,” she said. “It was tough, but Beta rose above and was chosen. We’re excited to move forward with this amazing group.”

As a national organization, Beta, among other fraternities and sororities, had expressed interest in colonizing, which means starting a new chapter, at Butler for almost a decade.

“Butler’s academic and cultural mission so closely aligns with that of Beta Theta Pi, that the prospects for establishing another strong chapter in the state of Indiana were beyond encouraging,” Cobb said.

The fraternity was on Butler’s campus more than 130 years ago from 1878 to 1881. The reason for leaving campus is lost to history, but Cobb said many chapters experienced major changes after the Civil War.

Interfraternity Council President Adam Bantz described the process as unconventional from start to finish.

“It’s rare for a new organization to join a campus, especially at Butler,” he said. “There’s no mold for how this process was supposed to go. I think that’s part of the reason Beta was chosen, because they have been successfully expanding their organization and colonizing at other campuses.”

Druetzler was at a national student affairs conference and tried to reach her contact at Beta when the decision was finalized. She received an out-of-office message, and then texted him to try and get in touch. He called back — from an airport during a layover in Portugal  — and Druetzler shared the good news.

“It was so not the norm, but it was a happy ending and that’s what matters,” she said. “The process might not have gone off without a hitch, but now we can move forward with lessons learned.”

Bantz said he is excited to see how Beta makes a name for themselves on campus.

“Beta will be the new competition for the other chapters because we all want men who are going to be great leaders on this campus,” he said. “They’re looking for the diamonds in the rough that we couldn’t recruit but who might be interested in Beta. It’s going to take the right people and some transparency to recruit a group that can start a chapter.”

Beta will start its colonization process by recruiting sophomores, juniors and seniors in the fall. Then they will add a new member class with the rest of the chapters in January 2018.

Representatives from Beta headquarters, volunteers and local alumni will lead the recruitment efforts. Beta will hire a consultant whose main job will be helping Butler’s chapter get established.

“We’re already busy putting in motion the plans for the coming academic year, including staffing and plans for building the local volunteer advisory team and house corporation board of directors,” Cobb said. “All of these efforts begin to set the stage for recruitment of the chapter’s initial Founding Fathers.”

Bantz said the founding members will need to be special.

“That is so selfless, because you won’t get to see the results,” he said. “It’s going to be lots and lots of work, and the reward will happen in the future for other people. It will be a very special time and a unique experience for those men who start with Beta chapter.”

Druetzler said the recruitment events will probably take place in the Fairview Community Room or other similar options, before the chapter secures a location for a house.

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