After Delta Epsilon Chi (DEX) was suspended from campus last fall, junior Yichi Zhang has been trying to bring a new business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, to the University of Richmond.
"The B-school is ranked No. 12 [nationally by BusinessWeek], so I see a need for another business frat on campus," Zhang said.
After a Jan. 13 meeting with Anthony Crenshaw, assistant director of student activities, and Nancy Bagranoff, dean of the Robins School of Business, Zhang still has many steps to complete before getting the fraternity officially established, he said.
He must complete paperwork, write the fraternity's bylaws and arrange a meeting with the student activities staff before he can formally present the idea to the Student Development Committee Feb. 7, Zhang said. If the fraternity is approved, it will go through a one-year evaluation period as a colony before it can be chartered as a legitimate fraternity, according to student activities' official checklist for becoming a new organization.
"Delta Sigma Pi is an entirely separate fraternity from DEX, so [if it becomes legitimate], we'll have an information session open to all students," Zhang said.
If approved, Delta Sigma Pi will be the alternate option to Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi), the only official business fraternity currently on campus. Still, Zhang said, there was not a major difference between the two.
"History-wise, there used to be a lot of requirements based on race, religion and social class to join AKPsi, so Delta Sigma Pi was the more accepting frat," Zhang said. "Now, there's not much of a difference - it's more just about options for students."
Both fraternities enable students to learn or refine their soft-business skills such as office etiquette, networking, resume building and cover letter writing - skills they would not normally learn in a classroom.
"The fraternities provide a more practical setting where students can put to use the skills they have learned in the classroom," Crenshaw said.
Founded in 1904, AKPsi is the first professional business fraternity in the country, according to its official website. The Richmond chapter accepts more than just business students, and the selection process is not entirely based on academics, senior Carlo Villa, the president of Richmond's chapter, said.
Delta Sigma Pi was founded in 1907, according to the official website, and is the only business fraternity that sends headquarter representatives to visit each chapter in the U.S. to help with recruitment and events planning, Zhang said. It also accepts more than just business students.
"The key difference [between the fraternities] is the networks you're joining," Villa said. "When we're having our rush, we tell the prospective members the places that we have interned or worked. If you're interested in working for Google, for instance, that's where I interned this summer, so it might be beneficial to join AKPsi so I can guide you in that sense."
Samantha Jones, who was the director of pledging for DEX and plans to join the new fraternity, said that Delta Sigma Pi would be less formal than AKPsi.
"Delta Sigma Pi will be more social - we like to talk to each other about what is going on in the financial news in a much less formal manner than AKPsi, though we'll work on most of the same things," she said.
Jordan Yanev, who was the director of publications for DEX and is helping to bring Delta Sigma Pi to campus, said, "It's similar to a traditional fraternity because of its emphasis on brotherhood."
Yanev is also one of many students who finds the reinstitution of a second business fraternity on campus very important. "We cannot have one [business] fraternity dominate and monopolize the school," he said.
Villa said he also thought it was a good idea to have more than one option. "It creates a kind of healthy rivalry - a sense of brotherhood, like the other frats and sororities," he said.
In terms of actual rivalry, neither fraternity president commented.
But Zhang said, "There has got to be some competition that motivates both of the organizations to work harder - to have better events to attract new members - so the standard will get higher and higher."
Contact staff writer Abby Kloppenenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org