Phi Kappa Sigma returns to Rowan

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Alumni from Rowan University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma gathered to commemorate the death of one founder, Tedd Importico, in summer 2013. -Photo courtesy of Gary Baker.

After an eight-year hiatus, the Phi Kappa Sigma (PKS) fraternity will return to Rowan University’s campus.

The international-social fraternity has already started recruiting new members in anticipation of starting the new generation of the university chapter. Rowan community members and the national PKS organization are looking to revitalize the fraternity after it was removed from Rowan’s campus in 2008, due to behavioral issues. The exact nature of the issues is unknown, as members of the original chapter do not feel comfortable discussing it out of respect to their former brothers.

According to PKS alumni and Director of Orientation and Student Leadership Programs at Rowan Gary Baker, the fraternity was known for being welcoming and open to anyone who wanted to join, despite its ultimate removal.

“[In PKS,] we had a little bit of everything,” Baker said. “We had some guys that could be described as jocks, some guys that could be self-described as nerds. There were [resident assistants] and engineers. We prided ourselves on being inclusive of anybody.”

Christopher Fitzpatrick, another Rowan and PKS alumni, acknowledged one of the main focuses of the fraternity was not hazing its potential members.

“We were mainly built upon respect for each other,” Fitzpatrick said. “If the pledges were doing something, there would be a brother there doing it with them as well.”

Fitzpatrick said that although he appreciates the way PKS operated in the past, he admitted he was dubious as to whether it was necessary for fraternities that have been removed from the campus — such as PKS —  to return. He felt that Greek life is not as popular as it used to be, and is not an essential part of campus life.

“Greek life isn’t big anymore, but then I thought why does that matter?” Fitzpatrick said. “Of course, there are questions going through my head: will they be accepting and respectful to people? Will they find what I found through my experiences there? They might find that and maybe something better, and I hope they do.”

While PKS has not officially declared its founding brothers yet, the organization is recruiting for members. It also does not currently have off-campus housing, as it is technically a new organization.

Expansion Consultant for PKS Jonathan Pham believes that Rowan is an ideal location to re-open the chapter because the fraternity has a lot of members from the northeast to begin with. He hopes to implement the fraternity’s motto of “life-long growth and development for the fraternity and it’s members” to this chapter.

According to PKS’s Director of Growth and Engagement Mark Logsdon, starting the new organization will offer students the chance to create the fraternity they want as well as organize Greek events and develop different job skills while doing so. He believes that it will attract a diverse group of men due to it being the first pre-Civil War, non-discriminatory fraternity.

“[PKS] offers the chance for a student to develop the skills needed in order to gain employment in this competitive job market,” Logsdon said. “The members have the chance to develop skills such as budgeting, marketing, networking, and planning.”

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