Three years after being founded, Rowan University’s chapter of Tau Epsilon Phi (TEP) “graduated” from their colony status and became an official chapter.
On Saturday, TEP’s International Consul, Tim Smith, presented Alpha Tau, Rowan’s chapter of TEP, its official charter. Colony status is the probationary period before being chartered, according to current president Alex Vendola, a senior chemistry major. They’re the first colony to receive charter since 1996.
Vendola was awarded the chancellor’s key, which is an award for outstanding service. Rowan’s chapter of TEP is the only chapter currently holding a chancellor’s key, the highest achievement that an undergraduate can have in a fraternity.
TEP was founded as a colony in April 2013. Their motto, “friendship, chivalry, service,” is what TEP believes differs them from other fraternities on campus.
“One of the big things that we stress is that we’re a non-hazing, dry fraternity,” Vendola said. “During our rush process, there’s no physical hazing or anything like that and it’s a completely dry process.”
The brothers of TEP try to stay away from the stigma attached to fraternities. According to Vendola, the fraternity treats others they way they would want to be treated.
“We do our best to take [alcohol] out of the equation, and try and show people who are interested in joining Greek Life that there’s more than partying every night and getting drunk every day,” Vendola said. “There’s ways to have fun with us while doing it in a sober fashion.”
TEP is also active in the community. In its three years, the fraternity has worked closely with the Camden-based nonprofit, “Friends of Fairview Give Back.” The organization helps feed and clothe the homeless population of Camden.
“There’s more [to life] than partying every night and getting drunk everyday” – alex vendola
“We’re not the biggest fraternity on campus, but we’re big enough where when we show up to places it’s easy to make a big enough impact for service,” Vendola said.
Last semester, TEP held a pumpkin-painting fundraiser. All the money they raised that day was donated to Project Linus, according to Vendola. Project Linus makes and donates blankets for children who are critically ill. Through TEP’s efforts, they were able to donate $200.
According to Vendola, TEP also teamed up with sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi) and together raised $200 for Toys for Tots. They used that money to buy toys and donate them to the organization.
TEP members are also dedicated to Rowan-centric causes. Brothers attend events such as Fans in the Stands, St. Baldrick’s and the new THON events. The chapter at Rowan has also co-sponsored events with the TEP chapter at Rutgers-Camden.
“They do auctions where the money raised go to veterans, so we go out there and participate in that,” Vendola said.
Rush week for all Greek organizations on campus begins on the first full week of February.
“All our events are open-door,” Vendola said. “You don’t have to ask for an invite you can just come in and we’ll treat you the way we all wanted to be treated when we were rushing.”
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