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Delta Sigma Phi launches new fraternity on the Gainesville Campus

April 26, 2021

Establishing a new fraternity on any college campus is no easy task. Launching a brand-new organization during the COVID-19 pandemic presents even more challenges.

The Delta Sigma Phi fraternity overcame those obstacles to establish the first North American Interfraternity Conference (IFC) group on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Gainesville Campus. Thirteen students were initiated into the brotherhood in spring 2021 in the Robinson Ballroom inside the Student Center.

"I was super excited," said Matt Caldwell, who was elected as the first president of UNG's chapter of Delta Sigma Phi. "It was an awesome experience."

Delta Sigma Phi, known as Delta Sigs, is the second Greek-lettered fraternal organization to call the Gainesville Campus home. The first fraternity to establish its roots in Gainesville was Lambda Theta Phi in fall 2019. It also was the first Latino fraternity at UNG. The other six fraternities — Delta Chi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Chi, and Sigma Nu — are based on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

UNG also has five Panhellenic sororities, three gender-inclusive fraternal organizations (GIFO), and one culturally based sorority. The active sororities are Alpha Gamma Delta, Delta Phil Epsilon, Delta Zeta, Phi Mu, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Sigma Kappa. The three GIFOs are Phi Sigma Phi honor fraternity, Gamma Sigma Sigma service sorority and Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity, which started this past year.

Aubrey Frazier, director of fraternity and sorority life at UNG, said installing another fraternity on the Gainesville Campus was part of her office's strategic plan.

"It demonstrates our continued effort to expand fraternities and sororities to the Gainesville Campus and enhance the college experience for those students," she said.

Frazier explained students from any campus may join a fraternity or sorority no matter its home campus. However, freshmen are ineligible to join until after their first semester.

"UNG believes that first-year students need to focus on academics to ensure the most successful transition to college possible," she said. "This allows them to become accustomed to college classes, get involved in other activities, and make friends before joining a fraternity or sorority."

To be eligible, students must be enrolled full time in a baccalaureate or associate program and have a 2.5 minimum GPA. Each fraternity and sorority may also have higher requirements.

With knowledge of these requirements, Delta Sigma Phi decided to establish a new chapter at UNG. Currently, the fraternity has 107 chapters in the nation with eight in Georgia.

"UNG seemed to be a good fit for us," said Brenden O'Connor, assistant director of new chapter development for Delta Sigma Phi. "We had our challenges since we started during the fall semester of the COVID-19 pandemic, but everyone was willing to experiment."

Instead of in-person events and social gatherings, O'Connor and the interested UNG students met in virtual meetings to learn about Delta Sigma Phi and each other. Caldwell, a junior pursuing a degree in cybersecurity, appreciated the time to build relationships and learn about the fraternity before being initiated in February 2021.

"Delta Sigma Phi's slogan is 'Creating better men.' And that's important today," said the 21-year-old from Braselton, Georgia. "That stuck out to me, because I want to become a better man and I want to pursue that goal with other people."

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