Something fresh has arrived to the frat quad, and no, it’s not another Dance Marathon-related food fundraiser.
Delta Upsilon, the fraternity infamously kicked off campus in 2012 by the University for loss prevention incidents, (although rumor has it the issue was “midget wrestling”) is back after a long hiatus.
Delta Upsilon was not allowed to begin recruitment until the second cycle of fraternity recruitment during winter quarter, but that did not stop the ambitious chapter from announcing their return in the fall. The new chapter started out small, posting banners around Norris and surrounding dining halls in the fall and creating a listserv of guys who participated in formal fraternity recruitment for other chapters but decided to drop out of the process. At first, many students were confused by the advertisements. Was this a new student group? Another business frat, perhaps?
Students found Delta Upsilon’s recruiting techniques to be persistent and eager, especially when their emails began flooding fraternity recruitment hopefuls’ inboxes. However, DU representatives didn’t go so far as to knock on people’s doors.
Ben Pope, a Medill freshman, didn't bother reading the countless emails from the fraternity, which began to pile up like spam. “I don’t even read the emails anymore, I just delete them,” he said.
Pope’s close friend, Joe Wilkinson, is also a Medill freshman whom DU expressed interest in. Unlike Pope, he found the daily emails to be a good method of recruitment. “Most of the emails are really nice and helpful for finding out about DU,” said Wilkinson. “They described generally fun stuff to do, but for me I already do enough fun stuff with my friends to join a fraternity.”
As Wilkinson mentioned, the fraternity intrigued recruits with a variety of events, including study hours with free snacks and philanthropy opportunities, like volunteering at local soup kitchens. Once the first cycle of formal fraternity recruitment ended in January, Delta Upsilon was able to hold more events and attract more recruits.
DU now occupies what party-starved freshmen used to identify as the Beta Theta Pi house. Beta had been renting DU's house as its own was being renovated since 2013. At the start of winter quarter, Beta Theta Pi moved into their newly renovated house, and Delta Upsilon reclaimed their residence.
Delta Upsilon began aggressively recruiting new members under the leadership of two national DU representatives, Cale Kaiser and Derek Dauel. Since members involved with the incidents in 2012 from the previous DU chapter at Northwestern were removed, the fraternity has enjoyed a clean start.
Once they recruited their first 20 members, members of Delta Upsilon reached out to sororities for suggestions of guys on campus that would be a good addition to the DU family. That’s how Weinberg sophomore Ryan Evenson joined Delta Upsilon. “One day I received a call from Cale and Derek asking if I’d like to attend a DU event and be interested in joining,” said Evenson. “I had no idea how they got my number until they told me my friend in a sorority recommended me.”
Evenson said he primarily joined DU for the opportunity to build something new on campus, a sentiment that McCormick sophomore Nico Tyjeski, who recently joined DU, agrees with. “My brothers and I have the unique opportunity to mold a fraternity into exactly we envision and create the chapter traditions that will be handed down for generations at Northwestern,” said Tyjeski.
Currently, DU consists of 28 members and hopes to reach 40 before they put the fraternity letters on their house. The chapter has kept busy participating in philanthropy and recruitment events, and has already gotten involved in projects with Polar Plunge, Blessings in a Backpack and Harvest Food Pantry.
Daul, one of the national representatives helping the chapter rebuild, has said that these efforts strive to create distance from the reputation of the old chapter and give back to the surrounding community. Prior to 2012, Delta Upsilon had a series of violations and pattern of recklessness, according to Daul and Kaiser. While the university did not disclose details of the problems, DU got kicked off campus because of them. “Delta Upsilon at Northwestern does not only want to live out our founding principles of advancement and justice,” Daul said, “but to create a new legacy and positively integrate ourselves back into the Greek community.”
Kaiser, the other national representative, added that DU has goals to succeed academically and increase the average GPA of the IFC fraternities. Not only does the fraternity hold study hours for members 2-3 times a week, but they are aiming to recruit new members with GPAs of 3.25 or higher.
Although academics and “social learning” (a sophisticated term for mixers and formals) go hand in hand for most fraternities, Delta Upsilon has been hesitant to reach out to sororities at Northwestern to plan events.
Lauren Gabrio, a Weinberg sophomore and the social chair of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority at Northwestern said that while DU has not reached out to Zeta yet, she’d be open to starting a new friendship in the Greek community. “I'm very indifferent about them being back on campus just because I don't know a ton about what their reputation was before,” said Gabrio. “I would be up to mix with them, it would be great to give them a shot.”
Sarah*, a Communication sophomore and social chair of the Delta Zeta sorority at Northwestern, was not contacted by DU either but was open to the idea of partnering with the fraternity for events once they are fully re-established. “Once DU has a solid foundation and an established pledge class, I'm sure events will be arranged,” said Kilpatrick in a recent email. “I cannot say when or where the events would be at this time, but I wish DU the best of luck!”
For their part, the IFC has been working to make DU's new NU homecoming more seamless. The organization has been providing Delta Upsilon with advice and guidance during recruitment and watching the chapter with a close eye. “Our recruitment chair has been in contact with DU to make sure they have a proper setup and understanding of Northwestern culture,” said IFC President and Communications junior Will Altabef. “Once they elect an executive board, we will meet with them more regularly and hopefully vote them in to be official members of the IFC.”
Delta Upsilon is currently recognized under “colony” status by their nationals board, which is conferred on Greek organizations put on probation or on new organizations awaiting official recognition from their international headquarters. DU must meet membership and philanthropy requirements before achieving full chapter status. They are currently in the process of selecting an executive board.
Tyjeski, one of the first sophomores to get a bid to Delta Upsilon, has high hopes for his fraternity. “As a freshman, I found that as soon as rush week ends, most fraternities become rather hostile to outsiders. I want Delta Upsilon to be a fraternity that makes Greeks and non-Greeks alike feel welcome,” said Tyjeski.
Perhaps you won’t need a text at the door at Delta Upsilon parties after all.
Editor's note: Sarah's name has been anonymized upon request. This change was made at 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2016.