By Annie Hunter, Campus Life Editor
The Rho-Pi chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity was officially initiated by established chapters of Kappa Sigma on Feb. 19. Proceeding over the ceremony held at Towns County High School were representatives from Kappa Sigma headquarters in Charlottesville, Va. and members from chapters at Kennesaw State University, Middle Tennessee State University and North Georgia College & State University.
While the chapter is now officially a member of the national fraternity, neither the Office of Campus Activities nor the Inter-Greek Council recognizes Kappa Sigma as part of the Young Harris College Greek system at this time.
The chapter’s founding fathers began the process of securing a charter in December of 2009. Over a year later, the colony has finally become an official chapter in the eyes of Kappa Sigma headquarters.
“This past year I’ve probably been the most stressed person in the world trying to get all this stuff done,” said Bo Edgemon, chapter president from Americus.
Edgemon saw the opportunity to bring a national fraternity to campus when the college transitioned from a two-year school to a four-year institution. He feels a national fraternity offers more than a local fraternity because it goes beyond the college into an international network. Working with an area recruitment manager from Kappa Sigma, Edgemon found 25 students interested in bringing a chapter to campus.
In order to receive their charter, the colony had to complete an extensive checklist including raising $ 2,500, completing 2,500 hours of community service and create their own bylaws.
“I’m so relieved. I’m 100 percent happy,” Edgemon said of become an official chapter. “It can’t get any better than this.”
Until Kappa Sigma becomes affiliated with YHC, the chapter’s actions are limited by the college. Kappa Sigma may not advertise, raise funds or hold any events on campus. This includes partaking in Rush Week.
“It’s tough. You have to walk a straight line, but we’re dealing with it best we can,” said Chris Lyle, chapter vice president from Albany.
IGC has put together a committee of pro-nationals and pro-locals to gather information and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of recognizing a national fraternity of campus; however the fraternity has yet to hear any more on this matter.
“This committee was created and worked hard on making recommendations to the administration about the coexistence of local and national Greeks on campus. Although, a decision had not yet been made,” said IGC President Sharon Albertson of Carrollton.
“We’re not trying to ruin anything,” said Edgemon. “Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s bad. I do support them. I hope they get everything they want.”
Lyle has felt the overall attitude towards Kappa Sigma improve over the past year and hopes that now that the chapter has been established, their relationship with the local Greeks will become more and more positive.
“We are trying to coexist. We’re here, and we’re not going away,” Lyle said.
Despite the limitations that arise with being unrecognized by the college, Edgemon and Lyle believe that the chapter will have no problem expanding by the end of the semester. They say the struggle has only made them stronger.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing these guys succeed at what they’re doing,” Edgemon said. “That’s the reason why they’re in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, because of the leadership they’ve shown and provided for this to happen.”
By Emily Hadden, Staff Writer
After a year of organizing and rallying support on campus, the Kappa Sigma colony will soon be recognized as an official chapter from their national organization. This recognition allows Young Harris College students to be members of an official Kappa Sigma chapter; however, Kappa Sigma is still unrecognized by YHC.
“It’s something this school has never seen before. We hope that we can bring a positive influence to this campus,” said Bo Edgemon, president of the YHC chapter of Kappa Sigma.
While the move seems to be a step closer to official recognition for Kappa Sigma as part of YHC’s Greek system, to some it might be a step back.
The Inter-Greek Council has no comment at this time except to reiterate that the college does not recognize Kappa Sigma as an official organization.
After hearing news of this event, Cat Durham a communication major from Macon said, “good for them; however, they don’t need to get in our face, and we won’t get in theirs. Eventually nationals and locals will coexist, but locals have been here for a very long time and should not be forgotten.”
Rolando Fernandez a music major from Canton, shared similar views saying, ”they are not recognized at YHC, yet they have the right to advertise Kappa Sigma fraternity. I think this is ludicrous.”
When a national fraternity creates a charter, they are given a Greek-letter designation usually in order of the Greek alphabet. The chapters start with Alpha and descend as new charters are given. Kappa Sigma has chapters on over 250 college campuses and the Rho Pi chapter is their newest addition.
According to Kappa Sigma’s webpage, “[we are] the fastest growing fraternity in the world. For over six years, more men have chosen Kappa Sigma than any other fraternity.”
Colony President and founding father Bo Edgemon, a media communication major from Kennesaw, has been looking forward to the chapter announcement. Kappa Sigma initiation ceremony is to be held on Feb. 19. On this day, they will no longer be considered a colony, but an official chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity.
“I am excited about having the first national fraternity on campus,” Edgemon said. “We’re anticipating new members and we hope that the nationals and locals will coexist with one another.”
Although Edgemon and his brothers are eager to grow their membership, this might be difficult as IGC does not recognize Kappa Sigma as an official organization. They are not able to participate in Rush Week this semester. However, Edgemon is still confident they can talk to new members in other ways.
“We have a great group of guys and we pride ourselves on being different,” said Edgemon. “This fraternity will grow as we meet new people and create friendships.”
Although many students on campus are aware of Kappa Sigma’s presence at YHC, this is not true for all YHC students.
When asked about Kappa Sigma’s national recognition, Jake Beggs, a outdoor leadership major from Hayesville asked “who is Kappa Sigma?”
There has been much debate about bringing nationals to campus, with some local fraternities fearing that national Greeks might be more attractive to new members. These fears are associated with national Greeks having more name recognition to incoming students. IGC did not wish to comment on this story, but they did reiterate that while Kappa Sigma is recognized by their own national organization, they are not recognized by YHC or IGC.
Like local Greeks, Kappa Sigma members are sworn to a code of responsibility. Their Four Pillars – as they are called internally – are fellowship, leadership, scholarship and service. The Rho Pi chapter was founded by 28 students, 22 are currently on campus.