A new chapter of the fraternity Theta Xi started welcoming students earlier this year. Photo from Theta Xi.
A chapter of the Theta Xi Fraternity was established at the University of Rhode Island recently, and found its class of founding brothers earlier this semester.
URI’s Theta Xi chapter is led by 25 members, who are all associate members at this time. On a national scale, the first chapter of Theta Xi was founded during the Civil War era.
The process of recruiting members began in the spring 2019 semester when Director of Fraternity Growth Ian Pellerin toured the school and decided that it would be a fit for the fraternity. The process sped up when Christina Witkowicki, who works as a consultant for the company Launchpoint, began recruiting students who would make a great fit. The students got their bids from Witkowicki.
Once that group was established, the students started to network amongst their friends and peers to recruit other members for the organization. It was also at this time that they began introducing themselves to sororities on campus. According to Theta Xi member Zac Thomas, the group has met with eight out of 10 URI sororities so far, a process he said was fun.
“We’ve gone to them and asked for their input, which they’ve really really liked because no other organization on campus has done that before,” Thomas said. “Everyone kind of assumes what the sororities want and they just go along with it, so that is something that we are doing differently.”
URI’s chapter of Theta Xi prides itself on allowing members to be their authentic selves. Many members in the group didn’t feel they were able to be their true self when going through the bid process with other fraternities, but have found a home in Theta Xi.
“With Theta Xi, there is no mold that you have to fit to join us,” said sophomore Dawson Miller. “The more outside the norm you are, the better you will fit in with us.”
Starting the chapter from scratch has not been easy. The group admitted that there are more logistics than they initially anticipated in creating a chapter.
“We feel like we’re driving the car while also building it,” Thomas said. “Hopefully by next semester, all we have to do is just put the seatbelt on.”
Currently, they are in the process of writing their bylaws, which are rules the organization must follow. The national chapter gave them a template to follow, but it is up to the individual chapters to come up with rules that best fit their organization.
They also have to come up with scholarship and risk management plans. However, nobody in the group has had much experience with writing such documents, so the task is very much a group effort. Miller also said that communication can be a challenge, as the fraternity has many associate members from diverse backgrounds on campus.
Sunday marked the first time the group was able to run their meeting by themselves, which was an act that Thomas described as feeling “right”. Previously, Pellerin had conducted video chats for meetings. This Sunday, the group was able to have their meetings without a member from headquarters in the room.
Inductions into the fraternity will not be completed until November. Because no one is officially in the organization, the group does not yet have an executive board. That being said, Theta Xi will be accepting new members next spring during the rush period.
As for philanthropy, the group is still deciding which local charities they want to partner with. However, they want to look into organizations that other URI Greek Life chapters are not partnered with. Theta Xi’s national philanthropies are Habitat for Humanity and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.