Dimmed lights, loud music, and rowdy college kids. Those are your typical surroundings when you attend one of the events at The Local in Rutland. These events are held by the Sigma Delta Chi brothers, which is a fraternity not recognized by Castleton University.
When people think of fraternities, their minds tend to wander to a group of college students who just throw senseless parties. Contrary to belief, fraternities are not just these groups of party robots that we perceive them to be, and they actually contribute to the community and provide a sense of brotherhood and a helping hand.
There’s always this backlash when it comes to fraternities, but the Sigma Delta Chi Brothers don’t just throw themed parties at The Local, they give back to the community, and just want to be recognized as a frat so their hard work and efforts will continue to pay off.
The Sigma brother gave an insight on the behind the scenes of their fraternity and the direction in which they hope the fraternity will go in.
“We’re considered an independent fraternity; we’re trying to get recognized within the next year, sooner than later. With recognition everything we do will be more regulated and structured. We can do more community service work on campus because we have some limitations right now. If we’re trying to raise money for some type of foundation we can’t always do it the right way without the recognition piece,” said member Brandon VanGuilder.
The Sigma brothers want recognition, so they can continue to be a part of the community and receive more positive outlooks instead of judgement.
“We wouldn’t get as much criticism and more likes to our advantage and bring our name out and hopefully could start other sororities and fraternities,” said member Alex Dickinson.
Despite not being recognized by the university, Sigma Delta Chi doesn’t need a title to uphold the brotherhood bond that fraternities are supposed to resemble. One of their alumni was diagnosed with cancer, and The Sigma brothers have actively been supportive and have raised money for their brother.
Sigma Delta Chi also raises money to donate to charity.
“We donated to the Jonesy fund, which is to support an alumni member from the fraternity that has cancer. The alumni got together with active members to raise money for him. The most recent donation I believe we raised around $500,” VanGuilder said.
The Sigma Brothers also help around the Castleton community and donate to various charities.
“The last three times we raised money went to Make-A-Wish. Another time we donated money to a girl whose family was shot and killed. We also do community service around the Castleton area. One year we walked with the football team to raise awareness for sexually assaulted women, which was a walk around campus chanting. We also clean people’s yards. We also try to get involved in intramural sports like flag football,” Dickinson said.
Despite the Sigma Brothers raising money and holding events, there’s this perception that they only throw parties. President Sam Carpenter cleared the air and gave a sneak peek of what really happens behind closed doors.
“It’s not just about making money and having a good time. I like doing the Local parties rather than house parties because it gives the town of Castleton a break. It leaves a safer environment for kids to be partying,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter continued on to mention how the Sigma brothers bond within their fraternity.
“There’s actually a sense of brotherhood. We live together in the Sigma house. We eat together and hangout, we’re not just in it for the parties. The fraternity is also about leaving a legacy, our friendships will go past college,” Carpenter said.
Students on campus are aware of Sigma Delta Chi and have different views on whether Castleton University should implement fraternities and sororities at the university.
Freshman Kinnan Latremore believes that implementing these programs would be positive for the school and the community.
“I think that we should have fraternities and sororities because I feel like more people would be involved. They would be a great way to get more students together,” she said.
On the other hand, sophomore Tori Fischer thinks that the idea of implementing fraternities and sororities at the university isn’t the best idea.
“Don’t get me wrong, the idea of fraternities and sororities sounds cool but we’re at a small school and I just think it’s not the same and wouldn’t quite work as well,” she said.
Although Sigma Delta Chi isn’t recognized, these men have impacted the community in a positive way and have helped people in need. Whether the fraternity is eventually recognized or not, the Sigma Brothers will continue to show brotherhood and stand strong as an independent fraternity.
As Vice President Matthew Gomes said, “People don’t look at you awkwardly in brotherhood they know what you’ve been through; they know you’re worth something.”