The event was not improbable or unfathomable. To be honest, it was a challenge. For the 55 re-founding fathers of New York Epsilon who gathered on Saturday, September 22 for the reinstallation of Phi Delta Theta at Syracuse University, it was a moment they had awaited for 11 months.
When the expansion team arrived on campus in October 2011 and challenged the campus with the question, “Are you a leader?,” the response was exciting. A group of campus leaders gathered weekly and began the hard work required to bring a chapter to campus. The group was determined to accomplish what very few had done before—install in under a year of being colonized. As the Phi Delts gathered and prepared to enter the grand ballroom at the OnCenter Convention Center in Syracuse, N.Y. on Saturday night, the hours of hard work, dedication and passion had come to fruition: Phi Delta Theta was returning to Syracuse University after a 20 year absence. The re-installation of the chapter marks another important landmark for the fraternity as well: the 125th anniversary of Phi Delta Theta at the university.
In the 11 months leading up to the re-installation ceremony, the brothers made a positive impact on-campus and within the Greek community. Weeks prior to colonization in December 2011, the brothers came together and helped elect brother Dylan Lustig as the student body president. The election was memorable not only for the record amount of votes tallied, but also due to the fact that Lustig was the first president to be affiliated with a Greek organization in four years. The Fraternity gained momentum in Spring 2012 as they headed into formal recruitment and came away with the second-largest recruitment class. This was followed by the colony’s first philanthropy, The Best of Syracuse, a fashion show-style event featuring clothes and food from local vendors. The event raised over $1000 for the ALS Association. The occasion also made it’s way to the front page of the Feature section of the Daily Orange, the campus newspaper, which titled the piece, “Class Acts: Reinstated fraternity shapes images with fashionable philanthropy event.” The brothers continued to impress the campus as they went on to claim first place for the campus’ Greek Week competition and garnered the prestigious title of highest GPA amongst all male fraternities.
On Saturday night, under the elegant and calming lighting of the ballroom chandeliers, the brothers, accompanied by distinguished alumni, friends, family and members of dozens of Greek organizations on campus, received the charter from General Council President Chris Lapple, after months of hard work and numerous accomplishments. The occasion brought out numerous alumni from the Syracuse chapter, including F. Story Musgrave, former NASA astronaut.
With the support of the university, alumni and other organizations within the university’s Greek community, the brothers of New York Epsilon feel confident about their future. As they embark upon the next chapter of their journey, they will tackle each challenge like they did the task of being re-installed as a chapter—with class, hard work, passion and sophistication.
In accordance with Phi Delta Theta’s Strategic 10-Year Plan, Phi Delt 2020 and its growth initiative, Phi Delta Theta is currently executing expansion strategies that culminate in 7 chapter installations annually and 200 chapters by 2020. The installation of New York Epsilon is the fourth chapter installation of 2012 and is the Fraternity’s 169th current active chapter.