On April 9, 2021, the Michigan Eta Emerging Chapter of Phi Delta Theta was formally inducted at Western Michigan University. Senior Expansion Consultant Greg Rush arrived in Kalamazoo, Michigan on January 12 to begin the recruitment efforts. In a time where very few students were present on campus, Greg was able to recruit twenty-nine men with a fixed and steadfast resolution to challenge the status quo, be positive representations of fraternity on campus, and to begin their journeys as men of Phi Delta Theta.
The first week on campus was uncomfortably slow; strict COVID-19 safety protocols were in place and many students opted to experience their spring semester remotely from home or spent the majority of their time in their own spaces on campus. Limited opportunity for on-campus visibility led to preliminary engagement by private messages through the project’s social media channels. With little to do outside of the classroom and a burning desire to connect with more people and make the most of this tumultuous time, Greg was able to ignite initial interest from three undergraduate men.
In the coming weeks, the initial three who expressed interest in Phi Delta Theta each referred five to eight other men to join, which quickly grew the group from three to sixteen. While each of the Cardinal Principles all resonated with these men, the one that clearly unified them was Rectitude – the desire to be the difference in their community, to treat others fairly and respectfully, and to set a new precedent for what being a fraternity man should mean at Western Michigan University.
The value of a strong alumni network and support system quickly became evident as well. Sigma North Province President Michael Boulter, Kettering ’12 played an exceptional role in guiding this expansion process to fruition, attending the Founders’ meetings and having one-on-one conversations with administration about Phi Delta Theta’s principles and goals as an organization in Kalamazoo.
Mike Loftin was one of the first men that Greg was able to connect with during his first week on campus. At first, Mike didn’t see himself taking on a leadership role, but a conversation with Michael Boulter, who recognized confidence, conviction, and passion in his voice, soon changed his mind.
“I was attracted to Phi Delta Theta for the opportunity to make a lasting impact and to leave a legacy at Western. Michael Boulter asked me if I had considered taking on a leadership role. I declined initially, because I don’t have much time left at Western, and I wanted to leave the opportunity for a younger member to gain experience. He explained that since I already had leadership experience on campus, it would be a good idea to consider becoming the Founding president to get us started on the right foot. I’m glad I let him talk me into it, and I’m very excited for what the future holds for us here,” said now Emerging Chapter President Mike Loftin.
“The biggest misconception about fraternity is that it can give you something that you don’t already have, and that’s simply not true,” said Greg Rush. “Phi Delta Theta helps you realize what already exists within you and helps you develop it. I’ve spent the last three months recruiting and working with this fantastic group of gentlemen, and I can say confidently that they already have everything it takes to become men of Phi Delta Theta. Being my final project as an expansion consultant, this journey is going to be one of my favorite ones to watch.”
The Michigan Eta Emerging Chapter will be supported by Chapter Advisory Board members: Sterling McNeill, Akron ’04 (Chairman), Jason Abell, Hanover ’09 (Finance), Jon Collier, Hanover ’09 (Phikeia Education), Tim Seifert, Kettering ’77 (Alumni Relations), and Anthony Trobeck (Campus Mentor).
Congratulations to the men of Michigan Eta!