Written by Adam Joiner, Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life
In the summer of 2022, I remember having a conversation with Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Chief of Staff, Dr. Adam Cebulski and Director for Fraternity & Sorority Life, Ashley Fitzpatrick, about the idea of having an interfraternity council (IFC) organization expand to campus. When I came into my role as the Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life in the fall of 2021, we had recently lost Sigma Phi Epsilon. Since their departure, I had a lot of conversations with IFC student leaders on when another organization might join the SMU fraternity and sorority life community. Fast forward to the spring of 2022, we saw a rise in students interested in the Interfraternity Council. We had a total of 522 potential new members (PNMs) register for the IFC formal recruitment process, the largest in SMU’s history, and over 100 students who did not receive a bid at the end of the process. There was a clear need for additional options for students participating.
The first step was to revisit our internal expansion policy and make any necessary updates. Important information that we require organizations to submit are plans to create a sound alumni advisory board, disclosure of current and historical connections to the university/college, membership statistics, and organizational support. Once the policy was put together, we wanted to create a committee that would review all applications that would apply to be a part of the community. The chapters truly wanted the expansion experience to be a well vetted process and that all voices had a seat at the table. To be able to have this experience, the IFC leadership created an expansion committee which was comprised of all nine active chapters. Their task was to create a blueprint for campus visits, compile expansion proposals, and to evaluate each proposal on the criteria given in the expansion policy. The charge to the community was to find an organization that would be a mutually beneficial to add to the community
Over the early fall 2022 semester, proposals were received from inter/national organizations to expand to SMU after a call went out to broader fraternity community. We hoped to receive a few applications, but we did not expect the amount we did receive. There was a total of fifteen organizations to formally apply to SMU. Typically, in an expansion process, only three to four organizations apply to be on campus. The community was buzzing with the amount of interest there was in SMU. The expansion committee then reviewed each proposal and narrowed down the list from fifteen to four. The list of four comprised of Delta Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Theta Chi. The expansion committee believed that these four organizations presented the strongest cases for success at SMU. Delta Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, and Tau Kappa Epsilon would be re-chartered chapters, because they were previously established on campus. The next phase of the expansion process was to have on campus visits of each organization. The on-campus visit would include a meeting with fraternity and sorority life office staff and SMU administrators, presentation of the organization, meeting with the expansion committee, and meals with IFC leaders.
We hosted each organization in late November of 2022. The on-campus presentations gave each organization an opportunity to show the community why they would be a value add to campus. At the conclusion of all four organizations presenting, each expansion committee member met to have an in-depth discussion on each organization. Following discussion, each member agreed to which organization they would like to see come to campus, and a consensus is compiled into a final report. The recommendation of which organization to bring onto campus then goes to the Vice-President of Student Affairs, Dr. K.C. Mmeje for final approval. We hope that this new organization will be able to set up shop in the spring 2023 semester with plans to participate in the formal recruitment process by spring 2024. I feel after the robust expansion process, that we truly found an organization that will be mutually beneficial to add to the SMU fraternity and sorority life community.