The seed of the Iota Chi Phi chapter took root in the fall semester of 1988. A small group of men came together to form a new fraternity on campus. This group of men included George Jordan, Jaime Arnold, Pat Carty, Fred Feltz and Ed Kenny. While they were interested in joining existing fraternities on campus, they eventually decided that a new fraternity with different values and emphasis was needed.
These four men incorporated about six new men into the group and petitioned Sigma Alpha Mu national Fraternity for colonization. Their petition was denied because Sigma Alpha Mu decided that the group was too small.
The whole project would have wound up on the scrap heap if not for the fire and determination of George Jordan and his roommate/flunky Pat Carty. In the spring semester 1989, more people joined the “Crusade”. Some of the men who entered at the time were Mike Caimi, R.J. Chester, Tom Ford, Jay Langan, Vinny Mazucci, and Matt Vick. The new, improved, and expanded group petitioned Sigma Alpha Mu yet again for colonization. The group was refused a second time.
This time the project did not come to an end because of not only George Jordan, but also because of most of the group as well.
At this point the semester was close to ending. A mad Rush of telephone calls, appointments, and agenda settings were made. From these activities the group managed to get representatives from Kappa Delta Rho and Alpha Chi Rho to visit the campus. Kappa Delta Rho came to us strictly because of our own diligent research. Alpha Chi Rho came to us because Pat Carty knew a Crow brother at Stockton State College (Phi Eta Chi).
After meeting with the two representatives, the group decided to petition Alpha Chi Rho because of the support that they were willing to give us.
On April 11th 1989, Twenty-five men were pinned as postulants of the national fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho by the executive secretary James “Spence” Spencer, Representative John Martinez, and brothers from Trenton State College (Phi Gamma Chi). Of those 25 men, only six are on the charter.
In the fall of 1990, the colony continued to enlist more men. Andy Blank, Erik Cagle, Mike Frangione, Pat Hanna, Mark James, and John Palmisano were part of the incoming thanks in large part to Jay Langan. While these men added a new dimension to the project, G.S.C.’s administration put the colony on probation for illegally rushing. The probation lasted from 11/89 to 3/90.
The pitfall seemed to un-nerve the colony. George Jordan, the colony’s first president was forced to “retire” from the colony from G.S.C.’s Administration due to an abysmal G.P.A. The colony then voted Matt Vick as president number two.
It was during this semester that the colony’s by-laws were written by George Jordan, Mike Caimi, R.J. Chester, and Tom Ford. Also, the colony members began to prepare for the eventual commencement of business.
The spring of ’90 saw even more changes. Matt Vick left the colony, and thus the presidency due to personal reasons. The colony then voted Erik Cagle as its third president. Pat Carty remained Vice-President through 3 different presidencies.
On March 13th 1990, the colony became recognized by G.S.C.’s administration. The probation had been eradicated as well, and the Alpha Chi Rho colony started working diligently. The necessary service projects required by G.S.C.’s administration were tackled and quickly fell by the wayside.
The semester also saw 3 men very prominent in the colony’s rise leave. Mike Caimi went to the Navy, Tom Ford to his hometown, and Jay Langan because of poor grades.
In the fall of 1990, under the leadership of its fourth president, Ed Kenney, the colony was finally allowed to rush. On September 11th, 1990, two things of major significance occurred. Alpha Chi Rho at G.S.C. held its first rush meeting. Also its first legacy was born. One Robert Earl Eck was born to R.J. Chester and his girlfriend.
The Alpha Class, under the adept tutelage of Mike Frangione, bore the fruit of five new members: Lou Duffield, Marc Iorio, Jesper Larsen, Chris Sargent, And Bill Zycinsky.
In the spring semester of 1991 the colony put together the petition that was accepted by Alpha Chi Rho’s National Council that allowed the colony to become a chapter. In between the handing in of the petition, and having it accepted the colony was busy educating the beta class on the lores and history of Alpha Chi Rho. Seven betas made it onto the charter under the expert guidance of Bill Zycinsky: Mike Boucher, Bob Casey, Bill Chestnut, Matt Combs, Alec Pettifer, Mike Rappa, and Larry “Maverick” Rathbone.
On May 4th 1991, after years of hardship, bonding, infighting, road trips, and prevailing through it all; the colony was initiated as the Iota Chi Phi chapter of Alpha Chi Rho. The first ritual took place in a sub-division of the on-campus bar-called the Rat. The Banquet was held in Ron Jaworski’s Eagle’s Nest, and the true celebrating on Bill Zycinski’s back patio.
Shortly after the ceremony, five newly initiated brothers graduated: Andy Blank, Erik Cagle, Fred Feltz, Mike Frangione, and Jesper Larsen.
In the summer of 1991, the chapter was able to rent a house at 15 Eben Street thanks in very large part to Jaime Arnold’s dad. The acquisition of a house will allow us to realize even more goals and joys. But we have accomplished our main goal. WE ARE BROTHERS!!! For all those who read this as the years pass on, on behalf of all the brothers on the charter, I wish you that the brotherhood brings you as much joy as it did us.
18 September 1991
In the summer of 1991 the new chapter moved into its first house, which was located at the corners of Lake and Eben streets. The brothers came downthroughout the summer to fix it up and paint it. One room, which we held meetings in, was painted in the fraternity colors and called “The Red Room”.We tried to organize a town watch and hosted community meetings with ourneighbors. We took part in more service projects then required by the college, and in the spring, sponsored a little league baseball team. The chapter brought in 4 new members with the Gamma class in the fall and 4 Delta class members in the spring. We ended our first full year as a chapter with the Founders Day Picnic. It was decided to hold this every year as close to May 4th as possible as a time for all brothers to come together. The fall of 1992 greeted us with being named a Landmark Chapter at the National Convention that summer and the college changing its name to Rowan College. With most of the residents of the house graduated, the chapter moved
into the Crossing Apartment room H-209 (nicknamed water 9). The chapter was doing well and brought in the Eta class and it’s 3 members. A new problem arose when the College began the no freshmen pledge rule.
In the fall of 1997 the chapter rented a house on Mullica Hill Road, right through the (former) hole in the fence behind Mansion Park Apartments. The house formerly belonged to Sigma Pi, who had moved across the street when Phi Kappa Sigma moved into the Whitney house. The chapter also welcomed the 4 members of the Omicron class, (Henry Klausman, Michael Forte, Sebastian Ionno and John Lyden) with Brother Lou Crescitelli as PE. The semi-annual Heaven & Hell party went very well, with alumni coming from all over for the event. It also served as a substitute for Homecoming, which we were forced to pass up due to reasons both financial and manpower. Brother Andrew Pitman announced his engagement to his girlfriend Katie during the semester.
During the Spring of 1998, the Pi class (Christopher Hardy, John Masso, John Yuen, and Kevin Montgomery) endured Dance Marathon (Postulants were heard stating, “isn’t this school-sponsored hazing?”) and were welcomed into the fold. The chapter remained there for a year until May of 1998. The house then moved to 111 North Main Street, in a better location as the hole in the fence was closed up that summer with the installation of the metal perimeter fence added to the east side of campus. The summer saw some renovations to the house, and many barbecues as we worked to get the house in shape for the upcoming semester. Brothers John Howey, Mike Forte, Hank Klausman and John Lyden lived in the house at the time. They also welcomed non-Brother Ryan Harrell (Chachi!) into the house.
The Fall of ’98 brought the Rho class. The only member to “survive” was Brother Steve “Furby” Farney, who uttered one of the greatest lines heard in 9-Phi history: “I’M A FUCKING CROW!!!!” Actually, it was more of a scream. Spring 1999 came and left the Sigma (Thom Hubbard, Chris Stone-Bush) class and a Dance Marathon that was easily forgotten. The summer between semesters was marked with a barbecue every weekend, and the introduction of something we had sorely missed our first year in the house: carpeting in the living room.
Fall 1999 was an interesting semester, considering it marked Alpha Chi Rho’s return to the Homecoming festivities. We partnered with Alpha Delta Epsilon, and the float was themed “B4RU” so as to come into line with the overall Homecoming theme of “Rowan University: Past, Present, and Future.” The Tau class (Chris Drakulich and James Tomasino) participated with vigor.
As the Fall 1999 semester drew to a close, the Chapter eagerly welcomed the coming of the 21st century. The semester began on a high as the Chapter welcomed the Phi class (Mark Marmur, Terrence McBride, and Adam Szyfman). These young men were welcomed as the “new Generation” as they were the first to go through a modified postulant program, better suited for the times.
Since our charter was granted in 1991, our chapter has had many ups-and-downs. We have prospered, and we have almost died. However, it is only in the face of these strong challenges that have helped to create a bond that we call brotherhood. Your days of brotherhood will not be easy either. During your Postulancy, remember that those who came before you made significant sacrifices so that there would still be a chapter years down the road. When you become a Brother, remember that you also will have to make sacrifices so that others will have a chapter to come back to.
This Postulancy Notebook is designed to help you get the most out of your time as a postulant. You will learn our local and national history. We may be a young chapter, but we have a lot of history. Since May 4th 1991, the Iota Chi Phi chapter of the National Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho has done a great many things. Our history is filled with learning experiences, and funny stories. Learn this history so that you do not repeat the mistakes that others have made. And teach others of your mistakes so that they do not make the mistakes that you make.
“Although benevolent men cannot do all the good they would, their duty is to do all the good they can” – Revered Founder William A.D. Eardeley
Fall 2000 – Summer 2002: The Years of the Phoenix
The fall of 2000 marked the first semester of the Crow’s residence at 3 Mullica Hill Road, a duplex shared with Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority. The Chi Class (under the education of Lambda Chi Phi transfer Matt Torpey) began with three Postulants. The chapter’s new plan for rush advertised a non-hazing program, and as a testament to this, many functions this semester were done in public places, such as the Student Center Pitt and even rooms in the Library. Unfortunately, two of the three Chi’s dropped late in the program, leaving the Chapter with its one new Brother: Douglas Eaton.
The coming spring brought with it much opportunity and the largest pledge class the Iota Chi Phi Chapter had seen since the Alpha Class ten years prior. The dedication and inspiration the active members at that time showed for these young men proved crucial and may well have been the salvation of 9Phi. Through the education of Christopher Stone-Bush, the six members of the Psi Class (Todd Brelsford, Robert Burdick, Michael Eliason, Bryan Nese, Steve Romm and Andrew Straatveit) completed their Postulancy on April Fool’s Day 2001. The Psi’s began taking an active role in the Chapter almost immediately. Mike Eliason, for example, was elected chapter treasurer at the very same meeting he was initiated as a Brother, a position which he would hold for over two years. Also at this time, Phi Class Brother Adam Szyfman took over as Chapter President, while his pledge brother Mark Marmur assisted him as vice president.
Fall 2001 marked another milestone in the chapter’s history. Once again being forced to find new residence, the Chapter made Beau Rivage #44 its new home. Despite the distant location and small size, the Crows continued to throw impressive social gatherings larger than had been seen for quite a while. Also that semester, together with Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, the Chapter participated in the annual Homecoming Parade for the first time in several years. An amazing attempt was put together for an organization with nearly all of its Brothers having no prior experience with homecoming. The float (and skit) featured a four-wheeler, a motorcycle, and professionally printed banners. Along with sponsorship and donations from numerous corporations such as Snapple, and a sound system that could drown out a Megadeath concert, a most successful attempt was constructed, to the amazement of many. Although the team didn’t place, much was learned about what to do for the coming years. Also this semester, Tau Class Brother James Tomasino returned to the Chapter after his one year military absence. This semester welcomed three new Brothers under the guidance of Christopher Drakulich: Peter Brett, Dave Rauth, and Bart Seider: the Omegas.
Spring of 2002 was an exciting semester for Alpha Chi Rho. An incredible rush and impressively well-run social events throughout the year led to the astounding initiation of the Alpha Betas. The Chapter’s first double-letter pledge class also became its first double-digit pledge class. Starting with 16 Postulants, 13 Brothers were initiated into the Bond late that April: James Akers, Albert Conforti, Micheal “Shaggy” Derelanko, Jeremy Fau, Tom Fitzgerald, Tim Green, Mark Killean, Anthony Mandra, Dennis Miller, Michael Mitten, Tim Sitomer, Marcos Villa-Gonzallez, and Travis Zander. Under the leadership of Psi Class Brothers Bryan Nese and Robert Burdick, a slightly re-defined program was instituted which would be a rough model for future Postulant Programs. Although the chapter did not participate in Greek Week, our numbers and respect among the student body continued to grow by leaps and bounds. The semester closed with Rob Burdick and Bart Seider taking the reigns as president and vice president, respectively.
After a summer of searching for a new place to call home, it finally seemed the chapter would be located at 10 and 12 Mullica Hill Road, a duplex located across the street from the house we shared with Sigma two years prior. Unfortunately, plans fell through in July due to complications the new landlord experienced with the current residents. With time running short, the search began the very next day, and on the 4th of July, several North Jersey Brothers made the trip to Glassboro to join in the hunt for a place to live.
Almost immediately we found an empty house on 10 Eben Street that seemed almost just right. Phone calls were made, and a few checks later, the house was secured and the Crows once again had a nest. Move-in began the first day of August, and so much furniture was donated by Brothers and their friends and families that we were actually forced to throw a fair amount of it away.
Iota Chi Phi was ready for the coming year, and many of the Brothers could barely contain their anticipation and feelings of great expectations. The start of the fall 2002 semester was the start of a new dawn for Alpha Chi Rho at Rowan. Many great things were to come, although still much work, effort and dedication was left to pour into the fraternity. But the uphill climb had begun, and with the momentum shown by the Brotherhood, no clear end of it was in sight of any one of us.
Submitted: November 6, 20002
Bryan Nese, Psi Class
Fall 2002 – Spring 2006: Coming into their Own
The 2002-2003 school year marked the beginning of a great era for Alpha Chi Rho. During the next four year, much of the hard work previous classes had put in to establish a better fraternity started to show off. Coming off of our largest pledge class ever, the fraternity made solid gains in the Alpha Gamma class under Bart Seider (Jason Amidon, George Boone, Matt Kramer, Ken Meo, & Sean Swanson) and the Alpha Delta class under Jeremy Fau (Bob DeSantis, Matt Fehskens, Mike Serio, Matt Sundell, & Chris Yates).
10 Eben street, the new AXP house, marked the crows’ return to Rowan’s “frat row” after the long-ago condemning of 111 N. Main st. Brothers who lived in the house that year were: Marcos Villa-Gonzales, Adam Szyfman, Mark Marmur, Steve Romm, Rob Burdick, and Albe Conforti. 10 Eben Street was a remarkably fun place to hang out. As a very young brotherhood which mostly remained in on campus living, 10 Eben was a natural hang out for everyone in the brotherhood. Any time of day you could walk into the AXP house knowing people would be around. The fraternity grew strong relations with Alpha Sigma Alpha and our new next-door neighbors, Theta Phi Alpha.
At the onset of the semester, Crow Roast ’02 was a large success, filling the yard with party goers. Although 10 Eben did not have a basement capable of partying in, and the first floor tended to frighteningly bend inwards when huge crowds packed the house, parties there were a lot of fun, although not the biggest on the block.
Alpha Chi Rho participated with Delta Phi Epsilon in Homecoming ’02, showing up the competition with their Austin Powers themed skit & float. Mark Marmur allowed the fraternity to completely pain is Probe as the Shaguar, which looked amazing. Unfortunately, a scoring penalty knocked the AXP/DPhiE team from 1st place to 4th place because extra vehicles were not allowed to follow the flatbed. Also, Iota Chi Phi entered into Greek Week for the first time, with our partners Theta Phi Alpha.
Notable fun that occurred during the 02-03 year was the covering on 10 Eben with 10,000 Christmas lights, and the freezing of the lawn into a makeshift ice rink. 10 Eben was also famous at the fraternity house with a giant trampoline on its lawn, open to anyone who wanted a bounce.
The Spring 03 was also marred by the de-brothering of brother Mike Bess of Alpha Beta.
In Fall ’03, the Brotherhood relocated yet again to 111 North Main Street, a previous Iota Chi Phi house, under the leadership of president Bart Seider and VP Matt Kramer. House Steward Dennis Miller was joined by Tim Green, Tim Sitomer, Mike Mitten, and Anthony Mandra. The Brotherhood was also very successful in expansion, breaking the 40-brother barrier at the end of the year. This was the result of only graduating 1 brother (Rob Burdick) in ’03 while still posting solid growth.
The pledge classes posted records, both of 7 brothers which is the second largest class total. Alpha Epsilon was brought in by Dennis Miller (Bob Carson, Nelson Cook Jones IV, Matt Morgan, Jon Perrotto, Brian Scott, Jeff Szurek, and Ryan West), and Alpha Zeta was initiated by Sean Swanson (Matt Douthitt, Scott Keuhner, Brian Livings, Brian Pinto, Rahel Saleem, Pat Reilly, and Ken Then).
The 03-04 school year started off with a bang, as the brothers pulled out another Crow Roast through the threat of rain. Unfortunately, Glassboro law on parking spaces determined that our garage had to be knocked down to provide 1 extra foot of driveway space to comply with code. It seemed like a big loss to the brotherhood, but in future years parties would grow to require the space the destruction freed up. Alpha Chi Rho parties were still never the biggest on campus, but they were definitely fun and would bring in a minor profit. Under Risk Management officer Mike Eliason, AXP partied on Wednesday nights when most Greeks threw mixers, assuring no competition. AXP parties had the most loyal attendance, as most party goers appreciated our policy of not charging at the door, playing fun music, and offering good basic beer such as miller along with alternatives of mikes, schmirnoff ice flavors, and yuengling.
Iota Chi Phi set out this year to win the school’s first IFC Greek Cup and did so by completing the maximum possible service projects and staying active on campus. Also contributing major points was our first Homecoming victory in fall ’03. Under homecoming chair Jeremy Fau, we partnered with Alpha Sigma Alpha. The brothers were skeptical about the Little Mermaid theme and it angered some, but JFau pulled it out and the float/skit won first place for its appeal to families, voiced over song re-writes and humor, and amazing costume design. Alpha Chi Rho also re-partnered with Theta Phi Alpha and placed third in Greek Week.
During the school year, AXP worked on one of its only successful fundraisers in recent and future memory as security workers for Villanova football games, put together by fundraising chair Ken Meo. The brothers also began attempting more intramural sports. Although we forfeited out of our fall flag football league, our bowling team captured first place. By time Alpha Zeta joined up in spring ’04, AXP was able to at least participate in the vast majority of the on campus sports.
At the end of the 03-04 school year, the brothers of Iota Chi Phi held a senior sendoff for its graduating brothers. Phi Class brothers Adam & Mark graduated from graduate school that year. The entire Psi class minus Rob who had already graduated joined with some Alpha Betas and Alpha Gammas re-visited some of their favorite moments of pledging with an emphasis on humor and alcohol. Unfortunately, The departure of the Phi and Psi classes meant that the new breed of Crow would have to prove itself without the guidance of its innovators.
As the ’04-’05 school year began, the 111 N Main house deck was slightly shuffled with Matt Douthitt replacing Tim Green. AXP leadership was president Jeremy Fau with VP Jason Amidon, while Psi class brother Mike Eliason took on the Graduate Coordinator of Greek Life position. The house had some struggles in ’04-’05 as almost all brothers moved off campus, thus having their own fun places to hang out. Some members of the house struggled with drugs, while Anthony Mandra grew confrontational towards the fraternity and their use of the house. Although there were some difficult times, the brothers who lived there from 03-05 should be thanked, as they stepped up on short notice to move there in the first place after many other people bailed out.
Pledge classes shrank as brothers moved off campus as well, losing some touch with the freshmen base. AXP no longer had members in key positions such as Bryan Nese and Bart Seider in PROs and iMPACT. New members were still found however, and Iota Chi Phi welcomed the Alpha Etas (Lash Green, Josh Jackson, and Anthony Vasquez) under Chris Yates, and Alpha Theta (Chris DelVecchio and Kevin McGarvey) under Bob DeSantis.
Risk Management Matt Fehskens experimented with parties, throwing our first Saturday “ladies night” party which was a huge success. Crow Roast also slightly grew, bringing in more bands and higher attendance. Overall, the ’04-’05 parties were one step better than previous, bringing in a more regular profit, and were some of the better parties on campus as many organizations faced social suspensions or lack of a house throw in.
Sports brought the brothers together in ’04-’05 as we participated in almost every sport throughout the year, making the playoffs in Softball after a huge upset victory over league champ Delta Chi. AXP also won the Phi Sig kickball tournament after discovered they were the only male team to enter. Yeah that’s right, we beat girls, and we got a big trophy and a basket full of gift certificates for our effort.
Overall the brotherhood placed 3rd in Greek Cup this year, but also won the Greek Service Award after completing an AXP-high 23 service projects. The brothers received their second first-place homecoming victory with Alpha Sigma Alpha as our theme “The Muppet Show” went down in the record books as the best and highest-scoring homecoming performance in Rowan University history. We repeated our third-place greek week victory with Theta Phi Alpha, our partners for the third year in a row.
Mixers in the years of 111 became much more fun, as sororities around Rowan slowly began to take AXP seriously as a social partner. The senior send-off tradition continued as almost all members of Alpha Beta and Alpha Gamma departed the chapter. Formal ’05 was a blast, as alumni brothers Adam, Mark, and Rob made a huge splash with a $1,500 check to the chapter. They made a pledge that if AXP raised their GPA over the next year, which was a large concern considered the chapter used to win awards on its high GPA, then our alumni would make an additional $1,500. Adam also worked out a deal with National AXP that these donations would eliminate the $6,000 national debt left by unpaid bills from the late 90s.
The ’05-’06 school year began as an upbeat school year for the brothers. The house was reloaded with Ryan West, Chris Delvecchio, Lash Green, and Kevin McGarvey. Fraternity leadership was President Ryan West and VP Mike Serio. Also, Matt Morgan rose to Inter-Greek Council President after 2 terms as the Vice President.
This refreshing house environment was also combined with the evolution of the AXP party. Crow parties became one of the biggest parties on the campus, and arguably the best. Profits soared, and everyone generally had a good time although security was definitely a hot topic as the yard was packed and the first floor living room was the new location of our live DJ and dancing, no longer a VIP room to accommodate the huge number of party goers.
The brothers had many successful accomplishments such as making the playoffs in Wallyball, and increasing their GPA to a 2.88, which was a relief to many who feared the GPA would continue to drop. The dynasty was complete as brother Jeremy Fau, and assistant Matt Fehskens led AXP to an unprecedented third Homecoming title. We joined a new partner, Phi Sigma Sigma, and won once a gain with the theme of “Sesame Street”.
The Alpha Iota class was initiated in Fall ’05 by Matt Morgan (Anthony Antonelli, Rob Jiminez, Ryan “Stiffie” Edwards, and Dan Hnosko). They completed donated one of the best gifts to the house in recent history, a collapsible & light-up beer pong table, complete with plexi-glass surface, with “AXP” painted underneath.
Matt Morgan (AE) 1/25/2005
Spring 2006 – Spring 2008: The End of a Greek Era
In the spring of 2006, Iota Chi Phi chapter saw the best rush season in its history. Led by rush chair Matt Morgan (AE), more than twenty students attended our rush events and 17 were pinned at the beginning of the postulancy period. Brother Ken Then (AZ), as postulant educator brought 13 of those men into the fraternity as the Alpha Kappa Class. These brothers were Daniel Brateris, JJ Calaceto, Michael Golias, Lou Guido, Pat Hann, Ellison Joe Horacek, Danny Luca, Joe Mastriana, Eric Nette, Tim Patterson, Michael Jack Pfister, David Ruggieri, and Brian Yates. Upon their initiation the Alpha “Kare Bears”, as they were called, gifted the brotherhood with a brand new propane grill, which will get much use over the coming semesters.
Membership was soaring. For the rest of the spring semester, well over 40 brothers were present at fraternity events, mixers, and parties. The party scene at 111 N. Main Street was one of the best on campus, with over 100 people present at each party. For greek week, Iota Chi Phi was partnered with across-the-street neighbors Alpha Sigma Alpha, who at the time had over 40 sisters as well. All of our hard work paid off, since we took second place in Greek Cup that year. We also took home our first intramural championships, winning not only Volleyball, but also the Frisbee finals. It was indeed a high point in Iota Chi Phi’s history.
By the time the Fall 2006 semester rolled around, the popularity of AXP had not yet diminished. More than a dozen brothers had just graduated, but the fraternity was still going strong. The new executive board consisted of Brother Ken Then (AZ) as president, and Brother Scott Kuehner (AZ) as vice president. That semester we brought 9 more men into the brotherhood, making the Alpha Lambda class the largest fall pledge class in Iota Chi Phi history. The fraternity did not stop reaching milestones there, as Crow Roast 2006 was a huge success, rivaling the previous year as the biggest crow party ever.
The decision to partner up with Delta Zeta for homecoming ’06 made sense at the time; they were the silver medal winners in Fall 2005, coming in second only to us. But, as the brotherhood changes from year to year, so do other sisterhoods, and Alpha Chi Rho was led to a crushing defeat, ending our three-year streak as the greek champions of homecoming.
As the fraternity morale took time to recover, it was given a boost by two different organizations who asked us to partner with them for greek week. One was our old friends, the sisters of Theta Phi Alpha, and the other were our Eben Street neighbors, the brothers of Sigma Pi. After a brief discussion, the brotherhood decided a threesome would be fun for the spring of 2007.
Under the leadership of brother Rob Jimenez (AI), the Alpha Mu class took their postulancy oath. Six men completed the program that semester, once again making Iota Chi Phi a greek life powerhouse. The atmosphere on Eben Street during greek week felt like a block party, since a whopping four houses on “greek row” belonged to us, Theta Phi Alpha, and Sigma Pi. There were many barbecues and house parties that lasted well into the morning hours, and the brotherhood as a whole was strong. The AXP/Theta Phi/Sigma Pi “Eiffel Tower” took second place in greek week that year.
Rowan University is always pushing the redevelopment of the borough of Glassboro, and since the plans to build a “Rowan Boulevard” cut a chunk of housing from Lake Street to Main Street, it was decided that it was best to leave our long time chapter hall at 111 N. Main St for a longer-lasting neighborhood. Brother Adam Szyfman (Phi) provided us with a new location, at 309 Victoria Street, just two blocks from the former greek capital, and even closer to campus. The new house was christened with Crow Roast 2007, run by Daniel Hnosko (AI) who ran the party effectively enough to make it the biggest single fundraiser in Iota Chi Phi history. The biggest attraction of this crow roast was the hour-long performance of the ska band Awful Waffle, belonging to Brother Ryan “Stiffie” Edwards. Playing for the second time at an AXP crow roast, and several times on campus including opening up for Reel Big Fish in Spring 2007, Awful Waffle is destined for greatness.
In addition to the new house, there were many changes to greek life at Rowan University for the Fall of 2007. The Greek Cup system of ranking greek organizations was eliminated to make way for a new system, a rating system, known as the Greek Achievement Program, or GAP for short. The new executive board, led by Chapter President Patrick Hann (AK) and Chapter Vice President Roberto Jimenez (AI) was forced to adapt to all the changes and make the GAP the new foundation of how our fraternity must be run.
The Alpha Nu pledge class entered the brotherhood with five members, under the guidance of their postulant educator, Daniel Hnosko (AI). That semester, Ken Then (AZ) vowed to bring the title of homecoming champions back to Alpha Chi Rho. With the lovely sisters of Sigma Sigma Sigma as our partners, that promise would soon become a reality. The theme for homecoming that year was the Glassboro summit of ’67 with President Johnson and Soviet Premier Kosygen, and the theme selected by AXP and sigma was Scooby Doo. The skit starred our very own Brendan “Shagy” Hayden (AM) appropriately as “Shaggy”, and was mixed by Brother and DJ Dan Brateris (AK). Despite our preparation for homecoming that year, nothing could have prepared us for the weather we would have to endure on the night before homecoming. Torrential downpour hindered not only our skit practice and choreography, but also the painting and construction of the float. The 60+ Greeks present that night were confined to a narrow driveway, scarcely protected from the rain by a small nylon tarp. Several other organizations decided to drop out of homecoming shortly before midnight, but AXP/Sigma persevered, and were rewarded the following rainy morning, when they overwhelmingly won the award for best greek performance by a wide margin. It was a return to greatness for Iota Chi Phi.
The changes in greek life continued into the Spring 2008 semester. The house guys as well as the executive board decided that the stricter rules governing greek life would have to make open parties, as we knew them, a thing of the past. As a result, a crushingly disappointing rush caused us to scramble for potential new members. Three men were discreetly initiated into the Alpha Xi postulant class. For the most part, AXP stayed under the radar as almost every other greek organization was under investigation or on probation for some violation on campus. Delta Zeta lost their charter in Spring 2007 because of a large number of hazing violations. Both Theta Chi and Kappa Sigma had their charters pulled by their national organization during the summer of 2007. In Spring 2008, Phi Sigma Sigma lost their charter as well because of keg violations and an incident at their house on Eben Street. Residence life even cancelled all greek activities for one weekend and called a meeting of all organization presidents in order to threaten all of greek life with total eradication.
In addition to the loss of four greek organizations over the course of one year, Rowan University and the borough of Glassboro enacted its “Eminent Domain” upon the houses on Eben Street and the adjacent block of New Street. Halfway through the semester, many of the residents of these houses were forced to move. Eben Street, once the great capital of greek life, had become a ghost town. “Greek Row” was dead.
To make matters worse, the chapter hall at 309 Victoria St was becoming uninhabitable. A new chapter house would have to be found for the Fall of 2008. A few brothers banded together and selected a house on Oakwood Street to be the new Chapter hall, but a party house would still have to be found. As the fraternity scrambled to complete the requirements of the first ever GAP school year, the grim realization set in that the carefree, beer filled, days of being greek were gone.
With the new executive board of Iota Chi Phi, there is hope for the future. Led by Bill Rohs (AΛ) as chapter president and Zak Eisen (AΛ) as vice president, Iota Chi Phi has taken steps to remain a strong organization in greek life. In the spring of 2008, chapter secretary EJ Horacek (AK) led discussions on how to continue to grow and thrive at Rowan University, despite the recent anti-greek sentiment.
The 2007-2008 school year will undoubtedly represent the end of a greek era. However, with the end of every era marks the beginning of a new one, and Alpha Chi Rho has not continued to exist since 1895 by remaining a static organization. It will continue to change and grow, and Iota Chi Phi will be a major player in the future of greek life at Rowan University.
Alpha Iota Class