The Beta Theta Pi fraternity at John Carroll University was installed as an official national chapter last weekend.
Previously, Beta Theta Pi was the only group of Greeks on campus that had yet to be recognized as an official chapter. They existed only as a colony, which is a fraternity or sorority that has just started on a campus.
The Installation Ceremony took place on Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Marriott Hotel and only initiated Betas attended. The leadership of the national fraternity including the General Fraternity President, General Secretary, and the Board of Trustees attended the ceremony, a first in the national fraternity’s history.
“We also had a number of our brothers from the Lambda Kappa-Beta chapter at Case Western Reserve University as well as Beta alums from all over Cleveland, from all different generations,” said JCU graduate Joel Mullner, Beta’s member educator advisor.
Directly following the ceremony, the
Installation Mass was held on campus. Betas, their families, and the JCU community were invited to attend as a celebration of the official chapter. The homilist for the Mass, the Rev. Edward Janoch, is a Beta alumnus from Bowling Green State University. Mark Ehrbar, a junior Beta, instructed the music for the Mass.
A reception dinner at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood followed the Mass. More than 200 Betas and friends, which represented 29 different Beta chapters, were in attendance.
The weekend celebration was also coupled with the fraternity’s annual Carroll’s Got Talent philanthropic event. This event allows JCU students to compete in a talent show and also raises money for the Milestones Autism Center and children with autism. The Betas raised approximately $1,500 this year.
The weekend was planned by co-chairs of the Installation Committee, sophomores John Jackson and Spencer German, along with sophomore Trenton Oczypok.
“Although this is a time for pause and excitement, it is also a time for visioning. As a chapter of Beta Theta Pi, [we] are responsible for modeling the way and creating a sustainable environment where men can live the values of our organization. Doing so is an incredible responsibility,” said Scott Allen, the Beta faculty advisor and a vice president on Beta’s board of trustees.
Beta began at JCU in 2007 when Beta Theta Pi Leadership Consultants and Administrated Staff came to JCU, looking for the right group of males to call the Founding Fathers and to colonize the Beta fraternity. They spent 25 days recruiting men around campus.
Kyle Sobh, a JCU graduate and founding member of the campus chapter, said, “Becoming a Founding Father of the John Carroll University, now Eta Epsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my collegiate career and possibly my life.”
Before becoming a chapter, a colony must fulfill 30 requirements including keeping high academic standards and publishing a newsletter. Unlike a “to-do” list, these requirements are meant to be ingrained into the fraternity, and carried as a legacy. Most colonies are able to finish the requirements within three years. If they cannot finish within four years, the chapter is shut down.
According to junior Andy Lane, current president of the JCU Betas, the members have complied with all of the requirements, and have exceeded the academic standard requirement.
“We have maintained a GPA higher than the all-male, all-campus, and all-fraternity GPAs since our inception in 2007,” said Lane.
Many Betas are active elsewhere on campus as well.
“Our brothers hold some of the most coveted leadership positions on campus as six of the 11 male tour guides are Betas, as well as three resident assistants, two members of IFC, the sophomore class president and the production manager of our campus radio station. Because of our efforts, the Eta Epsilon chapter was recognized with the Campus Involvement award at the 171st General Convention [of the national organization],” said Lane.
To the Betas, Installation weekend was the culmination of working to become nationally installed.
Sobh said, “This weekend was to say, the ‘grand prize’ for all of the work and effort that we have poured into this organization and now will forever be framed in this cherished document, our charter.”
Other members of Beta looked back during the Installation weekend on their recruitment into the fraternity, and what it meant to them.
“My initial reaction when I received my bid two years ago, I was ecstatic,” said junior Greg Sloat. “It was something that I really, really felt passionate about, and that I really, really wanted to be in.”
Sobh felt that the fraternity played a large role in his collegiate experience.
“If it wasn’t for Beta Theta Pi at John Carroll, I don’t think that I would have graduated with as many memories and enjoyable times and such close friends as I did,” said Sobh.