As school starts on the campuses we serve and our Brotherhood focuses on a return to our new “more normal,” there is some benefit to reflecting upon how we have weathered this latest storm. Thanks to our undergraduate brothers, alumni volunteers and the Fraternity’s professional staff, we emerge from the pandemic even stronger than we entered it.
Ours is an organization built on connection and gatherings, which many might expect to perish when the very act of gathering together is discouraged or even banned. However, our chapters found ways to thrive despite those obstacles, using new ways to recruit when they could not meet candidates in person.
Now, our brothers physically return to their campuses to find a “pent up” demand for brotherhood and are putting in the work necessary to meet that demand. Already, our chapter at the University of Texas has initiated 67 new brothers. Indiana University gave out 50 bids and initiated 49 men. The University of Florida has initiated 31. Our prospective chapter at the University of California-Berkeley doubled in size, initiating 15 new brothers. Across the country, chapters are setting rush records, offering brotherhood to hundreds of new initiates.
During the pandemic, the Fraternity continued to expand the number of campuses it serves, initiating 27 new brothers at Emory University, starting the very successful group at the University of California-Berkeley, and beating out Alpha Epsilon Pi and others to become the next fraternity at the University of Kentucky. We are now working on our return to the University of Miami and Michigan State University.
We refocused on our unique origin story, special purpose and values, demonstrating that we are indispensable to college and university campuses we serve. Our chapters found new ways to serve each other and their larger communities, proving misguided those who would abolish organizations like ours.
Last year, I told you that the world needed us now more than ever, that while that current environment would be unfavorable to the average “fraternity,” it would present our Brotherhood with amazing opportunities. We are now reaping the rewards of our values, which are more sought after by college campuses and undergraduates than ever before.
Now more than ever, and for more men than ever, it is great to be a ZBT!
Cordially, Fraternally, and Sincerely,
The Honorable Jonathan D. Frieden, Phi Epsilon (University of Virginia) 1994
International President of the Fraternity