Those Eta Mu Boys

By Anthony W. Haddad —

Founded in 2009, the Beta Tau Colony of Zeta Beta Tau started with fifteen (15) men looking for a fraternity of values at California Polytechnic State University. Zeta Beta Tau was founded locally only six months after a heinous hazing death in a different fraternity at Cal Poly, but proved themselves worthy to join the campus because of their Founders’ commitment to non-pledging and non-hazing. Eleven (11) years later the now Eta Mu Chapter has over 100 brothers, many student body leaders, countless Interfraternity Council officers, over 200 alumni with multiple alumni funded scholarships, and are the current Brummer Cup Champions.

The men of the Eta Mu Chapter have as much success in their undergraduate programming as they do in their activities following graduation. Eta Mu has graduated many of their brothers who have become advisors for multiple chapters within ZBT, joined the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity staff and even honored by being elected to the Fraternity’s Supreme Council. In addition to the local scholarship opportunities made by alumni, the alumni regularly have hiking, camping, and weekend retreats with each other. Some of these trips include undergraduates to continue the bonds of all brothers of Eta Mu throughout the generations of brotherhood. The undergraduates have also led an initiative to create an alumni mentorship programs, asking alumni brothers to share their experience and wisdom.

The bond of brotherhood has proven to go beyond graduation with the brothers of Eta Mu. Recently, the Eta Mu Chapter experienced their first brother entering the chapter eternal, Peter Lee. The alumni held an event in his honor, created a scholarship in his name, and raised funds to have a bench installed on campus near his department’s building.  Through this last gift, Lee’s name will live on for all who knew him and the brothers yet to come. The Brotherly Love that the men of Eta Mu exhibit for each other allows for them to be constant in each other’s lives, extending a hand to a brother in need.

The undergraduate brothers of the Eta Mu Chapter are currently focused on working through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, growing their passion for their brotherhood each day, and retaining all their brothers during this difficult time. The Chapter President, Sami Katwan, Eta Mu (California Polytechnic State University) 2022 has spoken on his experience saying “What I like most about being the leader of Eta Mu is witnessing the creation and strengthening our brotherhood by the actions we have made as leaders, as well as leading toward establishing a stronger presence in the community through improving our philanthropic expectations, a higher achievement in the Greek community, and having stronger representation in all other campus involvements.”

With the alumni volunteering their time and supporting the Eta Mu Chapter, the undergraduates have confidence that they will keep achieving greatness for ZBT. Jason Colombini, Eta Mu (California Polytechnic State University) 2014 is the Eta Mu Chapter Advisor and has been a major key for the success of the Eta Mu Chapter since his time as an undergraduate at Cal Poly. Working with the Chapter in his current role, Colombini has said “Working with Eta Mu is a constant gift.  My fraternity experience continues each year as I have the pleasure of meeting and working with new brothers whom I may not have had the opportunity to otherwise.  Seeing where the Chapter has come from when I joined to the present day has been a whirlwind.  I look forward to all the brothers yet to come and the future of Eta Mu yet unwritten which I am sure will continue to be a highlight of my life.” Volunteers like Colombini and many others provide more opportunities for ZBT chapters to be successful by dedicating their time to students who were once in their advisors shoes as an undergraduate.

Congratulations to the past, present, and future brothers of the Eta Mu Chapter!

Aside: As the Alumni President and author of this article, I would just like to say how proud I am of my Chapter to exceed what I thought was even possible in our short time. We have had so many successes and learning moments that, I believe, without each one of them, we would not be in the place we are now.