A group photo of the members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at UCCS.
Rachel Ricci | The Scribe
Nov. 17, 2014
Over the past four years, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has gone from an interest group, to a colony and will become an official fraternity chapter on Dec. 12.
An estimated 200 family, friends and SAE members will attend the chartering and fullbrother initiation ceremony the weekend of Dec. 13.
According to Travis Tafoya, SAE treasurer and philanthropy and community service chairman, members started the interest group, then named Delta Chi, in February 2009.
Tafoya said that because of Delta Chi’s history at CU Boulder, the university system told UCCS Delta Chi they could no longer exist and they had to choose to be a part of a different organization.
CU Boulder’s Delta Chi fraternity was put on suspension after 10 pledges were arrested for causing up to $20,000 worth of damage to a motel in Estes Park.
“That national stigma hindered our recruitment efforts, but we try to combat that through antihazing events and speakers,” said member Charles McGregor.
Those in the beginning interest group then had to decide which fraternity to be a part of and chose SAE, one of the largest national fraternities.
As an interest group, they were similar to a club or organization on campus. In October 2010, they received national recognition to become a colony, which requires obtaining a quota of members and is the next step in becoming an officially recognized chapter.
“Usually after two years of being a colony you are either chartered or kicked off,” Tafoya said. “[SAE UCCS] didn’t get kicked off because we were always just missing one or two things.”
To become a chapter, fraternities have to fulfill requirements such as community service hours, scholarships and the number of members.
“It is hard to get people interested [in joining SAE] if it’s not already established,” said Tafoya. “It is exhausting trying to recruit. We would always recruit to right under the amount we needed. There are always people graduating, because there is not a lot of Greek Life on campus, there’s not a huge interest in it.”
“Recruitment is difficult, especially with a commuter school,” said McGregor.
SAE at UCCS began receiving funding from the Student Government Association after their recognition as a colony. This allowed the group to send members to leadership conferences.
“Now we get to learn the full ritual as an organization. [Being a Chapter] gets us all the opportunities of being a ‘brother.’ There’s also tons of scholarships,” Tafoya said.
Along with these changes, the national organization for SAE has gotten rid of pledging for fraternity members, which has a negative connotation due to associated initiation or hazing.
“We never dealt with hazing here, the majority of us wouldn’t join if there was hazing. I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who did that to me,” he said. Tafoya said that for his initiation into SAE he learned about the history of the organization and what they stand for.
As a chapter, it is harder for the national SAE organization to disband them. But Tafoya explained that members of SAE were not afraid of being stripped by the national organization because they received a lot of support from them.
“It was more we wanted to work harder to get to that point. It wore a lot of guys out because it was a long time. Now we get to tell all our alumni we finally did it. They’re the ones that started it,” Tafoya said.