Christian fraternity joins Greek life on campus

Beta Upsilon Chi, a Christian fraternity, registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office. The eight founding members are pictured above.
Beta Upsilon Chi, a Christian fraternity, registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office. The eight founding members are pictured above. Photo by Emilie Foyer.

The newest fraternity on campus is seeking to strengthen the Christian community and provide a social alternative to traditional Greek activities.

Unlike existing campus fraternities, the new group — Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) — will host only non-alcoholic social events and work to help Christian students at Yale develop their faith, said Victor Hicks ’15, the chapter’s founder and president. While members of BYX, which is registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office, must be practicing Christians, Hicks stressed that all students are welcome at the fraternity’s social events regardless of their religious beliefs.

“If somebody was interested in the group and was not Christian … unfortunately, we would not allow them to be able to rush the chapter,” Hicks said. “Being a brother of the fraternity is being a Christian. It’s one of the requirements.”

BYX’s national organization requires new chapters to have at least eight founding members, raise a $2,000 registration fee and create a video explaining those members’ interest in the fraternity. Hicks and the seven other founding members of Yale’s BYX chapter, along with some members of the national organization, held their initiation ceremony on Aug. 27, roughly six months after Hicks first decided to establish a Christian fraternity on campus.

Hicks said he was motivated to form a chapter of BYX in part because of his dissatisfaction with Yale’s current social options.

“I felt as if Christians on campus… felt pressured to drink and get involved with drugs on campus,” Hicks said. “And I kind of wish that I would have had a Christian fraternity like this where I was able to not worry about drinking at a party, not worrying about peer pressure.”

Since its founding, the chapter has hosted two social events — one with Yale Students for Christ and another with Christian group Athletes in Action — which drew roughly 30 and 60 attendees, respectively, Hicks said.

Members will be asked to pay dues of $250 per semester, he said, and the organization will offer scholarships to those with demonstrated financial need. The chapter plans to hold its inaugural rush in the spring, since administrators banned fall rush for freshmen beginning this academic year.

The group is currently meeting in various locations in the residential colleges, but Hicks said he plans to move to a house with the brothers in the 2013-’14 academic year — establishing it as the permanent off-campus location for the organization.

Sarah Rosales ’14, a student leader at Yale Students for Christ, said she thinks the new fraternity will create “a lot more unity within the body of Christ at Yale.” Though the fraternity will not be open to female Christians, Rosales said she there is no need for a Christian sorority at Yale, explaining that Yale’s female Christian students are already “very intentionally” part of each others’ lives. Christian sorority Delta Psi Epsilon considered expanding to Yale in spring 2011, but the chapter was not established because of uneven enrollment among the University’s existing sororities.

The launch of BYX brings the number of Yale’s religious fraternities to two. Unlike BYX, Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi does not limit membership based on religious beliefs.

Daniel Tay ’14, president of AEPi, said he thinks another organization based around a “common culture” would be a “great” addition to the campus community. Though the Yale administration has limited Greek life events in recent months — including banning freshman fall rush and restricting tailgating activities — Tay said he does not think a new fraternity will increase tensions between administrators and Greek organizations.

“I think if anything, having another fraternity helps, especially one that’s aimed toward a particular purpose,” he said. “I think it shows that fraternities are about finding a kind of connection that is valuable in a unique way.”

BYX is also known as “Brothers Under Christ” and is the largest Christian fraternity in the country.

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