Alpha Sigma Phi, a national fraternity originally founded at Yale in 1845, has begun a search for Yale students to potentially re-establish a chapter on campus.
Local recruitment efforts began two weeks ago when Alpha Sig representatives contacted campus leaders and “high-performing students” in the Yale community about joining a founding chapter, according to Layton Piver, the director of expansion and growth for the national organization. Piver said Alpha Sig will determine how many students on campus are interested before deciding whether to open a chapter at Yale. So far, 18 students have spoken with Alpha Sig over the phone regarding recruitment, Piver said, and the fraternity is looking for about 60.
Although opening a Yale chapter would serve as part of the fraternity’s wider expansion initiative, returning to Yale has been a top priority within the national organization for seven years, Piver said.
“In my eyes, with all this growth that we’ve done, adding over 70 brand new chapters over the United States, Canada and Scotland, if we can’t call Yale home again then we’ve done something wrong,” Piver said. “Since we’ve been growing, Yale has always been a top priority for us.”
Piver noted that in 2000, a small group of students explored the possibility of re-establishing the fraternity at Yale, but Alpha Sig was unable to provide resources the group required to follow through with the plan. But in the past few years, the national Alpha Sig organization has expanded its internal resources and improved its member services after reorganizing its executive leadership in 2009.
Alpha Sig has been in communication with the Yale administration over the past seven years, but only recently began seeking referrals from faculty and campus leaders for potential members, Piver said.
The fraternity is recruiting from all four years of the undergraduate class. If Alpha Sig successfully established a Yale chapter, it would invest in a local house within one or two years, according to Piver.
All of the students interviewed had not yet heard about Alpha Sig’s interest in coming to Yale. Of 16 students, seven said they thought a new fraternity at Yale was a good idea, two said Yale did not need another fraternity and seven said they were indifferent.
Students in favor of a new fraternity argued that Alpha Sig could improve Yale’s fraternity culture or offer more options to students interested in Greek life.
“More options for a social scene never hurt,” Joyce Ho ’20 said. She added that she thought fraternities might become less elitist if a new fraternity opened up more spots.
Alexi Christakis ’20, who considered rushing a fraternity this spring, said the arrival of Alpha Sig could increase the number of party options on campus and reduce the exclusivity of fraternities in general. And Aakeem Andrada-Allahjah ’18, the president of Sigma Nu, said he supports adding another fraternity to Yale’s relatively small Greek life system because it would provide students with a wider range of places to socialize.
Still, Christakis noted that this could be bad news for students who feel uncomfortable about Yale’s Greek life. Alex Williams ’19, who said he is against adding another fraternity, said there remains work to be done in improving the existing ones on campus.
“Frats on campus already have a problem with their own internal cultures, and there needs to be reform in terms of the fraternities we already have before expanding them,” Williams said.
Alpha Sig was initially founded at Yale as a sophomore society before later becoming a fraternity and closing its chapter during World War II.