Life of Chi

Fraternity Theta Chi gives the inside scoop.

Josh Dungan, Senior Reporter

Students coming to tour Hamline rarely hear much about Greek life on campus. In large part, this is due to Hamline only having one fraternity and one sorority on campus, unlike larger schools such as the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Recently, fraternities have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. An Oklahoma chapter of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon was disbanded just over a month ago due to an extremely racist chant that ended up going viral after being posted on YouTube. The Oracle sat down with Gerrit Born, a Hamline sophomore and President of the Theta Chi’s Beta Kappa chapter here on Hamline, and Travis Ulrich, junior Scholarship Chair of the fraternity, to ask a few questions abou Greek life on campus.

Q: What are your roles within the fraternity?

Born: I’m the president of the fraternity. I run chapter meetings, I’m in charge of risk management during our events, and I stay in contact with the national chapter. I also help plan our philanthropic events as well as any other activities the fraternity decides to run.

Ulrich: I’m the Scholarship Chair, which means most of my responsibilities comes from keeping the guys honest about getting their schoolwork done, because in Theta Chi, we want academics to come first.

Q: Is there some benefit of the fraternity that you especially enjoy?

Born: I enjoy helping students learn that not all fraternities are part of the “frat image” that is so widespread in the U.S. I personally never saw myself joining the fraternity, but once I did, I really enjoyed getting into the life of the fraternity.

Ulrich: Greek life really helped open me up to people from different areas of the country that I might not have interacted with otherwise. If you put a lot into the fraternity, you get a lot out. Recently, I was emailing with a professor at a different college about potential opportunities in my career field, which I knew probably wouldn’t be happening if the fraternity hadn’t connected us. That level of networking between people across the nation is another great part of being in Theta Chi.

Q: Which fraternity activities do you enjoy the most?

Born: Personally, I enjoy the philanthropic events the most. I was in charge of running the Trick or Canning event here at Hamline, and we took in over 1500 cans of nonperishable food, by far the most successful year we’ve ever had running that kind of event.

Ulrich: I personally enjoy simply hanging with the guys and playing games. I also enjoy going out to bars with friends and alumni.

Q: How did you hear about the viral video about the fraternity in Oklahoma?

Born: I found out within ten hours of the video being posted, because I was contacted by a number of different people about the video.

Ulrich: My dad, who is a former fraternity member, saw the news first, and he texted me.

Q: What was your reaction to the video?

Born: I was glad that nothing like that would happen here, and I helped to release a statement to our members saying as much. I felt pretty disturbed watching the video, to be honest. In our weekly chapter meeting after hearing about the video, we had a great open discussion on it and made sure everyone had their question answered. I’ve also heard that the University of Minnesota is hosting a piece of artwork dealing with this video, so I’m interested to see the reaction to that as well.

Ulrich: I’m not surprised it happened, because I’ve heard that racism like that down in southern fraternities is more common than people would like to believe. I’m in no way happy about it, but I don’t think people should judge the national fraternity for something that one chapter did.

Q: Are there any fraternity activities currently in the works?

Born: We’ve had discussions about possibly doing something similar to the Green Dot program, except it would be about more cultural ideas instead of the personal awareness training.

Ulrich: We have a benefit concert called “Down in the Basement” coming up next Friday at 7 p.m. We suggest a donation, as any donations are being given to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, but the event is free for anyone interested.