Alumni News

Brotherhood in the Making: Inside the Expansion at Illinois State University

Featured image courtesy of Illinois State University 

For the better part of the fall semester, staff from Lambda Chi Alpha International Headquarters (IHQ) have been on site at Illinois State University. Through one-on-one meetings and different recruitment events, the colony has reached an impressive 29 members and still growing. We were able to catch up with the team in charge of leading the expansion, Brett Turner (Recruitment Specialist) and Walker Rose (Educational Leadership Consultant) to gain insight into their process.

IHQ: What is your role in the Illinois State expansion?

Illinois State University is located in Normal, Illinois.

Brett Turner (BT): I have been the lead with the expansion team here at Illinois State. This is the fourth expansion I have done, and it has been pretty great so far. We have been on site for the past several weeks, recruiting and helping to build our founding father base for the Illinois State colony.

Walker Rose (WR): I have been assisting Brett with the expansion. We work really closely with the Greek office; they have been very supportive here at ISU. They have given us opportunities to reach out to people through tabling, through some recruitment-style events, and we put on different things around campus. I think the biggest challenge has been getting our name out there. It’s a pretty sizable school, about 23000 students. We are a brand new organization, a small fish in a big pond so we really try to make a name for ourselves doing what we think is the right way. I think the biggest reward has definitely been meeting with those guys who are really interested in doing something that is just a little bit bigger than themselves. There are a lot of people who want to make an impact on this campus; they want to leave a legacy and do a lot of cool things with their experience on campus.

IHQ: What has the process been like to bring Lambda Chi Alpha to Illinois State?

BT: It’s been pretty similar to most other expansions. Our process mostly centers around one-on-one meetings and spending time building relationships with students on campus to get to know them really well to find out if they are going to be a great fit for Lambda Chi. We spend a lot of time preparing to build our names list this summer. Once we got here, we familiarized ourselves with campus, the organizations, and what students are like here to try and get a good understanding on how we can approach this expansion. So far, it has been really great to have that preparation and to have built a great base of our founding fathers.

Brett Turner is in his second year as a Recruitment Specialist.

IHQ: What do you think makes Illinois State a good campus for a Lambda Chi chapter?

BT: I think the number one thing that has impressed me so far is the level of interest and passion that students have had, at least the students that have joined on and the students who we have talked to. They have really wanted to create something new, create something different, to really form their unique opportunity, and that’s been really great so far. Illinois State is a beautiful campus, it’s a big campus that is really open and has a really strong Greek Life system here, really strong fraternities and sororities, so it’s really great to be a part of that.

IHQ: How do you think that Lambda Chi fits into the Greek Life culture here at Illinois State?

BT: Like I mentioned, I think it is a really strong Greek community, but we have a really great opportunity to help our founding fathers create something new and create their own unique opportunity for a different type of student. We are in the process of figuring out what that is going to be. We have had a lot of really committed members so far that have been passionate about that, who have been tabling on campus to try to get our name out there and meeting new people and bringing in new students from all over to be a part of what we are doing.

Walker Rose has aided in recruitment and selecting the best men for the colony.

IHQ: How do you think that Lambda Chi Alpha can set itself apart from other Greek organizations on campus?

WR: I think setting ourselves apart is just by being Lambda Chi Alpha: to follow our values, to follow what we have been taught since day one. Our Seven Core Values are important to us and to let that light shine in our members is important. I think that being able to stand out is just being a Lambda Chi in general.

IHQ: Tell us a little bit about what the numbers of the colony look like so far?

BT: As of right now, we are almost at 30 members. It has been really great to see the level of interest we have had with our founding fathers. We are looking to continue to build and find the right men that want to be a part of this…we try to hold ourselves to a higher standard, so we try to find the best men we can to be a part of our brotherhood, and we have been really happy with the number we are at. We still have a few weeks here where we will be recruiting to try to find the right men who can join our brotherhood.

IHQ: How do you think the members of this colony so far live up to the teachings and values of Lambda Chi?

WR: I think we have a great diverse group of guys, and that’s really important to us. They see that as important as well. They want to stand out and be different on campus; they don’t want to be the stereotypical “frat” so to speak. They want to make that impact on campus, strive to do great things, and stand out for the right reasons. Those high expectations that Brett and I have should be the basic standard for them.

The men are looking to grow even more in the coming semester.

IHQ: What do you hope to see once the two of you leave the campus?

WR: I hope to see them continue to recruit great men, first and foremost. I hope that they instill the values that Brett and I have taught and recognize that being a Lambda Chi is not to be just a regular person on campus. It’s to be that person who holds himself to a higher standard, who doesn’t accept the status quo, and someone who will put in the work. As a new colony, you have to put in the work from day one and finding people who are determined and motivated will be important.

We also had the opportunity to sit down with the some of the newest members of Lambda Chi Alpha.

IHQ: Why did you decide to join Lambda Chi Alpha?

Kobe Holmes, High Theta (KH): When I was first confronted about Lambda Chi Alpha, I saw a leadership opportunity. I like being in charge and helping the group of guys get to where they need to go.

IHQ: How do you think Lambda Chi Alpha fits in with the campus culture of Illinois State?

KH: For Lambda Chi, we are open to everyone. We give them leadership opportunities, we are willing to help on all aspects to better themselves as an individual. People need this. It helps them to find themselves and better themselves in what they want to do so they are able to follow their passions and their dreams.

IHQ: How do you think the values and teachings of Lambda Chi Alpha fit into your life personally?

Matthew Chiavola, High Alpha (MC): My whole family has been involved with the Feeding America movement, since I was little. I definitely see myself as a leader; my older brother is an entrepreneur and I see myself doing something similar, so the leadership just fit and something I saw in myself.

IHQ: What is the hardest part about beginning a new colony?

MC: I wouldn’t say that we have had much difficulty so far, because we have been moving pretty quickly really. Recruitment and just finding the right guys that fit the requirements of Lambda Chi Alpha and making sure we are recruiting the right people and getting the word out about what we are doing can be difficult, because there are so many other fraternities on campus.

IHQ: What excites you the most about bringing Lambda Chi Alpha back to Illinois State?

Ryan Musleh, High Delta (RM): It excites me to leave a legacy. Recruiting is something I’m really passionate about, as I am High Delta. I really want to build something bigger than myself and be able to say, ‘I did that’ and having a sense of pride in something. That is what I’m most excited to do, is the building aspect.

IHQ: What do you hope to see in the future from this group of men?

RM: We already have 29 guys signed, which is a huge accomplishment and obviously something we want to build upon. As the representatives from IHQ are passing the torch to us, I really want to see us build off of each other. It’s not just going through the motions; we are really taking the helm. I want us to be able to provide unique opportunities for others to join, and that’s where I hope to go from here: keep bouncing ideas off of each other, keep searching for ways to be unique on campus.

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