Historically black fraternity joins USD greek system
The University of San Diego welcomed its first ever official black fraternity to campus last May.
Phi Beta Sigma (Sigma), which has over 700 chapters worldwide, will join the eight other fraternities USD already has on campus. The fraternity, which was founded last May, is not an official orginazation part of USD’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) quite yet, but the council is working to add them to the group. The fraternity is currently attending and participating in meetings with IFC, but it will not have all the same voting rights until they are officially set up as an organization and introduced into the council.
Although several other black fraternities and Greek organizations, including Sigma, have had members on USD’s campus before, no group has ever been recognized by administration. The group will need to enroll at least ten active members before being established as an official Torero Organization. The colony will be overseen by the Omicron Iota chapter of Sigma, one of two alumni chapters already in San Diego.
The two founding members of USD Sigma are seniors Myles Ginyard and Jordan Harrison. The new colony will have help from the 16 other members of the Omicron Iota chapter, as well as the Sigma chapter already established at nearby San Diego State University. The two members will have to grow the colony to meet guidelines set forth by the international organization before being chartered as an official chapter.
Growing the fraternity on campus may be a little bit of a struggle. However, Ginyard said that he is hopeful that the chapter will grow considerably in their first full semester on campus and meet the requirements to become a chapter.
“[The biggest difficulty we might face moving forward] is probably being the new fraternity amongst other fraternities who have been around for a while,” Ginyard said. “But we aren’t too worried about that because we don’t normally have big groups of people join at one time anyway. We are confident that we will attract the needed and desired amount of people.”
USD has a total male undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,600 and a total population of over 2,000 students of color. Ginyard commented on Sigma’s background as a historically black fraternity and how it will bring a new presence to the greek life community.
“Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., is a historically black fraternity,” Ginyard said. “This doesn’t mean it’s only for black students. Our presence here will bring that culture to Greek life.”
Ginyard explained that Sigma hopes to collaborate with the existing Fraternity and Sorority Life at USD.
“Members of the [Interfraternity Council], which Phi Beta Sigma along with eight other organizations belong to, are known for having step shows,” Ginyard said. “Stepping is a big part of the historically black fraternity and sorority culture. We plan to have some shows and other events that bring that vibe and culture to campus once we fully get adjusted to being here.”
The USD Sigmas will not take part in traditional fraternity recruitment this year, which started this past Sunday. The USD Sigmas do not have any plans for a formal recruitment quite yet, but they are planning to get their name out to as many students on USD’s campus as they can.
Ginyard stated that the fraternity hopes to draw men who understand the importance of serving the community, achieving academic excellence, and serving a lifelong brotherhood to their fraternity.
“Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., principles are brotherhood, scholarship and service,” Ginyard said. “The motto is ‘Culture for Service, Service for Humanity.’ We are looking for people who understand the importance of serving the community, academic excellence and lifelong brotherhood.”
Sigma is now the third fraternity USD has added to its ranks since 2014, joining Sigma Pi and Pi Kappa Theta. The fraternity is looking to grow not only in numbers, but also within the community.
“We are not an exclusive fraternity; we are an inclusive fraternity, so don’t be afraid to come talk to us or ask any questions,” Ginyard said. “We are an organization that truly takes brotherhood, scholarship, and service seriously. We are small now, but we will grow with the help of the campus community. We just want to bring something new to campus that can really help add to the campus diversity and Greek life.”
It is unsure how long it will take Sigma to establish themselves in USD’s culture. One thing is for sure: they are here, they are official, and they are something new and diverse, something both USD and the fraternity pride themselves on.
Written by Kevin Nelson, News Editor