An inside look at Chi Phi, the newest fraternity on campus
At the start of the semester, UW-La Crosse was pleased to welcome a new Greek organization to its family. The newest UW-L fraternity, Chi Phi, was founded by two sophomores, President Harry Kirchoff and Vice President Ryan Waeffler. They came to UW-L from Missouri and Madison where fraternity participation is higher than it is here. With a newly found inspiration drawn from some of their closest friends, the two made it their goal this semester to embark on a journey they believe will be the highlight of their college experience.
Kirchoff and Waeffler both wanted to get more involved in the university, but neither was sure exactly how they wanted to do it. The idea started as an epiphany the two shared on a dorm floor of all places. Since that day their seemingly crazy ideas developed into the fourth social fraternity at UW-L.
Keeping UW-L's meager two percent Greek life participation in mind, the two wanted to make an addition that would also improve the overall reputation of fraternities on campus. "We want to enrich member's college experience through brotherhood and at the same time establish networking ties for college and post collegiate careers," Waeffler said.
The two admit that they were at first skeptical of the frat-associated term "brotherhood," but now consider it a valid element of fraternity life.
"It is more unique than other organizations because of the camaraderie and work aspect," Waeffler said. "We've seen people who didn't know each other existed two weeks ago grow into best friends."
Chi Phi has over 40 thousand national members and according to Waeffler and Kirchoff, gives members the opportunity to develop as campus citizens and gain networking connections that will eventually help them get jobs in the future.
Members of the Chi Phi inaugural class will be recognized as the founding fathers for the UW-L addition at a ceremony in Madison this April.
Chi Phi colonies were started at UW-Madison and Eastern Illinois University at the same time as the UW-L colony. All of which will be initiated at the same Madison ceremony.
They are currently in the process of establishing their planning committees and electing officers; in particular the philanthropy committee which will be organizing community service opportunities with the Boys and Girls Club of greater La Crosse. They will be volunteering at a youth wrestling tournament on Feb. 20.
Kirchoff and Waeffler are continuously working to improve the group and will attend the Regional Leadership Alliance in Indianapolis as well as the yearly Chi Phi Congress held in Florida.
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