Greek Spotlight: Alpha Sigma Phi

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By Vignatha Margam

Fraternity refers to ‘a group of people sharing common interests.’ The word originated rougly sometime in the fourteenth century from the Latin word fraternitatem which translates to “brotherhood.” The word itself conveys the strength of the bond that is formed between the members of a fraternity. “Brothers” are family, they support each other, and, most importantly, they’re bonded for life. Sometime though, this bond goes even deeper than family because its family you choose and share interests/goals with.

Founded on the – once secret – principles of Silence, Charity, Purity, Honor, and Patriotism, Alpha Sigma Phi was the first Greek chapter to be officially recognized by NJIT. The Alpha Rho chapter of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity was first established at NJIT way back in 1921 when the college was still known as the Newark College of Engineering. Not only does the fraternity have a long history within NJIT but throughout the country as well. Alpha Sigma Phi is the 10th oldest collegiate fraternity in the United States, founded at Yale in 1845. Brothers of Alpha Sigma Phi abide by the motto “to better the man” which emphasizes their determination to make a difference by living by their values and setting a positive example for those around them. Alpha Sigma Phi is a co-curricular organization which means that it complements the institution’s goal of preparing students for success after graduation. I’m sure many of us have had classes in Kupfrian hall, which is named after Wilbur J. Kupfrian – who was an Alpha Sigma Phi “brother.”

The chapter supports five major philanthropic organizations that deal with a wide scope/range of prevalent and often under-emphasized issues: The Rape, Abuse, and Incest Nation Network (RAINN) which has a hotline for sexual assault victims, Aware Awake Alive which raises awareness for alchol abuse, The Humane Society which is the largest animal advocacy group in the world, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America which sponsors youth mentoring programs, and Homes for Our Troops which helps severely injured veterans by building homes and raising funds for the welfare of the veterans and their families. Each of the above organizations is focused on a unique and noble pursuit. They all bring awareness to often over-looked but very fundamental issues of life that hold true with the fraternity’s over-arching values. In support of one of their five philantropies, the chaper at NJIT has been selling dounuts to raise money in Tiernan for the Aware Awake Alive foundation since the 80s (when the chapter was re-chartered because the college became changed to New Jersey Institute of Technology).

What does it mean to be a member of Alpha Sigma Phi:

“I enjoy being part of the Fraternity because not only does it aid me in my pursuit of becoming a better man, but it also has introduced me to a group of gentleman who I can affectionately call my brothers and not many friendships could really compare to that sense of comradery.” – Maxwell Gordon, a member of NJIT’s Alpha Sigma Phi

“It’s not something you can really nail down and express to someone. I’m sure any other member of any other brotherhood will tell you the same thing, but it’s the atmosphere of the brotherhood…There is an intangible quality involved with becoming accepted into a brotherhood that makes the house a home and the organization a family. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but to me it’s what I’ve come to know as an “established perimeter”. The perimeter is a wall of trust and inter-dependancy unlike any I’ve known that begins in the Fraternity and encompasses everything within it. This makes Alpha Sigma Phi my home and family because they provide me values to guide my thoughts, temper my actions, and direct my energy towards our most important directive: ” To better the man. “”- Andew Guadalupe, President

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