Arizona State University’s first online fraternity was officially chartered in October.
Phi Sigma Pi - Eta Upsilon is Phi Sigma Pi’s first online chapter. After a year of being an online associate fraternity, the chapter got their Greek letters on October 19.
The chartering ceremony, like many of the chapter’s proceedings, took place over Zoom. It was led by Creighton Klein, the Chartering Officer and Director of New Membership Relations for Phi Sigma Pi National Headquarters.
“I believe this new chapter has set a precedent for all other potential virtual chapters we will no doubt welcome in the future,” Klein said during the ceremony. “I hope the members with us here tonight understand how impactful they have been through their determination and commitment to Phi Sigma Pi.”
Being chartered means that Phi Sigma Pi - Eta Upsilon has a voice in the national fraternity. They have a say in the national constitution, organization and finances.
AJ Wolfe, the President of Phi Sigma Pi - Eta Upsilon, is an online student majoring in global health and minoring in anthropology and earning a certificate in evolutionary medicine. Wolfe said the best part about being in an online fraternity is the camaraderie.
“I know a lot of people tend to say that being an online student is lonely,” Wolfe said. “Our chapter, since it’s ridiculously active on Discord and Zoom, you legitimately feel like you’re part of a family.”
Phi Sigma Pi is a co-ed honor fraternity, rather than a social one. The Eta Upsilon chapter has 54 members nationwide and one international alum.
“All of us are very competitive and rigorous with our academic studies,” Wolfe said. “I have talked to members who have said this motivates them to do better in their classes, to pretty much bring their A game.”
Fraternities and sororities typically have a specific charity they fundraise for, and Phi Sigma Pi is no different. The Eta Upsilon chapter has to get creative when raising money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
“Right now we’re running a fundraiser just within the chapter…by selling shirts on Custom Inc. and seeing how much money we can raise there,” Wolfe said. “It looks like we might start dabbling into doing a silent auction via zoom where members donate items they’re willing to sell.”
Jeremy Sleeter, who’s majoring in public service public policy with a focus in emergency management and homeland security, is the new member educator and former president of Omega Delta Phi, a more traditional male-only social fraternity.
“I think that an online fraternity could be really, really cool,” Sleeter said. “I think that every student could benefit from joining Greek life and I’m glad to see that there is an opportunity for online students and students that are non-traditional.”
Sleeter was an online student for a semester, but he said he probably wouldn’t have joined an online fraternity if it was an option because he was too busy with life outside of school.
As an online fraternity, it makes sense that Phi Sigma Pi - Eta Upsilon has been pretty active on social media since being chartered.
“Do you haze by making people download viruses or what?” I asked @PSP_ASUO on Twitter.
They replied: “We abhor hazing of any kind. It is unbecoming. But we are not against meme wars.”