First, let me clear something up: there is no Schreyer “takeover” of the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi. After the previous members of Beta were asked to leave last year, the alumni leadership of Beta Theta Pi began developing a unique vision for the social fraternity.
Dean Christian Brady of the Schreyer Honors College was asked and agreed to be part of a team of mentors and advisers to new members. Students are being recruited from the Honors College to join Beta 2.0, but other campus organizations including Cru, Lion Ambassadors, and UPUA are being reached out to as well.
The new Beta Theta Pi will feature an alcohol-free chapter house and a hazing-free pledge education program. While the chapter will still have a healthy social life, the alumni (read: Don Abbey) hope that the focus will be on traditions, values, leadership, and character development. The fraternity will offer a Leadership Program (funded by the Abbey Leadership Program) to supplement the pledge education program and extend real world resources to members through the entire experience.
Having a dry house does not mean that Beta will be a dry fraternity. The brothers will still be allowed to host socials involving alcohol at bars, restaurants, hotels, and through partnerships with other fraternities. There won’t be much opportunity to break the dry rule either. The house now has a security system featuring security cameras covering internal and external common. The system’s purpose is ostensibly to safeguard the property, its residents, and their guests… but considering the house’s history, it might also be intended to protect the property from its residents.
Those involved with reestablishing Beta hope that it will create a precedent for other fraternities at Penn State in confronting the issues that most affect the Greek community: stereotypes about who Greeks are; negative views on the recruitment process; and suspicions of obscene alcohol consumption.
Jeff Rundle, the Reestablishment Director for the local chapter, explained in an email,
We realize that Beta Theta Pi is in a unique position to provide an undergraduate experience that connects great men with all that Penn State has to offer. We are recruiting men who are already leaders within the university community and who seek an opportunity to help build and shape the future of Greek life on this campus. Our chapter will build a brotherhood based on shared values of service, academic excellence, and mutual respect. Through strong partnerships with the University, student organizations, the Greek community, and our alumni, we can return to the true reason fraternities began – namely, to help men of character grow and succeed through the development of life long relationships.
The chapter is still recruiting its first group of brothers, who will be allowed to live in the house starting next fall.