UC Davis welcomes honors fraternity

UC Davis is home to various Greek organizations. There are fraternities and sororities based on ethnicity and major and others with social and service goals. But now, a new fraternity has set foot on campus for a different cause.

Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity is a coeducational fraternity open to undergraduate students pursuing a variety of academic interests with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. The fraternity was first established at Davis in Spring 2012.

“Phi Sigma Pi is different from most existing organizations on campus as we are a mix of all the social, community service and pre-professional organizations that exist here,” said fraternity president and fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Andy Nguyen.

The fraternity is based on the “tripod,” which according to the organization’s website “entails the acquisition and dissemination of information and knowledge through scholarship, the application of professional skills and the fostering of leadership qualities by promoting and advancing the welfare of humanity and the fostering of non-discriminatory fraternal fellowship within [the] ranks.”

“Although we are just starting up a new chapter of Phi Sigma Pi at UC Davis, we are confident that our presence will be felt in the near future,” Nguyen said.

Founded on Feb. 14, 1916 at State Teachers College in Warrensburg, Mo., Phi Sigma Pi Honorary Professional Fraternity was initially intended to be an organization for teachers at teacher-training institutions but evolved when students chose to attend liberal arts schools instead.

Phi Sigma Pi then chose to open itself up to all academic majors and changed its name to the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. In 1977, its national constitution was amended to admit eligible women and Phi Sigma Pi became a coeducational fraternity that is continually growing even to this day, such as by its recent addition to the UC Davis community.

“After hearing about other chapters of this fraternity, I wanted to try it out by going to their rush week. They proved to be intellectual people who want to provide service to others,” said first-year biological sciences major Nashel Patel.

Upholding their motto to “Discover your potential. Learn. Inspire. Lead,” Nguyen said that active members of Phi Sigma Pi lead by example and strive to help out in any way, shape or form that they can. They invite guest speakers to inform the members of interesting research in the scientific community, visit historic sites and museums and provide community service, especially for their national philanthropy, Teach For America.

“Our purpose is to bring together some of the brightest and most motivated students on campus and work together in a spirit of excellence to encourage the three ideals,” Nguyen said. “We are working together with our new initiate class to plan major events for this current quarter as well as for the future.”

Phi Sigma Pi organizes events that tie in the triad of scholarship, leadership and fellowship. Scholarship events include multicultural food nights and visiting the Bicycle Hall of Fame, while leadership events include UC Davis campus planting and soup kitchen visits.

Aside from the hard work, it has fellowship events ranging from bowling socials to outdoor retreats such as camping or hiking. Fundraising events include selling cookies and soup on campus.

“The people are really great and everyone gets along. Phi Sigma Pi actively creates opportunities to do things that I normally wouldn’t do, like our trip to the Bicycle Hall of Fame,” said active member and fourth-year biochemistry major Kristin Bourne.

There are approximately 35 people in the UC Davis chapter. To remain a member, each must attend meetings every week. To become an active member of the fraternity, students must complete a quarter of courses at a four-year university followed by participation in the initiate program to assess if Phi Sigma Pi is the right organization for them.

Although fall rush has ended, Phi Sigma Pi will be holding a spring rush for those interested in becoming part of this new chapter.

“We are looking for members who are dedicated, passionate and active members of the UC Davis community,” Nguyen said.

If interested in joining Phi Sigma Pi, attend the fraternity’s meetings every Wednesday at 8:10 p.m. in 1006 Giedt.

ALICE LEE can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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