New fraternity focuses on brotherhood, philanthropy

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Madison Barlow

When freshman marketing major Dylan Cross began his career at Appalachian State University, he knew he wanted to get involved on campus, but never thought he would join a fraternity.

But when Phi Kappa Tau began being advertised as a new Greek organization on campus, Cross said his interest was piqued.

“I never was really interested in Greek Life or joining a fraternity,” he said. “I didn’t think it was my scene, but a few of my friends who are on the ski team with me convinced me to go to an interest meeting for Phi Kappa Tau. I was really drawn to the fact that a lot of the guys share the same interests as I do.”

Although Cross and many other brothers across campus only got involved with PKT this past fall semester, the organization has been in the process of colonizing since last spring.

Sophomore marketing major and PKT Chapter President Robert Purcell said he was interested in bringing a new fraternity to campus and began working with Becky Cooke, the assistant director for Fraternity and Sorority Life, to see what he could do.

“When I began talking with Becky about the idea of bringing a new organization to campus, she told me that Phi Kappa Tau’s national headquarters had already contacted her with an interest in bringing the organization to App this semester,” Purcell said. “I knew it was going to be a great experience and a good fit for Greek Life here from the beginning.”

After his meeting with Cooke, Purcell began to set up interest meetings for potential brothers and began operating as an interest group on campus.

“I got in contact with PKT’s national headquarters, and they gave me the goal to facilitate an interest meeting with at least 20 interested guys,” Purcell said. “So, for the next few weeks I talked up the idea of it to a lot of my close friends. When the first meeting came around we had 17 guys show up, and I was pretty happy.”

Over the summer, Purcell kept in touch with Alex Calor, the director of expansion for Phi Kappa Tau’s national headquarters.

“The process started pretty late into the spring semester, so Alex and I kept in touch and talked about facilitating growth for the group once school started again in the fall,” Purcell said. “Once school started I kept holding interest meetings for the group. And then, in October, two representatives from headquarters came for five weeks to help me with colony development, elections, recruitment and other administrative tasks.”

During that time, they went from approximately 40 members to 60.

PKT officially became colonized Nov. 22 in a colonization ceremony held in the Plemmons Student Union with 57 bidded members.

“It was a good feeling to see all of everyone’s hard work pay off,” Purcell said. “It was a relief that all of the earliest challenges were done, and I’m excited that now we can move forward and start operating as any other frat would.”

While all of the bidded members have different reasons for joining PKT, sophomore nursing major Alex Haugh was interested in the organization as a way to meet new friends.

“I love App, but I didn’t make as many friends as I wanted to my freshman year,” Haugh said. “I saw Phi Kappa Tau as a way to give back, get involved and be with new friends who had the same interests and common goal as I did.”

Haugh is most looking forward to brotherhood and philanthropy events in the future.

“I’m excited to get everything going now that we are colonized,” he said. “I know we’re starting to plan different events and functions, and that’ll all be new to me, so I’m looking forward to see how that goes.”

Purcell is also excited about the future events.

“We’re a really young group, and there’s a lot to learn,” he said. “But I can’t wait to see how the men and organization as a whole grows over the next few years. The future definitely looks promising.”

Story: Madison Barlow, Intern News Reporter