PiKapp receives charter a year after recolonization

After 10 months of work, the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity was successfully rechartered Saturday and is once again a full-fledged, active chapter in USC’s Greek community.

Welcome back · Alex Fadil (left), president of USC’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, stands with other members of the fraternity and members of the national office as PiKapp receives its charter. - Photo courtesy of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity

PiKapp first came to USC in 1976 but was disbanded in 2006 when its charter was revoked by its national council. The fraternity recolonized in February 2009 and has been working since then to earn its charter back and once again become a part of The Row.

“We’ve worked very, very hard to recharter our fraternity over the last year,” said Theo De Berito, a senior majoring in gerontology and the founding president of PiKapp at USC. “It’s been a long and tedious process, but it’s also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. We’re all glad we did it.”

Being chartered grants PiKapp full chapter status in the national organization, whereas previously it was considered only a colony. It is an official recognition that the fraternity chapter is now ready to govern itself, as opposed to being supervised by its national office.

“We’re more independent in that we can create our own policies and bylaws now,” said current President Alex Fadil. “For instance, we can now decide what percentage of active votes and the minimum GPA required to initiate a new member as opposed to having it decided for us by national. As long as we uphold the standards of the national fraternity, we can now alter the details as we please. Before rechartering, we went strictly by national standards.”

The charter process included organizing philanthropic events, such as Sorority Football, establishing a budget, holding officer elections and recruiting new members; PiKapp currently has around 65 active members, twice what it had at the beginning of the rechartering.

In the process, PiKapp also raised money for its chosen philanthropy, Push America. Push America, which was founded by PiKapp, serves the disabled through a combination of disability education and the construction of accessibility tools such as wheelchair ramps. According to Tyler Quinn, the leadership consultant for the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, PiKapp is the only fraternity to own and operate its own philanthropy.

The actual chartering ceremony began Thursday and culminated Saturday with a banquet at the Los Angeles Athletic Club to celebrate the fraternity’s success.

“This is an exciting time for any Greek community to add a fraternity to its ranks,” Quinn said. “It ensures change and makes us stronger as a whole. Pi Kappa Phi will really add something of value in terms of challenging Greek stereotypes on campus.”

PiKapp hopes to use its new chartered status to enhance the image of fraternity members as leadership figures, he said.

“The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Development welcomes Pi Kappa Phi back as a chartered fraternity; we’re very much looking forward to what this organization will bring to USC,” said Beth Saul, assistant dean for Student Affairs and director for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development.

Beginning next semester, the USC chapter of PiKapp will reclaim its former house, which is currently occupied by the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. ZBT will take over the current Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house.