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They’re not brothers of blood and they haven’t been together long, but they’re brothers nonetheless. These brothers make up Sigma Pi, an international fraternity at Keene State College.
The group is making a comeback after the fraternity on campus split over a year ago and aims to bring back what they say is a fraternity with a purpose. One of those purposes is spreading awareness about organ donation after one of their brothers died.
President and recruitment chair Matthew Soprano said, “We did lose a brother, and he was an organ donor who saved about 50 people. Somebody has his own heart now, so his family basically pitched to (Sigma Pi) that ‘We have a 300-pound African American man in our family now because he has my son’s heart.’ It’s pretty touching, and I feel like that’s going be a really great thing for us.”
Cameron Chana was an Eastern Illinois University alum who died in a bus accident in May 2009. Today, the Donate Life organization is Sigma Pi’s national philanthropy. Donate Life is a non-profit organization that increases organ, tissue, and eye donation throughout the country. The members of Sigma Pi at KSC are hosting Donate Life events this year to raise and promote awareness about donation and teach others how donations benefit many people.
Aside from Donate Life, Sigma Pi is also hosting another philanthropic event called Amazing Day for suicide awareness.
“Those are our two fraternity philanthropy events, but we do other things such as our ACE project which is just giving back to the community, giving back to the school, because they’ve already given us so much so we want to give that back to them such as a faculty dinner,” Soprano said. Also on the fraternity’s agenda are other brotherhood events such as barbecues, bowling, movie nights, and socials with other fraternities and sororities on campus.
Senior Kevin Robinson, Sigma Pi’s third counselor and treasurer, described that ACE stands for Altruistic Campus Experience.
“We’re trying to give back to our campus and school due to the fact that they’re giving us education so we’ve done things like have faculty dinners, we’ve had things like helping grounds keeping like planting trees, flowers plants, helping paint rooms, things like that just to give back to the school,” said Robinson.
Junior Dillon Hyland also a member, said the focus of the fraternity is developing.
“I would definitely say that Sigma Pi’s main goal is really just to help its members develop into people, into men. We really try to push ourselves into new areas and help one another grow,” he said.
Soprano had a similar response.
“I think our purpose is just to promote becoming a man. I think a lot of things kind of fall from what we try to provide for everybody. We try to provide scholarships, chivalry, things of that sort but our main purpose is to take boys, make them into men, through what we see is accurate in our eyes such as getting a high GPA, doing community service, becoming a brother, leading the pack basically,” he said.
Robinson furthered that the fraternity was about lifelong friendships as well. Although the group split sometime last January, according to Soprano, the new Sigma Pi established quickly. Many members joined last February. Soprano explained that twenty members had left during the break up and the only two that stuck with the hopes of keeping Sigma Pi alive were graduate Tim Reiss and junior Cameron Haggar. The group is getting a fresh start with only nine members so far after a handful of brothers transferred to other schools and graduated from the college last May.
“It was kind of a he-said, she-said thing, but the past is the past so I’m not even dwelling on it right now, just looking forward,” Soprano said when asked why the old Sigma Pi split. Now, the group is focused on recruiting more members.
“Quality derives from quantity, so I really want to get enough people interested in seeing that we’re legit and we’re ready to go and that they’re going to be founding fathers of hopefully one of the best fraternities on campus,” Soprano said.
He continued, “I just really want to set that foundation so that next semester when I leave, my brothers will be able to build off that,” Soprano said.
He explained that after elections were held, he became president because he had the most time to contribute the most for the group.
He said, “I feel like I have the tools necessary to build a nice foundation for future brothers to build off of.”
Hyland pointed out what he and the brothers are looking for in possible members.
“We’re interested in people that are going to take it seriously, we have fun, but we get down to business too,” he said. “One of the really interesting things about this is people who join Sigma Pi now at Keene State are going to be founding fathers so we’re going to be our own division and do our own thing and really establish Sigma Pi Keene State,” Hyland further said.
According to Hyland, the group is aiming to have 20 men by the end of the semester.
There is no set rush date for Sigma Pi and the brothers will be looking for more members as the year continues.
“We need to focus a lot on recruitment just because we’re starting brand new,” Robinson said. “So we gotta get cooking,” Robinson said firmly, but nonetheless with a smile.
Brittany Ballanytne can be contacted at