Miami Pike chapter receives highest honor
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 01:09
Amidst house fires, suspensions and lost charters, positive news graces Miami’s Greek community with Pi Kappa Alpha’s (Pike’s) recent reception of the fraternity’s highest honor.
Each year, the Pike headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. sifts through piles of year-end summaries from over 200 of its international chapters, including U.S. and Canada, and identifies the top 5 percent as Robert Adger Smythe winners. Smythe, who helped to reorganize the fraternity in 1889, is a junior founder. This year, for the first time since the late 70s, the list included Pike at Miami.
“We’re doing something that not every chapter is doing, doing something above and beyond the call of duty,” senior Pike president Patrick Ryan said. “This is the highest award you can win in Pike.”
The criteria for an award-winning chapter, according to Ryan, are a strong recruiting class, active philanthropy and healthy member participation.
Like all organizations, success starts from the bottom, and in Greek life this means the recruiting classes.
“We had an awesome rush class last semester; I am very proud of that,” junior Pike recruitment chair Robert Minicucci said. “[During recruitment] we try to be personable with the freshmen and make them feel like our friends and it turns out that most of them end up our friends.”
Ryan also applauded Pike’s newest pledge class.
“Our new members are learning the most efficiently, becoming very good, active brothers and seeking out leadership roles,” Ryan said. “We’re running a well-oiled machine.”
A large recruitment class however, is not the only reason Pike won the Smythe. According to Pi Kappa Alpha headquarters, Miami’s chapter raised $18,104 through philanthropy.
“We always have some sort of philanthropy going on, whether it be a big event or small, we always make sure we are doing our due diligence to the town and to our community,” Ryan said.
One such philanthropic venture is “Beards 4 Boobs,” which, according to Ryan, was started by two Pike brothers last year. Essentially, it is No Shave November for a good cause, the cause being breast cancer. No Shave November is a tradition in which men attempt to abstain from shaving for the month of November.
According to Ryan, Pike has big plans for this event, as the fraternity hopes to get all members of the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) involved.
“I get that one fraternity and one sorority can make a lot of money, but why not tap into the entire IFC and raise one big check for something that is a great cause,” Ryan said.
Along with recruitment and philanthropy, Pike is the largest fraternity on Miami’s campus, with 124 members, according to Pike’s headquarters.
At the dawn of the 2000s, Ryan said this was an unthinkable accomplishment for the fraternity.
“This is something that we never really expected that we could do,” Ryan said. “In the early 2000s we considered closing the house, we had a fire, it wasn’t good, and then we got one good pledge class and they recruited another one and another.”
Minicucci also recognized that Pike has come a long way.
“We had 17 members in 2002, but I want to recognize all of the past presidents for all of their hard work,” Minicucci said. “We won the Smythe award one year but it took 12 years to get there.”
Both Ryan and Minicucci were quick to pass along recognition, saying winning the award was not a singular effort and giving praise to past and current Pike members and advisers.
Ryan said he believes that winning this award will only further Pike’s success and bolster their recruitment.
“Saying that you are in the best of the best, that you are in the upper echelon of Pi Kappa Alpha, you set yourself apart from other fraternities,” Ryan said. “That right there is an attraction, because you know you are going to be joining a successful group.”