PIKE fraternity returns to Oregon State University

Riley Youngman

Men at Oregon State University will have the opportunity to be a founding member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (PIKE) as it returns after a six year hiatus.

Jarret Way and Travis Andersen, who work with the international PIKE fraternity to colonize chapters around the country, have been at OSU since mid January. They plan on staying through the end of Winter Term. When they leave campus, their goal is to having a fully functioning colony in place.

“I am really excited about the expansion of (PIKE) on campus,” said Alec Petersen, a senior in public health management and policy, and the Interfraternity Council at OSU. “We’re always looking to grow (Interfraternity Council) membership on campus, and PIKE is an excellent international organization to help us achieve that goal.”

After initially chartering at OSU in 1920, PIKE has left and returned to campus several times, leaving last in 2010.

PIKE has over 225 chapters and colonies in the U.S. and Canada, and has the largest average chapter size in the nation with 71 people per chapter, according to Way.

A colony operates similar to a regular chapter, according to Way, but is more of a trial phase in which members have to prove they are worthy of establishing a charter through their actions before they are granted that opportunity.  

“A colony is a preliminary type of group that the national organization is invested in that would then have to fulfill a checklist to see if they are fit for a charter,” Way said.  “The average time a colony takes to achieve a charter is around a year and a half.”

Although the two do not have an exact number in mind of people to recruit, their goal is to have their membership be competitive with the larger fraternities at OSU.

“We are aiming to be in the top third of numbers in IFC, we see that the more people we have, the more likely the organization is going to be successful,” Andersen said.  “This has been a process with the university for about two years now.”

Keeping with the traditional Ducks versus Beavers rivalry, PIKE is also colonizing at the University of Oregon at this time, so there is a friendly competition to see which university can colonize faster and ultimately prove to be more successful, according to Andersen.  

“PIKE has a very high colony success rate, and they have been present on the OSU campus before with some local alumni who are prepared to show their support to the re-founded chapter,” Petersen said.

The international fraternity of PIKE owns the property on NW Van Buren avenue and 14th street in Corvallis. The Antioch organization leased the house after PIKE left OSU, and has remained in the property since.

Although PIKE plans on returning to the property in the next few years, there is no rush, Andersen said, however at some point Antioch will need to find a new location.

Way, who attended the University of North Texas, and Andersen who attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, are members of PIKE and wanted to continue working with the fraternity after graduation.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate experience in the fraternity. It expanded my horizons. I figured that continuing with development and learning, as well as being able travel and see new places and meet new people was a great opportunity,” Andersen said.  

Way and Andersen had served as chapter presidents during their undergraduate experience with the fraternity.

“We recruit under four fundamental pillars. We look for scholars, leaders, athletes and gentleman. We are a values based organization,” Andersen said.

Those who do colonize with the organization will be considered founding fathers, according to Way.

“The opportunity to be a founding father is an opportunity that is given to less than 1 percent of Greek men,” Andersen said. “The colonizers get to make the organization what they want it to be, what they want to see, which is very exciting for many people.”

The recruiters do not have any large scale events planned, but rely more on referrals and one-on-one meetings with potential new members. The biggest event they will put on is “Meet the PIKEs Night,” a formal unveiling of the chapter on March 3 in the Memorial Union Lounge, in which new colony members will gather and invite friends and family to enjoy refreshments and a keynote speaker while introducing Pi Kappa Alpha.

“We are more than confident we can reach our goal and colonize, we do it all across the nation,” Andersen said. “We will be very busy over the next seven weeks, shaking hands and kissing babies if we have to.”

Way and Andersen noted that social media, referral links, and email are the best ways for interested individuals to contact them about joining Pi Kappa Alpha.

“We are excited to be here,” Way said. “And we are excited to beat the Ducks!”