By Stephanie Bauer, News Editor
Visible, active, and not giving up anytime soon, Kappa Sigma has made a splash on campus in the last few months. Whether loving or hating them, people have definitely been talking.
The idea of the fraternity started last year around this time with a few men in McGlothlin base. One of them had rushed a fraternity but decided it was not a good fit, and the other few had never considered joining Greek Life at Furman.
The idea to start a fraternity of their own bounced around the group of friends while they were out to dinner one night. They chose Kappa Sigma because of what they felt the fraternity had to offer. It is one of the largest in the country in both chapter and membership numbers, has a hefty endowment, and a powerful alumni network.
Regional representatives got involved quickly and were excited about the idea. Before long, the small group from McGlothlin had grown to 25 men. They formed an official colony by the end of April.
“Kappa Sigma is attractive to new members because we are all founding fathers of this colony. We are all a part of history,” said Aakash Bhaskar, External Vice President of Furman’s Kappa Sigma.
Kappa Sigma is positioned to have the most number of pledges out of any fraternity on Furman’s campus this year.
Part of what helps them during rush is their rolling bid process.
“We’re rushing 24/7, 365 days a year. When we find someone who can further our cause, we can immediately take them on board, as long as they meet our standards,” said Caleb Avery, Treasurer of Furman’s Kappa Sigma.
The organization’s leaders said they want to make it clear that they are not trying to get on the bad side of other fraternities and Furman Greek Life.
“We really do want to be a part of Furman Greek Life as a whole. We’re not trying to burn bridges,” said Avery.
“Look at state schools; they have Greek Olympics and Greek Week. The fraternities actually get along. Homecoming is the only Greek event we have here so what you end up with is six fraternities that hate each other’s guts. We’re trying to change that. That’s why we’re not discriminatory. We’ve had brothers from several different fraternities to our house. We, as Kappa Sigma, are welcoming to everyone regardless of what letters you wear,” said Jamie Lutz, Risk Management Chair of Furman’s Kappa Sigma.
Kappa Sigma has raised money to donate to sorority organizations, as well as organizations in the Greenville community. The fraternity also went as a group to the 5k walk for diabetes and raised several hundred dollars.
They also participate in intramurals. Kappa Sigma reached the playoffs for both football and soccer in the fall.
“We’re just here to enjoy the brotherhood we’ve established,” said Bhaskar. “Whether or not we’re accepted by Inter-Fraternity Council or Panhellenic, we’re part of Furman now. We’ve been so welcoming to Furman students, how can they write us out as not part of the Furman community?”
Currently Furman’s Kappa Sigma is the biggest colony in the country. This means they are recognized nationally by headquarters but have not yet been initiated.
“The very fact that we’ve survived with so much opposition on campus is a testimony to our commitment,” said Bhaskar. “At the end of the day I’m more proud than I’ve ever been for where we’ve come from and where we’re going to go.”
What the guys all seem to agree upon is how proud they are of the brotherhood they have formed.
“I joined because these guys all have diverse backgrounds but all are my best friends. Fraternities are about diverse points of view not fitting a mold,” said Kolby Merryman, External Rush Chair of Furman’s Kappa Sigma.
“We started out to start an alternative to what was offered at Furman. That’s what we’re excited about is the legacy that we started because that’s what’s going to live on,” said Avery. “I saw an opportunity to make a change on my Furman experience and make a change that would leave a lasting legacy behind. That was the best decision I ever made at Furman.”