Unrecognized fraternities at the university spent the morning of Saturday, March 10, handing out sandwiches to Reno’s homeless population to show their support for the community. The event took place at the same time the university’s recognized Greek organizations participated in community service as part of Greek Week.
Theta Chi, Zeta Psi, Kappa Sigma and Kappa Alpha took to the streets of the downtown Reno area near Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission to distribute peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless people in the area. The fraternities planned this community service event to show their support for the community’s well-being, even though they are not recognized organizations by the university.
The members of the fraternities made approximately 500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Saturday morning to distribute. They handed them out to Reno residents in front of the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission, as well as down Fourth Street and Evans Avenue by the bus station. Any remaining sandwiches were given to the Gospel Mission.
According to Theta Chi’s Media Relations Chairman, Michael Bradley, the idea came about after members of Theta Chi learned about the community service events of Theta Chi’s chapter at San Diego State University at a leadership conference.
“This idea came about after many of our brothers went to Theta Chi U where we learned our chapter at San Diego State has been doing this event for a year now,” Bradley said. “Our Vice President Anthony Carini and our Community Service Chair Brad Davis worked together to plan this event and felt that it could be a huge benefit to the community.”
The fraternities involved in the community service event, along with several others, have recently lost recognition from the university due to declining to agree to new regulations the university has sent them. The Greek life organizations had until Monday, Jan. 22, to agree to the new regulations. After choosing to not sign, they lost recognition as a university organization and have been removed from the Greek life website.
The fraternities that chose to not sign the university’s new regulations —Theta Chi, Zeta Psi, Kappa Alpha, Kappa Sigma and Alpha Tau Omega — released a joint statement explaining their opinions on the clause of the regulations. The clause at hand requires the fraternities to report the individual conduct decision making made through the organization’s internal judicial processes.
According to the joint statement, the chapters feel this may have an adverse effect, rather than what the university thinks it will have.
“Our chapters’ internal judicial processes are the way in which we hold brothers accountable to our fraternal values and expectations,” the statement said. “If the university mandates reporting of individual conduct concerns mediated through this peer-to-peer processes, we fear it will have a chilling effect on members stepping up to hold one another accountable. Instead of improving the safety and responsibility in our community, it could do just the opposite. We value our relationship with the UNR administration, and urge them to reconsider their position on this issue.”
According to the fraternity members, it is important to show their continued support for the community even though the university is no longer recognizing them as an official organization.
“We want to show the university, the Fraternity and Sorority Life Office, and the Reno community that even though we aren’t a recognized club for the calendar year that we will continue to make a difference and show support for the city that has given us so much.” Bradley said. “We are more than just a liability to this university.”
This is not the first community service event these fraternities have planned as Theta Chi has a partnership with Rancho San Rafeal Park and helps ensure their park is clean for certain events.
Olivia Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.