Pike fraternity to return to NU

Josh Cole

For nearly two years the Pi Kappa Alpha house has been abandoned – and it shows.

In the back of 566 Lincoln St., nearly all of the windows have been smashed and are now boarded. The rest of the windows hide behind ivy that has also covered every inch of the brick, and a lonely tree stands with its branches leaning halfway to the ground.

The front of the facade isn’t much better. The house is sandwiched by the rear of two houses, Theta Chi and the future Alpha Epsilon Pi. The doorknob has rusted to a darkest green tint. The windows are saturated with dust and dirt. The building has not seen light in two years because Kemper Hall’s brick wall engulfs the view from the front in all directions. A piece of paper is still taped to the front door saying there will be no hot water in the house beginning in August 1999.

Mice, squirrels and an assortment of bugs are the houses’ only tenants. These are the remnants of a once-proud fraternity founded at Northwestern in 1931.

In a couple of months, however, Pike international hopes the NU chapter’s house will again teem with (human) life. Pike will attempt to recolonize at Northwestern in September in an attempt to bring the fraternity back to campus.

“As far as the university’s perspective, we welcome them back,” said Steve Dealph, director of Greek affairs. “We’re glad to have them back.”

The recolonization effort will last between 13 and 18 months before Pike officially regains its chapter status, a “standard procedure,” said Ryan Flickinger, Pike director of marketing and expansion. The colony members, or “founding fathers,” will function like any other fraternity with an elected council. But it will not conduct fraternity rituals until the chapter is fully reinstated.

“They’ll initiate after meeting standard objectives,” Flickinger said. “Those objectives include community service hours, money raised for charity, collective GPA, risk-management policies, membership statistics and finances in good state … We do not want to have a strain on (the Interfraternity Council). We’ll not only be successful, but we’ll be a cut above the rest.”

In the fall, Pike will have two international staff members on campus for five weeks to interview students, faculty and coaches in order to assess the university’s general environment and to find potential members. NU has a deferred rush policy, which means freshmen cannot pledge a fraternity until Winter Quarter. Upperclassmen will steer the colony as founding fathers during the fall, and they will rush freshmen in the winter.

“Because of the deferred rush, we’re focused on upper classmen,” Flickinger said. “At the end of our expansion project, we have a group of men that represent the fraternities on campus. In the winter, it will be that colony recruiting the (freshmen) they want.”

Alpha Delta Pi was chartered as a sorority this year, and its founding members said they were more than pleased with the colonization period.

“(Colonization) is definitely one of the most challenging and rewarding accomplishments I have achieved in my college career,” said ADPi vice president and founding member Julie Shin. “The beginning is always exciting – you attract people who have this vision and desire to create something phenomenal and grand.”

Pike disbanded in 1999 due to low membership. No one joined in 1996, and it garnered only four pledges in 1998 who did not activate.

“Some (existing members) claimed that the building owner was making the rent too high; others blamed (the national office) for their supposed indifference,” said Daniel Mech, McCormick ’01 and a 1998 Pike pledge, in an e-mail. “I really don’t know what the truth is.”

Pike members blasted Pike’s international headquarters in a 1999 Daily article, placing some of the blame for the chapter’s demise on it.

“When we solicit alumni to advise the group, we hand-pick them,” Flickinger said. “Most likely, the members that were in the house when it closed will not be part of that. Ties were severed.”