By Christina Huck, senior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
In yet another sign that Greek life is alive and thriving at Ole Miss, a fraternity with ties to the university going back to before the Civil War soon will be recolonizing on campus.
Chi Psi, Alpha Gamma chapter, which was established at Ole Miss back in 1858 by two Mississippi natives, will be back as an active fraternity this spring.
The two founding members, who were Chi Psis at the University of North Carolina, initiated 46 brothers, including Robert Burwell Fulton, who was chancellor of Ole Miss from 1892-1906, in the three years before the outbreak of conflict between the North and South.
Once the Civil War came, the fraternity closed while the men were away serving the Confederate cause. While the men were at war, the fraternity’s archives were under the possession of one of the charter members, John Calhoun Evans, who then put them in the care of his mother.
Evans himself fell in war, but his mother held on to the archives and passed them along to O.F. Bledsoe, a charter member, in 1865.
Chi Psi re-opened, but shortly thereafter the fraternity closed again before re-opening once again in 1970, 80 years later.
Chi Psi’s members moved into the former Kappa Alpha fraternity house off Fraternity row and began to grow. They became prominent on campus as well as nationally.
Chi Psi continued to excel, but in 2007, they elected to go dormant due to low membership numbers,
For the fourth time, the fraternity is happy to announce its arrival back into the Ole Miss community this spring.
“The reason we chose to come back to Ole Miss is because of great support on this campus,” said Justin Froeber, membership and extension coordinator at Chi Psi’s national headquarters.
Over the next semester, Froeber and fellow coordinator Derek Taylor will be working on establishing founding fathers and helping the fraternity grow as a chapter.
The men will soon be visiting sororities to explain what Chi Psi is all about, and what kind of brotherhood they want to build. They will be asking for the names of young men who might be interested in becoming a member, and finding out more about those perceived to be gentleman worthy to wear their letters. They also will be getting referrals from professors and contact legacies.
Their next step will be to reach out to the prospects and schedule short meetings with them.
Bids will then be handed out following the formal recruitment process. They will also participate in formal recruitment in the fall while still looking for members throughout the year . “No matter what, we will always continue a 365-day process, that’s Chi Psi’s national motto,” Froeber said.
Currently the chapter is fundraising to rebuild their house off of Fraternity Row that was torn down this past fall.
“We do know we can create an awesome fraternity experience without a house,” Froeber said.
Ole Miss is one of four campuses where Chi Psi is recolonizing this year, the others being at Yale, Wesleyan, and Texas Tech.