New fraternity builds GVSU chapter

By Maddie Forshee | 2/23/14 9:23pm

Though there is a relatively small Greek life population at Grand Valley State University, it has seen steady growth over time, with more than four fraternities introduced to campus in the last 10 years.

Phi Gamma Delta has noticed the growth and decided to take the next step as an international fraternity by joining GVSU’s Greek community.

Phi Gamma Delta is a fraternity that was founded in 1848 in Pennsylvania and has more than 120 chapters and almost 20 colonies throughout North America. The fraternity, which goes by Phi Gam or Fiji, has been present at GVSU since Feb. 6.

Two representatives from Phi Gamma Delta’s national organization, Duke Murphy and Matt Whitlock, will be on campus until late March hosting events to drum up interest in joining the fraternity, give out bids, and make sure that the colony is the best it can be before the new members take over.

In the six-week period that Murphy and Whitlock are on campus, they are looking to build a solid group of men who all exhibit the five core values that Phi Gamma Delta was founded on: friendship, knowledge, service, morality and excellence. The men of Fiji are looking for those who take scholarship very seriously and for leaders on campus who are looking to either expand their skills.

The representatives will host the “Evening with the Fijis” on March 13, where they will pledge in all of the men who have received bids.

After that, the colony will elect an executive board and then be ready to fully operate in Greek life by the time Murphy and Whitlock leave.

Murphy will come back to campus occasionally to check up on the colony, help with recruitment and assist with advisory training until the colony becomes a chapter, which usually takes between a year and 18 months.

While the colony is getting started, other Greek organizations will help Phi Gamma Delta as much as possible.

“There is some public relations work that comes into play,” said Myron Butler, recruiting chair for the Interfraternity Council. “Once the colony is here hosting events and ready to operate, other chapters might co-host events with them to get to know them, build relationships with them, and to try to help the colony out as much as possible.”

So far, both Murphy and Whitlock said they are happy that Phi Gamma Delta is becoming a part of Greek life on campus.

“Grand Valley is actually unlike any other community that we’ve ever been a part of,” Whitlock said. “Everyone we’ve met is really welcoming, outgoing and so willing to help, and it’s really great to have that support from the Greek community here.”

Murphy agreed.

“It’s been really amazing,” he said. “All the fraternities we’ve met have been pretty open, and we’ve even been invited to visit other chapters.”

Phi Gamma Delta is currently meeting with and recruiting any men on campus interested in joining the organization. For more information, visit or go to the colony’s social media — and — for more information.

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