The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity performed the first public Greek ceremony at Washburn University March 31 in the KTWU parking lot. The ceremony involved the older brothers and inductees of the fraternity and several sorority sisters from all four of Washburn’s active sorority houses.
The ritual was performed with a small speech and the burning of a two-foot wicker heart in anticipation of the induction of new members into the complete brotherhood. “We have a year-long initiation process that consists of three challenges. Each challenge is designed to push the guys to be better brothers, better leaders, and better men in general,” said Nathan Ansley, a senior business major and Sigma Phi Epsilon member. All week the fraternity celebrated “brotherhood week,” which involved an initiation ritual every night. The public ceremony was inspired by a retreat the Greek community attended earlier this semester where issues concerning Greek stereotypes were discussed.
“A public ceremony gets rid of the stereotype of hazing, and this is one of the most meaningful rituals we perform,” said Ansley, “We wanted to present it to the public to show them what really happens behind our closed doors.”
The sisters of Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Zeta Tau Alpha were invited specifically to give support and community to the six new Sigma Phi Epsilon members, but also to provide the audience.
“This year we started the public aspect of the ceremony with the sorority girls, but next year I think the guys will try to get more of the general public involved. We want this to be big,” said Ansley.