By Cara Foley, Transcript Reporter
As Fiji makes its strong comeback to the Ohio Wesleyan community, the excitement of solidifying their first pledge class in four years is almost complete. The soon-to-be brothers have participated in dinners at Buns, El Vaquero and played dodge ball to get to know each other.
Brett Pytel, Assistant Director of Expansion for Fiji, said over the past four weeks they have met with over 90 unaffiliated men on campus.
“These men ranged from freshman to senior status,” he said. “As of today, we have extended 24 bids which have all been accepted.”
Senior Mark Schmitter said joining Fiji is a really good opportunity because he is a senior, and Fiji was looking for upperclassmen to build a strong presence for the underclassmen to follow.
“The organization also really appealed to me in the way that members are expected to act and what they stand for,” he said.
This past Sunday, Fiji hosted a “Not for College Days Alone” invite-only dinner where 50 undergraduate candidates and over twenty graduates brothers attended at 1808 American Bistro.
This was the last event before Fiji finalized its founding father class.
Schmitter said the dinner held on Sunday night was great.
“The alums were very excited to see the new group of guys and spent a lot of time talking to us about what they had gotten out of the fraternity,” he said. “The food was fantastic as well, and it was just another great event put on by the Fiji graduates.”
Senior John Carlson said when he first arrived on campus his freshmen year, he didn’t think any of the fraternities on campus were a good fit for him.
“The philosophy and values of Fiji seem to align with my own which is why I decided to join,” he said.
Carlson said he thinks the benefits will include meeting a network of studetns he might not have otherwise been exposed to. He also said he looks forward to having the chance to be part of an international network of Fiji members.
“Students involved in Greek Life seem to have a tight knit bond with one another which I think is important,” he said.
“Next Thursday, we will host our first two official Fiji events,” said Pytel. “The founding fathers will be pledged into the fraternity on Thursday and later that evening we will host our ‘Evening with the Fijis’ reception in Benes Rooms A&B at 7:30 p.m.”
Freshman Taylor McGinnis said he thought it would be great to be a founding father for a fraternity.
“I think that being a Fiji member will be great at keeping me academically successful, while having a great social life and positive future,” he said.
Pytel said this is their formal unveiling of the founding father class and it is open to the entire OWU community.
“We will also be giving away our scholarships, awarding philanthropy money, and thanking the campus for hosting us during our time at OWU,” Pytel said.
Desserts and beverages are to be served, as well.
McGinnis said he is excited for this Thursday’s event.
“It will be really cool getting pledge in, and hopefully I’ll get a scholarship,” he said.
Schmitter said he’s really excited to have an event with everyone on campus (this Thursday night) and to have everyone there who has been so supportive of him going Fiji.
“I have already met a lot of great new people both in undergrad, and graduates,” he said. “The graduates keep pushing us to make sure we network with them once we graduate so it feels like not only are we getting this great experience now, but it will lead to even more opportunities in the future.”
Schmitter said that there are a lot of guys he knows pledging Fiji.
“Obviously some friends are already happily in other fraternities, but those who weren’t decided yet seem to be going Fiji,” he said.
Carlson and McGinnis also said that they have a good amount of friends who are also pledging Fiji.
Carlson said he thinks they have enough interested and committed founding fathers that the organization and hard work needed to make the fraternity successful will be evenly spread.
“Fiji is still in the early stages of the process, but as we move forward the decisions made to recolonize the fraternity will be consistent with the ideals and philosophy of the fraternity,” he said. “We had dinner with many OWU Fiji graduate brothers on Wednesday night where we learned more about what made the fraternity a success prior to the deactivation.”
Carlson said the founding fathers of Fiji plan to continue in the path of the graduates before them.
Join the soon-to-be founding fathers of Fiji Thursday night at 7:30 P.M. in the Benes Rooms A&B for “Evening with the Fijis.”