Starting this fall, undergraduate men at Rutgers University–Camden will have yet another organization in which they can become involved. Due to the leadership of seven Rutgers University–Camden students, the fraternity Phi Mu Delta has a new chapter on our campus, joining the four other fraternities that have a presence at Rutgers-Camden.
Mason Hopkins (CCAS ’17), an English major and music minor, and Gary Kopchinski, Jr. (CCAS ’16), a political science and sociology double major, are two of the Founding Fathers of the Rutgers-Camden Phi Mu Delta colony. Prior to getting involved in Greek life, the two Honors College students were already involved members of the Rutgers-Camden student body. Hopkins serves as an IMPACT Booth Information Specialist, the Secretary for the Campus Activities Board, and sits on the Committee for Scholastic Standing; Kopchinski is a Program Leader and Raptor Ambassador for the Office of Admissions, Vice President for the Campus Activities Board, and an Executive Board Member for the Honors College Think Tank, as well as a medalist in the National Olympiada of Spoken Russian. The already busy students “never saw themselves as Greeks,” but the opportunity to establish a new fraternity chapter was something they couldn’t help but pursue.
Tom Murphy, the Executive Director for the National Office of Phi Mu Delta, connected with Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Graduate Assistant Sara Diem (CCAS ’13 and current master of public administration student) at a conference at Lehigh University over this past summer. Phi Mu Delta was looking to expand, and Diem and her colleague, Crystel Maldonado, Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and Leadership Development, were interested in adding a fraternity to the campus. Phi Mu Delta proved to be a perfect fit. “It was perfect timing, and Phi Mu Delta was the right size and had the right resources for us,” says Maldonado. “We wanted to offer more options to our students. We’re really excited about the growth [of Greek life].”
Murphy was equally excited for Phi Mu Delta to find a home at Rutgers–Camden. Not only was the school just down the road from the Phi Mu Delta national headquarters in Cherry Hill, but Rutgers-Camden was enthusiastic about forging a strong partnership with Phi Mu Delta, something that the fraternity values with all its host institutions. “It’s been a fantastic experience at Rutgers-Camden!” Murphy says. “It’s a gem of a campus, and the students are phenomenal.”
Murphy began the recruitment effort by talking to the sorority members, and they provided him with names of students who would possibly be interested in getting involved. Mason and Gary’s were just two of the students on this list. At first hesitant about starting a fraternity, the fact that Phi Mu Delta, an all-inclusive fraternity whose motto is “Brotherhood, Service, Democracy,” has a values-based recruitment process appealed to both students and encouraged them to proceed with the process. Murphy held multiple one-on-one interviews with Mason, Gary, and the other Founding Fathers (rounding out the list are Arthur Absin (CCAS ’17), Ian Biluck (CCAS ’17), Nick Daddario (SNC ’15), Davis Graham (CCAS ’17), and JT Holtway (SBC ’17), during which they primarily discussed their interests and values, followed by a later conversation about Phi Mu Delta. The third meeting is a “pre-close,” in which the students have a chance to address any reservations they may have prior to a bid being issued. Phi Mu Delta differs from most fraternities in that it has no pledge period – students have full membership rights as soon as their bid is accepted. The Founding Fathers accepted their bids in late September, and are currently engaged in the exciting phase of recruiting members. The goal is for the chapter to have twenty members by the end of the Fall 2014 semester.
In addition to adding members to their roster, Phi Mu Delta is planning on getting heavily involved with civic engagement, a cause important to all fraternities and sororities on campus. Phi Mu Delta’s national philanthropy organization is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; in keeping with that spirit, one of the organizations Phi Mu Delta plans to work with is the Ronald McDonald House. “We want to make a serious impact on Camden,” Hopkins says. Murphy echoes this sentiment, saying the members of Phi Mu Delta, “are a group of men who can change the world.”
On Saturday, November 1st, Phi Mu Delta held an installation ceremony and reception on the Rutgers–Camden campus, during which Phi Mu Delta brothers and the campus community celebrated the start of the new chapter and the creation of a new legacy.
Written by Julie Roncinske