Case Study: What Fraternity Would I Join at the University of Illinois?

University of Illinois Fraternity

Last year, I received an off-the-wall question from a reader asking me which fraternity he should join at the University of Idaho.  My first thought was to hit delete and move on.  However, I got to thinking about it and realized it made a great case study.

I would pretend I was a student looking to rush a fraternity at Idaho.  I would try to determine the chapters I would rush by following the advice I wrote in my book – How to Join a Fraternity.  Then I’d write an article about it.

I have been blown away by the popularity of the Idaho article.  I still get emails about it from Idaho students.  Last month, nearly a year after it was first published, over 1000 people read it.

So I’ve decided to make it a weekly article.  I will post on a new school every Friday.  If you want your school picked – send me an email requesting it.

Please note I am making my opinions based on what I find online about the different chapters.  I have no idea what the chapters are really like, and I have no agenda promoting or slamming anyone.  My goal is for the article to serve as a tool for chapters to see how the outside world sees them so they can improve their online image.

Where to Start — October 2014

The very first thing I did was google “University of Illinois Fraternity”.  This page came up: University of Illinois Fraternities.  From there I found their grade report which gave me a list of all fraternities (kudos to AEPi with a 3.44 – extremely impressive).  From there, I used google to find the website and FB page for each chapter.

Here are my quick thoughts on the write-up of every fraternity at the University of Illinois:

Acacia Fraternity Website | Facebook | Twitter

Website is outdated – references 2012.  Also, there isn’t much information on the site.  You can tell they got a new house in 2012 which looks pretty awesome.  They also are a large chapter of 100+ members.

Alpha Chi Rho Website | Facebook | Twitter

Website is currently under construction.  The only picture is an awesome house.  Couldn’t find their FB page.  There just wasn’t much info out there on these guys…

Alpha Delta Phi Website | Facebook | Twitter

Not much on their site outside a calender.  Their FB page shows minimal pictures outside a mud run with some pretty girls (which was probably a great time).  Wish there was more information on these guys.

Alpha Epsilon Pi Website | Facebook | Twitter

Not much info on these guys online.  Their website appears to be under construction.  There is little information on their FB page outside an awesome support post of their chapter at Emory University.

Alpha Gamma Rho Website | Facebook | Twitter

AGR does a great job showcasing who they are online.  Their website is very clean and clearly states they are the Ag fraternity.  It also shows their alumni is committed to the chapter by having a capital campaign to  improve an amazing house (raised $1.1M so far) and by offering five annual scholarships.  Their Facebook page shows the brothers having a good time and being active on campus and in their national organization.  These guys are doing a lot of things right and are obviously a very strong chapter.

Alpha Gamma Sigma Website | Facebook | Twitter

IlliDell is an AG focused fraternity.  It appears to be a more medium-sized chapter, and it appears their membership likes it this way after reading their testimonials (which is a great idea).  These guys have a lot of pictures of events with sororities, which would probably appeal to guys who are into that kind of thing.  This looks like a strong chapter.

Alpha Kappa Lambda Website | Facebook | Twitter

I’m very impressed by these guys.  First off, their website is very easy to navigate and see current information on the chapter.  However, the most impressive part of their site is the “Prospective Member” section (which is by far the most important function of your chapter website).  It gives a great snapshot of who they are, what they are about, and what makes them different.  I love how their honor code – it tells me these guys are men of high character.  Realizing that housing is an important aspect of Greek Life at Illinois, they go in great depth to explain the benefits of their house.  Their Facebook page has a lot of photos showing the myriad of events they are active in.

Alpha Sigma Phi Website | Facebook | Twitter

I am simple.  Embarrassingly so.  I like pictures.  I went to Alpha Sig’s homepage, and saw a huge house with a small number of brothers standing in front of it on the homepage.  Something didn’t quite fit there – where is the rest of the chapter?  Academics are important to me – so I went to their academics page and saw they have a chapter GPA of 3.06.  At a school like Illinois that is very impressive.  Then I went to their social page and saw the brothers surrounded by extremely pretty girls.  Then I went to their Facebook page and saw pretty much nothing.  I bet these guys have a ton going from them.  I’d love to find out more.

Alpha Tau Omega Website | Facebook | Twitter

Checking out ATO’s online profile was unique – probably because this is a super-unique chapter.  I have no idea if this is true or not, but it appears that their brothers truly believe that brotherhood doesn’t end at graduation.  The website is used as a portal to keep the alumni engaged, and even has a running count on the alums who have donated.  Their Facebook page shows a myriad of events which had active alumni participation.  I think it is amazing how this chapter has kept their alumni active and engaged.  I have no doubt in my mind that this is one of the top houses on campus.  I would like to know more about what the undergrads do and what makes them stand out – because I expect it to be equally impressive.

Beta Sigma Psi Website | Facebook | Twitter

This is a chapter of the National Lutheran Fraternity.  It is apparent that their spirituality is very important to them from reading their website.  Their website also boasts a top 10 GPA on campus for the last 2 fall terms – very impressive.  The site gives a detailed account of their social program – which is really helpful for an outsider wanting to learn more about the chapter.  Great selection of photos.  It shows a chapter that is pretty tight and likes to have a good time.

Beta Theta Pi Website | Facebook | Twitter

Beta doesn’t have a local website that I could find – only the one for their National HQ.  However, this is what I can tell from their FB page: they just brought on a 35 man pledge class – extremely impressive.  They were recently recolonized, so they must have had some issues recently and cleaned house.  I don’t look at this as a negative.  I see it as their leadership was proactive to do what is necessary to make sure the chapter was giving their brothers an experience of value.  I commend that.  I also see where an NFL owner is an alum of the chapter.  That is pretty friggin cool.

Chi Psi  Website | Facebook | Twitter

I love the FB picture of Matt Bacon. That is one happy boy.  Outside that – it is hard to get a read on these guys.  Their website basically feeds people to their FB page.  And their FB page has Matt Bacon – and he is a beast but I’m sure there is a lot more to the chapter.  I’d love to know more.

Delta Chi Website | Facebook | Twitter

I like these guys.  When I see guys who cook hogs – I know I’ve found my type of people.  (Fun fact – I am pretty confident I hosted the largest pig pickin’ in Iraq history.  Two 225 lbs pigs for 400 hungry Airman.  Try pulling that off in a Muslim country…) Here are my quick thoughts: They support the Jimmy V Foundation who was from NC State.  Good work boys.  Their house is incredible.  They have recently won awards for outstanding recruitment and chapter improvement.  They like making gigantic paddles.  These guys are doing a lot of things right.

Delta Kappa Epsilon Website | Facebook | Twitter

DKE is the newest IFC colony on campus.  When I was an undergrad, I joined the newest colony on campus and it made a world of difference in my life.  The struggle to build something will build character and teach you lessons in perseverance and dedication.  I wish these guys the best of luck on their journey.

Delta Sigma Phi Website | Facebook | Twitter

No doubt these guys are a good chapter.  They like poker, cigars, hoops, playing in the mud and donating blood with pretty girls.  I really like the questions section on their webpage.  This gives you valuable information on their chapter and is very specific. This helps outsiders learn more about these guys.  I love the idea of the homepage which focuses on a single video.  This is a very clever idea and great marketing.  However, I think they could put a better video up there.  Show what the chapter is about and what makes Delta Sig special at Illinois.  Show me pictures of how awesome the chapter is.  That will peak my interest more than a video highlighting catchy slogans.

Delta Tau Delta Website | Facebook | Twitter

Delta Tau Delta is a top chapter at just about every campus I have ever visited.  However, I have no idea how they are at Illinois.  Their website is outdated and has no info.  Their FB page is of an alumni FB page.  Hard to find out what these guys are all about.

Delta Upsilon Website | Facebook | Twitter

DU is a top chapter at just about every campus I have ever visited.  However, I have no idea how they are at Illinois.  Their website is outdated and has no info.  Their FB page is pretty new and only has pictures of their crest and letters.  Hard to find out what these guys are all about.

FarmHouse Website | Facebook | Twitter

Farmhouse just celebrated 100 years at Illinois.  That is a heck of an achievement.  Some other things of note are a top 10 GPA and a major house renovation project.  I liked how they highlighted the brother’s internships to show that the men of the chapter are achievers and are getting prepared for life after college.  This chapter has a lot going for it.

Kappa Delta Rho Website | Facebook | Twitter

These guys have a great house, but very outdated online resources.  Their website and FB haven’t been updated since 2013.  Hard to find out much about the current chapter as a result.

Kappa Sigma Website | Facebook | Twitter

Kappa Sig’s website was busted for me.  However, their FB worked and showed me a lot.  I noticed their national convention was in Las Vegas.  I would have paid money to see the guys for the first session on the second day.  That would be my personal version of hell.  Spending a night in Vegas, then having to function the next morning.  I can only imagine how rough that was.  One extremely cool thing they did was post a video of them naming the chapter sweethearts for the year.  While it was goofy as hell, it showed a great glimpse into their brotherhood.   If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then a video is worth 1,000,000.  This video showed me that this is a solid group of guys (outside the goofy guy prancing like Cinderella – not sure about him).

Lambda Chi Alpha Website | Facebook | Twitter

This is a tough chapter to have an opinion on.  It seems like a few of there brothers got into some serious trouble that is testing the leadership of the chapter.  Also, their FB page and website doesn’t say much about what they do.  It will be very interesting to see how Lambda Chi overcomes their issues.  Some chapters collapse under the pressure, some chapters learn from it and grow.  They did a great first step in expelling their problem brothers to rid their chapter from their cancer.  I hope it works out for them.

Phi Gamma Delta Website | Facebook | Twitter

FIJI chapter’s are always good, and this one is no exception.  The Greek Man of the Year for last year came from this chapter.  Tyler Sendt must be a rock-star to be the #1 brother at a school like Illinois.  From reading their chapter history, I find it interesting that the chapter is over 10o years old, but had to be shut down in the late 90s.  Their alumni remained active and ensured the chapter would be successfully brought back on campus.  I think that shows the strength of their support system.  With strong undergraduates and this alumni base there is no doubt this is one of the top chapters on campus.

Phi Kappa Sigma  Website | Facebook | Twitter

It’s tough to get a bead on these guys.  I know they are into Mom’s Day, smashing pies, mini-golf and mud runs because they have about 40 pictures of each on their FB page.  There is also one angry looking gentleman at the mud run who I think I’d really like to have a beer with.  Seems like the life of the party.  I see where they have been around since 1892 – and that is a heck of a long time.  Wish I knew more about these guys.  They seem like a good time.

Phi Kappa Theta Website | Facebook | Twitter

These guys are a new colony recently recognized by the IFC.  One of the best things I saw was a top 10 list of accomplishments in 2013.  This gives a great snapshot of what the chapter has been doing and what is important to them.  It looks like in 2013 they became a colony, secured housing and doubled in size.  That is one hell of a year.

Phi Sigma Kappa Website | Facebook | Twitter

Two thoughts – Amazing house and volleyball.  Damn these guys love their volleyball.  They host an annual tournament to raise money for the Special Olympics.  From the looks of it, they had a great turnout from more than a few sororities and took about 1.4 gazillion pictures of the event.  I would too if I was involved.  It looked like a great time for a wonderful cause.  No doubt these guys are a class act.

Pi Kappa Alpha Website | Facebook | Twitter

I have a secret.  I watch commencement videos for inspiration.  I think they are fantastic.  PKA had one of their alum’s – Mike Hopkins – deliver Illinois commencement in May.  I watched the entire thing – and it was fantastic.  What an awesome story of perseverance and achievement.  If that is the type of brother this chapter turns out, then I am sure they have guys beating their doors down to join.  It is also noted they recently were recognized as being in the top 5% of all PKA chapters 8 years in a row.  That type of continued success is very rare in the fraternity world.  Most impressive.

Pi Kappa Phi Website | Facebook | Twitter

PKP has donated over $35,000 to PUSH America the last 5 years.  PUSH American supports people with disabilities.  Not only do they donate money to the cause, they also give their time as the brothers donate over 20 hours a week to a local organization that assists those with disabilities.  Their dedication and selflessness should be commended.  They make all fraternity men look better.

Pi Lambda Phi Website | Facebook | Twitter

I am a Pilam – and I spent a month at this chapter one glorious weekend a long time ago.  My chapter from NC State chartered a bus and drove 18 hours to visit our brothers at Illinois.  This was probably the best weekend I had as an undergrad.  I will always appreciate the hospitality this chapter gave me and 20 of my brothers.  Recently, this chapter was brought back to campus with strong alumni support.  This chapter is a crown jewel of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity and I have no doubt it will become a top house at Illinois again very soon.

Psi Upsilon Website | Facebook | Twitter

This is the best website I have seen so far at Illinois.  The homepage draws your attention to what they want you to read – well done and very impressive.  Most impressive is the house renovation.  It looks like a ton of time, effort and money went into a simply amazing house.  I loved the section dedicated to successful alumni of the chapter.  It was very interesting to see how brothers from this single chapter has achieved in so many different ways.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon Website | Facebook | Twitter

SAE’s entire FB page is dedicated to helping others.  There are about 10 different causes they bring awareness to through their network of friends.  This level of selflessness is very admirable.  No doubt these are men of high character.

Sigma Alpha Mu Website | Facebook | Twitter

It was hard to find out much about these guys online.  Their webpage doesn’t offer much info or pictures, and I couldn’t find a Facebook page.  Would love to know more, but I couldn’t find much.

Sigma Chi Website | Facebook | Twitter

If I was a Sigma Chi at Illinois – I would highlight one person – Iron Mike Ditka.  I had no idea he was a brother.  I can’t think of any better way to tell outsiders in Illinois that you are awesome.  I can see it now:

Brother: “Hey freshman – join Sigma Chi.”

Prospective New Member: “You guys got Ditka?  Cool – I’m in.”

Rush would be that easy.  Of course, there is the little fact that Buddy Ryan completely made Ditka the coach, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story.  But now I’m rambling…

From checking out their pictures on FB – it appears that they have a lot of events with sororities.  That kind of thing may appeal to some guys.  No doubt these guys are awesome.

Sigma Nu Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sooo, I’ve looked at almost every FB page of an IL chapter at this point and Sigma Nu is the first one I saw that highlighted their formal.  I have no idea why no one else shows their biggest event of the year.  The brothers were dressed up and were with their beautiful dates.  What better way to showcase that the chapter likes to have a great time?  I also liked how they highlighted other events such as their etiquette dinner.  This shows that they are committed to being gentleman – a trademark of any successful chapter.

Sigma Phi Epsilon Website | Facebook | Twitter

SigEp is a top 3 house in GPA and in brotherhood size.  That is nearly an impossible feat to accomplish.  It tells me they have created a culture that attracts high caliber men.  It also tells me they have no problem weeding out those who don’t believe in the same ideals.  Kudos for having a high quality man like Jordan in your chapter.  I wish I could have been there to hear his fireside talk about his deployment to Afghanistan.

Sigma Pi Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tough house to get a gauge on.  I couldn’t find a website.  Most of their FB info is over a year old.  They have an awesome house and the old pictures show a chapter that is healthy and having a great time.  I would like to see something more current though.

Sigma Tau Gamma Website | Facebook | Twitter

These guys are new on campus.  They seem to be growing at a good clip though as evidenced by a bunch of bid pictures on FB.  Two things jumped out at me about this chapter.  First, I noticed the pics of them donating time to the Special Olympics.  That is all class right there.  Second, I noticed 3 brothers won a 3-3 hoops tournament sponsored by a sorority.  As a guy who likes to play hoops (I’m a banger and have the sharpest elbows in North Carolina) I would probably fit in with these guys.

Tau Kappa Epsilon Website | Facebook | Twitter

Ronald Reagan and Otis Day and the Nights…  Talk about a match made in heaven – and both are TKEs.  Not sure about Anthony snuggling with a cat.  Kudos to Chris for out-kicking his coverage.  From the looks of it this is a solid chapter that knows how to have a good time.

Theta Chi Website | Facebook | Twitter

Every chapter at Illinois can learn a heck of a lot about Theta Chi on how to market your chapter.  I encourage you to go to the chapter website, and click on their involvement tab.  This tells me everything I would want to know as an outsider.  It shows awesome social events with really pretty girls.  It shows a myriad of awards including the top Theta Chi president in the country.  It tells about their philanthropy, GI Theta Chi which supports wounded Vets (something dear to me).  This one tab shows me a strong and dynamic chapter – and it shows me with pictures and bullet points since I’m not very smart.  These guys get it.

Triangle Fraternity Website | Facebook | Twitter

Epic Meal Time?  Holy crap.  I think I’d have a heart attack if I got within 50 feet of that monster.  These guys are in the nerd majors – engineering, architecture and science.  They are my people (I’m an electrical engineer in real life).  Remember that nerds rule the world.  One thing I love about these guys is the creativity.  Besides their epic meal they have a polar bear plunge to raise money for the Special Olympics.  There is no bigger rush than a polar bear plunge.  Good times…

Zeta Beta Tau Website | Facebook | Twitter

I love the Ally Oop for Autism event.  I also love how the campus got behind the event as evidenced by the basketball team taking part.  The throwback Thursday pictures of alumni is a great idea and a great way to keep alumni engaged.  It appears that this chapter has a lot going for it.

Zeta Psi Website | Facebook | Twitter

I want to know about these guys.  They won a bunch of awards a few years ago – so there is a solid foundation to this chapter.  However, I couldn’t find a website and their FB page is a bit outdated.

Important Information

Here are some good resources for those wanting to rush:

Illinois Greek Life Homepage

Illinois IFC Facebook

Illinois Fraternities and Sororities Facebook

What I Learned

1 – This has to be one of the best Greek Life schools in the country.  The houses are amazing.  It seems like every chapter has a mansion that would be the best house on campus at any other school.  I hope the guys at Illinois realize how fortunate they are to be in such a great situation.  I also hope they appreciate their alumni support because fraternity men can’t have nice things without strong alumni.

2 – I am extremely impressed by how the chapters give back to their community.  Every chapter had a serious commitment to service, and that is very admirable.  These are good people.

3 – Overall, it was tough to get a feel for the chapters with their online presence.  This isn’t a focus for a lot of the chapters, and there was a lot of out-dated information online.  These chapters are obviously doing amazing things.  They need to make sure others realize it.  One way to do so is by keeping their FB and website updated.

Final Thoughts

I came away extremely impressed and overwhelmed by the fraternities at the University of Illinois.  There are a bunch of them – nearly 40.  This makes it very difficult for any chapter to stand out.  Going through them all is a very tedious task which would make rush very difficult.  I strongly encourage chapters figure out how to stand out from this very competitive crowd.

Realize I know nothing about any chapter at Illinois besides what I found online.  This case study is to provide a perspective of how an outsider would view your chapter.  Use this information to improve your chapter’s online image.

If you have anything to add – please leave it in the comment section below.

Anyone who is interested in joining a fraternity should check out my book – How to Join a Fraternity.  This tells you everything you need to know to find the right fraternity and make sure you get a bid.

For those of you looking to improve your fraternity, please check out my book The Fraternity Leader – The Complete Guide to Improving Your Chapter.  This book is a must read for any Greek Leader.

Recent Posts