local fraternity

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.


My local fraternity has recently merged with a national Fraternity, Alpha Phi Delta. Now, as a new alumnus, I am on board with the change as well as 60 other alumni from our 15 years of existence. After this weekend we are becoming a Colony of theirs and there will be a waiting period of about a year before we became a chapter.

My question is…they told us there was no way to maintain our old letters to represent our chapter. We would have to go in their alphabetical order.

Has it been unheard of for a Colony to try and get an amendment passed to change the national constitution? I would like to try and give an argument and present our case in front of a board. We would like to represent our chapter with our former fraternity letters.


First off, congratulations on joining a national fraternity.  A national fraternity has the resources and support structure in place to ensure your fraternity will prosper for years to come.  I think that was a wise decision.

Regarding keeping your letters, you are unfortunately at the mercy of your new fraternity.  That being said, I don’t really see anything wrong with trying to keep your old letters as your chapter designation.  That is an important part of your chapters past.  It should be honored and remembered.

My suggestion is to get on the agenda with the fraternity’s governing board.  Plead your case with them.  Let them know why you would like the exception to their rule.  Let them know this is in no way trying to hold onto their old name.  It is just a way of remembering the chapter’s past.

I think reasonable men will agree and let you keep the letters as a chapter designation.  However, I still think you are coming out way ahead in the long run if they don’t.

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

4 thoughts on “Local Fraternity Merging with a National Fraternity

  1. I think the same mindset applies. Joining a national fraternity gives you the resources and stability which increases your chances of thriving for another 100 years.

    If an established local that has been around this long is making this change, then obviously this will have a significant bearing on generations of men. As such, I am sure this decision will be made with utmost care at the alumni level.

    If this is happening to you – I’d love to hear more about what is going on. Why the change?

  2. Two things.

    First, you’re arguing that 15 years and a couple hundred initiates should trump 98 years and 20k+ initiates. You are joining them, not the other way around. While you should honor the past, you have to put it behind you and move on into a new future.

    Second, you have to break from the past. I know this isn’t going to feel good to you, but your old local, its ritual, and many of its traditions have to be replaced by this new thing and the traditions that go with it. I’ve seen a few local-to-national chapters that didn’t let go of the past. They still did their local’s ritual in addition to the national and carried on a lot of dangerous traditions that would not fit with the values, purpose, or operating standards of the national. They never really respected the national. And ultimately there were big problems because of it. I’ve just recently seen two local-to-national chapters that got in trouble over moderate stuff and far too easily let their charter go and reverted to locals. They’ll dwindle away in a couple years if nothing catastrophic happens before that, and then down the road the national will recharter from scratch with complete denial of the original local. I’ve also see happy marriages where the local understood they were abandoning the local but not the alumni, and fully integrated into the new national, taking their alumni with them.

    If I were you, I’d be focused on honorary initiating all alumni from the local. And, I’d understand it’s not a year waiting period but a year as a colony where a lot of incredibly hard work has to happen to reach higher standards. You have enough on your plate. Your first act in a new job while on probation should not be to get in a fight with the owners about how they run their large national business.

  3. The local chapter of ATZ merged with Farmhouse National Fraternity at Ohio State. They still display ATZ on their house. It is also their chapter designation. Our chapter also used to be known as Phi Kappa Phi before we joined our national organization. However, we do not hold onto that designation.

    I think it is important to continue teaching who you are and were in your new member education process, however it’s not worth the fight in my opinion. Keep it internal and hold the tradition. Isn’t that all that matters in the end?

    Here’s a little insight into their desire for you to fall in rank with other chapters. Maintaining your identity as the local fraternity goes against the unity that I’m sure your national organization stands for. Just as you want to keep your letters, they want to push theirs. I know it seems minor, but if I were them, I’d want to eliminate any heterogeneity within the chapters of my national organization. Just my thoughts for what they’re worth.

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