November 26, 2020

Webster’s only fraternity scrambles to avoid crisis

Highlights of Delta Upsilon's history

Delta Upsilon (DU), Webster University’s first and only fraternity, may no longer continue as a chapter.
Dan Geigerman, DU’s Webster president, said at a meeting April 25 that due to a wilting membership, he is not sure who would make up the fraternity in the Fall 2011 semester.

As a result of graduating seniors, problems with retaining members and a lack of recruitment, Geigerman said if the fraternity continued, there would only be two people in the fraternity.

“We said we wanted to get a certain number of people,” Geigerman said. “We got one. It’s nobody’s fault with membership right now. It’s all our fault.”

Geigerman said he contacted the DU headquarters regarding the issue. He said he was instructed to give the 10 remaining members a vote to either close the chapter or work to reorganize the group’s infrastructure and essentially start over. DU headquarters will make a decision based on the result of the vote whether to continue the Webster chapter.

The members who attended the meeting all voted in favor of starting over and continuing the fraternity.

The problems to be solved in order to carry on were discussed in the meeting.

Christian Lerchenfeld, a senior film studies major and DU member, said one of the problems is the presence of more upperclassmen rather than of freshman and sophomores to carry on the fraternity.

“One of the problems we ran into was people coming to Webster who didn’t want Greek life at their school,” Lerchenfeld said.
Another problem lies in the dues each member of DU must pay each semester. Lerchenfeld said this semester’s dues were $350.

Finding a new president will also be an issue to resolve in the future.

“I do not want to see this chapter go away,” Geigerman said. “But I cannot devote my entire senior year to it.”

Geigerman said he has to put school first next semester, but would still like to be a part of DU if it continued.

John Adams, a volunteer alum with DU for the Webster chapter, has been involved since 2008. He believes the fraternity is needed on campus.

“There is a missing aspect of Webster without the Greek organizations,” Adams said.

Members like Lerchenfeld said they would feel deeply disappointed if the DU headquarters denies their request to continue.

“It’s disheartening,” Lerchenfeld said. “I think there’s things I would have done differently, but I had to put school above it (DU) as a senior. If nothing good comes out of it, at least we gave it our best.”

Alumnus Ian Barczewski said the situation is heartbreaking, but no one questions each other’s commitment to the group.
Geigerman said the issue does not lie with the students who want the fraternity to carry on.

“We don’t need to put spirit back into people who want DU,” Geigerman said. “We need to put spirit back into Webster University.”

It was decided in the meeting that three alums would be willing to assist DU next semester if the fraternity continues.
Geigerman said he would inform the DU headquarters of the chapter’s decision, and expects an answer sometime early next week. Another DU meeting is being held May 2 at 9:30 p.m. in the Thompson Music Building, pending the headquarters’ decision.

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