Nearly four years of efforts by Algonquin’s Kappa Sigma fraternity to earn a charter and become Canada’s first college-based fraternity have been stalled due to inactivity, past financial problems and a drop in membership over the past year.
The fraternity had maintained an active presence on campus since its formation in 2012 with Grand Master Kevin Dunk, but have stayed under the radar during the past school year with its last Facebook update made in June 2015 and an event held in October 2015.
“There was way more activity last year than there was this year,” said Thoma Simpson, a business-marketing student and inactive member of Kappa Sigma.
Simpson said the group’s membership had increased during the last school year and they were heavily involved in charitable projects for organizations like Military Heroes, Walk for Leukemia, and Operation Come Home and had even applied for colony status. However, it was short lived, and took a turn for the worse during the current school year.
“We grew as a membership, we got to like 35 or so. The issue with this is that a lot of these people were not fully committed, so this year we lost a lot of people who were core members of being dedicated members and actually being active.”
One of these members was Kappa Sigma’s social chair, Niko Deschamps, a former early childhood education student who left the fraternity last month.
In an interview with the Times, he said it is unclear how many people are still active in the group due to the lack of commitment from members but the number has dropped significantly.
“Ten to 15 have a vested interest in actually wanting to see it through,” said Simpson.
According to Deschamps, an unusually underwhelming rush week hindered the fraternity’s plans to recruit new members and earn their charter by the 2015/2016 school year.
“Most fraternities, like whenever school starts, you’re supposed to be doing rush, trying to get new people,” said Deschamps. “The first event that we actually did end up doing was the DJ battle that we did and then that wasn’t until maybe a month or two after school had started and it was kind of too late at that point.”
The group’s namesake stems from the Kappa Sigma Fraternity organization, which is the largest fraternity in the world with over 300 chapters and colonies in United States and Canada.
According to the mission stated on their official website, “The fraternity is committed to fostering a close cooperative partnership with all colleges and universities where its chapters exist.”
However, the group at Algonquin is not officially recognized by the college or the SA.
“The Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Algonquin is not recognized by the Students’ Association and does not receive any funding,” said clubs and communities coordinator, Patrick Newell. “I have never received a club and communities recognition application from Kappa Sigma, or any other fraternity or sorority at Algonquin.”
The fraternity is also not recognized as either a colony or chapter by Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
“These men are an interest group and not a colony or chartered chapter of Kappa Sigma yet,” said Leo Brown, Kappa Sigma’s director of chapter services and colony development. “We tried to facilitate an Educational Workshop (Colony Kickoff) but we had to reschedule. Until that is facilitated these men are simply interested in Kappa Sigma.”
According to Simpson, Brown’s statement only reflects the group’s current status.
“In the past we achieved our colony status when I wasn’t around,” said Simpson. “Somebody messed up on the accounting side. The group ended up going in debt so they shut down the colony to save people’s asses on a financial standpoint. Basically being in the hole like that is kind of like declaring bankruptcy, so to speak, for a fraternity.”
“That was a major pushback and something that many colonies don’t heal or survive from and end up dissipating,” he added.
Regarding the colony kickoff event, Deschamps and Simpson said that the workshop was rescheduled due to low attendance.
“We were supposed to have our colony kickoff on Saturday and in order for that to happen we needed to have 25 guys to show that we’re a sustainable colony and less than 10 of us showed up,” said Deschamps.
“It was really funny just to kind of see the actual show up,” said Simpson. “I reached out to just about everybody on the Facebook group and personally messaged them.”
“They had no idea, they didn’t know what was going on.”
Both Simpson and Deschamps maintain that they have no ill will towards the fraternity, but remain unoptimistic about Kappa Sigma’s fate.
“They’re not really going anywhere with this and its not going to become a chapter,” said Simpson. “Not to say that I don’t still support what they’re doing and whatnot and I wish them the best.”
“It helped me turn into the person that I am today,” said Deschamps. “We faced a lot of challenges and it taught me how to overcome stuff, but eventually there’s a point where too much damage has been done that I didn’t see any way for it to be fixed.”