Phi Beta Sigma values participation in service and community

Phi Beta Sigma is one of the over 20 Greek organizations on Seton Hall’s campus that has remained relatively active in the community despite having only five active members.

The fraternity, which became an official Seton Hall fraternity in 1996, and has seven members total, according to Mariel Pagan, assistant director for Greek Life, clubs and organizations. Five of the members are active, while two are considered inactive.

In order to become a recognized organization, chapters must have at least one enrolled student that is “actively engaged” in Greek Life and the campus community, Pagan said.

An active member is one that is able to make a monetary and time commitment to the organization, according to Pagan.

According to Phi Beta Sigma’s official web site, the fraternity was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 14, 1914. It was founded by A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown, who wanted to organize a fraternity that “would exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship and service,” the website said.

Junior Charles Hurley is the president of Seton Hall’s Phi Beta Sigma chapter, Alpha Nu Alpha.

Hurley did not return requests for comment as of press time.

According to Pagan, Alpha Nu Alpha has participated in many service projects and initiatives, such as a walk to raise money for Sickle Cell Anemia.

Pagan said they also plan to participate in DOVE’s Service on Saturdays program.

“The chapter has hosted a variety of educational and social programs throughout the year,” Pagan said. “For example, last year for their ‘Sigma Week,’ the chapter hosted a lecture program called ‘The Notable Men of Sigma,’ a roundtable discussion entitled, ‘What We Won’t Talk About’ and a program with GDS entitled, ‘Sigma Chef.'”

Part of Phi Beta Sigma’s mission, according to their official web site, is to insure that the fraternity represents “Culture for Service and Service for Humanity.”

“To optimize Phi Beta Sigma’s effectiveness, the fraternity will ensure that the fraternity programs are focused and committed to serving humanity,” the web site said.

Sigma, which is what the fraternity has been nicknamed on campus, was nominated for the Greek Organization of the Year award at the 2010 Leadership Awards for their community involvement and contributions, according to Pagan.

Sigma has come to the forefront in recent news because of the off-campus shooting that occurred Sept. 25, which resulted in the death of Jessica Moore and the wounding of two other Seton Hall students at an East Orange house rented by Sigma brothers.

However, the University does not sanction Greek housing, according to Pagan.

“The most obvious reason for not having what most think of when they say ‘Greek housing’ is that the University does not have resources of space or funds to develop Greek housing,” Pagan said.

Since the University has over 20 Greek organizations, University sanctioned Greek housing would mean that 20 or more houses would have to be built or purchased, Pagan said. The purchasing of houses to be made into Greek housing would also mean renovations so that the houses could be brought up to code.

“It just isn’t a plan supportable by resources,” Pagan said.

Pagan also said that the fraternity will not be required to go through the University’s Community Standards process, which is standard for off-campus incidents involving members of the Seton Hall community, because the alleged gunman and alleged accomplice in the Sept. 25 shooting were not members of the University community.

In addition to being known for their commitment to service, many notable individuals started off as Sigma brothers such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist, Al Roker, television personality and weather reporter and Andrew Valmon, a Seton Hall alumnus and three time Olympic gold medalist in track.

Jessica Sutcliffe can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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