Alpha Sigma Phi: breaking the ‘frat guy’ image
A group of brothers from Alpha Sigma Phi recently won the Second Annual National Society of Collegiate Scholars Academic Bowl on March 31, in a double overtime battle with the Biology Society and Mock Trial, becoming the first Greek organization to ever enter the competition, let alone win.
According to senior Andrew Felbinger, a brother in the fraternity and an Academic Bowl participant, the win is “a huge accomplishment.”
According to Felbinger, Alpha Sigma Phi decided to join the academic bowl because they are focused on academics but also look to break the “frat guy” stereotype.
“Not only do we have the highest GPA on campus but we have been trying to get our name out to other clubs and organizations on campus,” Felbinger said. “We want people to realize that we are not just a bunch of ‘frat guys’ but rather a group of gentlemen that live by our five values and take our academics very seriously.”
Sophomore Aaron Franke, a brother in Alpha Sigma Phi who also participated in the competition, said Alpha Sigma Phi “tried to select a group of brothers who would be able to focus on specific areas we believed would be important in winning the competition.”
The Academic Bowl was a single-elimination competition which consisted of 50-question rounds. Each team, according to Felbinger, was given 40 seconds to answer questions. Teams with the highest point totals advanced.
According to the event’s Facebook page, each organization was asked to pay a $25 fee from their organization’s account to compete.
The top three teams took home monetary prizes; first place winners were credited $300 to their organization’s account, with second place taking $200 and third place receiving $100.
According to Felbinger, the judges were “very surprised by our performance.”
“Many of our members were wearing our letters, and it was clear from the beginning that the judges had very low expectations from our organization,” Felbinger said. “One of the judges, after we had won the very first round, explained that he was ‘surprised’ we had gotten past the first round and that we must’ve gotten ‘lucky.'”
When asked to identify the judge, Felbinger did not know his name nor was any information regarding judges available.
Felbinger said the fraternity has encountered stereotypes in the past, but that the brothers used the experiences as motivation to prove their worth in the final rounds.
Franke said stereotypes likely played a large role in the “surprise” of the judges.
“I would say any surprise expressed by judges or other participates is based on negative stereotypes of fraternities being nothing more than organizations concerned with drinking and partying,” Franke said. “There are many other aspects to Greek life including community service, the creation of brotherhood and the development of leadership.
The Academic Bowl served as an opportunity for the fraternity.
“We have done a lot since we started as a colony (and have since become a chapter), but this was the first real opportunity to get our name out there to non-Greek organizations,” Felbinger said.
According to Felbinger, Alpha Sigma Phi started as a colony in February 2010, with 30 founding fathers formally initiated by the Grand Chapter on Jan. 22, 2011. The fraternity initiated a Gamma class of 10 brothers this semester.
Samantha Desmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.