Ohio State Wins North American Interfraternity Conference Chapter Award of Distinction
Just five years after refounding in 2018, the Ohio State (OSU) chapter had their “buckeyes” on the prize, earning a trifecta of prestigious awards. They received top honors from the University, Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity, and the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).
In addition to receiving Ohio State’s William H. Hall Chapter of the Year award and Pi Lambda Phi’s highest honor, the George A. Beck Chapter of the Year award, OH Alpha Epsilon crowned their achievements with a Chapter Award of Distinction from the NIC.
Building a culture of excellence
The chapter credits much of their success and recognition with the heart of fraternity building — recruiting the right kind of brother.
Former Rex and Chapter Coach, Michael Haber ’21 said of the chapter, “From the beginning there was a very big push on recruiting the ‘right guys.’ The brothers who joined have filled the e-board positions and leadership roles within the fraternity. They’re high achieving individuals, and they attract others with the same qualities to work toward common goals.”
Pilam at Ohio State
Greek life at OSU is a highly competitive space. The university has more than 60,000 students and 28 fraternities on campus. OH Alpha Epsilon stood out almost immediately as a chapter that grew rapidly in just a few years to 120 members, and acquired a chapter house where 29 brothers live, which is a big factor for attracting new members at the university.
They are well-regarded on campus and considered amiable, cuddly, and housebroken. Inspired by a TikTok video, “people started calling us the corgis.” said Rex Jason Ghimbasan. “Everyone just loved us because we were good guys to be around.”
Rob Karis ’07 (Florida) volunteered to lead the Chapter Coaches Board in 2020 during the pandemic, which he called “a very interesting time to be an advisor, because everyone was virtual. But technology like Zoom allowed me to build a connection with the undergrads and be an effective advisor even without being physically located near the chapter.”
The board included two alumni from the original chapter (active from 1927 to 1977) who were still involved and eager to help, and would eventually include two recent Ohio State grads, Michael Haber and Harrison Wright.
The rest of the coaches were a mix of alumni from other chapters, which proved to be a good model because everyone brought “what worked well at their chapters” to the table.
Planning (or not) for success
Rex Jason Ghimbasan said, “I did come into this year wanting to win the George Beck award again, and was hoping to win awards from OSU, but the NIC award came out of left field.” He credits the achievements of the chapter to his e-board and their predecessors who cared a lot and had a drive to make the chapter even stronger.
When Jason got a call from Kris Reiber, Director of Alumni Relations, who thought OSU would be a great candidate for national recognition, they scrambled to get their application together on a tight deadline.
A couple months later they found out that they won! The chapter will receive the award at an event on Saturday, December 2.
How OSU earned NIC recognition
The NIC’s Chapter Award of Distinction recognizes exceptional fraternity chapters demonstrating excellence in operations, involvement in their fraternity and campus community, and a commitment to a positive fraternity experience.
The Ohio State chapter was graded against fraternities throughout North America for their body of work. Here are the highlights.
Through fundraising events, they raised more than $3,000 in support of the Innocence Project, an organization that provides legal counsel for the wrongly accused. Overall, they logged 2,150 service hours (nearly 21 hours per brother) in various drives such as food, clothing, and supply drives for Camp Kesem and also volunteered for school events.
The chapter set their GPA requirement at 3.0 (above OSU’s 2.5 requirement). They were ranked second in top-performing academic fraternities on campus.
To get smart, they designated a list of brothers who are teaching assistants, proficient in various topics to tutor fellow brothers. They set daily study sessions at the house, and joint study tables with sororities throughout the semester. The chapter also offered a scholarship to a high performing brother that was paid out of the fraternity budget.
The chapter ensured that all potential new members share and exhibit the high values of Pi Lambda Phi throughout recruitment.
All of the chapter’s events followed strict guidelines with information posted around events and a team of designated sober monitors. The chapter has a risk manager who oversees guidelines and safety requirements.
The chapter excelled in interfraternalism, actively engaging with other Greek organizations and the wider campus community. They consistently held leadership positions in their campus IFC and required all active brothers to be involved with at least one club or student organization.
Their next challenge may be building a bigger trophy case. Congratulations OH Alpha Epsilon for Leading Courageously!
Help Ohio State continue to grow and excel
Chapter alumni launched an OH Alpha Epsilon designated fund to provide scholarships and leadership programming specifically for the chapter.
Would you like to provide your expertise to a Pilam chapter?
We invite our alumni to offer their experience by serving on a Chapter Coaches Board. Please contact the IHQ if you are interested.