Greek life is an important part of many Trinity students’ college experience, but it is not only limited to social fraternities and sororities. Many other types of clubs — ranging from service to professional to academic — also form a major part of students’ lives on campus.
Phi Sigma Pi (PSP) is a National Academic Honors Fraternity and Zeta Tau is Trinity’s local chapter. Founded in 2012 on the three guiding ideals of scholarship, leadership and fellowship, PSP is one of the academic honor fraternities on campus.
Regan Ramirez, current president and junior engineering science major, described the process to join the organization, which can only happen upon invitation after one’s first semester and before their last at Trinity.
“[To receive an invitation] you have to have 3.0 GPA and have to come to one of our info-sessions where we’ll tell you what we’re all about. Then you go through a rush process, which is about 10 days long. So you usually have to attend three of the four rush events to meet the brothers and see if it is a good fit for you,” Ramirez said.
She added that there is even a speed-dating style event where rushees sit across the table from current members, called “brothers” though the club is co-ed, and get to know them briefly in this rapid-fire session.
After declaring their commitment to the organization, new members undergo an initiation process of about five weeks.
“They have a weekly business meeting, and as a pledge class, they have to plan one scholarship event, one fundraising, one service and one social event,” said Taylor Smith, senior history major and former president of the Zeta Tau chapter. “This can help them to understand what we do as a chapter on a bigger scale each semester and also to get to know the brothers as well.”
These four types of events model the four committees in the fraternity: scholarship, fundraising, service and social.
The members strongly encourage academics and related activities within Zeta Tau through a variety of opportunities.
“We have a specific scholarship committee where we do different ‘scholarly’ events. Essentially we try to go out and support our brothers that might be doing senior lab posters or seminars, and we go to different lectures together and have discussions afterwards. Sometimes we just do presentations on random stuff so people can learn some more. We went to the opera,” Smith said.
Being a part of the organization also allows for many leadership opportunities.
“We have a multitude of positions available inside PSP that people can run for, from semester-long to year-long positions. They give people an opportunity to grow as a leader in a variety of different ways,” Smith said.
Aamuktha Karla, junior neuroscience major and current historian for Zeta Tau of PSP, joined with a group of friends her first-year spring semester.
“It sounded like a really cool opportunity to not only get involved with a club that bring together a lot of cool people but also opportunities to get into leadership,” Karla said.
Members also described the supportive but playful environment the fraternity provides.
“At the end of weekly meetings we do this thing called ‘Broast,’ and it’s not actually a roast, it’s always positive things,” Karla said.
In terms of fellowship, the members engage in activities of mutual interests, hosting events on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.
“We do different social events. Spring semester is kinda like our fun semester because we have our end-of-year banquet and we recognize bigs and littles, accomplishments and seniors,” Smith said. “Throughout the year we try to do fun things like going out bowling, sand-volleyball and holiday events.”
PSP Zeta Tau also coordinates a number of service projects, including their adoption of Crockett Park downtown — where they do clean ups three times a semester — in addition to regular events.
“One big one we do have coming up this semester will be happening [on May 2 and 3], called SOS Don’t Stress the Test. We just table here in [the Coates Student Center] and we give out bubble wrap and de-stressing kind of things to get people to relax a bit before finals. We’ll also have a raffle give-away for a gift card,” Smith said.
Last Saturday, April 27, they held a fundraiser at Canes and Ramirez added that Zeta Tau are currently planning to collaborate more with the other honor fraternities on campus.
The members encourages invitees to the organization to take advantage of this opportunity and its many benefits.
“What really drew me to PSP is that it’s a wide variety of people because it’s from all majors, anybody is welcome to join as long as they meet the GPA requirement […] You all know that you have to work, that school comes first and academics are important to us, so we all have that common ground where we can come together,” Smith said.
“The number one benefit would probably be meeting people that have the same ideals as you school-wise and commitment-wise. But also it’s a good to put on your resume since we’re a national fraternity,” Ramirez said.
Being part of the larger network of Phi Sigma Pi chapters, Zeta Tau attend regional and national conferences for PSP.
“Our current adviser recently attended a regional conference and got to meet people from chapters at UTSA and other Texas schools,” Karla said. “We also send a delegate to the national conference. So this year it’s in Florida, and we’re currently finding someone to go and get to learn more from the national fraternity organization.”
In addition, the president keeps in touch with the national organization which sometimes sends down representatives to see the work the chapter does and give recommendations for improvement.
The alumni network associated to Zeta Tau is also a useful research during college and after graduation to connect students to others.
Karla added that invitees should consider getting to know Zeta Tau members or attending the info-sessions. Students can follow the Zeta Tau chapter on Instagram @trinityphisigmapi.