By Steven Viera || Senior Editor
Last week, representatives of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity (ZBT) visited F&M to discuss their organization with interested students at information sessions and at a table in the Steinman College Center. ZBT, which had a chapter on campus several decades ago, will begin recolonizing in Spring 2016.
Founded in 1898 as the world’s first Jewish fraternity, today, ZBT is a non-sectarian brotherhood that maintains strong connections to its Jewish roots and to Jewish communities. ZBT, according to its mission statement, is committed to advancing its Credo—intellectual awareness, social responsibility, integrity, and brotherly love—to prepare its brothers for futures of leadership and service.
“ZBT staff, alumni, and campus administrators have been in close contact for nearly a decade working through finalizing a date for ZBTs return,” said Laurence Bolotin, executive director of ZBT, explaining how the fraternity returned to F&M. “With a strong alumni base, support network, and plan of action, the campus administration felt comfortable and positive about ZBT coming back to campus.”
According to Bolotin, the official recolonization of ZBT’s Alpha Tau colony will take place in the beginning of the spring semester.
“ZBT staff will spend a considerable amount of time on campus at the start of the Spring semester meeting with students, faculty, and staff to select the initial group of founders,” he said. “The fraternity will partner closely with the Jewish community on campus as we look at ways to add further contributions to the wonderful work already being done.”
During Rush Week next semester, ZBT will conduct recruitment initiatives along with F&M’s existing fraternities. The colony will also enjoy support from ZBT’s International headquarters and a board of chapter advisors, which Bolotin said has already been assembled.
“Expansion is always great, and I think that the faculty committee allowing this fraternity to rejoin this community shows their support and recognition of all that the Interfraternity Council (IFC) has been doing to improve our campus and set a new standard,” said Mark Rooney ’17, president of the IFC. “I think ZBT rejoining will increase the number of men in Greek life, and it’ll be great to see them come into their own, as so many other organizations have done before them.”
For now, ZBT will continue reaching out to interested students on campus in anticipation of their recolonization.
“ZBT has enjoyed the relationships formed with the campus Jewish community and administrators and looks forward to being a value-add to the campus community,” Bolotin said.