Heidelberg Greek Life is getting updated with NME

Greek Life is a staple at most universities and has been for some time. Heidelberg University is no different! Movies and news stories paint a picture of Greek life that is very different than what students get to experience here on Heidelberg’s campus.

A total of 281 students on Heidelberg’s campus are Greek – about 20 percent of the undergraduate population. The ’Berg is home to 10 Greek groups, the oldest being the Excelsior Men’s Society, on campus since 1851, and the newest being Zeta Theta Psi, a women’s society that was formed in 2013. All of Heidelberg's groups are vital to not only the campus community but the Tiffin community as well. 

The primary difference is that Heidelberg has local Greek life only. The five fraternities, four societies and one gender-neutral society are groups that can only be found at Heidelberg. There is no national group that tells the Heidelberg Rhos how to be Rhos, or the ’Berg Kappas how to be Kappas. While each group may have alumni living anywhere in the world, each one of them was once a student at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio! 

So, being completely local means that the cultures of these groups reflect the values of ’Berg students past and present – and they just might surprise you! What you heard about a group three years ago may be vastly different from what the current members have in mind for themselves now and looking forward. 

This week and last week are New Member Education weeks (NME) for all Greek groups on campus. During these two weeks, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and weekend, current members have planned events to get to know their new members, and to introduce them to the history and values of their group. Each new member gets to learn how to contribute to and positively change the culture of groups that have been evolving for as many as 171 years! 

Since each group’s culture has changed over time, here is what Heidelberg’s Greek life looks like today:

Excelsior Men’s Society (1851): “The EXes”

There are currently 21 members of the Excelsior’s Men Society, seven of whom are joining this semester. EX members put grades first and make sure to support each other through thick and thin. The men of Excelsior are fun, friendly and devoted to each other and the Tiffin community. These men are athletes, Marching Band members, and reliable on-campus workers. While they love to have fun, they hold each other accountable as they work and grow together. They are excited to get some new members this spring, and continue to make a positive impact on campus and in Tiffin.

The EXes put a lot of value on providing service to the community and help to those in need. Particularly in the winter, you can see the EXes shoveling driveways for people in the community, or helping a student get their car out of a snowy parking spot. The EXes are devoted to life-long brotherhood and tradition, often relying on their alumni base if they need help, and never backing away from helping out their alumni in return. Being the oldest group on campus means a lot of wonderful history and wonderful people that the men of Excelsior get to be proud of and honor.

Some EXes you may have met on campus include: Cody Bertke, Zak Hahn, Braxton Fox, Brennan Scheck, Zac Belko and Matthew Whittenberger.

Nu Sigma Alpha (1859): “The Heids”

The Heids currently have 18 traditional members with eight new, many of whom are athletes you may have seen around campus. They compete across campus in lacrosse, track, soccer and football. Those who aren’t athletes are very active elsewhere on campus. The Heids are super busy, active guys! As athletes, they make sure that academics are prioritized and encourage each other to attend study tables and seek out help as needed. This past semester, they topped the Greek life academics chart, having the highest group semester GPA. After academics, the Heids care deeply about maintaining their friendships with each other. The Heids take a lot of pride in their unity: they work well together and have fun with each other. They also take pride in their Greek unity across campus, and love to encourage Greek life whenever and wherever they can. 

This spring, the Heids are looking forward to their upcoming events, such as the Klebo-Titus kickball tournament, and NME activities. One of their favorite activities during the week is when they get together to work on their group projects and to get to know their new members, who are learning to maintain the Heid traditions.

Some Heids you may have seen around campus include: Jaydon Septer (president), Landon Vair (vice president), Noah Kennard (serves on GLC’s exec board.)

The Euglossian Society (1913): “The Eugs”

The Eugs currently have 11 traditional members and members of their corollary, the Euglos. The Eugs deeply value their grades, and set aside two meetings per semester to dedicate to just doing homework. They utilize sticker charts to help encourage each other in their school work – they were very proud to have topped the Greek life academic board for group cumulative GPA last semester! Beyond academics, the Eugs care deeply about protecting their members’ mental health, creating a safe and diverse space for those who need it at the end of a long and busy day. They consider their meeting a “happy island” in the middle of a hectic week. Many Eugs are involved in the School of Music & Theater, and enjoy performing and supporting their friends at performances. 

The group is currently made up of “girls, gays and theys” who enjoy gaming (tabletop or video), disc golf, and all things communication and mental health. It’s important for the Eugs to cultivate their place on campus, so the safe space they’ve worked hard to build is there for future generations to enjoy. The Eugs feel that their culture is best represented by their chaotic love for each other, and the shoulder tap game that they are looking forward to playing every so often as the spring continues. (Shoulder Tap is a game where everyone stands in a circle facing out, and a person in the center gives a compliment and taps the person it best applies to from their perspective.)

Some familiar Eug faces you may have seen around campus include: Julia Jacobs (president), McCartney Betz (vice president), Melissa Risser (parliamentarian), Kurtis Meeker (treasurer), and Scooter Austin (recording secretary).

The Philalethean Society (1913): “The Phis”

There are currently 23 members of the Philalethean Society, eight of whom are new this semester. The Phis are kind, driven and passionate people. Jocelyn Everett, a new member last year, says she joined “because active members checked in with me during COVID; now we are continuing that kindness by doing a random act of kindness for a fellow member every week.” Beyond that, the Phis are rooted in tradition and appreciate their role as the oldest sorority on campus. The Phis wear their traditional white blazers regularly, particularly on the first Wednesday of every month, over a black dress. The Phis have a unique culture because of their very large and supportive alumni base, which helps with networking and support long after graduation.

The Phis take academics seriously and require their members to do at least 10 hours of studying per week, which is then reported to their academic advisor; often included in those study hours are Phi study groups. Phis are involved across campus, in governing boards, athletics and many special interest groups such as the Kilikilik, Keep Calm and Carry Yarn, religious life and band. This spring, the Phis are excited to spend quality time with their seniors before graduation, and to support all of their sisters and new members in their different activities. The Phis pride themselves in individuality and unity, and the lifetime of love and support that their society provides after graduation. New members represent an opportunity to grow this long-lasting support system and their legacy of empowering others.

Some members you can “PHI-nd” (find) around campus are Sarah Toppin (president), Tess Connors (vice president), and Shelby Sinclair (recording secretary).

Alpha Phi Tau (1921): “The Aps”

Alpha Phi Tau has 13 active traditional members, three of whom are being introduced to the group this NME, and 11 members of their corollary, the Ap Sisses. The Aps take academics seriously, holding study tables and celebrating each other’s academic achievements. Several Aps work in the Owen Center for Teaching and Learning as academic coaches, and love to support their fellow Aps and other students who may need it. President Josh Dame said, “We in the traditional membership are self-described as nerds (but the Sisses are very cool!)” They are involved in band, academic coaching and have various on-campus jobs. The Aps embrace each other's uniqueness and take pride in their policy of open communication. 

This spring, the Aps are looking forward to growing as a group and as friends with each other. They strive to be an inclusive and diverse organization, and love all that their new members bring to the table as they work toward that goal. If you want to get to know the Aps better, they recommend checking out their 2020 Greek Sing video on YouTube. Rather than sing and dance, the Aps wrote and performed an anime with epic battles and a plot twist for the centuries. They love to embrace each other's weirdness, which brings them closer as a group. Being as close as they are, most Aps live with at least one other Ap on campus, and so they can proudly say they are there for each other whenever the time arises.

Aps you may have seen on campus include Joshua Dame (president and treasurer), Will Bohlen (vice president), Evan Farley (parliamentarian), Jared Buchholz (scribe), and Declan Brush (NME chair.)

Sigma Tau Nu (1949): “The Sigs”

There are currently 13 traditional members of Sigma Tau Nu, one of which is joining during this NME, and 37 members of their corollary, the Sig Hons.he Sigs approach academics with flexibility and encouragement; they know that sometimes bad classes or difficult semesters happen, but they push each other to do their best and try their hardest in everything. The Sigs are active around campus and in our community: Sigs student-teach, perform in the band or theater, and play sports or lead sports clubs. They make the time to spend with each other, and love to be genuine with each other. The best times in Sig Hall are when they’re goofing off, NERF warring, or just being there for each other.

The Sigs pride themselves on all of their diverse backgrounds, which allow them to come together, learn from each other and try new things. They value serving the community and engaging with their alumni or older members of the Tiffin community, who they make a priority when planning service projects around town. They value and hold each other accountable to be reliable, to the community as well as each other through hard times, or good times. Sigs want to share their reliable type of love with everyone as they move forward as a group. They relish every opportunity to make memories with each other, and are looking forward to those new memories, including events like Sig Formal this spring, or just hanging out and being themselves around each other.

Sig sighting! Look out for Isaac Weber (president), Ben Patrizi (vice president), Tim Buckey (treasurer), Jonathan “Rocky” Hurst (Sergeant at Arms), Ben Nieberlein (“Rec and Secsy” - recording secretary).

Delta Sigma Chi (1962): “The Delts”

There are 25 full members of Delta Sigma Chi, four of whom are joining the Delts this NME, and 14 Delt Guys, their group's corollary. The Delts love to encourage each other in academics, and will hold group study tables if any of their members begin falling behind to help motivate each other in their studies. The Delts are proud of their diverse group of women, and work to empower and embrace each other’s differences. This diverse support system lends to any member getting many different perspectives and solutions for the troubles they may find. “Each member of our group holds a special place. Having this group always means having about 20 people that I can go to when I need them for anything,” President Kendall Wright explained. Their members are involved in the School of Music & Theater, many of Heidelberg’s STEM programs, numerous sports and many fun special interest clubs.

This spring, Delts are looking forward to enjoying their planned group bonding events and meeting new people and new members. “Bringing more people into our group allows us to be a new support system for these girls and bring them comfort in knowing that someone is always in their corner,” Kendall said. The Delts are also anticipating their group’s signature philanthropy event, the Dance-a-Thon! The women of Delta Sigma Chi dance all day throughout the town and raise money to support two different charities. They take pride in the strong start and strong end to the event, where every Delt joins in the Commons to dance and have fun for the first and last hours. The Delts love the chance to bond and support each other while supporting others throughout the Heidelberg and Tiffin communities.

Delts you may have met before on campus include: Kendall Wright (president), Maddie Newby (vice president), Hailey Taylor (treasurer), Leah Rieger (parliamentarian), Carla Dixon (recording secretary), Celia DeTray (academic chair), Paige Leitner and Vaiden Mallonn (social co-chairs).

Kappa Psi Omega (1968): “The Kappas”

Currently, Kappa Psi Omega has 45 active traditional members, 17 of whom are joining this NME, and 17 Kappa Lil Bros. The Kappas prioritize academics and mental health. They have study tables for any member who needs them, and require all members to spend at least three hours a week studying. They also work to maintain academics by trying to have their events earlier in the evening, so their members can go home afterward to still have study time and a reasonable bedtime. There are Kappas in almost every major and most activities on campus: sports, theater, special interest clubs, and band and choir. In addition, Kappas takes Greek unity seriously, with members represented in other groups’ corollaries. With so many personalities, no wonder the Kappa motto is "Sincerity our Truth, Individuality our Goal."

Kappas are looking forward to welcoming their new members and enjoying the traditions they’ve had since 1968! The Kappas take a lot of pride in empowering each other and those around them through being true to themselves. “One of the best ways to make others feel like they can be themselves, is for you to be yourself first,” said Parliamentarian Jasmine Ridler. By bringing in new members and sharing this mentality, Kappas hope to grow their safe, empowering space for everyone, and to be there for anyone who needs it.

In case you ever want to grab a KAPPA-ccino, keep an eye out for Kaitlyn Hage (president), Kerry Hastings (vice president), Jasmine Ridler (parliamentarian), Madison Leiser (treasurer) and Lydia Rodriguez (alumni secretary).

Rho Eta Delta (2007): “The Rhos”

There are eight active members in Rho Eta Delta, one of whom is joining the group during this NME, and 15 members of their corollary, the Rho's Buds. The Rhos have built a community where no one is afraid to ask anyone for academic support or help of any kind. They do their best to uplift and support each other, particularly with academics. There is no “typical Rho” because of the various personalities they have and their wide array of interests. Rhos are involved in STEM, music, theater, sports, choir, band and many other activities around campus. Their diversity brings them together and provides a space for open conversation and flexibility. The Rhos focus on building up their members to be men of quality who make a difference on Heidelberg’s campus however they can. The Rhos strive and push each other to be leaders in and outside of the classroom, while also aiding the Tiffin community. Outside of leadership, the Rhos love to hold tournaments such as dodgeball, volleyball, and even smash bRho's. Anything for a good time! 

This spring, the Rhos are excited to continue building their community of men and women who believe in their values of diversity, character and connection. Their motto, “Character Connects us All,” demonstrates their commitment to being good leaders and supportive peers. Their various passions and activities give the group many paths to work to change the world for the better. “We celebrate and support our brothers and sisters in all their efforts!”

You may RHOalize you have a bRHO in your midst if you see: Ryan Newman, David Haines, David Drushal, Nate Kunzler or Ellis Herner! (“We even have the best advisors on campus with Dr. Nate Beres and Ashley Helmstetter!” - Ryan Newman)

Zeta Theta Psi (2013) “The Zetas”

There are 27 traditional members of Zeta Theta Psi, 14 of whom are joining during this NME, and six members of their corollary, the Zeta Gents. The Zetas believe that they are students first and foremost, and are academically driven – they tend to be high on the academic leaderboard that comes out for Greek groups each semester. Zetas enjoy all sorts of things, and believe that you can find at least one Zeta in almost every group on campus. The Zetas take a lot of pride in their dedication to empowering individuals through life and academics, and encouraging healthy relationships. They love connecting and uplifting new people and each other, and look forward to empowering the campus with True Beauty Day later in the semester, lifting up their new members this spring, and incorporating their new ideas and growth into their sisterhood. The Zetas believe that their culture can be best understood by looking at their Feel Good Wednesdays, in which all Zetas take the day to do something for themselves, and through their dedication to be a group of women who support all other women.
You may have met these familiar Zeta faces around campus: Haley Martin (president), Liz Vincent (vice president), Isabel Chasney (parliamentarian), Allie Wiggins (treasurer), Amy Hafer (secretary), and Lauren Buskirk (academic liaison)

—    by Em Swain ‘22

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