Sigma Pi, Delta Lambda Chapter, Louisiana Tech University
When I was a student at Louisiana Tech University, joining Sigma Pi Fraternity changed my life.
When I started college, I was socially inept—particularly with the big-haired, amazingly beautiful college co-eds of north Louisiana. However, my social graces evolved rapidly when I pledged the Delta Lambda Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity in 1988.
I was recruited by a fraternity member, Charles Lewis, who invited me to a mid-week party at the Sigma Pi house. I can still remember that wild bash. Everyone was nice to me, several girls paid attention and flirted with me, and there were many kegs of free beer. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the girls were “little sisters” and girlfriends of brothers and they were simply doing their part to get me excited about recruitment.
A few days after the party a small envelope was slipped under my dorm room door. It was an invitation to pledge the fraternity. I had few college friends at the time so it was no surprise that I jumped at the offer to pledge a fraternity.
Once I pledged, things changed rapidly. I was, unfortunately, the only pledge; it was mid-quarter and the previous pledge class had recently gone active. As such, every shitty duty normally assigned to groups of pledges was assigned to me alone. Some of the tasks I remember include walking to convenience stores, picking up fast food, making beer runs to a nearby city (as it was a dry parish), and cleaning up after parties.
But there were good days as well. My brothers were an eccentric lot. We were in many ways a crazy party house like Delta Tau Chi Fraternity of ‘Animal House’ fame.
One of our brothers was best known for frequently wearing a bathrobe with matching cowboy boots and hat. That same brother also kept a pet ferret and Nanday Conure Parrot as he felt that those pets helped him with the ladies. His most famous feat was climbing flagpoles naked while his well-known twangy catchphrase was “Hi. My name is Dean Pritchard, I’m from El Dorado, Arkansas. Damn glad to meet ya!”
Another brother was an accomplished Rastafarian while others were pranksters, confidence men, rednecks, scholars, misfits, drunkards, Cajuns, pilots, perpetual students, and sons of the urban elite. Yet others were “normal” guys simply trying to get through college and have a good time doing it. And they were my best friends. As for me, I was the hardheaded Marine some folks affectionately called Jarhead.
As months passed and as that group of guys saw me interact with others, they consciously and unconsciously began to mold me into the creature I am today. They did this through subtle instruction, teasing, social punishment, and straight talk.
I’m not brave enough to share some of the horror stories of how I once behaved in public, but I distinctly remember the day Mike DeSelle took me outside, sat me on a stump, and proceeded to regale me with a long list of my social inadequacies. It was eye-opening. It was life-changing. And after that, things started to get better. Not all at once. And in fact, I still have problems with my big mouth. But changes did eventually come.
My evolution as a worthwhile individual was made possible because my fraternity brothers cared enough to help me understand my place in society. I have such amazing gratitude for my Delta Lambda brothers.
I can express this no better than in the words of our fraternity’s creed: “I Believe in Sigma Pi, a fellowship of kindred minds, united in brotherhood to advance truth and justice, to promote scholarship, to encourage chivalry, to diffuse culture, and to develop character, in the service of God and man; and I will strive to make real the fraternity's ideals in my own daily life.”