Alumni help to rebuild fraternity

The gay and bisexual fraternity Delta Lambda Phi was on the brink of failure.
November 30, 2011

Alumni of gay and bisexual fraternity Delta Lambda Phi  have rebuilt the chapter since 2010 and are ready to hand the reins back to current students, effective Thursday.

In 2009 the chapter struggled with recruitment and it seemed the community lost interest, said Tim Ortyl, a University of Minnesota graduate student and Delta Lambda Phi alumni officer. Now, the chapter’s membership has grown enough that the alumni can step down.

The fraternity’s local alumni association had to decide “whether we were going to try to rebuild the chapter ourselves or just let it die,” Ortyl said.

“None of us wanted to see the chapter go away,” he said.

The national organization of Delta Lambda Phi instituted a new procedure which allowed alumni associations to hold the charter until there were enough new active members in the chapter to take it over.

The alumni have initiated three pledge classes over the last year and a half and will hand the charter back to the chapter in May 2012. Delta Lambda Phi currently has 14 active members.

“I think we’re at a healthy place for our chapter right now,” Ortyl said.

Jody Koenig  was initiated into Delta Lambda Phi in spring 2011 after learning about the fraternity through his volunteer work with the Minnesota AIDS Project .

Koenig has volunteered with the project  for six years, and has worked with the outreach program specifically for gay and bisexual men called Pride Alive.

“Every Tuesday we go and put together safer sex kits,” Koenig said. “They are condom and lube packets that one of the programs at MAP hands out at local bars downtown and around the city.”

Koenig will become the fraternity’s service director come spring semester.

“We want to make our presence known. We want to be out there getting safer sex knowledge out to our brothers, as well as other people in the community,” he said.

December is global AIDS awareness month and Delta Lambda Phi will meet Wednesday and finalize all of their plans for this year’s events.

The chapter has previously done an event with the Queer Student Cultural Center  called Condom Olympics for AIDS awareness month to emphasis the importance of safe sex.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health HIV/AIDS Surveillance System, the number of AIDS cases among male adolescents and young adults peaked in 2009 when 80  were diagnosed. Peter Carr, the Minnesota Department of Health’s STD and AIDS director, said mostly gay and bisexual men contributed to the increase of about 40 cases over the previous year.

Adam Scott , the soon-to-be vice president of Delta Lambda Phi, said the Condom Olympics consisted of contests like throwing a condom the farthest and making the most creative animal out of condoms.

“Just this last year someone made the pink octopus from ‘Finding Nemo,’ and it looked nearly identical,” Scott said.

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