Returning to Glory

Indiana Beta Colony leads by example

Toward the end of his sophomore year, Nate Sands (Indiana ’17) was approached by the Indiana University Student Life office about an opportunity to lead the new Phi Psi Colony. Indiana Beta has a rich history on campus, but has been on hiatus since the chapter was closed in 2015.

Returning in August 2017 for his junior year, Sands made it a priority to bring Phi Kappa Psi back to Indiana University and restore it to its former glory. Using his connections to Student Life leaders and his peers at the IU Kelley School of Business, Sands was able to recruit 69 members throughout the course of the 2017-18 academic year. This strong comeback was a direct result of successful recruitment, philanthropic and academic excellence, and involvement in campus-wide traditions, namely the Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) and the Little 500 Race, both events where the Colony has been heavily involved.

The Little 500 is a cycling race modeled after the Indianapolis 500 that began in 1951.  Every April, it draws 25,000 spectators to campus, and Phi Kappa Psi has had a history of being one of the most winningest teams, having clenched the race seven times. In 2017, the Colony formed a team, which is one of the top favorites for the 2019 race.

The Academy Award-Winning movie Breaking Away is based on the true story of the 1962 Phi Kappa Psi Little 500 champions, which featured legendary rider Dave Blase,(Indiana ‘60) who provided inspiration to fellow team member Steve Tesich (Indiana ‘62), who wrote the movie.

In November 2017, the Colony was hit with a challenge as IU suspended all Greek social activities until March 2018. Although the suspension occurred just as the Colony was getting back on its feet, the timing could not have been more crucial as it allowed for the Greek community to come together to address their issues.

“During that time, we frequently held meetings with other Greek organizations to address the competition and tension between us that led to the increased risks and number of chapters on probation, which ultimately resulted in this suspension,” Sands said. “We came together to amend the IU Greek Agreement and have made it a priority to sustain ourselves better on campus. For a university with a huge Greek population, it’s important that our peers see how we are contributing to campus, rather than seeing us as a liability. We’re changing that stereotype by creating a more inclusive environment by working not only with the Interfraternity Council (IFC), but also with other international and academic fraternities on campus.”

With over 750 student organizations offered on campus, the Greek community at IU committed to break down the barriers between them upon amending their Greek Agreement. Maintaining better communication and relationships outside of the Greek world will not only encourage increased campus involvement, but will help to eliminate the social hierarchy that affects many campuses.

Sands holds an executive position on the IUDM board and will dance the total 36 hours to raise money for IU Children’s Hospital. This past November, Sands started an IUDM-Phi Psi tradition that requires members to attend as freshmen to keep them coming back each year.

The Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) is a 36-hour Dance Marathon that occurs every year with the purpose of raising both funding and awareness for pediatric care. IUDM began in 1991 in memory of Ryan White, who was a hemophilia patient diagnosed with AIDS. He was treated at Riley Hospital for Children and died in 1990. Since the inaugural marathon, IUDM has raised $32 Million for the Riley Children’s Foundation.

The IU Colony has raised a total of $8,960 toward a variety of different philanthropies, and they have formed a close relationship with the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington. The Colony was approved for recharter by the Executive Council on October 27, and will re-occupy a newly-renovated house in Fall 2019.