Like many students here at Colorado College, the idea of a fraternity once repulsed me. This past Monday, that opinion changed.
As I was walking to Wooglin’s Deli to meet Skyler Trieu and Kian Alden, the philanthropy chairs of Kappa Sigma, someone came unicycling down the sidewalk and locked his wheel up in front of Wooglin’s. It turns out that the unicyclist was Skyler. This was an unexpected and welcome beginning to the destruction of my stereotype of fraternities.
Skyler, Kian, and I sat down at the circular table near the deli’s entrance and discussed their planned project at Shooks Run Park, scheduled for this upcoming Sunday. Through the adopt-a-park program, Kappa Sigma has committed to the maintenance of the park’s beauty for years to come. Shooks Run, Skyler explained, is perfectly suited for Kappa Sigma because it is within walking distance of the house, and the community loves it.
The inspiration for this project is Todd Martz. If you have never heard of him – and I had not before enjoying coffee with Skyler and Kian – to explain things simply, Todd is a legend. Not only was Todd the first man with Down Syndrome to be pledged into a fraternity in the US, but his involvement with Kappa Sigma will leave an everlasting mark. Todd Martz passed away last August, but he will always be remembered as a brother of Kappa Sigma.
Kian and Skyler have many plans for the future of service for Kappa Sigma. There are ideas to volunteer with the prisoner reintegration, outdoor education, or literacy programs with children of Colorado Springs.
At the end of our conversation, I thanked the two of them, walked out, and realized that nothing I had heard connected to any preconceived notions of fraternities. It’s a shame that the tang of the fraternity stereotype still can’t get off my tongue, but even though I may end up at a party at Kappa Sigma this weekend, I know now that is not all Kappa Sigma is. Sitting down with Skyler and Kian showed that simplifying Kappa Sigma to the stereotype of fraternities is ignorant. Fraternities that promote “frat bros” or misogynistic behavior, while existing elsewhere, do not exist at CC. With role-models like Todd Martz, it is impossible to disregard all the good that fraternities, like Kappa Sigma, are doing in the community.