The Sigma Pi fraternity took significant strides toward building their chapter this summer when they moved to 700 NE California St., their first house on Greek row.
Sigma Pi started a WSU colony in 2007 and became the newest chartered chapter on April 3, 2010. They initially had three members and now up to 58.
Robert Kincaid, the Sigma Pi housing manager, said they originally were contacted about the house in the spring of 2010. They talked with their alumni, but they didn’t have enough time to make the deal and had to wait another year.
“I did all of the negotiations and helped establish with the housing corporation so that we had the power to move on it,” Kincaid said. “We were contacted again mid-spring in 2011 and were able to act.”
Kyle Heimbigner, the Sigma Pi marketing and public relations director, said the fraternity is still building and is new on campus. He said they want to make it a lasting tradition.
“Ever since we started, it was a goal of ours to get a house on Greek row,” Heimbigner said. “We wanted a house large enough to hold at least the majority of our members.”
Sigma Pi President Kyle Klemencic, said they spent more than $8,000 this summer on repairs for the house because the past residents left it in complete disarray. He said when they arrived there was only one toilet working, mildew in all of the sinks, trash as high as the fence line in the back and mattress and couches laying outside.
“I can say that this summer was a time for us to grow even stronger as a brotherhood because we had all these projects to work on that most Greeks never have to deal with,” Klemencic said. “We filled up two giant industrial dumpsters in the first three days with the trash debris left from the past residents.”
Klemencic said they repainted the dark green and purple walls, spackled over 220 fist holes in the walls, covered more than 300 holes other body dents in the wall, fixed the plumbing and replaced all of the ripped out electrical wires in the rooms. He said they had a licensed inspector come in to check the place, and next week the fire chief will do a walk through to look at the new fire alarm system and make sure the building is up to code.
“We had no contractors, no construction workers, and this was all work we did ourselves, with the exception of the plumbing, windows and electrical,” Klemencic said. “We’re very proud of our members and how they’ve taken on this responsibility because a lot of 18 to 20-year-old guys would not even think of taking on a project like this.”
The house now has a graveled barbeque and smoke pit in the back, tan and black colored rooms, a new living room set, beds, a recreation room and guest accommodations. Klemencic said a few volunteer members that stayed over the summer did the work.
“We built a brotherhood, but now we have these relationships because we built something together that’s physical,” Klemencic said. “Now there isn’t just a piece of paper that says we’re a club, we now have a clubhouse.”
Kyle Spane, the Interfraternity Council president, said gaining an official chapter facility should help build the Sigma Pi fraternity. He said the central location should help continue to develop and strengthen their chapter.
“The Sigma Pi chapter here at Washington State University has demonstrated an amazing amount of growth and resilience,” Spane said. “It is never easy for a fraternity to charter for the first time on a campus, and for Sigma Pi to now be moving into an official chapter house is reflective of all the hard work they have done.”
Klemencic said now that they have a house, they need to become more involved in their philanthropy, more involved in their community service projects and their grades need to be more than just passing. He said they are in the running to be one of the top 25 chapters in their national fraternity this year.
“Having a house and an area for guys to live together doesn’t make you a fraternity,” Klemencic said. “The one thing that we are afraid of is plateauing and becoming a stagnant fraternity, so the main thing is just to keep on pressing forward like our founding fathers [of the fraternity] taught us.”
The pledge class this year should be great because the chapter now have a house on campus, Klemencic said. They have a diverse group in the house ranging from Philipinos and Catholics to body builders, 4.0 GPA students and military members, he said.
“Since we’re so young it has been a ‘do you work with us and do we work with you’ kind of atmosphere,” Klemencic said. “In the end, I think it has been a blessing for us because we have more than just one thought pattern."
Kincaid said they have been fighting an uphill battle since 2007, but now it is good to be a part of Greek row. He said he joined Sigma Pi for the brotherhood and closeness.
“We probably have one of the stronger fraternities on campus because we’ve done so much in building the fraternity,” Kincaid said. “As far as I could see I think it is going to just keep getting better and better.”
Heimbigner said one of the big sellers of this fraternity for him was that it wasn’t established. He said that it is a lot of fun to meet new guys and be involved with such a diverse group.
“We’re really going to influence the future members of Sigma Pi here,” Heimbigner said. “I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today without my fraternity.”
Sigma Pi is going in the right direction and are not ready to finish progressing, Klemencic said. This project has been like a family event and the labor shows the resilience of the brotherhood, he said.
“This has really turned into a nice place for us to come back to everyday,” Klemencic said. “It is like that theme song from the show Cheers, ‘Where everybody knows your name’.”