Shattering stereotypes

Sigma Tau Gamma receives distinguished chapter award

Dylan Winkler grew up next to a college campus, and by the time he graduated from high school, he decided he wanted nothing to do with Greek life. His distaste reflected the general opinion from society and the portrayal of fraternities and sororities in the media.

“I knew what fraternities were and I hated them,” the senior exercise science major said. “I had no intention of rushing.”

By a strike of fate, Winkler was assigned a Resident Assistant who also happened to be in a fraternity.

“I remember sitting with my RA and having such a long talk,” Winkler said. “I could tell these guys didn’t fit into the stereotype I had in my mind of frat guys. I decided to join the fraternity and ever since then I have been involved in something bigger than myself.”

Today, Winkler is the president of Sigma Tau Gamma. The fraternity received the Edward H. McCune Distinguished Chapter award in late June.

Sigma Tau Gamma is one of the six fraternities on campus. Their recent award ranks the university chapter as the best overall fraternity in the small division, consisting of over 50 chapters.

Fraternities are scored on recruitment, community service, number of events hosted, number of funds raised and many other categories, awarding even bonus points. At the end of the event, points are tallied and the first-place fraternity is announced. Sigma Tau Gamma received a perfect score.  

“It was a group effort,” Winkler said. “Every man played a part in our success. They paid their dues on time, they went above and beyond in community service hours, they received good grades, and they became involved on campus.”

Winker said he is thankful he rushed as a freshman.

“In college, you learn a lot about certain subjects, but life skills are often times neglected,” Winkler said. “Fraternities teach life skills. Fraternities teach you how to be a man, how to be a business professional and how to be successful. I learned time management and organizational skills. I built relationships with the university. I wouldn’t have gotten involved had I not rushed.”

Winkler said it is important the university recognizes the success of Greek organizations.

“Winning an award like this shows the hard work and dedication we put into our organization,” Winkler said. We are serious about what we do on campus and we are not exonerating the stereotype of the typical frat. We want them to recognize the good we do and that we hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

Winkler said pushing against the public perception of fraternities is a daily battle.

“When you tell someone you are in a fraternity, no one says, ‘Wow, that’s great’,” Winkler said. “They instantly assume things about you. We have to go above and beyond expectations to prove ourselves, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We have high standards for ourselves and we hold ourselves to that. We joined knowing full well what we were getting into. I don’t feel bad for anyone.”

Mike Bevers, Sigma Tau Gamma’s chapter adviser, said he is a background coach.

“I am there as a resource,” Bevers said. “I guide and motivate these men; that’s my role and I love doing it. I would volunteer to do this job.”

Bevers said this is the third time the university chapter has won the Edward H. McCune Distinguished Chapter award.

“I was involved in Sigma Tau Gamma when we first won the award in 1983,” Bevers said. “When I graduated in 1985, we were still regarded as the top fraternity on campus. We won the award again in 2013, and now in 2017. We hope to compete for the award next year and every year.”

Bevers said while many fraternities are struggling, Sigma Tau Gamma continues to flourish.

“I am awfully proud of all of those men,” Bevers said. “The tradition of excellence I remember from when I was in college continues. They expect excellence from themselves. They make it happen year after year.”