Delta Tau Delta receives the highest award for a fraternity

For the 17th time, the Epsilon Phi chapter of Delta Tau Delta has been bestowed the highest national award a fraternity can earn.

The Hugh Shields Flag was given to Delta Tau Delta on Feb. 4.

“This flag is given out to the top 10 chapters out of all the chapters every year,” said Vice President of Delta Tau Delta Claudio Franc. “They’re given out at division conferences. There are five divisions for Delta Tau Delta. We have the southern, the northern, the eastern and the western plains and the western pacific, so each division has its own awards. We only have 10 flags out of everyone, so this year we got our 17th Hugh Shields Flag. We were ranked 6th in the nation, so it’s a very high honor. Our organization is super humble to have received it and we continue to work hard to try to achieve it again.”

The award is given to a fraternity chapter based upon several areas of excellence including academics, finances, recruitment, campus leadership and service. The chapter was also recognized in receiving awards specifically in academic excellence and educational programming for life beyond college. 

Director of Membership Development Griffin Hakenjos believes these skills are qualities that make students’ time in the fraternity valuable even after college.

“We take things like academics and educational programming very seriously because we are in college to graduate and get a good job in the future,” said Hakenjos. “We all want each other to succeed and I think that is one of the driving forces in supporting each other in these aspects. As a brotherhood, we don’t try and outdo each other. However, we help and support each other to where we are all performing academically to our full potential and that we are all prepared for life out of college.” 

Delta Tau Delta hosted a number of events for charitable causes. In 2016, some of their community service projects included the MADD Dash which was a 5Kx run with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Hammond Police Union Policeman’s Ball. The chapter also has contributed services to the Southeastern Laboratory School, Chefs Evening and Champagne Bingo. Sexual assault, the importance of voting and interview tips are just a few topics they also promote on campus.

Franc claimed  organization is the key to the chapter’s success.

“A lot of it is just keeping track of the dates that you have events and then writing summaries for those events and just making sure you’re top of everything,” said Franc. “So that means having events for sexual assault awareness or having events for philanthropy, community service, et cetera. Really, just being very organized is the most important qualification for continuing to get that award.”

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the fraternity’s national philanthropy. Last April, the chapter organized their first annual Clay Shoot Competition. 

President of Delta Tau Delta Tristyn Wheeler explained that philanthropy was one aspect the chapter focused on in the past year.

“We really ‘uped’ our philanthropy,” said Wheeler. “Last year, we donated just over $10,000 to JDRF from our annual clay shoot. We just had it again this past weekend. That was one area of improvement we strived on.”

Wheeler also projected to the future in regards to where he feels the fraternity seeks to improve.

“Another area we’re trying to improve on is member education,” said Wheeler. “We try to work with the school, campus operations like the counseling center or put on etiquette classes just to keep the guys on their toes.”

Franc described how being a part of the chapter and their influence on campus has allowed him to grow.

“Honestly, this chapter gives me so many resources to better myself,” said Franc. “Not only as a student but also as a man. Any community event services we have, it teaches not only me but the people that I work with. And when you put things together and see the fruition of it, see it all come together, it’s really just amazing. Had I not joined such a strong organization on campus, I don’t know if my people skills or my communication skills would have developed as much. I think that’s something the fraternity does very well.”

Wheeler reflected on how leading the chapter has shaped him as an individual.

“Being a part of this chapter is like you wake up in the morning when your feet hit the ground, you’re thinking ‘Alright, I need to be the best Delta I can be,’” said Wheeler. “To us, that just means the excellence, what we do and what we strive for everything academically or otherwise.”