Behind the Scenes in the Recolonization of West Virginia Beta

As Treasurer of the AVC since its inception, I’ve often been humbled by the acts of our West Virginia Beta brothers who take the time to send a personal note of thanks or encouragement, whether it be in connection with our annual fundraising event (the Contribution Challenge), or the numerous emails and/or Facebook Group posts I distrubute to alumni on behalf of the AVC.  Since the AVC’s inception in connection with the Chapter’s recolonization in January of 2012, I have witnessed numerous acts of virtue, diligence and brotherly love.  Many of these acts make a deep impression, and reinforce for me the principles which bond all of us together as SigEp brothers.  I thought I’d share a couple of such instances with you.  A little background first…

In February of 2012, Chapter recolonization efforts were well underway, having begun in earnest in January after the election of AVC Board members, and Mike Fruchtman, National’s New Chapter Development Director, began planning to conduct one element of our ritual with all our newly initiated West Virginia Beta brothers.  Excitement was high, West Virginia Beta was back on WVU’s campus for the first time since May 2006.  AVC board members couldn’t help but beam with pride upon seeing the SigEp banner flying once again in the Mountainlair for Rush Week.  Then, the AVC board realized that the Chapter no longer had any ritual equipment.  All of the Chapter’s ritual equipment had been destroyed in connection with the house fire on November 1, 2003.  Mike Fruchtman suggested that he could borrow the ritual equipment from a nearby chapter, however, the AVC board members felt this was a defining moment in the Chapter’s resurgence…pride and respect dictated that our newest brothers not experience this historic moment in West Virginia Beta history with borrowed ritual equipment.  However, the newly formed AVC board had no funds with which to purchase the ritual equipment, at a cost of over $2,000.  To make matters more challenging, it would seem nearly impossible to get new ritual equipment delivered in time for Mike Fruchtman to conduct the ritual, since he was scheduled to conclude his recolonization recruiting efforts and leave WVU’s campus in mid-March.  Networking efforts began immediately, and on March 6, 2012, Jeff Ray (#1350), AVC Secretary, announced to AVC board members that West Virginia Beta alumni Dave “Stoney” Santee (#1085) and Mike Schreiber (#1114) had graciously stepped forward, and each had contributed $1,000 towards the purchase of new ritual equipment for West Virginia Beta!  With funding in hand, we then proceeded to coordinate the purchase and delivery of our new ritual equipment.  There were numerous roadblocks along the way.  Ritual equipment purchases are generally coordinated through National, and the projected orders are confirmed by National for vendor stocking well in advance of actual purchase/delivery, ritual equipment purchases are generally conducted by Chapters versus AVC’s (the Chapter had no funds for ritual equipment purchases either!), the first National approved vendor didn’t have all the required ritual inventory in stock, and couldn’t guarantee delivery for several months, but our diligence was unfazed…we dealt directly with a second vendor who had certain of our required ritual pieces in stock, and who agreed to coordinate expedited drop shipments of other required ritual pieces directly from the various manufacturers throughout the country.  Over the next few days and weeks, bits and pieces of our new ritual equipment began to arrive at my office in Charleston, WV.  It was coming down to the wire, and we were expecting the final pieces the week that Mike Fruchtman planned to conduct the ritual with our new brothers in Morgantown.  Then, yet another hurdle…I contacted the vendor concerning the final shipment we were expecting, only to learn that it had been inadvertently shipped to another SigEp chapter in Ohio.  Time was running out.  The vendor tracked the errant shipment, and it arrived in my office on March 18, 2012, the day before Mike Fruchtman had scheduled the ritual ceremony for our new West Virginia Beta brothers, before his planned departure from Morgantown.  It was during the week, however, the only way to ensure the ritual equipment arrived in time, was to hand deliver it to Mike that evening.  I left the office after work, arrived in Morgantown around 9 p.m. that evening (Mike was staying/working out of the EuroSuites Hotel in Morgantown) and spent a few minutes with Mike before dropping off the ritual equipment and heading back home.  Mike and Jeff Nass (#1285), AVC board member and West Virginia Beta alumnus,  administered the Sigma ritual to our new West Virginia Beta brothers the next evening (March 19, 2012), and so began our journey to return West Virginia Beta to its rightful position atop the Greek fraternity system at WVU.

When the final shipment of ritual equipment arrived in my office the afternoon of March 18, 2012, there was a handwritten note in the box…which evidently had been opened when it was inadvertently shipped to the Ohio SigEp chapter.  The note was very simple, but spoke volumes of the bond we share as SigEp brothers.  It seems that upon opening the box, our SigEp brother in Ohio knew immediately what had happened, and recognized the importance of the contents of the box.  I have included his handwritten note below (front and back) as a testament to the bonds of our SigEp brotherhood.  Someday, I hope the original note will find a place in the Chapter’s memorabilia.

Enjoy…I know I certainly did.


Steve Dearien (#1014)

AVC Treasurer

Ritual Equipment Note (front)

Ritual Equipment Note (back)





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