Being on a campus as large as Cal State Fullertonâ€™s can be lonely; finding your niche is key to having the college experience. Having a group of guys for support that will accept you no matter what and share common interests is what Lawrence Telles, a kinesiology major and recruitment chair of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said brotherhood is about. During an interview with me, he gave me a brief insight into the life of a fraternity â€“ not the Hollywood version.
Q: How was your rush process?
A: I only went to this house during rush week because back when I rushed, it was only required for us to visit one house. They caught my attention and when I met them we just clicked automatically and I didnâ€™t want to go anywhere else. I liked that this house was real. They were fine with joking and messing with each other; they were really brothers.
Q: Once you received a bid from a fraternity, what were your responsibilities as a new member?
A: For us, we donâ€™t have pledges, you are automatically in. You can vote, you can go to all the meetings, you can be involved in everything. The only thing you are restricted from doing is wearing letters until youâ€™ve completed one semester. But your responsibilities were that you had to get a minimum of a 2.6 GPA, you had to be involved in the chapter, whether it was doing community service, going to mandatory events or helping out at the house â€“ just basic responsibilities that you had to do along with the grades.
Q: How much time does being a brother take out of your personal life?
A: It is what you put into it. So if youâ€™re going to spend a lot of time on it, then youâ€™re going to get that back. If you donâ€™t then youâ€™re not going to enjoy it. For me personally, I am recruitment chair so I have to go to executive meetings on Sunday along with our regular meetings, so that is about three to four hours. Throughout the week you can come and hang out, and every couple months we have a mandatory meeting where we have a Greek speaker. In reality it doesnâ€™t take up too much time. We also have study sessions, so we push for grades along with being able to meet the guys and have fun.
Q: What are you required to do for your philanthropy?
A: One thing we do every fall is â€œSig Ep Cares Week.â€ We go down to the post office here in Fullerton and all the cans, food, goods get delivered â€“ itâ€™s more around Christmas time. And also everyone grows out their hair in the fall and then we shave it all off for St. Baldrickâ€™s cancer foundation. And last year we raised 10k. We get sponsored to shave our head, basically. We also do bingo nights at Los Alamitos High School every Tuesday.
Q: What would you say to turn down the stereotypes of fraternities?
A: I would say you might be looking in the wrong places. Weâ€™re not an animal house, you canâ€™t go off by what you see in the movies. Obviously Hollywood is Hollywood and theyâ€™re going to play things up. There are fraternities that are like that and they have been shut down. For us we believe in a no-hazing, no-pledging process. I wouldnâ€™t be here if I had to do something I didnâ€™t want to. Everything I have ever done in this fraternity I have wanted to or as soon as I was asked, I said, â€œAlright, Iâ€™ll do it,â€ because I have enjoyed it.
Q: What are the benefits to being in a fraternity?
A: It gives you an opportunity to meet people you wouldnâ€™t normally meet. There are guys Iâ€™ve become really good friends with that I can count on for anything. We also have the whole â€œBalance Man Program.â€ There are four aspects of it: leader, scholar, athlete and gentleman. Whether you possess those qualities coming into the fraternity or not, we can help you become that person and that balanced man and make you ready for the world.