Theta Chi colonizes at the United States Military Academy at West Point
West Point, NY – On March 25, 2017 the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point became one of Theta Chi’s newest colonies. Traditionally the USMA has not had a large Greek presence (there is only one other fraternity on campus); to be approached about possibly starting a new chapter there came as a pleasant surprise.
The idea to start a new fraternity at West Point came about from Cadet Zain Shaikh in October of 2015. He sought out an on campus opportunity that provided the brotherhood that the Army offers. When he wasn’t able to find a good fit he came up with the idea to start a fraternity. “Between Generals, Presidents and CEOs there have been many great alumni from West Point,” stated Shaikh. “All of them have a common characteristic of doing something at the Academy to stand out and leave a legacy. On that point, we would like to be able to come back in 10 years or more and see the chapter thriving.”
The idea to affiliate with Theta Chi was due in part to its long history and continued dedication to America’s armed forces. Shaikh stated that, “the alignment of Theta Chi’s values with the Army’s values made it a perfect fit.”
Starting a new fraternity at a campus that traditionally has not had a large Greek life presence did not come without challenges. The foundations of the group needed to be built from the cadets since there weren’t local alumni around to help out. Given the rigorous schedule of a cadet at West Point it was difficult to find cadets to take even more time out of their already hectic schedules to help start a new fraternity. The inspiration to colonize the group unfortunately came from tragedy.
On June 2, 2016, Cadet Mitchell Winey, the man whom Zain originally pitched the idea of starting an interest group of Theta Chi, was killed in a training accident in Fort Hood, TX. For any group, this is a setback that can ultimately derail the process. These men took this tragedy and used it as inspiration, wanting to fulfill Mitchell’s dream of starting a new fraternity. With Mitchell “smiling down at them”, the group was able to colonize on March 25, 2017.
The colonization ceremony was held at Eisenhower Hall and was presided over by International Counselor Darick Brown. Attendees included Director of Education Anthony Dominguez, Director of Recruitment and Expansion Taylor Dahlem, Counselor Eric Shapiro (Gamma Rho/Florida State 2011), Counselor Alex Ruiz (Epsilon Psi/NJIT 1998), and Kappa Gamma/North Florida Chapter Adviser Kyle Griffis (Gamma Rho/Florida State 2012).
The main goals of the group, before chartering, include maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), send 10 men to the Marine Corps Marathon in 2017, sponsor the creation of a memorial at West Point in memory of Cadet Mitchell Winey, and to have 100% participation at all group/colony events.
Opened in 1802 and the oldest of the five federal service academies, the United States Military Academy (USMA) is located just over 50 miles north of New York, NY. Often referred to as one of the finest and hardest schools to gain admission to in the world, the USMA is home to just over 4,000 cadets and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top 20 National Liberal Arts College and the fourth best undergraduate engineering program in the country.