Beta Alpha Chapter, Northeastern Illinois University
In the spring of 2009, a group of friends began contemplating bringing a fresh and different fraternal organization to the Northeastern Illinois University campus. Victor Gonzalez, Jairo Arellanes, Daniel Sosa, Salvador Estrada, and Denny Esquivel all set out to find the right fit for them, since none of the fraternal organizations on campus seemed to be what they were looking for. The group then set out to research other fraternal organizations to bring to campus. A few were contacted but ultimately no response. Towards the end of the spring semester, Jairo found out about Omega Delta Phi through his close friend who just so happened to cross in the fraternity back at SIUC Colony. The young men were very interested in what they saw in ODPhi, and did further research on it. Soon after, A few ODPhi members from SIUC Colony and Alpha Sigma Chapter held a presentation for a few of the interested men. An Alpha Sigma Chapter alumnus, Tony Diaz, was very helpful during this stage. After a few meetings amongst each other, the group decided to move forward with Omega Delta Phi in the summer of 2009. Javier Peralta, Miguel Palma, Ismael Alvarado and Adan Perez were recruited in to the group that summer as they all pushed each other to meet the requirements of the organization. The group had the support of their first staff advisor from the NEIU-El Centro Campus, Maria-Luna Duarte. She was very supportive in the men’s efforts and was always giving them new opportunities she heard about. The Student Alliance for Leadership and Education was very helpful too in helping them with some programming collaboration. “If it wasn’t for them (S.A.L.E.), we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish certain things,” said Alvarado. A week in the Fall 2009 semester, the group was granted official ODPhi Club status, after a summer of hard work and dedication. The young men were excited to bring a new, traditional organization on campus, and were ready to shake things ups. “A lot of organizations lacked enthusiasm,” states Alvarado. A great deal of the student population was not aware that there were Greeks on the NEIU campus. “We wanted to build a true brotherhood, we wanted to represent, show our Greek knowledge, but at the same time, host and promote events for more than just the Greek community,” recalls Alvarado. Serving the community was also important for this group of men. Most of them came from some of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago, but they aspired to make a positive difference. “We wanted to make ourselves known on campus and in the community, as well break the stereotypes,” recalls Estrada. During the Fall 2009 semester and throughout their founder’s program in Spring 2010, the group held exceptional events. Tony Diaz, the prospective member educator for the founding line at NEIU, taught them quite a bit about the organization, and about Greek life. After a long journey, on April 16th, 2010, Beta Alpha chapter was officially founded on the NEIU campus. “Recruitment will always be a challenge for commuter campuses. Though it has been tough, we are 32 strong after only three and a half years,” said Alvarado. As the 4th anniversary of Beta Alpha recently passed, many of the BA men look back at what they have accomplished locally, regionally, and recognition nationally. “Nobody can match what has been accomplished here in just 4 years,” stated Estrada. The brotherhood at Beta Alpha is unlike any other. It is special. They have also been through a lot within the last year. Last May, they lost their long time advisor and Honorary brother, Al ‘Maestro’ Cordero. And in mid January 2014, the lives of neophytes Victor Maldonado and David Roman were taken in a fatal motor accident as they were headed to NUC in Tucson, Arizona. But still, Beta Alpha rises. Though it has been a painful year, their relentlessness keeps them pushing forward. Keep your head up, Beta Alpha!