Fraternity pledges stake 24-hour claim on spirit

Nicole Aikens

Most students on campus brought out some of their winter gear a little earlier than they would have liked. At 9 a.m., at least one member from the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity had been present at the Spirit Rock for the previous 12 hours, and they were determined to make a full 24.

This year’s pledge class for the fraternity decided to show their dedication by painting the rock and guarding it for an entire day. For 24 hours, the pledges wanted to brave the weather, or anyone else who wanted to paint the rock, to show their loyalty to Tau Kappa Epsilon.

“It was an idea thrown out there, and we wanted to show our commitment,” said Ben Burnside, freshman public communication major.

The 17 members in the pledge class, armed with close to 20 cans of red, black and white paint, split the 24 hours into two-hour shifts after they initially painted the rock at 8:50 Wednesday night.

Since the rock is public property, the pledges can’t stop anyone from painting it, but that doesn’t stop them from guarding it from anyone who wants to try.

“We just foreworn them that if they want to paint it, we’re just going to paint right over it,” Burnside said.

After they first painted the rock, the College Democrats came out to cover it. It didn’t take the pledges long to redo it.

“Once they walked away, we covered it right up,” said Mason Sekanic, freshman exploratory major.

The pledges haven’t been initiated into the fraternity, but they are still willing to stick it out for the 24 hours to show their dedication. And there’s still a chance they’ll never end up as members.

“Basically, it just gives being in a fraternity more meaning,” said Conner Phillips, freshman physics major. He said that he has talked to other fraternities and sororities, and they don’t do anything like it.

Another reason the guys are willing to sit in the cold and guard the rock is it brings them closer together. Rather than sit and do their own things, Phillips and Sekanic mostly talked on their shift together.

“It’s a way to meet people and know your brothers a little better,” Sekanic said. “Even if you don’t get in, you have a solid group of guys you know.”

Contact Nicole Aikens at [email protected].