An Online Fraternity

April 30, 2010

At the Florida Institute of Technology’s newest fraternity, you don’t rush -- you log in. Theta Omega Gamma, created this year by a sophomore, Darrek Battle, exists exclusively online, serving a membership of 24 fully online students. According to Battle and the faculty adviser Vicky Knerly, that’s a first. “When I started school I was thinking 'Are there any fraternities out there accepting online students?' and I couldn’t find any,” Battle told Inside Higher Ed. So, he started his own. Theta Omega Gamma serves all the functions of a normal fraternity, Knerly says -- “except for going out together and drinking.” But that is not Theta’s m.o. anyway; it is a service fraternity, not a Greek fraternity. And even if its members -- which include men and women -- cannot convene for service projects, they can coordinate, through chat room meet-ups, efforts to volunteer for national charitable organizations in their own communities. As for the social side, Battle says he is trying to generate interest in helping online students at other institutions build their own chapters. And he is still working on figuring out how to simulate the camaraderie of a normal fraternity in an online environment. “It’s been kind of hard to come up with ideas like that,” he says. “So I think for now we’re just going to go with the flow.”

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