Sinfonia leaves IGC, registers as music honorary

After being a part of the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) since 2013, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Sinfonia) is resigning and once again filing only as a music honorary on campus. This is a process that has been considered and in the works since early fall, occurring after a unanimous decision from the fraternity in response to scheduling conflicts, timetables, recruitment issues and a lack of benefits. A formal vote is to be made on Feb. 26 at the next IGC meeting.

Sinfonia joined the IGC with its sister sorority, Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), before the college closed Ninth Street. When SAI & Sinfonia joined, they had hoped to connect with the student population in a way that they couldn’t before the street closing. The division of campus had been felt by the physical obstacle of Ninth Street, where Steinhart Plaza is ow. At the time, the only buildings on the north side of Ninth Street were the Hazelrigg Student Union, the Gray Center, Fuhr Hall and Weyer Hall.

“The main motivators were really just bringing (in) the music department and kind of help act as a bridge to merge campus,” said Aaron Spracklin, alumni relations officer and former president of Sinfonia. “We don’t feel that specific pull or polarization across campus, especially now that the music department is joined with the
theater department.”

According to Spracklin, Sinfonia had always been more of a social club for musicians and those that appreciate music. It recognizes the bond that specific people can form through the appreciation of music, which is stated in their motto: “The Object of this Fraternity shall be for the development of the best and truest fraternal spirit; the mutual welfare and brotherhood of musical students; the advancement of music in America and a loyalty to the Alma Mater.” They also provide services to the community and alumni such as aid in moving, whether it is moving equipment on campus or someone’s belongings out of or into a new place. 

By joining IGC, Sinfonia hoped to expand their reach on campus and show people that it’s not just for music majors but anyone with an interest in music. Through campus development and a new relationship between the music and theater departments on campus, the fraternity felt that IGC no longer offered them any benefits.

The IGC exists to act as a governing body, hold standards of expectations, provide funding and organize social activities for Greek life on campus. However, Sinfonia is already held to a set of regulations as it is one chapter in a national honorary. As an honorary, they would be able to work from a different set of funds and save money by not paying fees to IGC.

In recent years, Sinfonia lost potential members when they had to wait for bid night to allow people to join. By leaving IGC, Sinfonia will be able to adhere to the national headquarters’ swearing in process and hopes to have better retention rates from potential members. 

“We expect, one, better member retention as well as better recruitment, because we’re not working through bid night to solidify our members. We’re solidifying them ourselves and we’re regulating that ourselves,”
Spracklin said. 

The vote on whether Sinfonia can leave will take place during the next IGC meeting. Voters will include all member fraternity and sorority presidents and vice-presidents or co-presidents, along with IGC representatives. If passed, Sinfonia will be on a six-month probation before officially severing ties. The vote and probationary period is similar to the process used when a sorority or fraternity join IGC — except the joining process has a one-year probationary period. 

Spracklin noted that there shouldn’t be much question whether the vote will pass as Sinfonia hadn’t been actively involved in many of the Greek life social activities leading up to this. 

Kara Siedhoff, coordinator of student engagement, doesn’t expect there to be a major change or sudden interest in leaving from other sororities and fraternities after this. If they are a local fraternity or sorority, IGC is needed to hold them accountable.

Spracklin also believes that other fraternities and sororities on campus shouldn’t leave, as IGC provides Greek life chapters camaraderie with others, as well as funding and a governing body for them to report to. 

“We believe other other groups need to stay in it for that reason (of a governing body and camaraderie) and help grow Greek life,” Spracklin said.