When your chapter initiates 22 new brothers in a spring pledge class,
you know things are going really, really well for Alpha Upsilon
It's a magical moment that has happened like a drum beat since 1889 at USC. And it just happened again.
Twenty-two candidates were initiated into the bonds of Sigma Chi at Alpha Upsilon on Sunday, February 26th, 2023.
Overseeing this class is Magister Carter Croke, Kustos Cooper Rosten and Rush Chairman Ben Duncan.
As the candles burned, as always, the gleam in the eyes and the awareness on the faces said it all - a new community of brothers enters into Sigma Chi precisely as it has since the beginning.
"Every initiation is a measure of strength for a chapter," said Consul Grant Glessing. "And at Alpha Upsilon, our alums can continue to be proud of us, that we keep carrying on the torch they gave to us."
"We thank all the alumni brothers who attended," Glessing said. "Having alumni present adds an immeasurably connection to the idea that Sigma Chi is, indeed, a lifelong commitment."
There was one legacy initiated recently: Henry Roth, right, was pinned by has dad Brad (UCLA Delta Eta 1996).
New brother Henry Roth became our newest legacy, getting pinned by his dad Brad (UCLA Delta Eta 1996).
"It was awesome," says Henry, majoring in law, history and culture. Having his dad there during initiation "was meaningful."
"We didn’t talk about (Sigma Chi) much growing up but it was always there," he says.
Suddenly seeing his dad at the initiation ceremony was a surprise. "He refused to tell me what the was doing that weekend," he says. "I didn’t know what was happening until I saw him."
HBrad continued a common practice of letting emotions mess up his line to recite at the moment of pinning. "He 100% screwed up the line," laughs Henry. "And he screwed up the pin too."
Angel Bautista (Downey)
Luke Hildebrandt (Hong Kong)
Anthony Hall (San Diego)
Jack Provenzano (North Dustin, CA)
Joey Cervino (Solon, OH)
Carlo Reyes (Chula Vista)
Kyle Conenello (Ridgewood, NJ)
Timmy Dobbins (Manhattan Beach)
Henry Roth (Scottsdale, AZ)
Lucas Simon (New York, NY)
Adityavijay Patel (Mumbai, India)
Callan Littlefield (Diabo, CA)
Theodore Pasquesi (Woodside, CA)
Wally Korblert (Newport Beach)
Vivaan Malhotra (Mumbia, India)
Jack Clark (La Canada, CA)
Roman Marchetti (Santa Ana)
Michael Demetriades (Scottsdale, AZ)
Thomas Lee (Jasper, AL)
Gavin Stanley (Fresno)
Stephan Orlovich (Las Vegas)
Donald Brennan (Brooklyn, NY)
FALL 2022 EVENTS
Historic initiation ceremony brings in 41 new brothers at Alpha Upsilon while boosting active membership to 155
Nothing says strength in the fraternity world like initiating 41 new brothers while bringing the total chapter active membership to 155.
And that's precisely what happened this month with Alpha Upsilon in this first rush and initiation cycle of a new era for recruiting members.
It also reminded us of the enduring value not just of introducing Sigma Chi to a new generation of men, but of having fathers from a previous generation of Sigma Chi be there when it happens.
"It was very important for me to have my dad there," said new brother Alex Buettgen of his father, Peter Buettgen. "We both even shed a few tears during the ceremony."
New member Liam Doheny with his father Sean Doheny.
It was the culmination of a new independent rush system for Sigma Chi and other fraternities at USC. "Rush couldn't have gone any better," said Rush Chairman Ben Duncan.
"It answered a lot of childhood questions," Alex said of his dad, a Sig from Texas A&M 1989. "He used to tell me stories of Sigma Chi and I always wanted to know more."
Now he does. And so do 40 other new AU brothers.
New member Alex Buettgen and his father Peter Buettgen.
Katrik Sharma- Raleigh, North Carolina
Colin Jacobs- Manhattan Beach, California
Matthew Cullen- Manhattan Beach, California
Grant Pallokat- Mahwah, NJ
Garrett Carver- Manhattan Beach, California
Mark Lyon- Chicago, Illinois
Teddy Terrill- Pasadena, California
Colton Quick- Newport Beach, CA
Chase Habermehl- Newport Beach, CA
Alex Chanawatr- Newport Beach, CA
Gavin Duncan- Oahu, Hawaii
Stone Zashin- Cleveland, Ohio
Styles Stockham- Las Vegas, Nevada
Luke Hobus- Palos Verdes, CA
Liam Doheny- San Diego, CA
Grant Bauer- San Diego, CA
Charlie Arnold- Bellevue, WA
John Tipton- Newport Beach, CA
Luc Balcom- Palos Verdes, CA
Garrett Pomerantz- Las Vegas, Nevada
Stefan Lyntton, Philadelphia, PA
Will O'neil- Newport Beach, CA
Michael Bannerman- Westlake Village, CA
Brenton Gerhardt- Manhattan Beach, CA
Gage Roy- Dallas, Texas
Spencer Fanticola- Newport Beach, CA
Austin Stuard- Manhattan Beach, California
Cooper Rosten- Beverly Hills, CA
Bryce Lehner- Newport Beach, CA
Kilian O'Connor- Mission Viejo, CA
Connor Cohen, Newport Beach, CA
Michael Vanghan- Newport Beach, CA
Andrew Scarsi- Pasadena, CA
Preston Cook- Malibu, CA
Nick Ramsbottom- Santa Monica, CA
Evan Dzierzynski- Newport Beach, CA
Billy Nutt- Westwood, CA
Jack Williams- Denver, CO
Jack Cusumano- Lafayette, CA
Will Deardorf- Santa Barbara, CA
Alex Buettgen- Houston, Texas
Days after disaffiliating from the University, Alpha Upsilon recruits 35 men for one of the largest pledge classes ever
It was arguably one of the most important and trying rush weeks in Alpha Upsilon history. And the undergraduate brothers knocked it out of the ballpark pledging 45 fine young men in fall rush 2022, one of the largest pledge classes in chapter history.
All eyes were on the rush results, in part, because this is the first rush under a new system independent of the University. As many of you have read, Sigma Chi and several other fraternity chapters recently declared their independence or “disaffiliation” from the University’s Interfraternity Council to form the University Park Interfraternity Council.
So, it was quite reassuring to see very large numbers of potential new members going through this new independent rush.
“We are so excited to get one of our largest pledge classes ever,” said Rush Chairman Ben Duncan. “I’m super happy we got a nice mix” of ages among the potential new members. “Rush couldn’t have gone any better.”
Consul Grant Jessup Glessing reports the chapter now has around 110 active members in addition to the new class of 45.
That cherished kind of photo shows the newly minted pledges in coats holding their Norman Shields, the kind of image that brings a smile to any AU alum.
More than 30 years later, a Consul initiates his son. What happened next is "every Sig's dream"
The emotional moment came last year during initiation when Steven Blokdyk (AU ‘90) pinned the White Cross on the chest of his son Andrew. So proud was Steven that he brought some of his Sig brothers with him. Eyes everywhere welled with tears.
It was especially gratifying for Steven because, in 1990, more than 30 years ago, he was Consul at Alpha Upsilon. And here he was initiating his son.
Little did Steven know that one short year after he pinned a pin on Andrew that his son would, just like him, be elected the new Consul at Alpha Upsilon for 2021-2022.
“I treasure my dad so much and look up to him,” said Andrew. “It’s really great to follow in his footsteps.”
“That means a lot to me,” Steven says. “I think it’s every Sigma Chi’s dream to have a son and hope he might become a Sig one day. For that to happen and to also be elected Consul at the same chapter I was Consul, makes me so unbelievably proud and quite frankly a little emotional.”
Undergraduate brothers at AU voted to make Andrew their new Consul during chapter the last week of April. He takes over from Cooper Allen who has done a remarkable job steering the ship during an existential pandemic storm that blunted nearly every fraternity activity and struck at the spirit of the undergrads. We should all give deep gratitude to Coop’s leadership. It may not have been the kind of year he envisioned as Consul. But we’re glad to have had him during such a historically challenging time.
“After this long year of Covid,” Andrew says about his brothers, “I just want to make sure the rest of their time at college and in the house is up to their expectations.” Almost all traditional events were cancelled.
“It was pretty tough for a while,” he says. ““I’m just really excited for this position. Especially with opening school next semester.” In fact, Andrew believes it’ll be one of the most rewarding years to be a Consul because Covid is coming to an end and there’ll be a feeling of rejuvenation.
Andrew, a junior, is from Huntington Beach. He’s an EMT when not at school, is majoring in business and intends to be a fireman after graduating.
His other priority for his term as Consul is communicating with alumni.
His father is a Senior Director with Salient, an investment firm.
“I know some alums through my dad,” he says. “They’d love to come to the house.” So, Andrew intends to hold alumni events at the chapter house as soon as Covid is fully behind us.
Steven remembers wanting to make certain his son considered other fraternities and did not push Sigma Chi. He even told the Consul at the time to give Andrew no special treatment. “I let him know Andrew should not be chosen because he was a legacy, but because he possessed the qualities they were looking for. I also asked that he not share Andrew’s legacy status with the brothers, so that they would choose him based on his own merit. I let Andrew know that he needs to make sure any house he chooses was for the right reasons and it had to be a good fit for him. Thankfully the best house on the row chose one my son and my son chose them.”
In his first days as Consul, Andrew reflects back on his moment during initiation with his dad. “It was a pretty emotional experience for him as well.” And Andrew contemplates that, someday, perhaps his son could come to USC, be a Sig and make a third generation.
NEW CONSUL: Andrew Blokdyk "treasures" his dad.
STEVEN BLOKDYK: "Every Sig dad's dream."
ABOVE: The Blokdyk family. From left, Brother Steven, 1990 AU Consul; Andrew, 2021 AU Consul.
AND: Good times at Alpha Upsilon.