beta theta chapter history

1800s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s - present

The Seventies

The early seventies were transition years for the Beta house. These years saw the gradual re-emergence of the house and other fraternities at Colgate. Students saw the many changes as a sign that things could be different. The end of the Vietnam War and the draft, coeducation and many changes in administrative procedures all occurred at this time. The house bounced back from two lean pledging years, in 1973 and 1974. Around this new core of brothers, the Beta house rallied to a point of campus domination, such as it had not seen since the late thirties.

Members achieved high offices in student government, the Maroon staff and on the interfraternity council. The house retained the characteristic which had brought it successfully to this point – a diverse and spirited group of individuals committed to both personal and common goals.

The resurging interest in the house and corresponding increase in membership led to a variety of house improvements. The wiring was improved, a new boiler installed, and the basement refurbished. Beta still maintained a campus reputation for social and other events with a little extra originality. For example, a bluegrass band, "roaring twenties parties", togas, clambakes and the impromptu party in Starr hockey ring (much to the chagrin of Security).

The number of cars at the house grew along with the parking lot and the number of road trips, still to the familiar spots. One tradition in particular survived from the sixties: the car-in Taylor Lake, an event faithfully performed during the spring party weekend. Birthday brothers also found themselves christened on those special occasions.

The required summer semester brought about some changes in house administration. Since there were always some members off campus during the fall or spring semesters, programming rooms and expenses became more complicated. Also, it became necessary to elect officers for each semester, rather than for a year. Despite discontinuity in leadership, this change proved advantageous in many other ways since it gave more brothers an opportunity to hold office. With a much expanded budget, each officer’s job became more and more important.

Pledge tasks continued in the fine old tradition: wake ups, foyer clean ups and bartending, plus extra duty for offenses such as failure to always wear a pledge pin. Such duties included oven cleaning and various forays on campus and off. One memorable mission was to bring "Minerva" back to the Beta house to make the visiting Wells girls feel at home when they arrived.

The rack or dorm rooms were finally changed into doubles and the brothers used their rooms for sleeping, partying and studying when possible. The basement study room became a club of sorts for "all-nighters." Its paneled "wailing walls" record epic academic struggles and Beta Poetry.

The Beta Song Cup competition was revived on campus for a Christmas 1977 concert. In 1978 the Cup returned home. In a singing group, interacting specialists (from bass to soprano) are needed to achieve harmony. So with the Beta house, this harmony was threatened at times by over-emphasis in individual goals, reflecting the rising vocationalism among college students. But unity amidst increasing diversity was allowed to develop spontaneously and naturally, not through strict house rules. Truly, what a harmonized unit can achieve equals the square of the sum of what each member would achieve separately. May it ever be thus.