Fraternity tries to create new type of environment

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After having its recognition revoked more than two years ago by the UC Berkeley campus for social code and hazing violations, a UC Berkeley fraternity is making a comeback with new blood and a new philosophy.

Chi Phi Chapter President Alexander Cihla says that members of the frat, which has since regained recognition, are interested in promoting a more well-rounded fraternity lifestyle — balancing schoolwork and extracurricular activities while downplaying the hard-partying aspects of fraternities.

“We weren’t interested in the kind of culture that was fostered in those places,” he said. “The traditional ‘Animal House’ fraternity with broken windows, glass everywhere, trash all over the floor and a pretty disgusting living environment.”

One way Chi Phi differs from other frats, according to Cihla, is that members are held to a higher level of responsibility and accountability for their actions and for each other as a result of their commitment to maintaining a high level of cleanliness in their house. He also said the parties that they hold make an effort to avoid loud, blaring music and dark rooms.

“We are working on trying to create a different kind of social environment,” Cihla said. “We can have a successful party that doesn’t rely on the key ingredients of the traditional frat parties.”

House Manager Gabriel Kahn said that regaining recognition has given the fraternity a fresh start with completely new members running things the way they want to.

“It’s not that we are trying to redefine the Greek system at Chi Phi — we’re just working on a new kind of fraternity,” Kahn said. “There is something the Greek system lacks, and we’re trying to do our own thing.”

Contact Andy Nguyen at [email protected]