Veterans' fraternity growing

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Epsilon Tau Sigma is looking for a few good men and women.

The newly formed veterans' fraternity on the University of Arizona campus is the only one geared toward military personnel.

"There is a club for everything on campus, but the military don't really have anything," said Rob Steffel, vice president of the UA chapter and a communications senior.

Chapter President Scott Rifkin, a history senior, said the UA Epsilon Tau Sigma chapter was recognized in mid-September by the national board at Purdue University.

Aimed at military veterans, reservists and those on active duty, guardsmen and ROTC cadets, the UA chapter has the largest number of founding members in the four-year history of the fraternity, Rifkin said. He said there are over 700 veterans on campus.

The founding members had an interest in bringing the fraternity to the UA because they believe there is a real need for an organization for veterans on campus, Rifkin said.

Jesus Peralta, a history junior and fraternity member, agreed.

"It's about time there was an organization (on campus) for veterans," he said.

Steffel, who has spent five years in the reserves, cited other reasons for forming the co-ed military fraternity.

He said some traditional aspects of fraternities did not appeal to him and he said he feels Epsilon Tau Sigma suits him well.

Rifkin, who was in the army for 10 years, said he wanted to see something established for veterans before he graduates in December.

"The average veteran on campus does not fall under the category of a new traditional student or a traditional student, but usually somewhere in between," he said. "It's an experience (for veterans) set apart from other students."

While the fraternity is just getting established, they are planning to be very active in campus activities.

In November it will be sponsoring a Veteran's Day photo contest in conjunction with the Department of Student Programs, and it will be participating in campus activities including Homecoming and Spring Fling.

The fraternity also plans to help veterans' organizations in Tucson and be an outreach for the university in surrounding areas such as Nogales and Sierra Vista, Rifkin said.

According to Steffel, the chapter consists of 25 founding members and is "actively taking new members."

"It's the fatest growing fraternity on campus," Rifkin said. "We're planning on growing."

The members hope to have their first formal rush by next fall.

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