Mines News

Release Date Thursday, February 22, 2024

Doing Brotherhood Different – And Better

The brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha stand outside Safeway after collecting food for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event.

Dating back nearly 200 years, Greek life has been interwoven into the traditional American college experience. But Greek life itself is changing.

Today’s members of Greek organizations are spending more time focusing on the betterment of the whole individual: mental health initiatives, philanthropic endeavors, fundraising and putting a new emphasis on performance in the classroom.

While each Greek organization at South Dakota Mines is adapting – and adapting well – to the changing Greek scene, one organization at South Dakota Mines has adapted to fit this mold in a way that truly promotes creating better members: Lambda Chi Alpha.

“We are all about growth,” said Ethan Harris, a junior computer engineering major who also serves as president of the organization. “We like to build a brotherhood that is based on connection.”

A chapter of 39 individuals, Harris and Lambda Chi Alpha have raised the bar when it comes to philanthropic events at South Dakota Mines. Their most recent Movember event last November, which increases awareness for men’s mental health issues in addition to raising money for prostate cancer research, raised over $2,000.

But aside from raising money for charity, the members of Lambda Chi Alpha held three different sessions with other organizations on campus to promote different mental health topics.

In addition to their successful philanthropic endeavors, Lambda Chi Alpha has gone above and beyond in the classroom, posting the highest grade point average for any Greek organization on campus this past semester at 3.35. Not satisfied, the chapter is aiming for a 3.5 grade point average this semester.

“We like to just get out and study together,” Harris said. “We overall have a growth mindset. Our biggest goals and biggest focus for our fraternity is academics, our philanthropy and then also our personal and professional development. So, through all of those different aspects, we really like to come together and try and uplift each other. And I think that’s what really makes us different.”

Harris attributes the chapter’s success to how they operate. He describes the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha as diverse – both in interests and personalities. Many of the members hold leadership positions in campus organizations – he says there are 13 Lambda Chi Alpha brothers who are presidents or vice presidents of other clubs on campus.

But overall, Harris said they are looking for anyone who wants to grow themselves and join an organization that wants to better their community and help better campus.

“We really like to get all of our members involved in other organizations,” Harris said. “We want them to find something outside of the fraternity – where they can follow their passions. We require all of our members to be in at least one organization on campus, and the vast majority of our members are in leadership positions in other organizations.”

This spring semester, Lambda Chi Alpha will hold its second annual Watermelon Bash partnering with Feeding South Dakota. For a fee, participants get to smash old watermelons with a wooden mallet. Held on April 13 this year, the chapter aims to smash last year’s mark of just over $800.

Within the national organization, Lambda Chi Alpha at Mines has been identified as a chapter who deserves recognition. In January, the chapter was recognized by its national office for its philanthropic efforts and received the Tozier Brown Public Affairs Award, which recognizes chapters with the most outstanding community service programs and philanthropic activities.

“I am proud to witness the unwavering commitment of our members to academic excellence, community service and brotherhood,” said chapter alumni advisor Jin Kim, who also serves as the director of career development at Black Hills State University. “The chapter continues to thrive as a beacon of leadership and camaraderie on campus, fostering a culture of growth and inclusivity all while focusing on nationally recognized nonprofits and philanthropies.”

Kim says Lambda Chi Alpha at South Dakota Mines strive to uphold the values of the organization and make a positive impact within the university, the Rapid City community and beyond through not just their philanthropic endeavors but also through the highest Greek house grade point average as well as involvement on campus.

On campus, their efforts also haven’t gone unnoticed.

“Lambda Chi Alpha has excelled at strengthening not only their brotherhood, but campus as a whole through their dedication to mental health, education and philanthropy efforts,” said Samantha Harkin, assistant director of student engagement and Greek Council advisor. “They are an asset to the community.”

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About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Gray Hughes, 605-394-2554, Gray.Hughes@sdsmt.edu

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