FarmHouse offers non-traditional fraternity experience
November 28, 2011
FarmHouse has officially become Virginia Tech’s newest fraternity. The group received its charter Oct. 16, three years after forming as an interest group at the university.
Initially conceived as a professional fraternity for agriculture students, it is now a social fraternity open to men from all majors. The name FarmHouse, while reflecting the group’s origins, is also an acronym stating its core beliefs — faith, ambition, reverence, morality, honesty, obedience, unity, service, and excellence.
Fraternity President Chris Atkins of Berryville, Va., a junior majoring in agricultural science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said FarmHouse originally came to Virginia Tech at the behest of students looking for what they saw as a non-traditional fraternity experience.
“These students were looking for a fraternity that had very high standards and values and beliefs, but was also very different and unique,” he said.
Atkins, who is also vice president of the university’s Interfraternity Council, said some of those unique aspects include being a non-Greek letter, alcohol-free fraternity that has a spiritual focus.
The group also has different methods of having fun, including a creative method of attracting attention from sororities.
“Since we’re a dry house and we can’t have parties with them, something we do at Virginia Tech is we serenade the sororities,” he said. “They’re not going to come to us, so we go to them. We can’t sing at all, but they love it.”
FarmHouse does, however, have much in common with other fraternities when it comes to academic standards and community service.
“We always try to be in the top three in academics, and community involvement is a huge thing for us,” Atkins said. “We’ve done every single philanthropy event we possibly could. We do it so people will see we’re very passionate men who are striving for the best for our community.”
Those philanthropies include the International FarmHouse organization’s official philanthropic cause, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Atkins said the group is still working on fundraising events for the Virginia Tech chapter, but they do plan on participating in the society’s Totally Baldacious campaign, which will end with all FarmHouse members shaving their heads to raise awareness of the disease.
He said they hope to bring a fundraising rodeo to campus like FarmHouse chapters have done at other schools.
FarmHouse recruits new members in the fall and spring semesters, but extends invitations to join on a year-round basis. Those interested should contact FarmHouse through the group’s website.
“Our founder said, ‘You can’t build men by tearing down boys,’ so our pledge process is all about personal development,” Atkins said. “In FarmHouse, you’ll be around some of the most successful people on campus and in the United States, and you can use those resources. We are very focused on making your life successful and showing how you can benefit from a fraternity.”
Written by Jennifer Gibson.