New ZBT Fraternity Chapter Opens on Wilf Campus
A new chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity recently opened on the Wilf campus, raising the amount of fraternities on campus to two. A chapter of the fraternity AEPi has existed on the Wilf campus for years.
When asked why they created the new chapter, both Joshua Shapiro, founder and president of the new chapter, as well as Liam Shapiro, ZBT’s recruitment director, agreed that “instead of fixing something broken, we wanted to build something new from the ground up.” Joshua also noted that although everyone at the university is Jewish, and therefore already have much in common, most students do not have an outlet in which to make new friends and join a social environment outside of a strictly educational setting.
According to ZBT’s website, the society was founded in 1898 and became America’s first official Jewish fraternity in 1903. Explaining how ZBT stands out from other fraternities, Liam stated, “You could call it pluralism—we are accepting of all types of people and religious levels.” For example, he said, “We have brothers who keep Shabbat, and brothers who don’t.”
While Joshua acknowledged that the word “fraternity,” for many, may carry negative associations and stigmas, he said, “We’re just a group of guys trying to do our part.” Every semester, each chapter of ZBT picks a specific charity for which to raise funds. He also explained that fraternity events are never for the sake of “fun” alone, but also for social networking, tightening bonds between fraternity brothers and their friends, and creating new friendships. “What we’re doing is welcoming people into our fraternal community—events are a vessel for us to expand social relationships by extending invitations to people who are interested in joining.”