Fraternity brings networking, wellness to campus

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_MG_0095WPhi Epsilon Kappa began last fall by three seniors and has now grown to 17 active members. The fraternity focuses on service and networking necessary for graduate education. CHRIS SANTUCCI/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

By: Kirsten Gilbert – Staff Writer

The new fraternity Phi Epsilon Kappa is focused on bringing health and sports science majors together for networking, community, and bringing health awareness to the University of Dayton’s campus.

Seniors Tori Cirino, Alissa Bergman and Nina Bortolotti created the professional fraternity geared toward health and sports science majors last fall that now has 17 active members. Now in the final stages of development, junior exercise science major Daniella Paliotta, fraternity co-president, said they are excited to bring in new members next fall.

Among the variety of fraternities on campus, there has yet to be one focused on HSS students.

According to the University’s HSS department website, the department has thrived and expanded over the last 10 years, forcing classes to be moved from Frericks Center to the College Park Center. Record amounts of students are choosing career paths in health, physical fitness, physical therapy, and nutrition. There has been a 57 percent increase in HSS courses offered and being taken at UD since 2004, according to the website.

“This fraternity is a great opportunity for our department,” said sophomore exercise physiology major and co-president Mickey Ludlow. “We don’t have anything at UD to bring together all of the HSS students. Our frat will focus on networking, internships, health awareness and service.”

The fraternity also enables students to prepare for education they have to pursue after receiving their undergraduate degrees, Paliotta said.

“All HSS majors have to attend grad school, so adding a fraternity to help with networking and an increase in our service will help with our grad school applications,” Paliotta said.

PEK is finalizing their constitution, and pledges next fall will be required to be studying health and sports science, must have a 3.0 major GPA and must have completed two full semesters of college prior to pledging, Paliotta said.

“We want members who are going to be professional and are able to represent our field with a passion for health and fitness, [students] who want to contribute to society in a way that brings about healthier lifestyles,” she said. “At our meetings we have been discussing what service and social events we want to have next fall. We have already completed our first fundraiser which was an ArtStreet Takeover earlier this spring, which was fun.”

The fraternity members are excited about bringing a new event to campus to engage all UD students in healthy activities.

“We plan on making health awareness a big part of our fraternity and have discussed planning an annual event like a UD version of Tough Mudder,” said sophomore pre-physical therapy major and fraternity vice president Casey Townson. “We also plan to assist our advisor Gerri Gallo in running the Frericks 5K next year.”

With only a handful of PEK Fraternities in the country, Townson said this chapter has been challenged to start with a nearly blank slate. She said although there have been roadblocks along the way, members are determined to create a long lasting fraternity that will allow HSS students to come together and thrive.

For more information, contact the HSS department at (937) 229-4225.