Kettering University forms new professional chemistry fraternity chapter

Kettering University is home to a new chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, a professional chemistry fraternity, two years after students started the process to create a chapter.

On April 10, the national organization granted a charter creating the Delta Mu Chapter at Kettering.

“Nationally, it’s the fastest any college has ever gone from group to a chapter. Naturally at Kettering, we do everything twice as fast,” said Ashley Switalski ’18, Chemical Engineering major and B-Section Master Alchemist of the fraternity.

The fraternity offers friendship and volunteering opportunities among students studying chemistry and who plan to pursue a career in fields related to chemistry, including biochemistry, applied biology and chemical engineering.

Students became interested in starting a chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma in spring 2016. They formed a collegiate interest group, the first step in the process to become a fraternity.

Jonathan Wenzel, Kettering Chemistry Engineering faculty member, is the Grand Master Alchemist, or national president, and has been a brother for two decades. He said he had hoped students would decide to start a group on their own, and once they did, had to remain uninvolved to avoid bias in the chartering process.

Alpha Chi Sigma

The group has to have several successive pledge classes, demonstrate a leadership transition, prepare bylaws and create a 25-page petition document. With a majority yes vote from the chapters around the nation and the Alpha Chi Sigma board, a colony becomes a chapter. The process wasn’t always easy because the national board had to become familiar with Kettering’s A and B sections, Wenzel said.

The chapter will celebrate its arrival at Kettering with an installation ceremony and dinner in June.

“It’s for people who like chemistry and want to have fun,” said advisor Chris Dewberry, Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty member.

Alpha Chi Sigma’s three main objects are:

1.  To bind its members with a tie of true and lasting friendship

2.  To strive for the advancement of chemistry both as a science and as a profession

3.  To aid its members by every honorable means in the attainment of their ambitions as     chemists throughout their mortal lives

“Our recruitment events create a place for these students to interact socially more than they have in the past, even if they do not necessarily want to make the commitment of joining the organization,” said Mckensie Winn ‘20, the A-Section Master Alchemist and a Chemical Engineering Major.

Switalski said the fraternity offers weekly study tables for students to offer help to their peers. The chapter volunteers at the Flint Children’s Museum and in local schools. They’ve promoted science at Discover Kettering Open House events by making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Students also have organized social events such as camping trips.

Brothers will have opportunities to gain leadership experience, network with other chapters at regional and national gatherings, Winn said.

“We’re bringing a dose of chemistry when our school is known for automotive engineering,” Switalski said.

Above everything else, Wenzel wants students to enjoy themselves and develop close friendships.

“My best man in my wedding was a roommate and a brother,” he said. “The friendships that are formed in this organization, they last a lifetime.”