Of Songfests and Conclaves

Of Songfests and Conclaves

Like many new chapters, Gamma Omicron “hit the ground running.” Unlike many new chapters, the pace did not slow.

This could be attributed partly to its decade of existence as an independent local fraternity.

It was also due, in part, to the quality of men in the chapter, which numbered 29 active brothers.

Last and certainly not least was the continual care and guidance of Dr. Gordon Burke, now the chapter counsellor.

 It’s a pity that, at this time, Beta Theta Pi didn’t have an Alumnus Advisor of the Year Award.

If such an award had existed then, it’s a dead certainty that Gordon Burke would have been high on the list of potential recipients.

The first newsletter sent by the new chapter to The Beta Theta Pi gives a capsule sketch of Greek life on the university campus.

At the time of the Beta chartering, there were 10 fraternities on the UBC campus.

Between them, these ten shared some 25% of the undergraduate male students.

This percentage was higher than in most Canadian universities where fraternities existed.

Of Songfests and Conclaves None of the British Columbia fraternities owned houses as yet, but a number had rented quarters and, like the Betas, were looking to the future.

For some years prior to the chartering, each graduating member voluntarily took out a life insurance policy for $120, payable to the chapter, for the purposes of building up a house fund.

This practice continued after chartering. There were also several Vancouver-area merchants (not named) who would pay a 10% commission to the housing fund on all purchases made by Betas.

The terms sound favourable to say the least! The records do not state if these merchants were Betas themselves, although that seems possible.

One of the great strengths of Gamma Omicron was the hard work of the Mothers’ Club, originally called the Ladies’ Auxiliary.

In its first year as a Beta chapter, the auxiliary did a great deal of decorating in the rented house.

Of Songfests and Conclaves The mothers also made a complete set of ritual robes for the chapter’s use, according to the General Fraternity’s specifications.

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