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            The University of Massachusetts ~ Lowell Colony of Sigma Tau Gamma started as an interest group in the early spring of 1992.  Our first meetings were held in the North Campus Commuter Lounge, where we had to battle the surrounding noises in order to get anything accomplished.  We later moved to an empty classroom in Pasteur Hall, and then to Brother Dan Girard's apartment at 28 Bridge St., Apt. 13 in downtown Lowell .  This building would be used later for retreats and other fraternity events.

            The interest group was led by Brother Thaddeus Yukna, a transfer student from the Delta Phi chapter at Fitchburg State College.  Brother Yukna had help from fellow Sig Taus, Brother Mike Dion (Delta Phi '92) and Brother Dave MacElhiney (Delta Phi '92), who acted as our advisors.  With the help of these 3 brothers, we were ready to be inducted as associate members and to be an official colony of Sigma Tau Gamma.  On April 26, 1992, 23 men were inducted as associate members of Sigma Tau Gamma in a ceremony at Fitchburg State College.


            Within one week of induction we had performed our first charity event.  The "Ride for Ryan" was a bike-a-thon which several associates volunteered to help run.  The bike-a-thon was run by the Lowell Police Department in memory of Ryan, a child of one of the police officers who had died.  In addition to donating our time to the bike-a-thon itself, we raised over $300 for this worthy cause.  We also had established our first major link with the community.


            We did not officially meet during the following summer.  Once school started again in September, we held our first meeting of the semester.  By then several associates withdrew due to a lack of interest, time, and/or money.  One problem we found was the lack of strong common bonds among the associates.  We decided to organize events to bring the associate class closer together.  One of these events was a weekend retreat to Jon Gervais' summer house in Tilton, New Hampshire, near Laconia .  Many of these activities have since become a part of our associate program.  This proved to be the most successful event towards bringing the associates together.


            We had also set another goal for the semester.  It was to start an official rush program.  It was not a simple proposition due to the fact that we did not have a place big enough to hold the rush events.  We had several informational rushes in various apartments around the campus, and several social rushes with sororities in their respective houses.


            Our first social rush was with Alpha Sigma Tau (AST) at an apartment of one of the sisters.  The main event was a game of "Twister".  Our own Russ Adams walked away as the game's champion (with no help from any of the other associates).  There were several other social rushes with Phi Sigma Rho (FSR), Alpha Omega (AW), and Kappa Delta Phi (KDF).  These events proved as successful as our first.


            On December 1, 1992, 14 of the original 23 Founding Fathers were initiated at the Delta Phi chapter house in Fitchburg, MA .  We had no idea what to expect and we were all quite excited about what the night would hold for us.  It was quite a moving experience.  We spent the rest of the cold, snowy night with our new Sig Tau brothers from Fitchburg and some of us stayed up well into the morning hours.


            During the time before and after the Founding Fathers were initiated, we ran our first rush program.  We had several new interested men who wanted to become part of our new and growing family.  We inducted Alpha Class the following January, in a ceremony at Brother Dan Girard's apartment complex in apartment #12, and we began our first associate program.  Although at times the program had its rough edges, it went over very well.  Our retreat was held in the same building that the induction ceremony was conducted, in apartment #26.  One of the events that took place that weekend was a football game at three in the morning, in ten degree weather, in the parking lot of the Tewksbury K-Mart.  Although Brother Mike "Mookie" Pascucci didn�t get dunked in the lake again (as he did during the first retreat), everyone ended up tackling him.  The Alpha Class members brought a new dimension to the fraternity.  On March 10, 1993, 9 members of Alpha class were initiated at Fitchburg State .  This concluded a very important chapter in our history.  We proved to ourselves, the university, the other Greek organizations, and the community that we were here to stay.


            During Alpha's association period, we held our second rush program.  Although we did not have much time to run the rush and association programs and it would be our second class for that semester, we felt we needed to gain the experience of running another set of programs before the summer break.  6 members of Beta Class were inducted.  They went through a somewhat hectic associate program.  This included another memorable trip to Jon Gervais' summer house for our now historic retreat.  3 members of Beta Class remained, and became brothers on May 5, 1993, again at Delta Phi chapter in Fitchburg.


            We continued to run charity events and help with community service during the previous two semesters.  We became heavily involved with organizing Red Cross blood drives on campus.  We also worked with other Greek organizations to raise money for the "House of Hope", a shelter in Lowell for homeless mothers and their children.  Then during Spring Carnival we raised money for the Lowell Humane Society by raffling off Red Sox tickets.  Although we didn't raise as much money as we had hoped, the Humane Society was grateful for our donation and we again strengthened our bonds with the community.


            On June 1, 1993, we rented our first house.  The two-family house is located at 123/125 Riverside Street in Lowell , not far from North Campus.  The brothers had worked very hard to clean up this house and make it a respectable place to live.  Although it was in poor shape when we moved in, it had become our home away from home.  For some, it was home.  All of our meetings, rushes, socials, and associate events were held at the house.  Having a place to hold our functions had made managing the fraternity much easier.  It had also given us an anchor point on campus.


            In the fall of 1993, we started our third rush program for the Gamma Class.  It was the first rush program in the new house, and again it was successful.  We inducted 15 associates and began our third associate program.  The experience gained with the other classes came through.  Gamma Class was the smoothest run associate program we've had to date.  We had a memorable retreat in a new location, on Martha's Vineyard near Cape Cod .  11 members of the Gamma class were initiated on January 14, 1994, in the first initiation held in Lowell .  This was a great moment for us at Lowell because it gave us a great feeling of accomplishment in that we had established ourselves on our own campus and were able to conduct our ceremonies without having to travel to Fitchburg.


            February 27, 1994 marked the induction of 8 men in to the Delta Class.  We had several "veteran" brothers who had now been through three associate programs.  Their expertise helped greatly in running the Delta Class.  The associate events served as a means of bringing the associates closer to each other and to the brothers.  Aside from attending Sunday night events, many activities filled the weeks.  Tuesday nights we designated as official study nights, meeting at the library after dinner.  Upperclassmen in the fraternity readily supplied tutoring services for any associate in need.  Lowell Colony President Michael Holbrook offered tips on time management, helping associates set time budgets.


            The result of all the events was a group of young men eager to become a part of the brotherhood.  On April 20, 1994, the associates of Delta Class were initiated into Sigma Tau Gamma in the second ceremony held in Lowell .  All brothers happily extended congratulations to the new Delta Class on behalf of their accomplishment.


            During the fall of 1994, we had one of our most successful rush programs.  At one point, we had over 40 men interested in joining our fraternity.  Although we had many men to choose from, we decided only to take the 4 best.  On October 23, 1994, we inducted 4 new members of Epsilon Class.  The association program went well again.  We had another retreat on Martha's Vineyard .  We initiated the 4 members of Epsilon class in December of 1994.


            During the Christmas season in 1994, we became heavily involved with "Project Santa", a project in which poor and struggling families received Christmas presents.  We helped with a fundraiser at the Dubliner Tavern.  It provided live entertainment (compliments of the Delta Kappa Phi fraternity and our own Brother Miles Cook) and raffled off prizes donated by local businesses.  The event raised over $1300, which was used to purchase gifts ranging from toys to clothing.  The best part of the project was delivering the gifts.  On December 23, with the help of a Tau Kappa Epsilon brother (who acted as Santa), we delivered the gifts to 8 unsuspecting families.  We were met with a little resistance at first, but once the parents realized what we were doing, they welcomed us into their homes.  The expressions on the faces of the young children as Santa gave them what would be their only Christmas presents was more than enough reward for the hard work which was put into the event.


            Our days in the Commuter Lounge are now far behind us.  We have built strong ties with the local fraternities and sororities.  This makes us the only fraternity on campus to have good relations with all the other Greek organizations.  We have also worked very hard on becoming respected by a community that does not take well to fraternities.  We have conducted ourselves as gentlemen, which has earned us the respect of our peers as well as the university.  Hopefully, Sigma Tau Gamma at the University of Massachusetts ~ Lowell will continue to prosper and remain a strong chapter of the Sigma Tau Gamma National Fraternity.


Written by Daniel Girard (Founding Father, #09) & Tim McCaffrey (Alpha, #20)