FarmHouse – An Unusual Fraternity
March 15, 2010
Just before resuming the 2010 spring semester at Colorado State University, the men of FarmHouse International Fraternity held a planning retreat and service trip in Sterling, Colo.
They set personal/academic and corporate goals, including increasing the number of residents in the fraternity house located at 633 West Lake in Fort Collins, Colo. The building has recently undergone a $250,000 renovation, the first step in a three-phase improvement project. The changes on the first floor involved removing two walls, upgrading the electrical and lighting system, painting and new furniture. The renovation of three resident rooms on the second floor completed this phase. As donations come in from FarmHouse Alumni and other interested parties, the second wave will allow for modernizing the kitchen and the remaining upstairs living quarters. The third increment will renovate the basement and the outside landscaping.
These vast improvements as well as the location on the south edge of campus within easy walking distance to class, make an ideal living situation for the men. Ample parking onsite for members allows them to walk from FarmHouse and actually be closer to campus than most of the on-campus student parking lots.
The fraternity name may be misleading as it is not only for agricultural students. Current residents include majors in engineering, sports medicine as well as an atypical agriculture major, viticulture – which is the science and study of grapevines. Potential FarmHouse members go through the fraternity rush period during which they are issued a bid to possibly join. This is a formal way of saying the fraternity is interested in having the man join, and asks him to spend time at the house and with current members to see if he would be a good fit – and if the fraternity is one he would like to join. FarmHouse Fraternity is unique in that they do not allow alcohol on the premises. Scholastic achievement is a high priority. Those two tenets have a direct bearing on who is voted in as a member of the brotherhood.
Service is a keystone of FarmHouse. College students lead busy lives, going in different directions with variable schedules. To further solidify the leadership inspired by all members, the Colorado Chapter spent a well-received service day at the Cooperating Ministry of Logan County in Sterling assisting them in sorting and organizing the food pantry, furniture, medical supplies including walkers and wheelchairs, and clothing donations.
The men also volunteered to help out local Fleming, Colo., farmer Ken Smith, a FarmHouse alum, class of 1981 who is suffering from multiple myeloma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. Smith needed panels set up in preparation for calving season, old tires hauled to disposal and some furniture moved. Neil Sanders, FarmHouse and CSU alumnus, class of 2003 was the facilitator of the retreat. Neil is a farrier who lives in Aurora and he donated his time to trim the feet on one of Smith’s horses. These activities are a way to give back to the communities and fulfill the central principles of the fraternity.
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To soften an otherwise all-male dominion with a female’s outlook, the Colorado Chapter is seeking to hire a housemother. Traditionally it is a position for a single, over 50-something lady who is interested in guiding college men in social graces, is a good listener and acts as a hostess at FarmHouse events . For additional information on the duties of a housemother, please go to http://www.FarmHouse.org/guides/resident_advisor.pdf. A private apartment onsite and furnished meals are part of the employment package with the Colorado Chapter.
To learn more about FarmHouse, drop in or phone the chapter president, Ryan Siefkas at (719) 469-3141. The chapter Web site is http://www.CSUFarmHouse.com.