By Grace Gaddy
Baylor’s Theta Nu chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega national fraternity recently outshined 250 other chapters across the country to receive the Top Chapter award for 2010-2011.
The award was presented at the annual ATO awards banquet in Indianapolis and is the highest honor any ATO chapter can receive, marking them No. 1 in the nation, McKinney sophomore and public relations chair for ATO, Brennan Lane said.
The selection was based on a number of different criteria, including campus and community involvement, academics, philanthropies, recruitment, alumni relations and more.
The designation of Top Chapter indicates excellence in virtually every area, May 2011 graduate Bailey Eubanks, said. Eubanks served as president of ATO during fall 2010 and compiled the annual report, which the current president, Houston senior Paul Dahlgren, described as a 4-inch wide binder detailing all of the chapter’s operations during the year. The winner was chosen based on that compilation, he said.
In 2009-2010, the chapter received the True Merit award, which recognizes all ATO chapters who meet a standard of excellence in operations. A chapter must achieve True Merit for two consecutive years to be awarded Top Chapter, according to official ATO guidelines. 2010-2011 was the chapter’s second consecutive year to receive the award, propelling them to receive the Top Chapter award as well.
After receiving first runner up for Top Chapter in 2009-2010, Eubanks said they began looking for ways to excel further.
For example, the chapter worked to expand communication, Dahlgren said.
“We changed the way that we started recruiting guys. We started using Facebook and Twitter and all sorts of things to try and be more connected with the campus and the student life,” he said. “And we’ve joined up with a lot of the sororities to do different philanthropy events.”
One of those events included the annual Bed Races and Chili Cook-Off, in partnership with Chi Omega. The event brought in a total of $16,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, making it possible to grant two wishes. The chapter also joined with Delta Delta Delta for Spaghetti Not-So-Formal to raise $3,500 to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Eubanks said.
Other highlights included achieving the highest cumulative member GPA and the most community service hours—over 1,950—for a Greek organization on campus, according to the annual report. ATO also earned a spot in the top eight acts at All University Sing.
But the defining moment came in Indiana, when all of the members’ work paid off.
“We went in there, and they called out Pepperdine for top chapter runner up, and they called out Baylor Alpha Tau Omega for top chapter,” Eubanks said. “It was too cool.”
He also noted that the award “really boosted the morale of the chapter.”
“It’s interesting how much camaraderie and brotherhood can come out of success,” he said. “It was a great experience, not only for me, but our chapter leaders and our brotherhood.”