Alpha Gamma Nu is one of the oldest fraternity organizations at the University of Redlands, with its 100th anniversary coming up in 2023. However, the fraternity was forced to take a hiatus three years ago, which lasted until the beginning of this year. Though the reasons for the suspension were not made public, Gamma Nu was not permitted to be an active fraternity on campus until all previous alumni had graduated.
Calvin Hyytinen, 24’ and Andrew Smalls, ‘00 were all smiles when asked about their involvement with Gamma Nu. Each of them played a key part in getting the organization reinstated after its three-year hiatus. The two met on serendipitous terms; Hyytinen was looking for a Greek organization to get involved in and connected with Smalls, who had been working on having Gamma Nu reinstated at the university since 2019.
Smalls recalled how he responded quickly to a text from Hyytinen, suggesting they meet over breakfast while he was in town. “[Calvin] comes skateboarding around the corner at 6:45am. Me and three other alums that live locally we’re like, ‘wow what is this’ […] we sit down and he’s the guy. We put our full faith in Hyytinen to relaunch what is this year our 100th anniversary,” said Smalls.
Since their initial meeting, Hyytinen and Smalls, along with other alumni and two additional founding members of the new chapter of Gamma Nu, have begun what they describe as “Greek 2.0.” This Greek 2.0 involves new members becoming active from the very day they get their bid, something that other Greek organizations on campus don’t usually practice. “We didn’t want to have a six-week process anymore,” said Smalls.
Hyytinen detailed the foundations that Gamma Nu is built on: “We have five pillars–brotherhood, mental and physical fitness, leadership development, social development, and spirituality.” The development of these pillars has been important in developing community service outreach for members of Gamma Nu following their reinstatement.
Hyytinen described how the fraternity doesn’t have one particular area of philanthropy as an organization. Instead, they do a variety of community service outreach activities in order to satisfy the interests of all members and maximize their impact on the community of Redlands.
For Hyytinen, “Community service is about feeling connected to your community and feeling like you made a difference.” One project the organization is currently working on is adopting the orange blossom trail next to campus in order to make it a more accessible and student-friendly hiking spot.
Since this past Fall Rush, Gamma Nu has added five new members to the original three members that began the reinstatement, for a total of eight new Gamma Nus. The overarching message that the new members want to present is that Gamma Nu wants to become a space of inclusivity. In fact, they organized a “Greeks giving,” in which all Greek organizations were invited to their house to build community.
After their three-year hiatus from the university, Gamma Nu is trying to redefine the idea of Greek life and make their organization one that is not defined by one set practice. Hyytinen emphasized that he found Gamma Nu because he didn’t fit in in other spaces. Consequently, both Smalls and Hyytinen are encouraging others to find their place in Gamma Nu in the future, just as many alumni did in the past.
Photo by Photo Editor Kyle Eaton.