Frequently Asked Questions About Pledging
Q. What is Delta Phi Epsilon?
A. It is this country’s only professional foreign service fraternity. Founded in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. ( in the vicinity of Georgetown University) in January 1920, it has over the years installed 22 collegiate chapters and 4 alumni associations. Its Alpha Chapter is the one at Georgetown. There are currently over 6,000 living Delta Phi Epsilon brothers, about 1,000 of whom were initiated while studying or teaching at Georgetown University.
Q. What do you mean by “professional foreign service fraternity”?
A. We mean a very special kind of organization: First, we are a fraternity, not a college club. Our membership is composed of men with a life-long interest in, and commitment to, each other and Delta Phi Epsilon. We are not a group of students only wanting involvement in an extra-curricular activity while in school. Secondly, we are a professional, not a social, fraternity. Our membership is restricted to men planning on entering, or already engaged in, careers involving overseas work — diplomacy, banking, importing / exporting, journalism, etc. We certainly enjoy each other’s company in many sociable ways, in school as well as throughout our lives, but we exist not to offer students more parties to attend, but to enable us to recruit and form at the college level new members of a fraternity of professional men for whom our brotherhood will be an important part of their business careers. As a professional fraternity, we are a brotherhood with life-long membership; and that means we are several thousand men with very different backgrounds and interests who nonetheless sincerely regard and treat each other as family.
Q. Is membership at Georgetown University limited to only School of Foreign Service students?
A. No. Qualified School of Business and Faculty of Languages and Linguistics students are also encouraged to apply. So also are qualified College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences students planning on international careers.
Q. How does one join?
A. You must be recommended in writing by a brother member for consideration. Once we receive from you that recommendation, and a completed application form, we will interview you and then have a meeting of our members to review your application and your expressed reasons for wanting to join Delta Phi Epsilon. We will call upon some of your teachers at Georgetown University who are brothers in Delta Phi Epsilon for an evaluation of your character and potential. After all that is done, the brothers of Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon will vote on whether to offer you a pledge.
If the brothers do vote to offer you a pledge, you and the others accepted for pledgeship that semester will be asked to come to the Delta Phi Epsilon House at 34th and Prospect Streets and be invited to take the Pledge Oath accepting that pledge. The ensuing pledge period lasts 7 full weeks. During that time the pledgees will have weekly a 2-hour pledge meeting in the Delta Phi Epsilon House (normally on Sunday afternoons or evenings) and a 3-hour work detail at the House (on Saturday mornings or, if more convenient for the pledgee, at other times) to help the brothers maintain the structure. The actual times and days of these pledge meetings and work details can be set to accommodate the schedules of the pledgees and brothers involved. Besides these approximately 5 fixed hours of each week, the pledgee will also be expected to spend another 2 to 4 hours (on the average) in various pledge activities (e.g., attending professional functions, making his paddle, learning his Fraternity history.)
The 7 week pledge period is the system by which the Fraternity teaches its pledgees (and re-teaches its student members) the essentials of our brotherhood and develops in them the camaraderie and esprit de corps that invariably become fond memories of every brother and that are fundamental to our lifelong loyalty to Delta Phi Epsilon.
Q. Is there hazing involved?
A. Delta Phi Epsilon is not a social fraternity. We are proud that we do not have social fraternity stunts as part of our pledging process. Our process nonetheless is very, very demanding — probably more difficult physically, emotionally and mentally than that of any social fraternity in the United States to-day. Pledging Delta Phi Epsilon includes considerable calisthenics (you will be in good shape when it is over), but always only for a purpose (such as to make sure all the pledgees have complied with the pledging requirements). No one, though, should be concerned that the calisthenics will be beyond his capability. Paraplegics paralyzed from the ribs down have completed the pledge process and so can you.
Every applicant should know that every pledgee who has been initiated into Delta Phi Epsilon by Alpha Chapter since 1920 has undergone the exact same pledging process. We are enormously proud of this process that has given us brothers who are to-day pre-eminent in dozens of fields. That all of us have come through the same system is one of our strongest bonds of unity. Fraternities often have image problems on their campuses and one fact that especially needs emphasizing is that Delta Phi Epsilon is always as proud of its pledgees as it is of its pledging system and we want our pledgees to be equally proud of our Fraternity and its pledging process. There will never be a time when a pledgee is embarrassed in front of his friends or acquaintances or even strangers by anything involving the pledging process.
Q. How much will it cost to pledge?
A. Each pledgee’s initiation fee is $135, payable in two installments: $25 at the first pledge meeting (non-refundable) and $110 at his convenience during the course of the pledge period (refundable should you decide to stop pledging). The $110 covers the cost of your Pledge Button, Fraternity Pin, and Membership Shingle, as well as of your meal at the Initiatory Banquet. Pledgees will also have some additional pledging costs that they must bear themselves (e.g., the cost of making their paddles). These expenses, however, are minor. At the Initiatory ceremonies at the end of the pledging period all pledgees and brothers are expected to wear a tuxedo; so, if you do not now own a tuxedo, you must plan on renting one. We do get a good group rate from a formal wear rental firm, so even this expense is reasonable. Newly initiated brothers owe no Chapter dues the semester they are initiated. Thereafter, though, the Chapter’s dues are $200 per semester. Once you are graduated your alumni dues are just $30 a year. Alumni can eliminate annual dues obligations by becoming a Life Member for $200.
Q. Will pledging hurt my grades this semester?
A. Pledging takes up only a few hours a week and should not affect your grades adversely. In fact, pledging ought to help your grades because it will get you to organize your time better and introduce you to brothers who did well in your courses before you and who will be glad to help you out now.
Q. Will membership in Delta Phi Epsilon be of any use to me after I leave Georgetown?
A. There are only about living 1,000 Alpha Chapter brothers in Delta Phi Epsilon. In other words, we are a small, close-knit fraternity. Our members are very well positioned in all the fields of foreign service and many of them have regularly offered assistance to newly graduated brothers in finding employment. Moreover, many brothers have testified that throughout their careers they have found other brothers being of great help and support. Our collegiate chapter years in Delta Phi Epsilon, hard as it is for undergraduates to understand, are almost never the “high points” of our membership in the Fraternity. Most brothers’ experience is that they get the most from Delta Phi Epsilon after they have left school and embarked onto their careers. The Fraternity provides an unparalleled network of contacts and opportunities that only professionals can appreciate.
Q. Can women join Delta Phi Epsilon?
A. Not Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity. But they can join our companion organization, Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority, which was founded here at Georgetown University in 1972. Together, the Brothers and Sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon make for an impressive group of dedicated professionals loyal to each other and to our ideals.
Q. May one, at the same time, be a member of Delta Phi Epsilon and also of some other “fraternal” society or organization?
A. Yes. Delta Phi Epsilon is very proud that so many of its members are active in many other groups. One may not, however, belong both to Delta Phi Epsilon and to a “competitive” fraternity, i.e., one inimical towards Delta Phi Epsilon. Therefore, anyone intending to become a member of Delta Phi Epsilon should know that, as a condition of membership in Delta Phi Epsilon, he must help preclude the possibility of any competritive allegiances by agreeing to reveal, following his becoming a member of Delta Phi Epsilon and upon receiving an inquiry from a fellow member of Delta Phi Epsilon, not just his own membership (or candidacy for membership) in any other fraternal society or organization, but also by agreeing to identify every other member (or candidate for membership) of Delta Phi Epsilon whom he knows, or has reason to know, is also a member (or candidate for membership) in that other fraternal society or organization.
Q. What is the relationship of Delta Phi Epsilon to Georgetown University?
A. Delta Phi Epsilon Fraternity is not a part of, nor connected with, Georgetown University in any way. Each is an independent entity. Although almost all the members of Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity are, or have been, students or faculty of Georgetown University, there is no organic tie. The Fraternity’s history is, however, closely intertwined with that of the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University. Four of the ten Deans of that School have been brothers (Roy S. MacElwee, 1919-1923; William F. Notz, 1923-1935; William E. Moran, 1961-1966; and Jesse A. Mann, 1968-1970). Most of the best teachers in the School of Foreign Service have also been members. At present there are 22 faculty members of Georgetown University who are brothers. Delta Phi Epsilon is, therefore, determined on making itself a credit to the school that gave it birth in 1920. You could be a part of this.