2017: A #NewNormal
In 2017, following a resolution by undergraduates at the 2017 Grand Chapter Conclave to remove alcohol from all chapter facilities, SigEp IN Zeta officially adopted a substance-free policy. The policy banned alcohol in common spaces within the chapter house effective August 1, 2018, and would ban all alcohol from the chapter facility effective August 1, 2020.
2004: Starting Walt's Place
A SigEp started Walt's Place, an after-school daycare for Hilltop Neighborhood kids. His mission was to create an environment in which the brothers of IN Zeta could give back to the community by spending time with and serving as a positive example for Valparaiso's youth. SigEps are still involved heavily in this popular program.
2002: SAAFE House
Over 14 months of work in conjunction with Valparaiso University' SAAFE office, SigEp became the first fraternity at Valparaiso University to earn the SAAFE (Sexual Assault Awareness and Facilitative Education) designation in 2002. In the words of Paula Dranger, SAAFE office coordinator, "When women go [to the house], they will feel safe, and the behavior of the men will be respectful".
Today, IN Zeta continues its commitment to raising awareness for sexual assault and providing a safe space for all genders.
2001: RLC Accreditation
IN Zeta committed to a higher standard of promoting the academic success of its brothers on July 1, 2001 when it was designated an RLC ("Residential Learning Community") Chapter. In order to secure this designation, IN Zeta needed to meet several requirements. Valpo SigEp demonstrated that it had, among other qualifications, a chapter GPA consistently above 3.0, regular interaction with a "faculty fellow" from the university, and a dedicated academic space in the chapter facility that is substance-free at all times.
1996: Balanced Man Program
IN Zeta became one of the first Sigma Phi Epsilon chapters to forego a traditional "pledging" process for new members in favor of the Balanced Man Program in 1996. The Balanced Man Program promised to create a membership experience focused on continually becoming a better version of oneself and discouraged hazing.
1987: SigEp Initiates Dry Recruitment
Following a push toward dry recruitment at the 1987 Grand Chapter Conclave, IN Zeta's executive board returned to their brothers at 705 Mound with a challenge to hold a dry recruitment season.
Brother David Gring, the 1987 chapter president, recounts that one of the most successful recruitment events from the 1986 recruitment season had been a whisky and cigar night. However, he told us that he and his fellow exec members were able to convince their brothers of the importance of values-based recruitment for the long-term success of IN Zeta. By eliminating alcohol from the recruitment process, they argued, they would deter potential members that were seeking a membership experience based only on parties while at the same time encouraging potential members interested in SigEp's mission to create more balanced men. The chapter voted to defy the recruitment norm and eliminate alcohol in their recruitment process.
The chapter proceeded to recruit its largest ever new member class of 53 men. Following SigEp's success, dry recruitment became the norm for all fraternities and sororities at Valparaiso University.
1985: Largest Membership in History
1985 saw the largest membership in IN Zeta's history: 128 members. Members from that time recount an experience in which four people lived in every room in the house. Younger members that did not have sufficient house points to secure a room but that were desperate to live in-house famously took up residence in the laundry room.
1973: First Buchanan Cup
1973 could be considered the start of a long tradition of nationally-recognized excellence for the men of Indiana Zeta: this year was marked by the chapter's first Buchanan Outstanding Chapter Award.
1956: National Affiliation with Sigma Phi Epsilon
With a roll of over 70 members, Kappa Phi Tau began to search for a national affiliate. In 1956, Kappa Phi Tau became the Indiana Zeta chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. The men of IN Zeta had, at this point, thoroughly outgrown their house at 505 Lincolnway and moved to SigEp's current residence at 705 Mound Street.
1953: A Second Chapter Facility
In 1953, Kappa Phi Tau purchased "The Annex" to house more of its members. The house was located at 503 E. Lincolnway Avenue, and was bought from Alpha Xi Epsilon sorority.
1947: Founding of Kappa Phi Tau
The local fraternity that would eventually become Sigma Phi Epsilon IN Zeta was founded on April 29, 1947. The organization was composed of thirty-one founding members. The chapter's first official business meeting was held on April 21 in Dormitory 6, one of the "barracks" on campus. Dormitory 6 was located on what is now the Guild-Memorial parking lot, and was built to house the influx of WWII veterans that were returning from combat. Several of these veterans were founders of Kappa Phi Tau.
The founding members of Kappa Phi Tau lived in various apartments and dormitories scattered around Valparaiso's campus until they found a house suitable for the growing fraternity in 1948. They purchased the house at 505 E. Lincolnway Avenue in Valparaiso. The original house still stands today, and is known as Front Porch Music. The fraternity continued to grow: membership increased from forty-eight brothers in 1948 to seventy by 1950.