Boys swag, PIKES S.L.A.G

Brea Joyner

PIKES say brotherhood and leadership bring in the trophies

As Pi Kappa Alpha President, Ben Sylvestri, sat on stage, he started sweating. His hands were shaking, as he looked at his nervous brothers pacing back and forth in the distance, waiting for the winner of the 2016 Robert Adger Smythe Awards to be announced.

Over a thousand PIKES sat in anticipation, especially ULM’s Eta Omicron Chapter.  Afterall, it was around this time last year they tied with Indiana State’s Theta Omicron Chapter for the win.

Seconds felt like minutes as the winner was called to the stage and then, finally, history was made.

The ULM PIKES won their 18 consecutive Smythe award.

Sylvestri was overwhelmed with pride as he accepted his chapter’s record breaking Smythe award.

“It had really set in when the entire room applauded,” said Sylvestri.

At the national PIKE Convention, held in New Orleans this year, the Eta Omicron Chapter  broke an international record for the most consecutive wins within a chapter. The Smythe is awarded to chapters who are in the top 10% of 220 across North America.

It’s not easy maintaining standards for a Dynasty-level fraternity. This new level of achievement was not solely earned by good works for the campus and community, but  with a close brotherhood.

“The guys are genuine…and when you have 100 brothers holding you accountable, you don’t really have room for error,” said Sylvestri.

“With our advisors and [executive council] keeping us in line, our leadership is what keeps us strong.”

100 brothers. One vision: to maintain their “slagger.” SLAG stands for Scholarship, Leadership, Athletics and Gentlemen.

According to Devin Melancon, a junior nursing major, it is their fraternity’s “slagger” that upholds their eminent reputation.

“It’s a recurring cycle where the leaders push the new guys to become better,” said Melancon. “Then they become the leaders of tomorrow, and then they push the new guys.”

It wasn’t until Melancon rushed his freshman year that he realized the impact PIKE would have on him.

“After I got that bid, I knew I was about to join something bigger than myself – that I could grow and become a better person,” said Melancon.

Aside from PIKE’s international recognition, it is their campus impact and recognition that matters the most.  In fact, it was the award for Organization of the Year in 2015-2016 that made Sylvestri the proudest.

As far as their future goals, the PIKES plan to shoot higher than their original goals.

“We want to respect ULM well,” said Sylvestri. “The awards are great, but it’s the efforts and everything that our brothers put in. That’s what makes the awards even better.”

PIKE Eta Omicron has initiated over 1100 members since 1972.