Order of the Phoenix offers alternative to Greek life


Members of Order of the Phoenix pose with sister-group L.O.V.E. Photo provided by Jeffrey Krippel.

Members of Order of the Phoenix pose with sister-group L.O.V.E. Photo provided by Jeffrey Krippel.
Members of Order of the Phoenix pose with sister-group L.O.V.E. Photo provided by Jeffrey Krippel.

Disc jockeys, tutors, volunteers, brothers: the Order of the Phoenix offers an alternative to fraternities on campus. With a mission focusing on improving student life at Augustana, the small social group takes pride in their multiculturalism and service.
The Order of the Phoenix was founded in 2003, shortly after the Harry Potter book of the same name was released. President of Phoenix, Jeffrey Krippel said the idea for the service group is similar to that of the popular fantasy novel.
“Our founders definitely knew what they were doing, and they didn’t choose that name carelessly,” Krippel said. “We hold that title with pride, and we’ve made it our own.  The phoenix is a bird that undergoes a metamorphosis, to be reborn from the ashes, and one of our main goals is to create a positive change on this campus.
The group’s mission states that “the Order of the Phoenix will make a difference by rising from the ashes of doldrums to light this campus on fire. Promoting positive change through actions not words.”
Krippel said Phoenix promotes unity, equality, brotherhood and respect through the service work they do.
“On the service end, one thing we do is volunteer every week at People’s Missionary Baptist Church tutoring kids in kindergarten through high school,” Krippel said. “Those kids are awesome, by the way.  What most people tend to know us for is our DJ services.  We DJ events for a lot of different groups here at Augustana, and those are always a good time.”
Unlike other social groups, such as some fraternities, Phoenix does not require community service hours, according to member John D’Aversa. Everything is on a volunteer basis.
The pledging process for joining Phoenix is also different than that of fraternities. One major difference is that it lasts two weeks instead of the typical five for Greek groups.
“Well, naturally I can’t go too in depth into our pledging process,” Krippel said. “I will say it’s definitely a positive experience though. It’s the one time a year where every member gets together every night, and we usually have alumni come back and visit during it. I imagine we place a lot more emphasis on cultural awareness and moral principles (than fraternities), since those are some of the core values more specific to our group.”
Both Kripple and D’Aversa said the most important quality of Phoenix, though, is the closeness and unity among the members.
“I first heard about Phoenix a few weeks into my freshman year,” Kripple, now a junior, said. “I really had no interest in joining a fraternity.  I had a friend that heard about the group and was really interested in them.  I was introduced to some of the members, and I just remember thinking that these were some of the most genuine people I had ever met.  Whenever they talked about Phoenix, it was clear just how much the group meant to them.”
D’Aversa said Phoenix is the first place he felt he truly belonged on campus.
“My best experience is the brotherhood that I get from it,” D’Aversa said. “I’m not the kind of person who feels connected very well. Some people get this feeling anywhere they spend the majority of their time, but I never understood that. I’ve been in band, Martial Arts Club, and the program for 4 years, and I’ve only been in Phoenix for 2, but I feel more closely bonded to my Phoenix brothers than to almost anyone on this campus.”
Even when events and meetings do not go as planned, Phoenix sticks together and makes the most of it, Kripple said, while looking back on his experience providing music for a Halloween party.
“It was the first real event that I was DJing myself, so I was a bit nervous about it,” he said. “Then everything that could go wrong did go wrong before the event even started.  An essential piece of our equipment failed.  I just remember us scrambling to get everything to work, and then we had problems even getting to the event.  It was just a mess.  But, we finally made it, and we got our stuff working about 30 seconds before people started showing up.  But you know what? It turned out to be a great show.  I don’t think I’ll forget that night any time soon.”
D’Aversa and Krippel said Phoenix hopes to promote their group and mission in the future. Plans for a cultural awareness day are being made this term.
“Sky’s the limit,” Krippel said. “So long as we stay true to what this organization stands for, I can’t see anything other than a bright future for Phoenix.”
Krippel said the most critical aspect of college is that students find a place where they feel welcome, whether that is in a social group, such as Phoenix, or not.
“I think the important thing is that students have options,” Krippel said. “If some organizations don’t fit with you, there are alternatives.  College really isn’t a very long time, and I think it’s important to find out what’s important to you, and then do something worth doing while you’re here. I certainly did, and I couldn’t be happier about that.”