OGO's Back

The missing face in the lineup of fraternities and sororities on campus has been restored.

Omicron Gamma Omega, suspended from Moravian College three years ago for disciplinary infractions, now has 12 members and an alumni board of oversight.

“ It was an important part of our college experience, and it’s a real link back to our era,” says Pete Chimera ’98, who leads the alumni council. “I hope it will be the same to them,” he says of the new OGO members. “It’s a lifelong commitment, and it’s worth it for the joy that you get out of it.”

Pete and a dozen or so alums have spent more than a year “re-colonizing” OGO, as the fraternity community calls reestablishing a chapter. They investigated OGO’s problems and utilized a focus group to decide what OGO should be. “We’re old guys,” says Pete. “We didn’t know what the young guys wanted out of a fraternity.”

They recruited new members, interviewed them, screened them, and chose an initial six students last spring. Six more came this fall.

Contributions from about 200 OGO alumni made sure the revived chapter will be financially stable. Because of OGO’s past problems, the alumni are guarantors of the fraternity’s good conduct by paying its liability insurance. Eventually, when there are more members, the alumni will ask the chapter to take over more of its financial responsibilities.

As for the oversight board, “this is something we have to do forever,” says Pete, “because we did not keep tabs before. But we can bring a lot of power [to the new chapter] by staying involved.”

Though its house reverted to the College (it’s now being used as Student Affairs offices) when OGO was suspended, the new chapter has one sacred object to bring to its new headquarters when the time comes: OGO’s cannon. It was made of plumber’s pipe and other scrap materials, and it began to fall apart before the chapter did. Then, in the ensuing three years, it became nothing more than a pile of vaguely related junk. But Dean Molle ’81 decided to restore it, and he kept one piece of the old cannon—a small chain on the back of the barrel—to connect it to its past.

OGO is an anomaly in the Greek world in being a local fraternity without a national organization. It was founded at the University of Virginia in 1920 by a student who then transferred to Moravian. The UVa (alpha) chapter died, but the Moravian (beta) chapter flourished.

The advantage to having a national organization is that the individual chapters have a larger network, more money, more programs, and conferences at which the members can meet the breadth of the membership.
But Pete says: “The advantage to staying local, at least for us as old alumni, is to keep the tradition going.

“ For me, OGO was a big part of life at a small college. This gives us an opportunity to have something we had there, in the same form.”

OGO brothers showed up with their famous (and now rebuilt) cannon at Homecoming 2003. From the back left to right: Chuck Rongione ’81, Pete Chimera ’98, Mark Allender ’81, Tim Cooke ’87, Chris Wilson ’87, Chris Fuhrer ’87 (red sweatshirt), John Walton ’86 (holding cannon wheel), and Dean Molle ’81 (who rebuilt the cannon).

Photo: Gregory M. Fota '69