Phi Delta Theta starts year with a Gold Star

Megan Sebestyen
Staff Writer

The men of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity won a total of six awards including a Gold Star at the 78th Biennial Convention in June held in Orlando, Fla.

A part of the University since 1993, the Phi Delta Theta fraternity has a long-standing record of excellence in areas such as community service and recruiting.

“It was awesome,” Michael Lindsey, who served as the delegate for Phi Delta Theta during the convention, said. “All the chapters were there from all over the world when we won.”

Phi Delta Theta won the most awards out of all the chapters in California and was the only chapter in Southern California to win a Gold Star and one of two in the state.

“It was really great for everyone that was there. When they called our chapter’s name out, we hesitated to stand because we didn’t even expect it,” Benny Balderrama Jr., Phi Delta Theta vice president, said.

Seven members of Phi Delta Theta and six advisors attended this year’s convention, which was held in June at the Renaissance Resort at Sea World in Orlando, Fla.

The convention, is a biannual event that recognizes outstanding fraternity chapters, brings together fraternities from around the world.

“[Winning] six awards at the convention was great for us, so we want to go for more. Just hearing that we got a Gold Star, actually seeing the awards and passing them around made us just want to do this year bigger and better,” Balderrama said.

The six awards won by Phi Delta Theta show the fraternity’s ability to excel in many different areas; awards included ones for community service, member recruitment, upholding ritual, scholarship and a general headquarters trophy, awarded for all-around merit.

“As soon as we won, we started texting everyone and telling them we got the Gold Star. It started the year off great,” Balderrama said.

The prestigious Gold Star goes to a top Phi Delta Theta chapter.

“The Gold Star is awarded based on a curriculum you have to meet,” Rodger Acevedo, president of Phi Delta Theta, said. “It’s a pretty strict curriculum and not many chapters can do it.”

Balderrama said that the community service completed this last year was also very influential in winning so many awards.

“Once we started our annual teeter-totter event, that was big for us. We always do little community service events here and there throughout the year,” Balderrama said.

The teeter-totter event, which began two years ago raises money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.

“We have members teeter-tottering 24 hours and we come in shifts. We even had local newspapers come and cover us,” Balderrama said.

The time spent at the convention provided plenty of opportunities to observe how the other chapters of Phi Delta Theta work, Acevedo said.

“It’s really an experience for everyone who gets to go to it,” Acevedo said. “You get to meet all kinds of guys: guys who just got in and guys who have been in [Phi Delta Theta] for 50 or 60 years.”

Activities at the convention included breakfast with Phi Delta Theta General Council, meetings where delegates, one representative was chosen from each chapter, could vote on fraternity issues, a closing dinner where all Phi Delta Theta members and their families could come.

Michael Lindsey, Phi Keia Educator and Chorister, was selected to represent La Verne’s Phi Delta Theta chapter.

“I think they chose me because I was somewhat new to the chapter and the convention is a place to learn and grow,” Lindsey said.

Balderrama said that Lindsey was chosen as the Delegate because he is ready to help the chapter succeed.

“He is a newer guy, he just got in the fall semester before convention. He learned so much. He learned all the questions to ask; he is ready to make our chapter even greater than it already is,” Balderrama said.

Even with the convention behind them, the weight of the awards still weighs heavily upon the minds of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

“When you say that you are a Gold Star chapter, it puts a sense of expectation and obligation on you to perform at that level again,” Acevedo said. “I think that the guys take that and they build off it.”

Megan Sebestyen can be reached at

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