Catholic fraternity inducts five members

On April 24, 2024 Graham Mueller

Phi Kappa Theta brothers pose on April 12 at the fraternity’s spring induction ceremony. The Catholic fraternity, located near the UW-Madison campus, inducted five brothers pictured in white. Kneeling, from left, are Sahaj Paudel, Eli Schmitt, Lucas Douglas, Gabriel Pirlot, and Liam Thomassen. With their addition, the fraternity has grown to 51 active brothers; 20 brothers live in household. (Contributed photo)

Phi Kappa Theta (PKT), UW-Madison’s Catholic fraternity, held its spring induction ceremony near the heart of campus at Saint Paul’s Catholic Student Center on April 12.

PKT celebrated the inductions of Lucas Douglas, Sahaj Paudel, Gabriel Pirlot, Eli Schmitt, and Liam Thomassen.

With their addition, the five inductees expand PKT to 51 active members, of which 20 brothers live in household.

The growth of PKT over recent years is a testament to the fraternity’s strong Catholic identity, leadership, and brotherhood formation

‘Give, expecting nothing thereof’

Mitchell, who became the chapter president at the beginning of this year’s spring semester, said the chapter has been “rebranded” over his four years in college.

He said that during his first semester, in the fall of 2020, senior leadership had “checked out,” following a semester at home due to COVID restrictions.

That experience was at odds with PKT’s mission.

He said, “Our motto is to ‘give, expecting nothing thereof,’ so when your seniors don’t ‘give,’ the guys don’t have an example to follow.

Mitchell remembered a couple years ago, when “half of my initiating class dropped from the fraternity”.

“I joined at a very weird point where some people didn’t feel that the older brothers were invested, so we had people leave. There was a moment when the remaining men in my class met. We [agreed] that the fraternity is not what we want it to be,” he continued.

Ultimately, that meant that Mitchell and his class needed to run for leadership positions. They decided that through their hard work, they were going to change PKT into something they wanted to be a part of.

Now, due to changes in how the fraternity works and lives, including better formation, brotherhood culture, and social activities, “We’re at a strong point,” said Mitchell.

“This year, we’re going ‘all out’ as much as we can. We’re trying to get the older guys to lead by example, to show the young guys what being a Catholic man in college can be, and also to show the other Greek life [fraternities and sororities] that there are different ways to live. You don’t have to drink every Friday night . . . to have a good experience and have fulfillment.”