FarmHouse, a new agriculture-based organization in the Greek community, has distinctive characteristics, setting it apart from the other fraternities on campus — the most obvious being its name.
Unlike most fraternities, the founding members, chose not to use typical Greek letters.
“We don’t have Greek Letters,” said Chris Atkins, a junior agricultural science major and FarmHouse member. “That’s a very non-traditional aspect.”
The name FarmHouse is an acronym for what the fraternity stands for and the qualities it wants its members to possess — faith, ambition, reverence, morality, honesty, obedience, unity, service and
Like most fraternities, FarmHouse holds beliefs and ideas about what ideal members should grow into.
“We are based on a fourfold system on how to build men spiritually, intellectually, socially, morally and physically,” said Adam Ford, a senior agricultural science major and FarmHouse member.
“It helps to grow the best men and helps to develop them. A lot of them are built out of concrete principles, which men should build their life on.”
The organization was founded in 2008, when an expansion coordinator for FarmHouse visited Virginia tech to introduce the fraternity to members of a club called Block and Bridle.
Tech recognized FarmHouse in spring 2009 and received a charter from its national organization in October 2011. With 30 current members, the fraternity, hopes to gain 15 new members this semester.
“Our beliefs and our values are very similar to other organizations, but we feel that ours are unique because we are an ag-based fraternity,” Atkins said. “But we have realized for success on campus, and in our lives, you need to be more than agriculture at times.”
In addition, FarmHouse discloses all its information to non-members.
“We always have our meetings on campus because a unique part about FarmHouse is we are a 100 percent open fraternity, which means you can come watch our rituals, meetings and every single aspect of that,” Atkins said. “The reason we do that is because we are very proud of our rituals.”
One of the major aspects that goes along with its full disclosure to the public is the fraternity’s no-hazing policy.
“We actually have a quote from our founder, Howard Doane — ‘You can’t build up men by tearing down boys,’” Ford said referring to the policy.
While there is no “pledging” process, the fraternity still holds high expectations for their members upon entry.
“We like the gentlemen who are interested in FarmHouse to obviously have a great GPA,” Atkins said. “You need a 2.7 to join, but we really like you to have a 3.0, honestly.”
Now a part of Tech’s Greek community, FarmHouse has begun participating in other organizations’ philanthropies — it placed second in Sigma Kappa’s “Ultraviolet Nights” event last semester.
FarmHouse hopes to hold an event next fall promoting its own philanthropy.
“Our philanthropy is called ‘Totally Baldacious,’” said Brent Ashley, a sophomore dairy science major and FarmHouse member. “It promotes the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We are going to shave our heads bald to promote Leukemia and Lymphoma.”
Currently, FarmHouse has a temporary house, which is located outside of Blacksburg city limits. However, this arrangement will change.
“We are looking into all the options whether it’s Oak Lane on campus or coming into Blacksburg city limits,” Atkins said.