Full Organization Name: Omega Delta Phi Inc.
Motto: “It Grows as it Goes”
National Founding Date: November 25, 1987
Local Founding Date: April 5, 1989
Colors: Scarlet and Silver
Flower: Silver Rose
Four Sacraments: Unity, Honesty, Integrity, Leadership
Creation of Omega Delta Phi Beta Chapter
By Jaime Mendez (Beta Chapter Founder)
With thanks to Jessie Briseno, Martin Rodriguez Jr.,
and James Smith III (Beta Chapter Founders)
The actual beginning of the Beta Chapter of Omega Delta Phi can be traced back to December 20, 1988 at Spanky’s Bar in Juarez, Mexico. Six E1 Paso High School Graduate Friends (Jesse Briseno, Martin Rodriguez Jr., Andy Melendez, Jeff Martin, Oscar Leroy and myself) got together during the semester break to talk about our first experiences at our respective colleges. Throughout the course of the conversation the one thing that kept popping up over and over was the subjects of “fraternities”, mainly from Oscar. It was very evident that he was very proud and excited on being part of Omega Delta Phi Fraternity at Texas Tech University. I however was not amused considering I had just come out of a bad experience at NMMI (New Mexico Military Institute) and was not about to subject myself or others to the so-called “pledging” process. To say that my feeling was shared by others would have been totally wrong, considering that I had never seen my high school buddies Jesse and Martin so attentive to everything that Oscar said. I kind of knew then that this issue was not about to go away. Ironically, this issue was never brought up again during the rest of the holidays.
It wasn’t until early March that I found out that both of them had been secretly talking about this subject again, but this time with someone else who they had met in their aerobics class. I immediately let it be known that I was not interested in this venture, and that they were not going to get me involved with it. Two weeks later, you guessed it, I was involved!! There had been a meeting between former Dean of Students (Joe Avila) and Jesse and it was at that time that he was informed that you needed at least four students to start an organization; especially a fraternity. Seeing that it was only three of them (Jesse, Martin and James Smith III) who were the primary interest group, and that the deadline to petition for a new student organization was approximately two weeks away; Dean Joe suggested that they recruit one more person ASAP. After days of pleading, I finally agreed to help out in a minor role. As things turned out, I became a major player with the group as items like the constitution, by-laws, and recruitment outlines were among the important documents to be reviewed by the Student Organization Board on April 5th at 2:00 p.m.
It was the most hectic two weeks of our lives. The bulk of the documents were divided among four of us and I still felt it was a lot. On April 3 we decided to call Oscar Leroy with our progress and hopefully get some added pointers for the meeting on the 5th. James and I were surprised to hear that Oscar had no knowledge of our present plans. He informed us that we were supposed to have gotten prior permission to start a chapter with the fraternity. Frustration engulfed us when we realized that we were busting our butts for nothing. We immediately called Jesse and Martin agreed to meet at Denny’s on Mesa St. at ten to discuss this matter. It was there where it was decided that we would go forward with or without permission from the main fraternity.
The next two days were dedicated to finding a faculty advisor and getting all paperwork in order. James Smith got his Air Force ROTC Instructor (Col. James Lockney) to be our advisor for paperwork reasons, but informed us that he would be unable to fulfill his duties afterwards due to Air Force ROTC regulations. Overall, we were ready for the meeting.
The meeting time came and I felt we were ready to present our proposal for this fraternity. Unfortunately Jesse and Martin had been called in to work that afternoon and James was at an ROTC function. It was all up to me now! I had been under the impression that the committee would review our documents and would either OK or deny our application. I was never told that I had to make a major presentation. I was real nervous, but nevertheless made it to the best of my knowledge. It was there that I got introduced to IFC President Roger Medrano from Kappa Sigma and Panhellinic President Lisa Shoebourn from Chi Omega. They must have hit me with every question possible about our fraternity traditions and history. None of which I knew at the time. Ultimately, it was my acting experience and “Animal House” knowledge that got me through that. Finally they asked if I was comfortable with being President of the organization. I was never under the impression that I was President, but they told me that it was the President that was supposed to be the official spokesperson to the organization review committee or the petition would be invalid. After seconds of mentally condemning Jesse to the dark comers of hell, I acknowledged myself as President to the board, and that’s how that part of history happened.
We got acknowledged as an official organization at 3:14 PM and I proceeded to call the others and relay the good news. A celebration was in order, and we all celebrated at our work place (Jesse and I) Baskin-Robbins. James brought the white shoe polish and Marty painted the symbol in the back windows of our cars. We were pretty happy. The celebration ended soon after Alpha (Texas Tech) found out about our establishment. Fred Pecina (Alpha president) called me and informed me days later that what we had done was illegal and that we had to stop recruitment and organization immediately. That upset us and we agreed that we were not about to let anyone tell us to give up!!
Two weeks later Oscar, Fred, Abel Mendoza and Frank Salcido from Alpha came down to have a one on one meeting about our so-called “Outlaw Chapter.” We were informed that the main founder, Joe Cereceres, was not pleased with us and was prepared to bring suit for unlawful establishment of the fraternity. After a weekend of deliberation it was finally agreed to allow us to proceed with close monitoring from Alpha and Oscar Leroy.
In the next few months we had charter class of twenty-one members and a close association with Beta Kappa Sorority (whom disbanded in Spring ’90). We had several members on the cover of the Union Programs Student Calendar the following semester and three members on the UTEP Cheerleading Squad. The future looked quite promising, but I won’t say that we didn’t have any problems in the next semesters, because we did. Though, that’s another story….