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The official page of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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Zeta Beta Tau was founded on December 29, 1898 at the City College of New York by Richard J. H. Gottheil, a professor of languages at Columbia University and a leader in the early American Zionist movement. It was originally intended to serve as a fraternal body for Jewish students who had been excluded from joining existing fraternities due to their beliefs. Not yet a fraternity itself, the society was called Z.B.T., which referred to the first letters in the Hebrew phrase "Zion Be-mishpat Tipadeh", which translated means "Zion shall be redeemed with judgment". By 1903, the continuing need for a Greek-letter fraternity open to Jewish students prompted Z.B.T. to change its raison d'etre, structure and emphasis and to become Zeta Beta Tau.
The fraternity expanded rapidly over the next 6 years, reaching a total of 13 chapters throughout the Northeast as well as a 14th chapter in New Orleans. By 1918, Zeta Beta Tau had chapters on the west coast as well as a chapter in Montreal. In 1954, delegates of ZBT met at the National Convention to amend Zeta Beta Tau's Constitution and practices in order to eliminate sectarianism as a qualification for membership, opening up the fraternity to men of all religions. The history of mergers in the Zeta Beta Tau Brotherhood followed a pattern of linking common traditions. In 1959, Phi Alpha merged into Phi Sigma Delta, and in 1961 Kappa Nu merged into Phi Epsilon Pi. Through 1969-1970, Phi Sigma Delta and Phi Epsilon Pi merged into Zeta Beta Tau, growing the fraternity like never before.
We, the brothers of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, believe that the development of the individual as a responsible, mature member of society is the primary goal of the university today. We believe that fraternity offers to the university community a unique, desirable and successful means of achieving this goal. In fulfilling the purposes of fraternity, we dedicate ourselves to the principles of:
INTELLECTUAL AWARENESS Fraternity creates an atmosphere conducive to the expansion of the individual's intellectual horizons, the interchange of ideas within the academic community and the pursuit of scholastic excellence.
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Fraternity requires the individual to commit himself and accept his responsibility to participate.
INTEGRITY Fraternity generates a standard of personal integrity – a framework for the individual to maintain honesty, exhibit loyalty and retain a sense of self-discipline.
BROTHERLY LOVE Fraternity inspires and expresses the interrelation of the individual with his fellows, his pride in the institution and respect for the wisdom of its tradition.
During the 1980's, every Greek-letter group continued their efforts to stop hazing. Despite ZBT's best efforts, hazing continued and increased in frequency and severity. ZBT concluded that all efforts to reform the institution of pledging had failed; pledging was the problem. This was because pledges were considered second-class citizens, with no rights and no chance to refuse even the most outrageous demands of a Brother, unless he quit the Fraternity. In 1989, in a last-ditch effort to eliminate hazing, ZBT eliminated pledging and all second-class status from the Fraternity.
Service and philanthropy activities are important to the overall development of each of us as members of our communities. Not only does helping our communities benefit those in need, but it also contributes to our personal growth. ZBT is committed to giving back to the surrounding community, and making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. Theta Alpha chapter takes pride in its involvement with charitable events and organizations within and around the university such as the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry, Get On The Ball, and many more.
Zeta Beta Tau's Theta Alpha chapter was founded on September 25, 2011 by a group of strong-willed University of Massachusetts Amherst students. Brothers of Theta Alpha chapter study a wide range of fields from business to engineering, to psychology. We pride ourselves on retaining one of the highest average GPAs for any UMass fraternity, as well as on our consistently superiority in intramural athletics.
Theta Alpha Chapter provides a variety of opportunities for brothers to take on leadership roles within the fraternity and enact real change. Whether serving on our Executive Board or as one of our many other Chapter Officers, our brothers acquire the leadership skills necessary to excel in any and every other aspect of life. Theta Alpha alumni have gone on to work on Wall Street, in Big Four Accounting firms, and in many other prestigious firms and industries.
ZBT is always seeking men of good character to initiate as brothers. Recruitment occurs at the start of each semester, when those interested in exploring the opportunities that ZBT offers can attend a wide variety of events in order to familiarize themselves with the fraternity, the chapter, and its members.