As a freshman, getting into fraternity parties (if not already a member) is challenging for men, but one Sierra Madre Residence Hall found a way to beat the system during the first few weeks of school.
The men’s floor of Sierra Madre Tower 5 found its solution after a few nights of hanging out in the common room together.
Dubbing themselves as “Tau Phi,” the men started organizing their personal fraternity by printing out letters to hang on each of their doors and scheduling dance parties in the common room on weekend nights.
Wine and viticulture freshman Jeremy Retornaz said the men all chipped in to get laser lights and speakers for the events each weekend.
Retornaz said each party had a theme, including “CEOs and office respectable women,” “lifeguard bros” and “beach respectable women” and both “blackouts” and “whiteouts.”
“It was all set up for a good time,” said Retornaz. “We had doormen at each door, we had passwords, we would hide the music if the RAs (resident advisers) were coming, we had it all figured out.”
However, Tau Phi ran into some problems with loud noise levels and outsiders trying to get into their events.
“A lot of people hated us, especially guys from other towers,” Retornaz said. “A couple guys tried to start fights in the tower. I think they were just jealous and bummed out that they couldn’t get in.”
Retornaz said the RAs from Tower 5 were okay with the parties, but told them to turn down the music late at night.
“We had nothing illegal going on — I mean, it was a little loud, but we weren’t doing anything that wasn’t allowed,” he said. “We were just dancing and playing music.”
Retornaz said Tau Phi ended one night after the group’s “whiteout” party, when police came to the tower three times to tell them to shut down the party.
The tower was placed on social probation because of the event. However, Retornaz said no one affiliated with Tau Phi was written up.
Since then, Tau Phi has stopped its parties and doesn’t plan on organizing anything in the future.
Retornaz said most of Tau Phi’s members rushed Cal Poly fraternities after Tau Phi ended and that the group was more of a bonding experience for their tower than anything else.
“Everyone loved it, all the guys on our floor are super good friends because of it, and the girls were really excited about it, too,” said Retornaz.
In the future, the men plan to create a Tau Phi intramural soccer team, but that’s about it.
Sierra Madre Hall’s RAs and Coordinator of Student Development declined requests for an interview.