It’s been quite a year for the Zete house. After a very successful capital campaign that garnered more than $1.8 million in alumni support and a summer of frenzied restoration and reconstruction at 169 Rugby, the Advisory Council invited all fossils back to Charlottesville the weekend of October 29-30 for football and fraternization.
As the weekend date and registration deadline drew near, the reservations started rolling in. Much like the capital campaign, a slow start gave way to a momentous finish. More than 100 fossils made the trip back to Charlottesville, bringing with them, wives, dates, and children.
FRIDAY: Career Day and Decades Dinners
The weekend officially kicked off with a Career Day at the house. Organized by Bobby Schwartz (85), fossils from a variety of professions met with the actives to network and dispense the type of wisdom that comes only with experience. The Advisory Council views this type of outreach as vital to spanning the years and building the bond with the undergraduates. Zete has a fantastic national professional network–in almost every field– and being able to offer the actives immediate access to it through these Career Days works to everyone’s advantage.
On Friday night the various decades assembled at restaurants and venues around the Hook to hoist a few, eat some dinner, tell the stories, and talk about how great we once were. The classes of the 80s convened at Vivace, enjoying each other’s company immensely. Classes from the 70s and the first decade of the 2000s combined to enjoy the hospitality of UVA’s Colonnade Club and the 90s posted up in the private dining room at The Local. If there’s one aspect of college life that has changed greatly since most of us graduated, it would be police tolerance for college behavior and weaving all over the road. Thankfully, no one ended up as a guest of the city.
SATURDAY: House Tour Tailgates, Football, and the Main Event
On Saturday morning there was a pre-game tailgate at the House. Fossils toured the house, making note of the fact that only Phase 1 of the process has been completed. Phase 1 consisted of the installation of a new copper roof, renovations to the living quarters (complete with central air conditioning and wired internet access , complete rehab of the bathrooms, and all of the behind-the-walls work. The main floor work , with the exception of the Goat Room which was done this past summer , will take place at the conclusion of this school year. As a result, the renovation may not appear all that eye-catching yet since most of the work done thus far is out of sight, but come next fall we expect 169 to be the best physical structure among all of the fraternities. Concomitant to the renovation, the Advisory Board, after numerous talks with similar entities at other houses, has put in place for the actives a new fee structure that ensures adequate funding for maintenance. I think it safe to say that relations between the house and the alumni have never been better or tighter.
The football Cavaliers treated the fossils to perhaps its best effort of the season, taking the highly-ranked Louisville Cardinals, led by Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson, to the wire before losing on a last-minute touchdown. In what was a frustrating first-season under Bronco Mendenhall, the alumni were at least treated to fantastic fall weather and a lively tailgate social scene, things that thankfully have not changed with the passage of time.
Saturday night’s main event at the Boars Head was an absolute home run. Almost 300 guests were treated to a lovely seated dinner, a dance train, and the musical stylings of Virginia’s Beach’s own Right On Band. The musical highlight was provided by Will Thompson (99), who took the stage and just killed with Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It.” If you weren’t there to witness it, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that he BUSTED. IT. OUT. Classic Zete behavior. Dominating the party.
When the band stopped we brought down the curtain on Zete Anniversary 148. If you were there, you are no doubt glad you made it. This was the biggest and most successful Zete reunion ever staged and thanks to good planning we were able to turn a small profit for the house.
In addition to the major renovations on the house the Advisory Board has been working with the Active to enhance the House’s leadership profile. To that end the Advisory Board reached out to the One Love Foundation hoping to help the Foundation establish a UVA presence through Zete.
The One Love Foundation was established in honor of UVA lacrosse player and Baltimore resident Yeardley Love. Love, a Baltimore resident, UVA lacrosse player, and member of Kappa Alpha Theta, was killed tragically in 2010 by her then boyfriend during an altercation at her apartment in Charlottesville. Fossil Herb May (87) is a member of the One Love board and strongly favored the idea of Zete being the first fraternity at UVA to embrace the One Love ideal. Having reached an agreement with the Foundation, the brothers recently completed the One Love training session and have committed to further sessions with new pledges in the spring. The brothers also are exploring the possibility of a fundraising event that will benefit the One Love Foundation and its mission. The first training session, “Escalation,” was held at the house with a team member from One Love as the facilitator. Based on the comments from the One Love representative and the actives it was a success. Additional information about the One Love Foundation can be found here: www.joinonelove.org
As we approach year end, the Advisory Council would like to thank everyone who has supported the House–in whatever form–over the years. To those of you who made pledges to the campaign but have not made completed this year’s installment, please do so. Some renovation work will take place over Christmas break before full-scale work begins next summer. Those of you who made three-year pledges are encouraged to remit those funds at your earliest convenience. Go Hoos!