‘Awesome Dude Fraternity/Sorority’ draws media attention, aims for diverse members

By Katie Hiatt

OXFORD, Miss. — At first glance the Awesome Dude Fraternity/Sorority of the University of Mississippi’s Alpha Delta appears to be a group of aberrational misfits, but under the surface lies a group of diverse, intellectual and wildly fun people. Big, small, short, tall, black, white, purple – to this group neither looks nor background make a difference; they only add to the uniqueness of the overall organization.

Over the course of this school year, AD has developed from a joke among friends to a nationally newsworthy organization. In December, the Los Angeles Times published an article titled “A Frat for Misfits,” describing AD as “a motley gang of international students and domestic square pegs who, in America’s season of ‘Borat,’ has cheekily christened themselves the Awesome Dudes of Alpha Delta.”

The article then sparked interest with Asylum Entertainment who thought AD would make for an interesting movie. After AD chairman Ruan Boshoff met with university officials, the group decided to turn down the movie offer in order to keep Ole Miss’ name safe as well as to continue good public relations. They decided, however, that a documentary would be acceptable.

During the second week of April, Asylum Entertainment will film the organization in what AD members are calling “documentary week.” AD is working to create a week that will balance both social and philanthropic events.

While most members seem to be excited about the media attention, sophomore Chris Bryan said he is concerned that the organization will be portrayed as a group of “Fratty Borats.”

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During Thursday’s AD meeting, the group’s guest speaker was Associate Vice Chancellor for university relations Jeffrey Alford. He offered several tips on how to best handle the media attention, which he attributes to the group’s quirkiness.

When first created, AD was nothing more than a group of friends that had a Facebook group, matching T-shirts and the desire to start their own Greek organization. By September, the group gained legitimacy through the university and began establishing bylaws and a constitution.

AD differs from the 32 Panhellenic-sanctioned fraternities and sororities that reside on the Ole Miss campus in that it has no dues or membership fees, and AD deems every member a president because each person has an equal say within the group. To join, the fraternity/sorority students don’t rush and instead submit a membership application.

The organization also accepts both males and females and encourages the membership of international students as well as Americans. According to the AD Web site, “We all party the same regardless of color or creed.”

AD’s goal is be a place where all students can go and feel welcomed.

“You come from a foreign country and you don’t have your family, stable friends and normal surroundings. AD helps you meet people that are going through the same thing and can support you on a daily basis,” said South African international student Tarynne Swarts.

Swarts admits that her decision to come to Ole Miss was unique, but that Awesome Dudes has made her experience in the United States one she will remember fondly.