AGGERS fraternity offers professional, social environment with agricultural interest

Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, also known as “Aggers,” is a professional and social fraternity established at the University since 1906. As both a professional and social fraternity, the opportunities that Alpha Gamma Rho offers have an agricultural spin different from other fraternities around campus. 

“I knew about AGR, but I wanted to check out some other houses first,” said Jared Kempel, former president of Alpha Gamma Rho and senior in Business. “But I knew once I met some of the guys, this was the right house for me … I found out about it as a referral from a guy from home.”

Kempel also said that a large majority of Alpha Gamma Rho’s members learn about the house and start their recruitment process at home. This usually takes place when potential new members are high school seniors. Often current members and alumni from the fraternity are from rural areas in Illinois, and they personally reach out to high school students from their hometowns and neighboring areas. Students are recruited based on having similar rural community backgrounds and having potential interests in agriculture-related fields. 

Alex Tebbe, sophomore in ACES, said a unique quality of Alpha Gamma Rho is that freshman can live in the house right when they come to campus at the beginning of the school year. The Alpha Gamma Rho house is considered certified University housing, which gives freshman the opportunity to move in right away. 

Blake Croegaert, junior in ACES, said Alpha Gamma Rho fosters both social and professional development. Like all social fraternities, they have a social calendar consisting of exchanges and block for football games. But they also have a professional education requirement to facilitate the professional aspect of the fraternity. The fraternity also upholds a strong alumni network that provides professional development advice and resources to its members. This includes practice job interviews and resume critiques. 

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    Croegaert also said that many members of the fraternity come from similar backgrounds in farming and agriculture; however, that it not a requirement to join the fraternity. 

    “It’s a very rural, back, small-town feel fraternity,” Croegaert said. “We don’t have any requirements of growing up on a farm or majoring in agriculture. We do usually recruit from those areas, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily have to do that. I’d say 90 percent of the guys are from small towns, but we do have a couple guys from the Chicagoland area.”

    Croegaert also said this notion may be one of the biggest misconceptions or something many don’t know about Alpha Gamma Rho. 

    In addition to fostering a social and professional environment, Alpha Gamma Rho also hosts and participates in a variety of campus-wide philanthropy efforts. 

    In the fall, they do a Foxy Lady Contest, which is similar to a pageant. Historically, the proceeds have been for breast cancer research, but this past year they went to a fraternity brother’s family member who was diagnosed with autism. In the spring, Alpha Gamma Rho partners up with Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and holds a sand volleyball tournament to raise money for diabetes research. 

    Overall, Alpha Gamma Rho provides a different experience than one may have in either a solely social or solely professional fraternity. The house doesn’t only provide opportunities to socialize, but also to develop professionally in agricultural-related fields, a unique combination in the Greek community.

    “We have a strong social calendar and are involved in the social side of the Greek community,” Kempel said. “But I think we’re also recognized for our (agricultural) professional development … that definitely makes us different.”

    Samantha can be reached [email protected].