St. Jude Children's Research Hospital & TKE
Once a year for a week in the spring, the men of the Xi Omega Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon join together to raise awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer in our annual philanthropy, TKE Week. Partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, located in Memphis, TN - we take over the town of Blacksburg, Virginia to help make a difference in the lives of children who have seemingly had their childhood ripped from their arms.
St. Jude is different from other hospitals in that not a single family pays a dime - not for food, travel, or medical expenses.
In order to cover the $2.2 million daily operating cost, it takes more than us raising a few thousand dollars. TKE Week is about bringing awareness to a cause so people can pay it forward and help the children in need.
100% of the proceeds are donated to St. Jude in order to help cure pediatric cancer. In all reality, these kids can't fight these diseases on their own. It is our job to help the patients and their families win the fight against such a terrible disease. With the love and support of the students of Virginia Tech, the citizens of Blacksburg, and the many friends and family of our brotherhood - we have been able to make a dent in the costs incurred by St. Jude and truly make a difference in the lives of thousands of children in desperate need. We thank you for your continued support of our philantropy and hope to continue our upwards trend of giving back to such a noble cause.
2013 : $8,000.00
2014 : $25,000.00
2015 : $40,000.00
2016 : $62,000.00
2017 : $152,000.00
The chapter now known as Xi-Omega TKE was originally conceived in the fall of 1969 by a close group of friends who were looking for a kind of friendship that they were unable to find in existing fraternities. This chapter’s first meeting was held under the leadership of Taylor Martin and Bobby Altizer on February 6, 1970 in the second floor lounge of Johnson Hall. The name Alpha Chi Omega was originally chosen and Bobby Altizer was elected the group’s first president.
The first attempt at national recognition by another chapter on campus was made by Pi Kappa Alpha, but the Cotillion Club received the first chapter instead. The second attempt was made to Tau Kappa Epsilon and unofficial affiliation was granted the summer of 1970. In the winter of 1972 we presented our petition for membership in the TKE international fraternity. Membership was granted by TKE on April14, 1973. Past Grand Prytanis Lenwood S. Cochran and members of the Mu-Tau chapter at James Madison University installed the TKE Xi Omega chapter.
Xi-Omega TKE established its first house at 2206 South Main Street. TKE moved to a second house in 1977 located at 110 Church Street. TKE moved to its third house 430 Turner Street in 1979.
In 1980 under the leadership of Past Prytanis Tyler Fearnow III, the chapter set out to find a permanent home they could call their own. After extensive and detailed work, the “Barn” was purchased at 2450 Ramble Road for $140,000.
Tyler Fearnow and the chapter had many dreams for the house and couldn't wait to begin to make those dreams a reality. Tragically, Tyler did not get to see these dreams fulfilled. On May 3, 1980 he drowned in the New River, but his hopes, inspiration, and dreams lived on as the “Barn” was dedicated in his honor. Ron Schwarzman established a scholarship in Tyler’s honor as well.
Under the leadership of Past-Prytanis Mark I. Anderson, the house was fixed up, and in 1981 TKE headquarters recognized us as the most improved chapter nationally. Throughout the 80’s the chapter thrived reaching a chapter size of over 100 members towards the end of the 1980’s. In 1989-90 the chapter won its first Top TKE chapter award and won the award the following year as well. In October of 2000, the orginal mortgage to the “barn” was paid off in full and the alumni hosted a burning of the dead celebration honoring the 20th Anniversary of the Barn.
In the spring of 2003, after over 3 years of planning and preparation by the fraternity the TKE Barn underwent a $500,000 reconstruction project. Blacksburg Alumni of TKE Inc., under the leadership of Phil Edwards, Josh Lawrence, and Christian Dellett, Tim Murray handled financing and planning. In the fall of 2004, Xi-Omega TKE returned to the improved “Barn”. Today, the barn is a symbol of the hard work and dedication that every Xi-Omega TKE has given to making its growth possible.
After the barn was rebuilt the chapter began to rebuild itself up to the levels of success it experienced in the late 80’s. In spring of 2009 under the leadership of Prytanis Thomas E. Kuhn TKE Headquarters once again recognized the chapter as the Most Improved Chapter Nationally. The chapter was also recognized as the Most Improved Chapter at Virginia Tech.
In late 2009 disaster struck, the chapter loss recognition at Virginia Tech for a period of two years. After losing official campus recognition 23 dedicated current brothers, along with a newly established alumni board lead by Bobby Altizer, Tony Lovelace, Monty Fearnow, Timothy Murray, Tammy Bagnato, Scott Steiger, and Shawn O’ Dowd, preserved and upheld the bond of Tau Kappa Epsilon spending the time upgrading the barn, and laying the foundation for a strong return to Virginia Tech’s campus.
On February 1, 2012 the chapter was reinstated on the Virginia Tech campus. That spring under the leadership of Prytanis Marc Mazzie we recruited 30 men, the largest pledge class in chapter history. In the fall of 2012 under Prytanis Matt Rodriguez the chapter won Alpha Chi Omega Mock Rock Philanthropy, its first philanthropic victory in 22 years.
2013 brought about the youth movement as the chapter elected its youngest Prytanis ever, Shaun Taylor. Under Shaun’s leadership the chapter hosted a 40th anniversary celebration as well as a memorial service for Tyler Fearnow III. Over the summer the chapter won its 3rd overall Top TKE award ands its first in 23 years. In the fall the chapter was recognized by Virginia Tech as the 2013 People’s Choice Fraternal Award Recipient. In the fall of 2013, Shaun Taylor became the first brother in our chapter’s 40-year history to be elected to the TKE Grand Council.
2016 was the year of records. During our annual week long philanthropy, we superseded our own expectations and went on to raise $150,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, setting national and campus fundraising records for a single Greek organization, By doing so, we earned our 5th straight Top TKE Award - recognizing the top chapters across the globe. Additionally, Chris Catizone received the Top TKE award - the highest individual award an undergraduate can receive within the fraternity.
Through the first forty years this chapter has changed but has always been guided by our values of love, charity, and esteem. What started out as a few men looking for friendship has turned into a wonderful extended family for the rest of our lives.
Our house, referred to as "The Barn", was built in 1980 and was renovated as recently as 2013. The Barn is home to 12 of our brothers and offers a unique experience for our brotherhood to bond and live out the ideals of Tau Kappa Epsilon in a cohesive environment. Located further off campus, our house provides a unique sense of privacy and seclusion from the rest of the campus. Amenities include a sprawling backyard, a basketball court, and a sand volleyball court.
Home to part of the brotherhood, our unique dorm-style rooms are located on the second floor of the house. Each room has a lofted bed and a shared bathroom.
Home for several events, the party room has an open floor plan, a wrap around bar, and an additional side bar. The party room is also equipped with black lights and laser light systems.
Located a little over a mile off campus, our house has a spacious backyard with a regulation sized sand volleyball court, bonfire pit, and basketball court.
Questions or comments regarding our organization or website? Use the contact form to get in touch with our Executive Board. Please allow 48 hours for a response.