Tech Triangle Chapter Wins $100,000 Prize

Triangle Chapter Wins $100,000
Triangle Chapter Wins $100,000
Members of Michigan Tech's chapter of Triangle Fraternity pose after completing charity work for 31 Backpacks. From left, Ian Wakely, James Baker, Braden Bennett, Luke Brechting, Dyllan Walker, Daniel DeVries, and Mitchell Paris.

By virtue of capturing the top prize in a national competition, Michigan Tech's chapter of Triangle fraternity will establish its own local chapter endowment.

The Michigan Technological University chapter of Triangle Fraternity has received $100,000 as the first chapter to be awarded the Judy and Larry Garatoni Building Better Men Chapter Endowment.

Triangle is a social fraternity made up of male students majoring in engineering, architecture and the physical, mathematical, biological and computer sciences. It is the only member of the North American Interfraternity Conference to limit membership to these majors.

Ariel Tarosky, director of leadership programs for Triangle, says the Building Better Men program is comprised of five standards; scholarship, leadership, diligence, citizenship and character. Tarosky explained why the Michigan Tech chapter was chosen for this distinct honor.

“The Michigan Tech chapter submitted the strongest application highlighting this year’s achievements in the five standards.”

Tarosky says the Chapter Endowment Fund Program was originally developed by members of local chapters and aims to offer them educational and leadership support. The Judy and Larry Garatoni Building Better Men Chapter Endowment is a three-year program.

She says the $100,000 endowment will not only fund local programs and initiatives but gives potential donors the opportunity to make significant gifts to the education programs of the chapter.

Darien Benner, an electrical and computer engineering undergraduate, is president of the Michigan Tech Triangle chapter. He says the chapter is “overjoyed that we were selected as the winner. A lot of effort went into our application, and we hope to improve the chapter even more for the next application.”

Benner explains that because it is a three-year program, the chapter must enter the competition next year and the year after. Due to this year’s win, the chapter will not compete for the $100,000 top prize next year, but may still win a $25,000 endowment.

He says they found out they had won the endowment in an off-handed way.

“A group of brothers were in Houghton renovating the chapter house the weekend the winners were announced,” Benner recalls. “I got an email from (Michigan Tech’s Director of Student Leadership and Involvement) Jessie (Stapleton saying congratulations. She had emailed me a picture of the giant check with our name on it. It was pretty unbelievable. Everyone there was amazed. It was pretty hard to get back to work after hearing great news like that.”

" This award will really help our chapter grow and succeed in the future."Darien Benner

Benner says the Triangle Education Foundation offers the chapter the opportunity to start a chapter endowment fund with the prize money. The fund offers annual disbursements of five percent of the endowment as a form of interest.

These disbursements can fund a variety of things as long as they pertain to education.

“So it could buy books for the chapter or finance the purchase of a new computer for the chapter study room or pay for travel costs to a leadership conference,” Benner says.

Because of the three-year cycle of the program, Benner says the chapter will not have its $100,000 winnings in their chapter endowment fund until after the program is completed.

“So to date there are no immediate plans for the endowment. In the future we have discussed potentially setting up a scholarship program for brothers in need and subsidizing registration and travel costs for educational events. There is a lot of potential. This award will really help our chapter grow and succeed in the future,” he says.

Michigan Tech’s Triangle chapter was chartered in April of 1988. In 2006 chapter operations were suspended due to low membership. The chapter re-colonized and received a new charter in 2012. This fall the Tech chapter will have 25 members. The brothers are involved in several philanthropic activities includes the PI Mile in the fall and the Joey’s fundraiser benefiting 31 Backpacks. 

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.