What is the Torch of Zeta Psi?
In 2010, the Ritual Committee of the Zeta Psi Fraternity determined that out fraternity Ritual and historical education system was lacking.
Educational content has been limited to an explanation of fraternity “secrets” and when explained, unqualified educators have provided their groups with the best guesses of historical correlations. Gold and Silver Escutcheon examination fraud has been rampant amongst chapters. And most troubling, the interest that Zetes have for an explanation of our history and traditions is exceptionally high, signaling a misunderstanding of what our organization stands for.
Frankly, our fraternity is starving for knowledge. And it is the responsibility of the Ritual Committee of the Zeta Psi Fraternity to offer a plan that encourages both undergraduate and graduate Zetes to engage and understand the historical import and shortcomings of Greek-letter societies. We must feed our constituents desire to learn.
The Torch of Zeta Psi is our solution. We will expand the concepts touched on by ritual and historical education sessions, awarding and recognizing knowledge and excellence by deserving Zetes. We will cultivate a new structure of devoted and dedicated Zeta Psi brethren who wish to learn about more than the history of their local chapters. The Torch will provide our fraternity with a method for sharing information previously unavailable.
Why was it developed?
Originally conceived by Phi Alpha Andy Nunez and Ritual Chairman Will Woldenberg in 2010, The Torch of Zeta Psi sprung from an awareness of the interest that the majority of Zete brethren attending International Conventions and Regional Leadership Training Institutes held in Ritual. Unfortunately, most Zetes were unaware of the most basic historical connotations of fraternal ritual. The Torch was developed to provide a standard of Zeta Psi ritual knowledge and share historical information important for Greek-letter societies to share.
Why are there multiple levels?
The Torch of Zeta Psi is conceived as a set of “trials” or tests that brethren must undergo in order to show their devotion and faithfulness to the uncovering of Ritual and historical knowledge.
Who can get involved?
Any fully initiated Zeta Psi brother in good standing may begin their journey towards becoming a member of The Worthy and receiving The Torch of Zeta Psi.
Who grades the levels?
All levels are graded by members of the Ritual Committee of the Zeta Psi Fraternity.
Why should I get involved?
The most important reason is because of your own desire to learn and teach other Zete brethren. But there are additional incentives to participating, including multiple awards that will be presented at the International Fraternity Convention. Additionally, those who are invited to join the ranks of The Worthy will be asked to serve as members of the Ritual Committee of the Zeta Psi Fraternity.
How long will it take to reach the fifth level?
We anticipate that the minimum time it would take in order for a Zete to advance from the first level to the fifth would be 9 months. For most Zetes, the process will take between 24-36 months. Please keep in mind that simply “following the steps” will not ensure that a brother is invited to join The Worthy and receive The Torch of Zeta Psi.
What is The Worthy?
The Worthy is more than the final level of The Torch; these brothers have shown themselves to be dedicated and devoted members of the fraternity. Those who are invited to become Worthy will have displayed exemplary public Essays, have been leaders within their individual chapters, and are the future leaders of the Zeta Psi Fraternity. The Worthy will receive The Torch of Zeta Psi at the Grand Chapter Banquet, “The Torch” Pin, and will be invited to serve as members of the Ritual Committee.
Ok… so why is it so exclusive to become a member of The Worthy?
A candidate must first successfully pass the first four levels of The Torch. Those candidates who meet the established criteria (see “Level 5 – The Worthy” for more) will be hand-selected for invites to an in depth interview session by the Ritual Committee at the International Convention. And not all invitees will receive The Torch. Only the best will be provided the ultimate award for their efforts.
Why can’t I take the Gold Escutcheon Exam at my local chapter anymore?
In order to ensure consistency, fairness, and eliminate potential instances of plagiarism, the Gold Escutcheon examination can only be administered at the Zeta Psi International Convention, at a Regional or Local LTI, at the Zeta Psi International Headquarters in Pearl River, NY and under hardship circumstances determined by the Ritual Committee. If you have extraordinary circumstances that prevent you from taking the Gold Escutcheon exam at one of the aforementioned locations, please email us for a hardship exemption at TheTorch@ZetaPsi.org for instructions.
What happened to the Silver Escutcheon? Can I still earn it?
Those Zetes who have earned Silver Escutcheon awards will always be recognized as Silver Escutcheons by the Zeta Psi Fraternity. After August 18, 2013, the Silver Escutcheon will no longer be awarded. The standards for earning a Gold Escutcheon are the same, however the test is now a simple “pass/fail” rather than a determination of multiple escutcheons.
I’m a Silver Escutcheon recipient. Am I grandfathered into the 2nd level like the Gold Escutcheon recipient’s are?
No. Silver Escutcheon awardees will be required to take and pass the Gold Escutcheon exam in order to advance within the framework of The Torch of Zeta Psi.
I haven’t received my letters, certificates, or awards related to The Torch!
Sorry to hear! Our Ritual Committee and the Zeta Psi Staff work diligently to deliver your awards on time but please keep in mind that the majority of us are volunteers and are not paid for our efforts. Please be patient. That said, if you haven’t received a letter, certificate, or award after one month from when you earned it, please email us immediately at TheTorch@ZetaPsi.org
I lost my Gold Escutcheon. Who should I talk to?
Please reach out to the Director of Chapter Services at Zeta Psi’s International Headquarters, Boisvert@Zetapsi.org in order to get a replacement for your gold escutcheon pin. Please note that it will cost the Brother $10 to replace their pin.
Who can I ask additional questions about the Torch to?
Please send all questions to TheTorch@ZetaPsi.org. A Ritual Committee member will answer your question shortly thereafter!