Torch of Zeta Psi

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.

The Steps

Level 1 - The Attendee

The first level of The Torch of Zeta Psi is simple; a fully initiated brother in the Zeta Psi Fraternity must attend one in-person ritual course taught by a member of Zeta Psi’s Ritual Committee, or an appointed representative of the committee.

Again, in order to attempt this first level, you must be an initiated brother in the Zeta Psi Fraternity!

Attendance will be recorded at the meeting and will be verified by the Ritual Committee or Zete IHQ.

In order to advance in The Torch, you must complete this first level.

After completing this level, you’ll receive a certified letter via e-mail from the Chair of the Ritual Committee, which verifies you as an Attendee within The Torch of Zeta Psi! You will also be invited to attempt Level 2, The Gold Escutcheon Examination.

Did you attend a Ritual session more than 3 months ago and haven’t received an e-mail from the Ritual Committee yet? Contact us.

Requirements

  • Be a fully initiated brother in the Zeta Psi Fraternity
  • Attend an in-person ritual and historical course taught by a member of Zeta Psi’s Ritual Committee, or an appointed representative of the committee
  • Only sanctioned Ritual Educators (Level 3) can teach the ritual and historical course

Level 2 - The Gold Escutcheon

In order to be awarded The Gold Escutcheon of Zeta Psi, candidates must take and pass an examination based on the history and traditions of the Zeta Psi Fraternity.

Candidates must…

  • Be a fully initiated brother in the Zeta Psi Fraternity
  • Have proof of Level One (Attendance) achievement
  • Take the examination either at:
    • A Zeta Psi Fraternity International Convention
    • A Zeta Psi sanctioned Leadership Training Institute (LTI) event
    • The Zeta Psi International Headquarters in Pearl River, NY

If you held a Gold Escutcheon prior to August 2013, you’re automatically grandfathered into Level 2, as long as you attend a Ritual Education Session.

Those that do not attend the Ritual Education Session are not allowed to advance within The Torch.

Upon passing The Gold Escutcheon Examination, the candidate will receive a certified letter via e-mail from the Chair of the Ritual Committee. This e-mail will verify you as a recipient of The Gold Escutcheon of Zeta Psi within The Torch of Zeta Psi! You’ll receive your escutcheon in the mail from IHQ and will be invited to attempt Level 3, The Educators.

Did you pass the Gold Escutcheon Examination more than 6 months ago but haven’t received your award yet? Contact Us.

Notes:

  • Exceptions to this policy are reviewed in a case by-case-basis and should be requested.
  • Candidates must pass with a score of 95% or greater

Level 3 – The Educators

The third level of The Torch of Zeta Psi, The Educators, is designed to create a network of Zeta Psi brethren that can instruct their chapters on the ritual and history of the Zeta Psi Fraternity.

In order to become an Educator, the candidate must…

Accepted Educators will receive a certified letter via e-mail from the Chair of the Ritual Committee, which verifies you as an Educator within The Torch of Zeta Psi and the Educator Certificate, presented at the annual Zeta Psi Convention LTI Luncheon! You will also be invited to submit an Essay, which is Level 4 in The Torch of Zeta Psi.

Send your Application

Educator candidates will be evaluated by the Ritual Committee based off of…

  • Their involvement with their local chapter
  • Their interest in the history and ritual of Zeta Psi and Fraternal organizations in general
  • Their educational interests and achievements
  • Additional intangibles as determined by the Committee

Level 4 – The Essayist

Prior to Level Four, all of the information asked of Zeta Psi brothers has been automatic; memorization of facts, understanding of historical dates, and a conceptual understanding of the significance of men’s and women’s fraternal organizations.

The Essay is your opportunity to creatively research a topic of interest for the Zeta Psi Fraternity.

All essay’s will be published on the Zeta Psi Fraternity website therefore please ensure that all of the content of your paper is fit for public consumption.

Candidates are encouraged to be as specific as possible in their paper. For example, it is preferred that you write a paper regarding the Upsilon Chapter during Reconstruction rather than a history of the Upsilon Chapter.

Upon request, candidates will be provided with a Zete Mentor; this mentor will assist the candidate in Essay development.

Essays that are endorsed by the Ritual Committee will be published on the Zeta Psi Fraternity website. Essayists will receive the Ritual Scholar Award at the Phi Alpha’s Luncheon at the annual Zeta Psi Fraternity International Convention. Some Essayists will be invited to be examined by the Ritual Committee to determine if they are fit to join the ranks of The Worthy.

Requirements

  • Candidates must be fully initiated brothers in the Zeta Psi Fraternity
  • Candidates must have attained the first three Levels of The Torch of Zeta Psi. You must submit your proof of these three levels with your Essay or your Essay will not be considered by the Committee
  • Candidate must submit their topic to the Ritual Committee for approval prior to writing their Essay (Submit your topic here)

Candidates must meet the Essay Submission Criteria listed below:

  • Essay is between 8-16 pages, double-spaced (more specific details about the format of the paper and grading criterion are listed here at  Torch Essay Rubric)
  • Essay will be on one of the following 7 topics:
    1. The History of Fraternities and Sororities
    2. History within Zeta Psi Fraternity
    3. History of Local Chapters
    4. Relationship of chapters with the University/Government/Society at Large
    5. A Zete Brother of renown
    6. The History of Fraternal Ritual (note that this topic is not about current ritual concepts but how ancient organizations influenced the actions of fraternities)
    7. Subject to approval by the Ritual Committee, candidates are allowed to submit a topic that does not fall into the six topics listed above

Level 5 – The Worthy

Those who are deemed Worthy by the Ritual Committee of the Zeta Psi Fraternity have shown excellence in the knowledge of the history and ritual of the fraternity. They are leaders in their undergraduate and/or elder chapters, pillars of their local communities, and educational achievers. They are the current and future leaders of the Ritual Committee and are hand-selected by the Committee to serve Zeta Psi in the future.

Candidates will undergo an intense interview process and oral examination in front of the Ritual Committee at the annual Zeta Psi Fraternity International Convention. A sample list of questions that could be asked to candidates will be available in 2014.

Candidates have five years from the time in which they are invited to appear in front of the Ritual Committee before the invite expires (For example, a candidate invited in 2014 has until 2019 to be interviewed).

Those whom are invited into to join the ranks of The Worthy will receive The Torch of Zeta Psi at the Grand Chapter Banquet during the annual Zeta Psi Fraternity International Convention, The Torch of Zeta Psi pin, and will be invited to serve as an At-Large member of the Ritual Committee.

The Worthy

Headshot of Will Woldenberg.

#1 – Will Woldenberg

Beta Tau, 2007
Inducted on August 23, 2014

View Essay

Headshot of Barth Gillan

#2 – Barth H. Gillan

Alpha Psi, 1985
Inducted on August 23, 2014

View Essay

Headshot of Jared Sunshine.

#3 – Jared Sunshine

Alpha, 2004
Inducted on August 23, 2014

View Essay

Headshot of Chris Arnold

#4 – Christopher Arnold

Theta Eta, 2011 & 2013
Inducted on August 13, 2015

View Essay

Headshot of Obasi Onuoha.

#5 – Obasi Onuoha

Rho Alpha, 2017
Inducted on August 14, 2015

View Essay

Headshot of Jeff Ball.

#6 – Jeffrey Ball

Theta Xi, 1979
Inducted on August 14, 2015

View Essay

Headshot of Alan Van Den Arend.

#7 – Alan van den Arend

Psi, 2010
Inducted on August 14, 2015

View Essay

Headshot of Geoff McElroy.

#8 – Geoffrey McElroy

Pi Tau, 2001
Inducted on August 14, 2015

View Essay

Headshot of Ben Bissantz

#9 – Ben Bissantz

Psi, 2011
Inducted on August 14, 2015

Headshot of Johnny Surufka.

#10 – John C Surufka

Alpha Epsilon, 2013
Inducted on August 14, 2015

Headshot of Troy Zenevich.

#11 – Troy Zenovich

Nu, 1990
Inducted on August 14, 2015

View Presentation

Headshot of Tom Roerden.

#12 – Tom Roerden

Psi, 1983
Inducted on August 19, 2017

View Essay