Q: What fraternity are you a member of?
Nick Prybella: Delta Rho Sigma. That’s Triangle, P, then an E shape.
Q: How did you become president of your fraternity?
Prybella: When elections came up in November people started approaching me saying, “Hey you should run for President, I bet you’d be good. I’d know I ’d vote for you.” When it came to November there were three people running, and I guess I won at the house meeting.
Q: So there was no electoral college or anything?
Prybella: No. It’s just a house vote. So majority wins.
Q: What does being President involve? What are your duties?
Prybella: On paper, the duties are that you must handle all external affairs. You oversee everything. You have to play the politics of everything; managing the houses relations with other frats and sororities. Also you have to manage everything internally, making sure everything runs smoothly. If our pledges did something stupid and they got caught for it, I was the one who people e-mailed or who the cops would come to see. You have to explain the actions of other members of the fraternity and apologize to the school and other fraternities. I might have to make up for it with apology letters or clean-ups. Also, internally I have vice presidents under me. There is a whole structure set up, and I have to make sure everyone under me does his job. They, in turn, make sure people under them do their jobs.
Q: What area have you found most difficult about being the President?
Prybella: I’d have to say putting the rules in front of your friends. Everyone wants you to bend the rules for him. As president you can’t be everyone’s friend. You have to do what the right thing is to do. And that doesn’t necessarily make everyone happy. The biggest thing is trying to explain yourself to everyone so they know where you’re coming from.
Q: Is it true that you were once kidnapped by some of your own fraternity brothers?
Prybella: Yes. What we do is we tell the pledges that an activity they can do to teach them togetherness is that they can kidnap a brother. The pledges came to the house and said there was a fight, and I went to go check it out and stop it. They dragged us in and duct-taped us to a chair. We were pretty much there for a couple of hours. The other brothers are supposed to come rescue us and break us out. It was a real ordeal. The dorm room got trashed, but we got our way out of it.
Q: So you weren’t angry afterward and you didn’t fire anyone?
Prybella: There was no firing that took place. The only angry thing was that I had to write a paper for the next day, and I didn’t get to do it. And they didn’t really duct tape us in any awkward or sexual positions so I wasn’t that upset.
Q: What can you do to punish those who do break rules and have no regard for the sanctity of the fraternity?
Prybella: We have a judicial board and we handle all punishments internally. Sometimes if people get out of control we write them up or bring them up for judiciary committee. Their peers hand out the punishment. So they might have to do a certain number of hours of cleaning the house. It is kind of seen as a lack of respect so we take it pretty seriously.
Q: I remember you once told me that if you rang the house’s fire bell three times people were on high alert. Is it sort of like the military’s Def Con system?
Prybella: Very similar. Not exactly though. This old fire bell — you can hear it all throughout campus, and if you hear it three times you are supposed to drop everything and come running. Usually it signifies a fight will ensue. One time this drunk guy at a party started feeling up one of the brother’s girlfriends so we closed down the party and she pointed out who the guy was as everyone was leaving. We brought him into this hallway and the house bell was rung three times. I heard the bell three times and came down in my underwear because that’s what you’re supposed to do, just come from anywhere. The kid was in the corner, drunk. The girl’s boyfriend tells the guy if he says he’s sorry he’ll let him go. People are begging him to just say he’s sorry so they can let him go. So finally the kid apologizes, and then the brother tells him, “You think just because you say you’re sorry, we’re going to let you go?” And the guys started knocking him around a bit. I was risk manager of the house at the time, so I had to break it up, because it wasn’t very safe. But when you hear the bell you know there is trouble and you have to come running.
Q: How do you balance schoolwork with Greek life?
Prybella: It was pretty tough when I was President. Time management. I kind of enjoyed Greek life more so; school work was sacrificed at times.
Q: Do you have any regrets about the way you led as President?
Prybella: No regrets. I think I led pretty well. There were problems and we handled them. And I think everyone was pretty happy. And if they weren’t, screw them.
Q: How do you feel now that your term has ended?
Prybella: Very good. Presidency took all of my time. I couldn’t come home. I couldn’t drink at the parties. Now I can relax, and I am pretty much causing the most trouble for the current President.
Q: Right. Are you secretly wishing the new President trips and falls or pronounces words incorrectly so that you can solidify in your mind that you ruled better than he did?
Prybella: Definitely. Most definitely. I’m always wishing he would screw up at house meetings. I’m secretly giving him the evil eye. And internally I’m doing things to damage the house so it looks bad on him and in turn, people will realize how great I really was.
Q: And what is your role now in the fraternity?
Prybella: Now I have a minor role. People come up to me and ask me advice. I try to stay out of it mostly. I’m trying not to get too involved with Presidential problems. They are so difficult I don’t want to get dragged into it. I figure I put up with so much crap as President I want to try and stay out of it. But if someone asks me I try and impart whatever knowledge I’ve gained to the best of my ability.
Q: Years from now what will you say when you look back on your experience as President of your fraternity?
Prybella: I’ll say that being President definitely taught me the most. I think it has improved my abilities to deal with a lot of people. I learned different leadership qualities, such as how to juggle people and also how to make them happy. It has made me a better politician, learning the art of bullshitting with people when you had to cover your own ass.