Winter Update 2013

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By Dan Graff

The semi-annual Sigma Tau Chi Alumni meeting was held on May 11,2013 at the house.  Seventeen alumni, along with an enthusiastic group of active members, attended the meeting.  Elections were held and the results are as follows:

President – Dan Graff   S ‘80
Vice President – Chris Marin  S’06
House Treasurer – Howard Botting  S’86
Alumni Treasurer – Dave Morgan  S’82
Recording Secretary – Joe Basso  S 86

2013 has been an exciting year for the Sigma Tau Chi Alumni Association. House improvements are ongoing and the house looks better than I have seen it in years.  We still have a ways to go, but we are determined to preserve the house of blue. 

We are now faced with one of the biggest challenges in recent times that could jeopardize the future of the fraternity and the house.   

The fraternity has been dealt a serious blow this fall by the college who banned them from pledging until the fall of 2015.  The school charges stemmed from a scavenger hunt that was deemed to be hazing.  No one was convicted of any criminal charges.  While we do not condone hazing, the school seems to consider even the most innocuous activities hazing.  A two-year ban would devastate the fraternity and threaten our survival.  The number of actives would dwindle to a handful of members, and the future of the house would be in jeopardy.  We need 15 guys living in the house to break even.  That would be virtually impossible with the ban. 

We are not going to take this sitting down!  We have consulted with local attorney, Timothy Fennell, who is very experienced with charges of this nature.  He appealed to the President of the college, but unfortunately it was denied.  The only alternative we have at this point is to litigate the matter, and sue the college.  The estimated expense to litigate is $5,000.00.  Our attorney believes that prohibiting the fraternity from recruiting SUNY Oswego students for membership, new member activities, or meetings is unconstitutional. 

Brothers, your support is more important now than ever.

2014 Membership Renewals

STCAA asks our membership for a yearly contribution.  Renewals are due in January, however I am asking for immediate donations, as we have to take swift action.  These funds go directly towards our programs and maintenance of our beloved house, and organization. We are completely a volunteer organization and none of the officers or board members is compensated financially for their efforts.
There are suggested financial levels of membership. If the financial commitment is currently a burden to you, we would rather have you give what you can afford than not register.  

Recent grads - $25.00
Alumni 5 – 10 years - $50.00
Alumni 10 + years - $100.00

Considering the seriousness and urgency of our situation I am asking everyone to dig deeper this year.  Our survival is at stake. Our goal is to raise $15,000 for the legal fund and needed repairs to the house. 

You can pay your dues electronically at this safe and secure website that deposits the funds directly into our STCAA account.
You may pay with a credit card electronically, or you may send it to:

David Morgan c/o STCAA
2415 Oakview Dr.
Rochester, NY 14617

Upcoming Events

68th Anniversary Alumni reunion weekend       
Save the date: June 5-8 2014

These dates coincide with the college reunion.  Hotels book very early, so make your reservations now.  Lodging is also available on campus.  Contact for information from the college housing & events schedule 
Details of the events to follow.  Volunteers needed.  Please contact Dan Graff -,    (716) 583-7710

Oswego Harbor fest - July 24-27 2014

The alumni and actives park cars at the house, which is a substantial fundraiser.  Volunteers are needed to clean up prior to the event, and directing traffic. 

Yours in Brotherhood,
Dan Graff 
Sigma Tau Chi Alumni Association

House Treasurers report

Howard Botting S’86

I was voted into office this past spring with the rest of the new officers. With the exception of Dan, we’re all very new to the Alumni Executive Council. I can’t speak for the rest, but I would say there is a considerable learning curve walking in “cold” to my position. While it’s true I was involved from when the Sigma tau Chi Alumni Association was first formed, I had to step back when the family needs became more pronounced. So not being “hands on involved” for a good 8-9 years, it is definitely like starting from square one.  With much assistance from Frank Molinari, I’ve taken over the position of House Treasurer. This involves working closely with the Actives living in the house plus any and every bill that comes due on the house.

Financially the house is holding steady with 15 active members living at 8 Montcalm. At one per bedroom, it may not be like the days when I called The House of Blue “my home”, still it’s a “full” house (at least one person per room) which is a very good thing these days.  We’ve a mix of brothers returning to the house and those moving in for the first time.


Due to some judicious saving and cautious spending by the prior treasurers and officers there were some major and minor improvements and repairs that either undertaken or completed at the end of summer or start of the fall semester. Probably the biggest change was the addition of bathroom facilities to the third floor. Now there are two showers, two toilets and two sinks for the brothers to use.
The summer saw Joe Basso S'86 and me spending a solid week at the house working on repairs and renovations that seemed overdue. We had assistance from alumni of several different era’s.

The insurance company asked for better stairs for third floor egress to the fire escape, so into Third Middle went a set of stairs that, due to the existing stairs, had to be pretty wide to cover everything - hence the description of “Stadium seating for the stripper pole” by some of the guys up at Harbor fest.

Toilets have been a source of headaches and water damage in the past year, so we replaced the Miami, Penthouse and ASA toilets with Champion 4 Max units by American Standard. ADA height, elongated bowls and the ability to flush a bucket of golf balls with one 1.28 gallon flush sold me on these toilets. These should be “almost” impossible to clog. Not that I’m issuing a challenge to the actives, more so, I’m hoping to have eliminated the unpleasant experience of an over-flowing toilet in those bathrooms. Before installing the new toilet in the ASA bath we had a team effort to fix the existing floor problems. Demo work was handled by Travis Anderson and Josh Putnam. I was able to refloat the floor with mortar to pitch the floor towards the floor drain. We then laid a new white Porcelain Mosaic tile floor with black grout. FRP panels were installed on the walls like wainscoting and PVC trim boards for baseboards. Hopefully you can see we made all repairs with durability and longevity in mind.

The stairs going to the third floor had suffered stress cracks form many years of brothers going up and down. Joe, with assistance from pledge brother Bill Foose S'86, was able to completely disassemble and rebuild the bottom stairs and even added new freshly made square spindles.

The kitchen received a new faucet as did the Penthouse bath sink. I personally have no idea how the faucets in the Penthouse bath lasted as long as they did. This was the one sink in the house where you had to pick “do I want to wash my hands in cold or hot water?” since the cold and hot each had their own handle and spout on opposite sides of the pedestal sink– remember it now? Those had to be from the early 1900’s! I remember thinking “these are the worst sink faucets I’d ever seen” when I lived in the house from 1986-1989. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought that but, they were still there.

Travis and Josh also did a super clean-up outside the house in preparation for harbor fest weekend, getting rid of junk plus couches and doing some overdue landscaping. The local trash station received delivery of several old couches and the defunct kitchen refrigerator.

During the start of the fall semester found us doing some minor electrical repairs in the form of switches and outlets. White Rose Queen, Brittany, took home the broken Sigma Tau Chi stained glass windows and completely remade them to their former beauty. House President Matt Schmidt assisted in the reinstallation of the windows to the landing of the third floor stairs with the added protection of Lexan over the stained glass inside and outside.

The relentless wind off Lake Ontario ripped off a good portion of the roof on the house in the spring. So we had a roofing contractor come in to remove and replace the flat part of the main roof as well as coat the Presidential porch and Loft roofs. All three areas had been leaking and, while Gators may love water, the structural part of the house really doesn’t.

Upcoming projects:
The Bronson street entry needs considerable work both outside and in. The floors inside have sunk due to the toilets leaking and weakening the floor joists. The joists need strengthening and a new vinyl covered floor for the entry hall will need to go in soon. Estimate is $3500 for the contracted work. The exterior covered entry is in very poor repair and will need to be taken down and rebuilt. No cost estimates as yet but they’ll be forth coming.

There is a drainage issue at the point where the driveway comes to meet the house causing water to flow through the old basement windows that were filled in with plywood decades ago. Plans call for the window openings to be cleaned out, rebuilt with pressure treated lumber and real basement windows added for both light and ventilation.  Several electrical panels are at the point where they need to be replaced and certainly we could add many new circuits around the house as there are so many electrical appliances that never existed in my day in the house, but are very common now.
So please get involved, whether making a donation of time or money, you’ll feel good and the fraternity will continue to prosper!
Yours in Brotherhood,

Howard Botting S'86
House Treasurer
Pay 2014 Membership Dues

Upcoming Events

June 5-8th
68th Anniversary Alumni Weekend

July 24-27 
Oswego Harborfest

Joe Basso replacing the 3rd floor stairs

Pay 2014 Membership Dues

New stairs in 3rd middle

ASA bathroom gets a new floor!

Our side porch has seen better days

Pay 2014 Membership Dues
Copyright © 2013 Sigma Tau Chi Alumni Association, All rights reserved.

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