What even is the vet frat?
There are lots of things that Guelphites know about those of us at The Ontario Veterinary College (OVC): the historic main building we occupy on the northwest corner of campus; the black jackets we wear, each class year’s colourful mascot emblazoned on the front; the barn of teaching cows we work with, tucked behind the Animal Science building. There is one topic, however, that very few people seem to know about, and that is the veterinary fraternity.
The Omega Tau Sigma fraternity is an international, professional veterinary fraternity that was founded over a century ago. The University of Guelph division is known as the Delta chapter and has been around almost as long – since the 1913–1914 school year.
Though it remains a fraternity in name, OTS is a co-ed group of brothers and sisters. Given the demographics of the profession and modern societal dynamics, it only makes sense for the fraternity to welcome future veterinarians of all identities. Women have been both members of the frat and residents of the Delta house since 1983.
Yes, we have a house!
Located virtually across from the OVC, the Delta house can fit up to 32 students and is a convenient option for time- and transit-constrained vet students. Living with fellow future vets allows students in all years to engage with their future colleagues, receive helpful advice, and simply reside in an environment where everyone can relate to the pressures you’re under. While not a resident myself, I’ve seen many friendships strengthen among those sharing the Delta walls and halls.
“But what does the frat do?” Despite the common media portrayal of fraternities as alcohol-forcing, brutally-hazing party homes, OTS provides an environment that is academically, socially, and emotionally supportive. Any OVC student is welcome in the frat (no drinking necessary), provided they fulfill the requirements placed upon us all. Every Delta is expected to complete shifts related to maintaining the house, assisting with frat events, and contributing to the greater community. Annual dues cover costs such as house maintenance, food and drinks, and event expenses.
OTS events include, but certainly are not limited to, bi-weekly meetings, a Christmas dinner, an annual formal, networking nights, and numerous charity events. In past years, Deltas have held food and clothing drives, regular blood donor clinics, park cleanups, charity haunted houses, and retirement residence visits. Their signature event, the OTS Dog Jog, occurs every March in the University’s arboretum and has collectively raised over $60,000 for the OVC Pet Trust since its inception in 2011.
As a Delta, I am proud of our fraternity and the contributions each member makes to each other and to the greater community. Being a part of something “bigger” has allowed me to expand my social circle, seek advice, and maintain my sanity. The soul of true Greek life lies not in the parties to be had, but the experiences (and friendships) gained. I’m grateful for my time as a Delta so far, and recommend the fraternity to any future vet student seeking social and professional enrichment.