Omega Mu Voices
David B. Rushton,
I attended the University of Maine to earn a degree in chemical engineering. By wonderful coincidence, my roommate was Steve Swan, whom I was friends with at Brewer High School. My freshman year was spent adjusting to all the new freedoms that university life provided, but during my sophomore year Steve and I started to rush the fraternity system, and we quickly found out that the Castle was where we wanted to be.
Dave Rushton and Steve Swan
Brewer High Schools Witches
I already knew Buddy Cote and Ken Bartlett, and then we met other brothers that we knew. It became clear that Fiji would be a good fit for us. There was a great fraternal spirit about Fiji, and we pledged in the fall of our sophomore year. Naturally, we went through a wide variety of experiences in the pledging process, and we were better for that experience.
Buddy Cote and Ken Bartlett
But, more broadly, the brotherhood had been making slow, steady and positive strides prior to our pledging. Omega Mu was showing improvement in all areas of fraternal life: leadership, house improvements, scholarship and campus involvement. Integrity and respectability, in a broad sense, defined the Omega Mu brotherhood in the late seventies and early eighties. In addition, intramural involvement and charitable activities were front and center with Fiji. Simply stated, our fraternal spirit was flourishing, and it was wonderful being part of it because it was joyous, fun, and constructive. And, most importantly, there was a strong unified sense of fraternal well-being that was authentic.
JT, our fraternal brother
The Fiji 24 Hour Rely Marathon was the marquee social service event that the Fiji brotherhood hosted, each spring, in the Memorial Gym. Teams would get pledges for running a 24 hour relay run, and all the money would be donated to the Jimmy Fund to aid in cancer research. It was always successful; however, I was not exactly running material, having blown out a knee skiing a few years earlier, but I was a fundraiser, and I helped with the marathon. Still, I am not sure not how the teams managed to run the relay for 24 hours, but it was always a huge success. If memory serves, Steve Perry and Matt Smyth were confident leaders, generous with their time and energy, who did an outstanding job in organizing it, and I believe we raised about $10,000, thereabouts. It was a charitable event that we still talk about with pride.
Steve Perry and Matt Smith
Steve Perry and Buck Banks
There were plenty of bread-and-butter, down-to-earth activities in the brotherhood, and intramural activity was central through the entire academic year. Fiji was fierce and competitive in most of the sporting events. I participated in swimming and the fraternity hockey tournament. Although I do not recall any specifics with the swim meets, I did swim well, and I believe Dennis Mulherin swam in our meets.
When I say I played a “little” hockey, that is likely an overstatement. I had equipment, could skate reasonably well, and handle the puck if need be. The house that we played that night is a bit fuzzy, as was most of the evening. With the game fully underway, I was getting back in the “groove” of playing hockey. I remember picking up the puck deep in our end and skating behind the net to begin starting up ice. Looking down at the puck, beginning to feel a bit like Bobby Orr, I made the turn around the net. In a flash, I looked up and was promptly crosschecked backwards on the ice by some massive “linebacker” size guy. I had forgotten one of the cardinal rules of hockey…..”Skate with your head up.” After attempting to clear the cobwebs from my head, and uttering a few well-chosen comments to the gentleman that had just clobbered me, I was treated to an ambulance ride to Eastern Maine Medical Center. Diagnosis: concussion. I showed up at the house the next day with a bit of a splitting headache, and it made for a rough week.
There was always something going on at the house. Be it a mid-week gathering in the basement with a 100 of our closest friends, Mud Bowl, Fiji Island, or unplanned weekend trips to Boston or Newport, Rhode Island, it was always a blast. It is enjoyable for everyone to have the chance to reminisce about them at Pig Dinner. Our fraternal life is not short-lived. Emphatically, it was a great decision to become an Omega Mu Fiji brother.
"To be part of all this is to be infinitely rich."
“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us hand in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Chip Chapman, ’82