TKE raises stakes with Casino Night


Several students arrive to play casino based games with members of Tau Kappa Epsilon at their first Casino Night

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

Recently, students gathered in the University Center of Francis Marion University to try their
luck at mock gambling.  Hosted by the Inter-fraternity Council (IFC) members of Tau Kappa
Epsilon (TKE), the Casino Night event allowed students to try their hand at games such as
spades, blackjack and Texas Hold’em Poker.
Michael Smith, a senior majoring in history and third year member of TKE, said that this is
the first year that the frat has actually hosted a Casino Night.
“The original idea stemmed from the really successful Casino Night that the UPB [University
Programming Board] puts on every year,” Smith said.  “A lot of us like to play poker in our spare
time, so we figured why not make it into an event.”
Smith said that the Casino Night was based on one of the six founding principles of TKE,
which include scholarship, leadership, brotherhood, teamwork, service, and caring.
According to Smith, it was only one of many events that TKE had planned for the week.  Smith said that the
purpose of this and the other events was to help get Tau Kappa Epsilon’s name spread out on
campus. This is because the IFC’s formal recruitment began the next week.
“TKE was founded on FMU’s campus in 1997, and has seen its ups and its downs,” Smith
said. “We want to build it back up, so we are really trying to get to know people. We are trying to
get people out of their comfort zones and talk to them. Hopefully we can take this new
experience and learn from it.”
Justin Gaskins, a freshman majoring in business-finance, said that TKE’s efforts were
successful in catching his attention.  Gaskins said that he first came into contact with the
fraternity members at the student involvement fair that was held in the UC a few weeks earlier.
“I signed up on their contact sheet at the fair and then I got a text from them not to long
afterward,” Gaskins said.  “Anthony and Mike are supposed to teach me how to play poker.”
Anthony Gavalas, a senior biology and chemistry double major, is a second year member of
TKE and an IFC delegate.  He said that going Greek was a very positive experience for him and
he has been participating in all of their activities since he first joined. Gavalas said that anyone
who is remotely interested in going Greek should at least try it.
“Come into the process with an open mind and with no preconceived notions,” Gavalas said.
“It is totally worth it. We all get along and it is like another family.
According to Smith, TKE is always involved in activities on campus such as Greek Week and
intermural sports.  In addition to these, Smith said that the fraternity also conducts service and
philanthropy events.
“We have held blood drives, host ‘Take Back the Night’, participate in homecoming help
with Dance Marathon, and host the Jailbail out on the lawn,” Smith said. “We like having fun
and we usually step in wherever help is needed.”
Smith said that individuals interested in joining a fraternity should take it upon themselves to
learn more about them.  Smith said that even though current members keep busy schedules, there
is always someone available to offer information.
“Most of us work and go to school full-time so we are always pretty busy,” Smith said. “If
someone cannot get into contact with one of us they should definitely go to the UC and ask
around.  Someone will be able to point you in the right direction.”