August 22, 2007

Fraternity adviser wins international honor

by Eric Welch

Tau Kappa Epsilon recently honored Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Bill Bruns with its international Volunteer of the Year Award.

The fraternity gives the award to one volunteer in the U.S. and Canada who displayed outstanding leadership and service to his local chapter.

"I was absolutely floored," said Bruns, who is SIUC's TKE chapter adviser and an information technology technical associate at the SIUC Student Center. "I thought: 'You've got to be kidding me.' I didn't ever think that I'd be the volunteer of the year."

While he is modest, Bruns' accomplishments in the fraternity are nothing small. After restarting the fraternity from scratch in 2005, he helped build it into the largest Greek organization on campus. Within the two years, the national organization named SIUC's Beta Chi chapter a Top TKE Chapter, one of nine in the world.

That's quite an accomplishment given that Tau Kappa Epsilon is the largest fraternity in the world, said Andy Morgan, coordinator of Greek life at SIUC. He said Bruns' involvement and communication skills helped to turn the fraternity into one of the best groups on campus. "Bill's always there for the men and gives generously of his time to develop them," Morgan said. "Tau Kappa Epsilon is very lucky to have him as its adviser."

Bruns has a track record of serving and leading everywhere he has been. Before coming to SIUC, the Indianapolis native led the chapter at New York University, rebuilt the University of Illinois' chapter to win two Top TKE Chapter awards, and served on the national board of advisers.

With Bruns' help, the fraternity set the Guinness world record for playing the world's largest twister game at SIUC's McAndrew Stadium in April. The proceeds of the event went to the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute to help find a cure for Alzheimer's.

"I would really like to see them do more big things like they just did with the twister game," Bruns said. "I want to be able to raise more money for philanthropy."

Bruns' attitude of service and vision for the future have rubbed off on the members of Tau Kappa Epsilon, resulting in a campus organization that is making a positive impact in Southern Illinois.

"I don't do this for awards. You can't. I do it because everybody on campus should volunteer and get involved with undergraduates in some way," he said.