Beta Theta Pi At Kansas Brings A Paralyzed Brother Back To Campus


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About six months ago, the brothers of Beta Theta Pi at The University of Kansas traveled 600 miles to initiate a new member who was paralyzed from the neck down in a body-surfing accident while on vacation with his family in Hawaii in December 2015. I’m not going to lie, the story made my cry.

But the initiation of Tom Babb wasn’t the end of this story, because the brothers of Beta Theta Pi weren’t done. In the wake of the accident, Babb wasn’t sure that he would be able to return to school, much less live in the fraternity house. But in the months since Babb’s accident, the brothers have raised funds to make their facility compliant with ADA guidelines, while also keeping it on the Register of National Historic Places. As a result, Babb moved into the house and is ready to start classes today.

According to, the modifications made to the Beta house in order to make it accessible for Babb include a first floor bedroom with a lift on a track that spans the room to get him into a special bed; a wheelchair accessible bathroom; a chip for Babb’s wheelchair that unlocks the outside doors; interior doorways that have been widen to accommodate the chair; and other doors that open via motion detector. The renovations were made with funds that the chapter members raised from alumni donations.

And Babb isn’t the only person the Betas are helping. After his injury, chapter members also started to think about the struggles of other students on campus who have disabilities. So in addition to the funds raised from the modifications to their house for Babb, the brothers have also raised more than $50,000 in an effort to start a scholarship for a student with disabilities who needs full-time professional help for this school year.

According to Babb, while he wasn’t even a member of a Greek-organization when his injury occurred, he now knows what it’s really all about: “Greek life has the bad rap of drinking and partying and all that bad stuff. This shows you it’s really about brotherhood and loyalty and friendship. It’s a great thing.”

It really is. And the brothers of Beta Theta Pi at The University of Kansas are definitely one of the reasons why.


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