Fraternity Friday: Chase Flaherty (Alpha Tau Omega)

Welcome back to Fraternity Friday! This week, I interviewed Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) president Chase Flaherty, who also serves as the Vice President of Student Entertainment (VPSE)  here at the University of Maine. Chase is from Rockland, Maine, and is a senior Mechanical Engineering major with a focus in Ocean and Marine Engineering. 

    Stepping into two major roles in important organizations in one’s life is always an exciting and daunting task, but COVID-19 has added even more challenges to Chase’s roles as president of his fraternity and as VPSE in Student Government. Whether it be upholding health guidelines for brothers living in the ATO house or planning events like the Maine Event Tour for all students on campus, Chase has taken all of these challenges in stride, making the best out of it. 

    The Maine Event Tour is an event that Chase helped to coordinate along with Concert Ideas, a company that organizes events for colleges and universities across the country. After the Maine Day concert in the spring of last year was canceled, Chase was contemplating events that could be planned for students to make proper use of our activity fees, and most importantly, be fun. “Given the events of this summer, I initially thought about bringing in a Black motivational speaker or artist to support the Black Lives Matter movement,” Chase said. 

He wished there was a way the university could have a package of artists together. Fortunately, Concert Ideas answered his call two weeks later with a package of five artists to be streamed on the app Looped Live: Cheat Codes, the Aces, Rico Nasty, Jonathan Van Ness (Queer Eye), and Chloe Fineman (Saturday Night Live). He says he is also trying to plan more fun events like this for students, all while following COVID-19 guidelines and keeping student safety at the helm. 

Chase, like many young men in Greek life, never saw himself joining- in fact, he initially felt as though it would be a waste of his time at college and distract from his studies and ultimate goals. These past four years have shown him that this stereotype is anything but true. He says that his involvement in Greek life has made him a better person, given him opportunities, and connections that he will never forget. In the spring semester of his sophomore year, he was awarded the Emerging Greek Leader award- an honor given to a younger member in Greek life who has shown initiative and desire to step into leadership. 

One of his priorities as a leader in his fraternity is to support his fellow brothers, especially during a time when many people feel isolated from their friends and loved ones. Men’s mental health is an issue that is far too often overlooked in today’s society, and Chase wants to break that stigma as someone who has lost a loved one to mental health struggles. In order to help do that, he is participating in Movember, an event that raises awareness for men’s mental health and overall health. 

He says that the event is ever more inclusive now- you don’t have to grow a mustache to participate in this cause! People can engage in physical activity, create an event to raise money, or whatever else you can think of, meaning that there are so many different ways to support. Chase says that he wants to implement this fundraiser fraternity-wide through the Interfraternity Council, and even enter UMaine into a competition across the country between schools to see who can raise the most money for Movember. 

As former Vice President of Student Government, Chase says that when the COVID-19 pandemic forced UMaine to shut down, one of the first things he wanted to do was help support students. He, along with former President Bentley Simpson, made a donation from Student Government to the Black Bear Exchange on campus to help students who were displaced by school closing for the remainder of the semester. He intends to continue this generosity into the holiday season- either via Alpha Tau Omega's Blue and Gold Christmas in the Union, an event where ATO puts up Christmas Trees for organizations to collect donations in support of an organization of their choice; or adapt it this year through a similar food drive for Thanksgiving in support of the Bangor Homeless Shelter. 

Graduating college is always a stressful time for students, but the worsening situation with COVID-19 has added pressure to many of us, including Chase. He has held two internships while in college: one this past summer at Poland Springs Water as an Engineering Maintenance Intern; and one at Fisher Engineering, a Maine snow plow company, as a Continuous Improvement intern. Chase intends to keep giving back to the state of Maine, whether that be through renewable offshore wind engineering, or whatever position he finds in Maine. For now, he is both applying for jobs in the state, along with applying for the graduate program in Mechanical Engineering right here at UMaine. 

Chase wanted to make sure that he thanked a few specific people who have helped, supported his endeavors, and listened to him and his ideas throughout college. First, he wants to thank his girlfriend, Olivia, who just began a teaching job in Orono and serves as the advisor for the Delta Phi Epsilon chapter. Second, he wants to thank his chapter for their continued support and all the help they have given him throughout his years in college. 

Chase is truly someone who embodies the values I set for Fraternity Friday- someone who excels in academics, their organization, and most importantly, is dedicated to improving the UMaine community and the greater area. 

If you are interested in supporting Chase’s Movember fundraising efforts, click on the link below. His goal is to raise $200.00, and he is already halfway there!