Tuesday, October 20, 2020

MSU fraternity member lobbies for bill to help fraternities nationwide

April 28, 2016
Marketing junior Matt Houghton, left and international relations junior Justin Azar pose for a photo on April 26, 2016 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on 301 Charles Street. Azar is the vice president of the fraternity working with U.S. Congress regarding laws concerning fraternities.
Marketing junior Matt Houghton, left and international relations junior Justin Azar pose for a photo on April 26, 2016 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on 301 Charles Street. Azar is the vice president of the fraternity working with U.S. Congress regarding laws concerning fraternities. —
Photo by Kelly vanFrankenhuyzen | and Kelly vanFrankenhuyzen The State News

This year, Justin Azar, Pi Kappa Alpha vice president of external affairs and an international relations junior, went to Washington D.C. for The Fraternal Government Relations Coalition to help lobby for a bill to help fraternities nationwide.

“The main point is to just incentivize alumni to want to donate to our non-profit organization and it goes to any other non-profit on campus that has housing,” Azar said.

The conference will happen every year until the bill gets passed. Azar said the bill will allow for donations to be 100 percent tax deductible and not just for education purposes, to allow for other much needed amenities to be paid for.

“Our goal is to get as many co-sponsors as possible and then have them put it on a bigger bill that they can push through congress," Azar said. "Since it’s a busy year with the presidential elections, the environment right now is not conducive to passing tax reforms, which sucks.”

The bill will not only help fraternity and sorority houses get the amenities needed, but will help other nonprofits with houses as well.

“The biggest issue is we need more than just educational amenities in our house," Azar said. "We need fire sprinklers, that’s one of the biggest things. Specifically for my house, we need to make it wheelchair accessible because we have a brother in a wheelchair and he can’t live in the house and there’s a ton of safety precautions. There’s a bunch of stats on how a bunch of greek houses burn down a year.”

Matthew Houghton, Pi Kappa Alpha president and marketing junior, said it’s a good thing to see Azar represent both MSU and greek life in a positive light, regardless of negative stereotypes.

"He’s working really hard and going out of his way," Houghton said. "He spent his 21st birthday with congressmen — he’s just really dedicated to his job. A lot of people think that it’s all about the stereotypes but you look at pictures of him next to very well-respected men and I think that has a lot to say about that the way our chapter conducts business and how we do it here at MSU. They chose him for a reason. It’s things like this that will keep us going and headed in the right direction.”

Pi Kappa Alpha Chief Real Estate Officer Dan Corah said Azar has conducted himself in a professional manner.

“Justin’s mature and professional character made him an ideal representative for Pi Kappa Alpha and Michigan State University,” Corah said. “He made Pi Kappa Alpha very proud and I can tell you that MSU can be proud, too, of Justin’s advocacy of his school, his state, the MSU greek community and his fraternity. He spoke accurately and passionately about his school and how passing CHIA would benefit all nonprofit organizations at MSU.”

Corah also expressed the support of the bill for the benefits for all students, not just Pi Kappa Alpha.

“The safer and better housing is for students, the better it is for the entire university community,” he said.

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