What is Pi Chi Omega, and why should you care?


January 17, 2018


Pi Chi Omega recently hosted a dinner at Purdue University during their annual Pest Management Conference.

Your level of familiarity with Pi Chi Omega may depend on how long you have been in the pest management industry. You may have even heard whispers of it from the old timers when they are not regaling you with how they used to put chlordane on crackers in their kitchens directly before they cooked Christmas dinner. That’s not a knock on the old timers — it’s nothing but love. My grandfather used to make Bait Blocks in his apartment bathtub when he was first getting started.

So, what’s all the whispering about? Pi Chi Omega has the mystique of the Freemasons and the perceived exclusivity of some clandestine gang. I can assure you that Pi Chi Omega has nothing to do with the Illuminati. The reality is that the membership guidelines were always published, but never promoted. I think we liked being an exclusive fraternity for many years, but change is inevitable — and Pi Chi Omega has become more accessible in recent years. Just to be clear, to be nominated for membership, you need to be in the pest management industry for 10 years, have a college degree or be an entomologist. Not so exclusive, eh?

Maybe I’m romanticizing Pi Chi Omega. I shouldn’t project my boyhood admiration on the pioneers of the industry on you, dear reader. But since this is the only reality I know, I will proceed with my perception of Pi Chi Omega and give you the short version of the history. If you want a longer history, replete with photos, please order the book that was written by PMP Editor Heather Gooch, edited by Dr. Eric H. Smith, and published in October.

Pi Chi Omega is an international fraternity for pest management professionals. Initiated in 1950 by six students of Dr. John V. Osmun at Purdue University, the fraternity today is comprised of nearly 450 members representing 38 states and five countries. These members are some of the most passionate, distinguished, dedicated, and talented professionals in the industry. And these professionals are interdisciplinary in scope; they cover a broad spectrum of disciplines. Fellowship among our members also provides shared technical and professional support.

More importantly, Pi Chi Omega gives four scholarships away every year. This is where the rubber meets the road.

Our mission is: To connect and enrich the Urban Pest Management Community.

Our vision is: A collaborative environment in which technical knowledge is shared by engaged members, elevating the professionalism of the urban pest management community.

Sound like a gang you want to join? Email me at db@jteaton.com for more info.


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