DeKALB – The DeKalb Freemasons are bringing information to the public as a way to spread awareness about the historical fraternity.
Starting Monday, the group is holding a series of “meet-ups” at area restaurants, bars and coffee shops to educate the public and attract new members.
The first meet-up will be held Monday night at O’Leary’s Irish Pub & Grill and will continue the third Monday of each month. The February meeting is scheduled for the Starbucks on West Lincoln Highway.
“A lot of people don’t know that there’s a Freemason Lodge in DeKalb,” said Erik Calmeyer, a Master Mason.
“It’s a good way that people can become aware that the Freemasons are active in DeKalb.”
Calmeyer recently started a student group of Masons. The Northern Illinois University Masonic Order was founded in December and has about 10 members. The meet-ups will especially focus on college-aged men, Calmeyer said. Meetings will be held close to NIU or along the bus route so that students can easily get to meetings, he said.
Jim Tome, who heads the DeKalb Lodge as the Worshipful Master, said the idea for meet-ups began as a way to attract younger members into the organization. He said the local group is active in social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogging, and now on the networking Web site MeetUp.com.
“Lodges in the Fox Valley area have been using (MeetUp.com) rather successfully,” Tome said. “Everyone seems to be contacting us online, so we thought, ‘Let’s try to find some sort of Web site or tool to help us facilitate that a little better.’”