Results of the 2014 LEAD Assessment


By Scott Smith (Central Arkansas)

Editor’s Note: Sigma Nu’s LEAD Program, unveiled in 1988, has been the Fraternity’s premier ethical leadership development program for collegiate members for over two and a half decades. Since 2006, the Fraternity has evaluated the LEAD Program through George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health. The following series of posts will show the results of the most recent study and update members on the program’s continued progress. 

To develop ethical leaders inspired by the principles of Love, Honor and Truth.

To foster the personal growth of each man’s mind, heart and character.

To perpetuate lifelong friendships and commitment to the Fraternity.

This is the mission of our Fraternity – our reason for being – and the end we all seek for Sigma Nu. One of the greatest tools the Fraternity has for achieving this great mission and developing the future leaders of business, government, academia, and society is the LEAD Program. The first of its kind – often imitated but never duplicated – the award-winning LEAD Program is the only ethical leadership development program of its kind in the Greek world. Looking back on the past two and a half decades, there is a lot to be proud of when it comes to the LEAD Program. An overhauled curriculum for its 10th birthday, a redesigned presentation and online presence to celebrate turning 20, a host of national awards and recognition, and six national scientific evaluations that prove its effectiveness.

This spring the Fraternity, in partnership with researchers at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health, conducted an independent, scientific analysis of the LEAD Program. Collegiate members from 99% of our chapters and representing 23% of the Fraternity’s collegiate membership shared information about their Sigma Nu experience and, in particular, how the LEAD Program has impacted them.

Significant Findings

This year’s evaluation shows again that the LEAD Program is providing measurable, added value to the collegiate membership experience.

More LEAD makes for a better individual and chapter, and in turn a Fraternity that is developing ethical leaders for society.

LEAD works. Participants in the program show statistically significant differences from non-participants across key variables related to fraternal relationships, future planning, and personal decision-making. LEAD participants are significantly more likely to:

  • Have more direction than before joining Sigma Nu.
  • Agree that their fraternity experience has imparted skills and knowledge that will help them be successful in leadership roles throughout their life.
  • Identify that as a result of their Sigma Nu membership they are better prepared to be successful in the real world.
  • Identify that as a result of their Sigma Nu membership they are better prepared to be successful academically.
  • Identify that as a result of their Sigma Nu membership they are better prepared to be successful interpersonally.
  • Believe they are better equipped to work through ethical dilemmas as a result of their Sigma Nu membership.
  • Believe they are morally or ethically responsible for others’ accountability.
  • Agree that they hold others accountable for their actions.
  • Identify that their Sigma Nu experience has helped to develop their problem solving skills.

These statistically significant differences continue to indicate that LEAD is better in measurable ways than any holistic homegrown programming offered at the local level and certainly better than no membership development opportunities at all. LEAD is a great program that provides a significant return on investment for participants.


Further, more LEAD makes for a better membership experience. Comparisons of students using four or more phases to all other LEAD participants AND comparisons of those using Phases I and II to those members who have only experienced Phase I (candidate education) show significant differences. Students using four or more phases of LEAD compared to all other LEAD participants are significantly more likely to:

  • Feel comfortable expressing their opinion with chapter members, even if they believe others will disagree.
  • Agree that their involvement in Sigma Nu has helped them to hone their leadership skills and abilities.
  • Believe they are responsible for providing an example for others.
  • Expect to participate as an alumnus facilitator for LEAD after they graduate.
  • Believe that for long-lasting change to be effective that those affected by the change must be bought into the change.
  • Agree that their fraternity experience has provided them with skills and knowledge that will help them be successful in leadership roles throughout their life.
  • Identify that as a result of their Sigma Nu membership they are better prepared to be successful in the real world.
  • Know how and when to confront brothers who are violating the national fraternity’s standards and values.
  • Agree that their experience in Sigma Nu has helped them to develop their problem solving skills.
  • Agree that it is important to build consensus around ideas.

These students also believe that LEAD:

  • Has helped them to grow as an individual.
  • Is worth the time and effort they put into the program.
  • Has helped them develop stronger friendships with their fraternity brothers.
  • Has provided unique opportunities for personal development that were unavailable from other venues within their college.
  • Facilitator materials and online content are useful and that the program runs smoothly in their chapter.
  • Identify that since implementing LEAD they have seen increased participation in their chapter from brothers.
  • See themselves donating time, talent, and treasure to support the LEAD Program once they graduate.
  • Identify that the presence of a program like LEAD drew them to join Sigma Nu.

Students with Phase I and II experience compared to those that have only done Phase I (candidate education) are significantly more likely to:

  • Agree that their involvement in Sigma Nu has helped them to hone their leadership skills and abilities.
  • Expect to participate as an alumnus facilitator for LEAD after they graduate.
  • Be more involved with other activities on campus aside from Sigma Nu.
  • Believe that LEAD has helped them to grow and develop as an individual and is worth the time and effort they put into the program.
  • See themselves donating time, talent, and treasure to support the LEAD Program once they graduate.

In basic terms, these comparisons indicate that more access and exposure to increasing phases of the LEAD Program provides a cumulative benefit; that is, more LEAD makes for a better individual and chapter, and in turn a Fraternity that is developing ethical leaders for society.

Have an idea for the LEAD Program, question about this research initiative, or want to share your LEAD story – send us an email,, or let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

What if your chapter had to recruit without spending a dime?

Letters for Bid Day_Mu Kappa_Fall 2013

By Josh Green (Arizona)

Editor’s note: this article was originally run in 2011 and was composed by then director of recruitment Josh Green. 

Tough times have forced businesses to slash their headcount, marketing budgets, and other resources. Managers at small start-ups and Fortune 100 companies alike are now expected to do more with less-but how?

I recently attended a meeting of young non-profit professionals that discussed the book Zilch by Nancy Lublin. The book covers a number of important topics with a focus on non-profits that are expected to perform at a high level with limited resources (sound familiar?). After leaving the meeting I had an idea based on the title of the book: what if we had to recruit without using money?

The first thing that came to mind was getting back to basics. Swearing off money would require us to practice the fundamentals: going out and meeting people, making friends, bringing them out to meet the chapter members, gauging their interest and then extending a bid after the chapter votes.

Relying too much on a large recruitment budget may be the subtle sign of a recruitment strategy lacking substance and genuineness.

How can this be done? I started a list of recruitment tactics that don’t really cost anything. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Talk to your high school friends, or even a past principal or guidance counselor, and see who is planning to attend your college or university.
  2. Talk to your fraternity and sorority life professional to see if you can acquire the contact information for all incoming male freshmen. Depending on the number, call or email them and let them know what Sigma Nu has going on – maybe campus orientation events, move-in assistance, new student workshops like student skills or time management.
  3. Post information on various Facebook groups. An example could be to post on the page for the upcoming freshman class.
  4. Once school starts, introduce yourself to as many people as possible. After all, we are a social fraternity, so you shouldn’t have any issues being social and meeting new people.
  5. Join a club or student organization to meet some additional friends with similar interests.

These are just five ideas I came up with on the drive home. I am sure that are many others that could be developed. And these are just a few ideas on how to meet people. This doesn’t even get into brining them out, which can still be done at no additional cost.

Recruiting without spending a dime relies on creativity and will. This is thinking like an entrepreneur – innovate and be social.

Relying too much on a large recruitment budget may be the subtle sign of a recruitment strategy lacking substance and genuineness. What are some additional ways your chapter can bring a culture of innovation to recruitment?

Bid Day_Ryan Love_Epsilon Mu

Why Your Chapter Needs an Alumni Advisory Board

Tom Bymark and Tim Huffmyer_CofC 2013

Advisory boards allow many young members the chance to interact with an older alumnus who can help them navigate the difficult waters of being a chapter leader.

By Ben Nye (Arkansas) and Todd Denson (Nicholls State)

If you’re chapter is like many across the country, it could stand to have more alumni advising. The problem is complicated: many chapters are advised by one or two overextended alumni while other alumni don’t know how to be involved or hesitate to commit to advising because of other activities. Fortunately, the alumni advisory board (AAB) model addresses these problems while providing an avenue for multiple alumni to be involved in the advisement of the chapter.

Spreading the Workload

According to The Atlantic, the average adult between 25 and 54 with children only has 2.6 hours per day for free time and leisure. That time has to be distributed among competing priorities such as family, work responsibilities, and community involvement.

Busyness undoubtedly prevents many alumni from committing to advising and overextends the ones who are involved. Fortunately, a well-constructed advisory board gives each board member smaller commitments and a focused area of advisement. As each member of the board picks a different officer to advise, the advising is spread across the entire board. Each advisor can then focus on their particular area and develop a more specific advising strategy.

The Theta Kappa AAB, at Georgia Southern University, has used this to their advantage. In an interview with Theta Kappa AAB Chairman Bill Geddy, he pointed to the work of John Austin in the area of risk reduction advising. John Austin, the risk reduction advisor on Theta Kappa’s AAB, has developed a unique curriculum that he is able to train the new Risk Reduction Chairman on each year. Brother Austin’s contributions have been the result of a focus on purely risk reduction related topics and would likely have not happened had Austin not been allowed to specialize in one area of advisement.

Opportunities for Mentorship

Courtesy of Flickr use USFWSmidwest.

Courtesy of Flickr use USFWSmidwest.

Writing about mentorship for The Art of Manliness, Bret McKay reflected that, “In addition to providing some guidance in navigating through life as a man, mentors can expand one’s view of what it means to be a man.” Mentorship is exactly what alumni advisory boards give to officers in Sigma Nu, and for many, this is a deep need. Many officers are getting their first taste of leadership and are at a particularly crucial point in their development.

Advisory boards allow many young members the chance to interact with an older alumnus who can help them navigate the difficult waters of being a chapter leader. This is the type of mentorship that can pay dividends years down the road.

Training Alumni Leaders

Another positive aspect of AABs is that they help in identifying new alumni leaders. Because advisory boards have a much greater number of advising positions available, it is possible to get younger or previously disengaged alumni involved.

It is also possible to groom younger members of the advisory board for more senior positions on the board. Theta Kappa’s advisory board members begin serving as members-at-large and then transition into specific advising positions. Having this transition period allows for the new members to determine a time to pick a role and then learn under the previous advisor.

Having a system like this in place allows the alumni advisor the chance to learn the ropes and many alumni advisory boards will transition leaders after a pre-determined period. This allows for other board members to get engaged in specific advising roles or in leadership of the board.

In addition to providing some guidance in navigating through life as a man, mentors can expand one’s view of what it means to be a man.

Improves Accountability

Lastly, alumni advisory boards can help hold chapter leaders accountable. As an example, the Georgia Tech alumni advisory board meets monthly with the officers of the chapter. During this monthly meeting, the alumni review the goals and progress of each chapter officer. The advisors also ask questions and provide suggestions to the officers.

This additional perspective ensures that each officer is focused on his duties and tasks that need to be completed. Whether it is monthly, quarterly, or semesterly, the advisory board reviews the progress of the chapter leadership and can help steer the chapter in the right direction.

Getting Started

Chapters benefit when they have AABs: collegians benefit from mentorship and accountability and alumni benefit from a decentralized workload and specialized advisement. What remains is building an alumni advisory board for your chapter. This will be the subject of our next post in the area of alumni development.

In the meantime, the Best Practices Library (BPL) is designed to give specific examples of how Sigma Nu chapters have achieved excellence in alumni relations and helps provide a road map for other chapters to do likewise. The BPL includes specific practices submitted by many of the most successful chapter advisors, alumni advisory board members, and housing corporation board members in Sigma Nu.

For more information about alumni programming and resources, contact Todd Denson, director of alumni and volunteer programs (

Keeping Homecoming and Tailgating Safe

OSU Tailgate_Epsilon Epsilon_Fall 2014

Tailgating at Epsilon Epsilon (Oklahoma State).

By Drew Logsdon (Western Kentucky)

It’s that amazing time of year again when college campuses across the nation are weekly engulfed with the excitement of their alma maters taking the field for one of America’s greatest past-times: college football.

For Sigma Nu chapters across the nation, this time of year also means a flurry of tailgating and homecoming festivities. While this season is important to chapters and counts as a time-honored tradition, it’s equally important for every chapter to understand the risks involved with hosting or participating in this unique type of social function.  As legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once said, “It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

So let’s look at tailgating and homecoming to fully understand the risks and how to avoid them altogether.

Ole Miss Grove_Flickr_Ken Lund

The Grove at the University of Mississippi. Courtesy of Flickr user Ken Lund.


Tailgating for football games can be one of the greatest examples of fellowship that college provides. Seas of grass become blanketed in an explosion of school colors, tents, grills, and fans.

However, the most obvious risk associated with these activities is alcohol. And alcohol can sour the good nature and fun of sportsmanship faster than Auburn can return a missed field goal for a touchdown. The fact that games tend be played at odd times doesn’t help either. Many Saturday games kickoff at noon or earlier which means most of those who have been consuming alcohol at a tailgate haven’t had much to eat.

Another big risk with tailgating comes after the game. Members and guests may return to the chapter house intoxicated which means some could have been on-again-off-again drinking alcohol for a 12+ hour period of time.

One of the best things your chapter can do is simply provide food. Have each member sign up for a food item to bring or have food catered. Be sure to consult your school’s policies on food to ensure that your chapter doesn’t conflict with your university’s food contract or grilling policies.

For more ideas on how to manage the risk of tailgating check out the resource We Have a Situation.

Penn State Homecoming Float

The Delta Delta (Penn State) Chapter home during the school’s homecoming last fall.


Homecoming is my favorite time of football season, as it is for many alumni. It’s a great time to see chapter brothers I haven’t seen regularly since graduation. I doubt I’m the only alumnus with these feelings and so it’s not surprising that this is an event I mark on the calendar well in advance.

But for your chapter, homecoming can present its own unique set of challenges. Not all alumni return to campus with the best of intentions and some may return with different ideas of what homecoming is all about.

It’s always best to ensure that your chapter communicates their homecoming plans with alumni well in advance. If the chapter isn’t doing anything at the house then take steps to make sure it is properly secured with help from the house corporation.

Here’s an article from a past Risk Reduction Newsletter about the importance of putting your best foot forward at homecoming and how the chapter’s behavior could negatively affect alumni relations in a single event:


Becoming A Consultant

I Never Thought…

By Scott Smith (Central Arkansas)

Shekhar and Zach

I never thought I would work for the Fraternity. Sure, I served in multiple officer positions, was involved in other organizations on campus, and even attended Grand Chapter and College of Chapters, but I didn’t initially consider employment with Sigma Nu as a viable option post-graduation.

You might not be surprised to hear that this is a common sentiment among our collegiate members. But why? The vast majority of Sigma Nus would agree that they owe the Fraternity for helping to make them the man they are today and that they have a desire to give back to the organization.

There are many ways to support Sigma Nu that don’t require becoming a full-time paid employee of the organization (volunteering with a collegiate chapter, giving to the Educational Foundation, joining your alumni chapter or local alumni club, to name a few). But those that advance the Fraternity from its Lexington offices will tell you that their lives were changed, even while they were giving back to Sigma Nu. In their own words, they would tell you things like this – I never thought…

  • I would have the opportunity to make an impact on someone else’s fraternity experience and even change their life.
  • I could have a job that I didn’t see as a “job.”
  • My coworkers would become as close as many of my chapter brothers.
  • That working for the Fraternity would prepare me as much for the future as it has.
  • That such an awesome work environment existed.

Start Thinking

Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. is hiring enthusiastic leaders to serve as members of our team at the Headquarters Office in Lexington, Va. October 15, 2014 is the priority application deadline for January positions and for early-decision June positions. The Fraternity is now using an “early-decision” model for spring graduates where applications are submitted, interviews conducted, and offers made prior to the start of the spring semester. Additional interviews will only be conducted in the spring if positions remain available following the priority hiring period in the fall. Early decision applicants will have an opportunity to secure employment well in advance of graduation.

Staff Infographic

Positions Available – Learn More

Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. is excited to announce openings for entry level staff positions for 2015. Both leadership and expansion and recruitment consultant positions are available. Interested applicants should visit the employment page of the Fraternity’s website,, for more information about openings, the work and life of a General Fraternity consultant, and next steps for applying and interviewing.

Recent and soon-to-be graduates are encouraged to consider employment with the General Fraternity. Consultant positions offer a competitive salary and benefits package as well as opportunities for travel, networking, advancement within the Fraternity, and preparation for jobs in higher education and related fields (e.g. business, law, non-profit work, and graduate school).

Interested applicants graduating after May 2015 are also encouraged to notify the General Fraternity to learn more about potential employment in the 2015-2017 academic years.

Consultant Trunks

Still have questions?

Contact Director of Leadership Development Scott Smith at or at 540.463.1869 extension 350. For testimonials about working for staff, check out previous interviews with past staff members Bill Morosco and Justin Wenger and current Associate Director of Communications Chris Brenton.


The Delta of Sigma Nu – Fall 2014

Table of Contents



The 66th Grand Chapter
A photo essay captures the biennial meeting of Sigma Nu’s supreme governing body.

“It’s all about honor.”
Curt Menefee’s (Coe) voice fills our living rooms every Sunday in the fall as we sit down to watch our favorite NFL teams. As he begins his ninth year as host of the most-watched NFL pregame show, Brother Menefee shares with us the practical path that has guided his broadcasting career.

Covering the Next Dynasty
ESPN columnist Mark Schlabach (Georgia) talks about landing the biggest scoop of the 2010 college football season and the sequence of events that led him to a career in journalism.

Practice What You Preach
He’s played for legendary coaches and blocked for Hall of Fame running backs. Now, in his role as managing director of a Bay Area investment firm, Tommy Vardell (Stanford) offers up the keys to leadership and building successful teams.

The Future of Food
Georgia Tech Sigma Nus Rob Rhinehart and Matt Cauble could be on the cusp of revolutionizing how the world gets its nutrition.


From the Editor
Introducing the latest issue.

More at
The latest resources and information available at the fraternity’s website.

A look back in history.

Updates From Lexington
News from the General Fraternity office in Lexington.

Chapter News
Dispatches from around the country.

Alumni News
News and notes from alumni around the country.

Award Winners
Full list of brothers, chapters and Greek movement leaders who exemplified excellence this biennium.

What a new book by Simon Sinek can teach us about leadership and creating positive group chemistry. Plus the latest titles by Sigma Nu authors.

Higher Education
Updates on trends in higher education.

Perspectives on Our Past
Grand Historian Bob McCully offers a look at the effort to restore some of Sigma Nu’s most cherished historical artifacts.

2013 Chapter Advisor of the Year Dr. Mark Himmelein (Mount Union) talks advising, leadership, and the importance of listening to students.

If you prefer to read the print edition as a .pdf we have made a copy available here. To opt in to start receiving the print copy in  your mailbox, complete the short web form available here.

From the Editor

Honor is Everything

It was a year ago this month when we sat down with Curt Menefee at the brand new Fox Sports 1 studios in Los Angeles. Only a few weeks before our meeting, Curt was tapped to offer the opening remarks that would form the identity for Fox’s new 24-hour sports network.

FOX NFL SUNDAY Pregame Host: Curt Menefee

Fox NFL Sunday host Curt Menefee (Coe).

Gracious and welcoming, Curt talked with us about how Love, Honor and Truth have provided the underpinnings to his broadcasting career and how a focus on Honor has elevated his career at every stage.

Honor – i.e. reputation – is everything for a journalist.

Our second feature profile is another testament to this idea. As you’ll read, ESPN columnist Mark Schlabach’s reputation for integrity would yield a scoop that turned out to be the biggest story of the 2010 college football season. His previous investigative work exposed misconduct that would later lead to needed reforms in prep school academies.

We’re pleased to present a follow up story on a brother who was featured in The Delta 20 years ago. The last time we checked in with Tommy Vardell, he was scoring touchdowns for the Stanford Cardinal and on his way to the NFL. Fast forward 20 years and Tommy is a managing partner with Bay Area investment firm Northgate Capital. It’s clear from talking to Tommy that the leadership skills he developed playing football have served him well in his post-gridiron career. Tommy’s approach to leadership and operational excellence provide useful examples for brothers at all career stages – whether a collegiate officer or a rising executive.

Rounding out our feature stories is the tale of two Georgia Tech brothers who may be on the verge of a new revolution in food and nutrition. They’ve been profiled in such publications as The New Yorker, Vice, The Atlantic, and now, The Delta of Sigma Nu. In our interview with Rob and Matt, the brothers from Gamma Alpha Chapter were eager to tell us how Sigma Nu helped them learn the business skills to found their company.

Inside you’ll also find a recap of the 66th Grand Chapter in Nashville complete with award winners and a series of photos capturing the full experience from start to finish.

We hope you enjoy the stories in our latest issue and we invite you to share feedback and ideas for future stories by emailing

Yours in Sigma Nu,

Nathaniel Clarkson


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