Alabama Governor Issues Proclamation Honoring Sigma Nu Fraternity

Jacksonville State University, where tonight a proclamation will be presented declaring January 1, 2015, as "Sigma Nu Day" in the state of Alabama. Photo by flickr user Jay Williams.

Jacksonville State University, where tonight a proclamation will be presented declaring January 1, 2015, as “Sigma Nu Day” in the state of Alabama. Photo by flickr user Jay Williams.

Jacksonville, Ala. – Alabama House Representative K.L. Brown will read a proclamation this evening recognizing the chapters of Sigma Nu Fraternity in the state of Alabama. The proclamation, signed by Governor Robert Bentley, will recognize the historic men’s fraternal organization as the only such group founded in direct opposition to hazing and rooted in the honor principle.

Earlier this year Governor Bentley signed the proclamation declaring January 1 as “Sigma Nu Day” in Alabama.

The proclamation will be presented during a ceremony at 7:00 p.m. CT this evening on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole Library on the Jacksonville State University campus.

Rep. Brown will be joined by national alumni leadership from Sigma Nu Fraternity, including Sigma Nu Educational Foundation (SNEF) board member Ralph Moore, past Sigma Nu Fraternity board member Austin Landry of Birmingham, and SNEF chairman Joe Gilman of Atlanta. Mr. Gilman is also a past national president of Sigma Nu Fraternity. Dr. William A Meehan, president of Jacksonville State University, is also expected to attend.

The story behind the proclamation is a testament to the strong student leadership that has come to define Sigma Nu Fraternity. Kenneth Smith, a political science major and member of the Sigma Nu chapter at Jacksonville State, originally proposed the idea to Rep. Brown. “I wanted to do something different to celebrate Sigma Nu and our Founders’ Day for 2015,” Kenneth said. “With everything going on in higher education right now I know elected officials and other public servants like to hear from younger college students.”

“This proclamation reaffirms the ideals Sigma Nu stands for at the campuses where we have chapters and in the communities where our alumni live,” Kenneth continued. “To some this might seem like merely words on a paper. But I’m glad I get to live out these high ideals and hold this brotherhood close to my heart.”

The signed proclamation, included below, will be framed and displayed at the Sigma Nu Fraternity national headquarters office in Lexington, Va.


By the Governor of Alabama 

WHEREAS, since its founding on January 1, 1869, at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, the Sigma Nu Fraternity has been a pioneer in the fraternal world; and

WHEREAS, Sigma Nu currently has 172 active chapter and colonies on college campuses throughout the United States and Canada. Sigma Nu has initiated more than 230,000 members since its founding; and

WHEREAS, active Sigma Nu chapters in Alabama are located at Jacksonville State University, University of Alabama, Auburn University, Samford University, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Birmingham-Southern College and Huntingdon College; and

WHEREAS, originally founded and known to this day as The Legion of Honor, Sigma Nu is the only social fraternity in existence founded in firm opposition to hazing and based on the principal of honor; and

 WHEREAS, Sigma Nu is the first general college fraternity to offer risk reduction policies and a comprehensive membership education program, remaining committed to both their mission and vision for more than 140 years; and

WHEREAS, the mission of Sigma Nu is 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 and to perpetuate lifelong friendships and commitment to the fraternity; and

WHEREAS, Sigma Nu’s organizational structures and internal operations provide for the effective deployment of resources to deliver an unmatched level of service to its constituents; and

 WHEREAS, Sigma Nu is continually increasing its membership and capabilities as it creates and capitalizes on new markets and opportunities that support the fraternity’s mission; and

 WHEREAS, Sigma Nu enhances the experience of its members and builds a sense of community in a way that generates a desire to invest time, talent and treasure in the development of both the organization and its future members which is recognized by all as a contribution to the greater good:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert Bentley, Governor of Alabama, do hereby commend the Sigma Nu Fraternity upon its 146th Anniversary on January 1, 2015. 

Given Under My Hand and the Great Seal of the Office of the Governor at the State Capitol in the City of Montgomery on the 20th day of November 2014.

JSU at the Rock

Brothers of Iota Lambda Chapter (Jacksonville State) during a visit to the Headquarters Shrine earlier this year.


Innovative LEAD Ideas (Part 2)


By Scott Smith (Central Arkansas)

In part one of our series about innovative LEAD ideas, we discussed many specific sessions of the four phases of LEAD and All Chapter. In part two, we will focus on how LEAD can fit into other activities of the chapter. Most notably in recruitment, socials, and other special occasions.


LEAD can be used to help the chapter spread its name on campus, introduce other students to something unique about the chapter, and seal the deal with prospects by targeting specific sessions to a diverse audience.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to invite potential members to participate in one or more Phase I sessions with current candidates. This could also be done by hosting one or more sessions (from any phase) in a dorm or in some other centrally located building on campus. Invite residents and guests to attend by posting flyers to announce the session. Use a sign-in sheet and add attendees to the chapter’s Master Prospect List once they have arrived. Make an announcement at the beginning or end of the session explaining the LEAD Program and the role it plays in Sigma Nu.

Suggested sessions include: Time Management, Stress Management, Scholarship, and Campus Involvement, among others. The chapter could also partner with the campus recreation center to host a men’s wellness program that doubles as a recruitment event.

Getting Social

Dinner at Delta Gamma

Etiquette dinners: a long-standing tradition.

One of the best ways to increase interest in LEAD is to incorporate it into a date party, mixer, or semi-formal event. There are several different sessions that this can be accomplished with and it needs only a little creativity.

The All Chapter LEAD session on Etiquette can easily be used as a formal dinner. Have members grab a date, get dressed up, and head to a fancy restaurant to learn proper behavior for a business dinner. Prearrange with a house mother, business professional, or older chapter brother (or sorority member) to serve as the dinner’s host and facilitator.

In addition to using the Etiquette session as a mixer, the chapter could also use the Networking session to host the chapter’s seniors (or the entire membership) and the seniors of a sorority.

Brothers and seniors don’t have to be the only beneficiaries of socials using LEAD. The chapter’s candidates could use Phase I: Session 6: Values and Ethics for a combined session on fraternal values and employing those values to make good decisions. Invite a sorority’s new member class and conclude the session with a social activity.

Chapter Retreats, Alumni and Special Events

It can be helpful to take some time away from campus to increase brotherhood or address a specific issue. There are at least two LEAD sessions that work well with a retreat option: Phase I Session 3: Leadership & Working in Groups and Phase II Session 6: Teams and Decision Making.

Brotherhood Retreat_Delta Rho_Michael Psaltis_Winter 2014

Delta Rho (Colorado State) on their brotherhood retreat in 2013.

Other occasions may call for sessions that serve an immediate application. For new officer training, the chapter may wish to use the Delegation and Officer Transition sessions which can serve as standard parts of the training process for new officers and committee chairmen. Also, the chapter may use the Goal Setting, Strategic Planning, and two Pursuit of Excellence Program sessions (Strategy, Self-Assessment) when planning and assessment are needed.

Chapters are often looking for ways to improve their  brotherhood. LEAD sessions to cover this area could include the All Chapter sessions on Diversity and Accountability.

It is always a good idea to invite alumni to speak to the chapter. For junior and senior level brothers, alumni could potentially facilitate Negotiating Salary Offers, Managing Money After Graduation or an alumni panel could talk about Success Tips for the First Year on the Job. Any of these sessions would make for a great Friday evening or Saturday morning addition to your chapter’s alumni, parents or homecoming weekends.

Also, Module C of All Chapter LEAD, which features several risk reduction topics, would be ideal for an alumni panel of doctors, lawyers or police officers.

LEAD Days have become an increasingly popular idea that chapters are using to maximize participation and guest facilitators. Arrange to hold multiple sessions from one or more phases and invite nearby Sigma Nu chapters to participate. Cap off the day with a brotherhood event.

Putting It All Together

LEAD shouldn’t be just one more thing to add to your chapter’s calendar and list of responsibilities. In addition to making your members and chapter better, LEAD should be a good time. Whenever possible the chapter should take advantage of opportunities to incorporate LEAD into existing events and plans; vice versa, don’t be afraid to add a social, brotherhood, operational, or recruitment element into LEAD.

More ideas for combining sessions with other events, saving time, and addressing specific chapter issues can be found here as part of the LEAD myths & misconceptions blog series. Have other ideas for innovative ways to implement the LEAD Program? Let us know in the comments.

Winterizing Your Chapter Home

Beta Omicron Chapter House_James Kennedy_Beta Omicron_Fall 2013

Jake Kennedy (Sewanee)


Editor’s note: This article was written by Sigma Nu’s insurance provider, Willis. Similar articles and additional information can be found on the company’s website

Freeze claims each year cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. These losses predominantly occur over the break periods when there is limited daily oversight of the facility further exacerbating the costs. During the winter of 2013-2014, $2.7 million was paid for water damage resulting from frozen pipes that burst in the FPMA property program.

Over 90% of the losses occurred over the three week traditional winter break period. And these issues are not only important in colder climates. In another instance, the heat was turned off in a chapter house located in a part of the country where the weather does not typically dip below the freezing mark. Unfortunately for this chapter, the weather became unusually cold, leading to frozen pipes and water damage. There was no insurance coverage for this claim, as the owners failed to maintain heat in the building.

What are the risks?

  • Chapter members turning off the heat thinking they would save some money.
  • The pilot light on the furnace blowing out.
  • Windows and doors not closed properly.
  • The chapter house not securely locked making it an attractive target to vandals and thieves.
  • No one in charge of checking on the house over the holiday breaks.

No one got hurt, what is the problem?

  • Chapter members return from Thanksgiving or Winter break to a mess, or worse yet, no place to live because of the significant extent of damage.
  • A significant deductible is incurred, causing further strain to an already stretched budget.
  • Property premiums increase, because of these claims, which every member helps to pay.

How do we prevent this from happening?

  • Turn the heat down to no less than 60 degrees, don’t turn the heat off!
  • Have a house corporation officer or undergraduate member stop by the house daily to make certain the house is secure, there has not been a loss and the heat is working!
  • Spend a little money to save a lot of money not to mention avoid a hassle!
  • Have the furnace or boiler serviced this fall.
  • Fix all broken windows.
  • If a local undergraduate or alumnus can’t be counted on to check on the house, hire someone to do it for you over the break.
  • Call your heating contractor immediately if there is a problem with the furnace and take immediate action to prevent further damage.
  • Consider installing a water detection system like PipeBurst Pro. The system monitors your pressurized water lines for unintended water flow of your plumbing system and fixtures. The device may be set with flow restrictions for automatic water shut off or alert an authorized user allowing water shut off from a remote location. The system also monitors water temperature to provide freeze warnings. If you are interested in the 5% property premium discount you would receive for installing this system, contact Rob Meraz at
  • It is important to also be aware of your outside property. To help reduce the risk of injuries of members, guests, or other people just passing by your house, make sure that snow is removed and ice is treated in a timely fashion.

Following these steps will allow you to protect your chapter facility during break periods. Additional resources, including a complete Winter Break Checklist, can be found on our website,

Delta Xi_Ming Chung

Ming Chung (Nevada)

Innovative LEAD Ideas (Part 1)

Sigma Nu Leadership conference

By Scott Smith (Central Arkansas)

Innovation [in-uh-vey-shuh-n] – something new or different introduced; introduction of new things or methods.

When it comes to providing a personal, professional, or chapter development experience we could all use a little help in spicing things up. LEAD includes some great topics and activities but sometimes your chapter needs to go that extra step with making a session fit into an already hectic chapter calendar or to include another organization or a campus resource into a session. We’ve collected some of the most innovative session and implementation ideas for LEAD – selected based on their novelty and broad utility.

Ideas For…

Phase I

Phase I: Session 11: Community Service – Invite the director/coordinator of a local community service organization to speak to the chapter about the importance of service. Use the session as an opportunity to introduce the chapter’s local service partner, inspire support for the cause, and teach members about the value of their impact in the local community.

Phase II

Create a bylaw – like Gamma Delta Chapter (Stevens) – mandating that any brother who wishes to run for office must have completed the LEAD Phase II online sessions and attended multiple facilitated sessions.

Phase III

Phase III: Session 4: Career Development – Reserve a classroom with a document projector. Each member of the junior class takes turns showing their resumes on the screen. Brothers then have the opportunity to provide feedback, make suggestions, and edit each other’s resume for improvement.

Rockbridge Habitat Build_Lambda_Ben Nye_Winter 2014

Lambda (Washington and Lee) participating on a Habitat for Humanity build site.

Phase III: Session 2: Personal Development – Host a “Reverse Gavel Pass” teambuilding activity. Members sit in a circle passing the gavel to their left. The person holding the gavel is not allowed to speak. The rest of the brothers in the circle are then directed to each provide one piece of positive and constructive feedback. Session ends with a traditional “Gavel Pass” (gavel travels in the same direction). This time the person holding the gavel is the only one allowed to speak. Brother reflects on the activity and provides one thing he learned about himself from others and how he will work to improve himself using this new piece of information (positive or negative).

Delta Alpha Chapter (Case Western Reserve) as part of their Phase III implementation tasks the junior class with writing the big brother ceremony for that semester’s candidate class. This project gives the juniors the opportunity to reflect on their time in Sigma Nu and provide meaningful guidance and instruction to the candidates through the written word of the ceremony.

Phase IV

Task the senior class with hosting a speaker panel for the candidates. Panel provides advice and instruction for candidates on how to make the most of the time in the chapter. Candidates have the opportunity to ask questions like, “Is there something you wish you had taken advantage of when you were a freshman?” “What advice would you give to a candidate interested in pursuing an officer position?”

Work with an alumnus or professor in finance and investing to set up an investment simulation. Participants can learn the basics on investing, shadow a professional, and even invest (fake) money with the help of a broker. This can be a great addition to the Phase IV session on money management, just ask Lambda Upsilon Chapter (Cal State Fullerton).

All Chapter

All Chapter Sexual Assault Prevention session. Team up with a sorority and have someone from the campus health/wellness/counseling center talk about what sexual assault is, why it happens, how to stop it, and how to assist a survivor. Follow up the session with a non-alcoholic mixer event with the participants.

Work with the local fire department to teach brothers how to properly use and maintain a fire extinguisher and put out a fire.

Working with Today’s College Students

Sigma Nu Leadership conference

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

We all need refreshers. We forget things. We miss important details. Sometimes we need to be retrained. Life happens. For alumni interested in working with Sigma Nu collegians, this is no exception.

Consider Division Commander Jamison Keller’s (Cal State San Bernardino) input on alumni who want to work with their chapter. “A lot of alumni think that it is the same as it was when they were collegians. In reality, it’s totally different,” said Keller when asked about his advising experience. From taking on massive amounts of student debt to norms of communication, student life has changed in ways that many older alumni may not realize.

Many alumni advisors who want to help a new generation of college students may find themselves in a similar position to what Keller described. To help alumni better understand today’s students and thus advise them more effectively, we have identified several areas we hope will assist collegians and alumni advisors forge stronger relationships.

Student Debt

College Cost

In February, Americans had over $1 trillion in student debt. Image courtesy of

One of the major factors affecting the current generation of college students is debt. As of February, 2014, American’s have over $1 trillion in student loan debt. What’s more, the current generation of college students (millennials) are bearing a large part of this load.

In a study conducted by Wells Fargo, over half of 1,414 students surveyed had used student loans to finance their educations. Additionally, a 2011 report from the Department of Labor and Statistics said that the average debt load for the class of 2010 was $25,250 per graduate. An especially tricky and unique aspect of student loan debt is that it can’t be forgiven in bankruptcy.

What’s more, working through college probably doesn’t cover nearly as much as it used to. The steadily rising cost of college has created a situation that is challenging to overcome without financial support from parents or taking out substantial loans.

Campus Technology

While it has become a truism to say that technology has advanced in the past several generations, we won’t deny the impact and pervasiveness of these changes. Most pronouncedly, technological change has occurred through social media, which has become a mainstay on college campuses.

Graduation Selfie

Increasingly, mobile-only social media platforms are being used by college students. Image courtesy of College of Dupage Newsroom.

Facebook, launched in 2004, is still widely prevalent with college students, but that may be changing. A 2013 survey conducted by Noel-Levitz, a higher education consultant firm, recorded that 67% of college students use Facebook, down 12% from the previous year.

Instead of Facebook, many college students are now turning to mobile-friendly social media apps such as Snapchat and Instagram. In a November, 2013 article, CNET reported that Snapchat users now upload more photos per day than Facebook users.

Granted, the services do not function the same way, but the statistic is still telling. Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter all favor mobile use and Snapchat and Instagram are only useable through smartphones. With these social media services primarily used through smartphones, students are increasingly turning away from desktop computers and towards smartphones.

Other social media services such as Yik Yak allow students to post anonymously to a local newsfeed that is only viewable by individuals on a certain campus. The app has caused controversy and in some cases resulted in anonymous threats causing campuses to shut down.


As Division Commander Chris Graham (Lamar/Stephen F. Austin) recently pointed out, communication methods have changed significantly in the past several decades among advisors and students. In Graham’s view, the abundance of communication methods has actually made it more difficult for advisors and collegians to connect.

“I call him and it goes straight to voicemail. I send him an email he never answers, but it’s because he’s used to texting,” said Graham, describing an interaction with a collegiate member. “That’s the communication norm that has been established for him.”

An alumnus used to interacting through phone or email may need to redefine the communication relationship with collegiate members. For Graham, it is essential that the advisor and collegiate member settle on a communication method that works for both parties.

Of course, with the greater access to new communication technology, it can also allow for a unique structuring of an alumni advisory board. Jamison Keller described how AABs can use technology to diversify their memberships. “With Skype or Google+ people can video chat and have a similar experience to being physically present.”

And for the millennials reading: pick up the phone — it’s still how business gets done.

Today’s collegiate Sigma Nus need their alumni brothers more than ever.

Standards and Programs Have Changed

In many ways, Sigma Nu has adapted to continue pursuit of its mission and to shore up problem areas.

One such example is the adoption of the Risk Reduction Policy and Guidelines (RRP&G). Adopted during the 1980s, the RRP&G has changed over time to regulate the activities of chapters in certain key ways. Some of the most noticeable changes have included limiting the number of people who can attend chapter socials (the member to guest ratio is 2:1), outlawing kegs and other centrally located sources of alcohol, and forbidding chapters from pooling funds for the purchase of alcohol.

Alumni who are not familiar with the RRP&G would do well to review the policy and guidelines, especially considering that chapters are expected to adhere by the policy at all times. Equally important for alumni who graduated before 1980 is seeking to understand the events that led to this intersection of liability and insurance coverage.

Another new addition is the Fraternity’s LEAD Program. Unveiled in 1988, LEAD has been the Fraternity’s premier ethical leadership development program for collegiate members for over two and a half decades.

Composed of four Phases, LEAD is designed to help assist collegiate Sigma Nus in their development as members. Chapters need help implementing the program and becoming a guest facilitator is one of the best ways to help.

Lastly, in 2000, the Fraternity set out to develop a set of minimum standards for chapter performance. The minimum standards that were developed became known as the Pursuit of Excellence Program. Since developing the original Pursuit of Excellence Program, the Fraternity revised it in 2006 to ensure that each chapter was driven to pursue the Fraternity’s vision of “Excelling with Honor.” Each chapter now gets annual feedback on its submission and the program is designed to ensure that the highest performing chapters are eligible for the Rock Chapter Award.

What’s Your Mindset?

Every year, Ron Nief and Tom McBride — faculty and staff of Benoit College — publish a “mindset list” of the incoming freshman class. The list explains what the current freshman class has experienced in their young lives and always includes some surprising points for older readers. Some noteworthy examples from this year’s list include, “The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle,” and “Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking.” It is a fascinating list and worth reading.

In commenting on changes that students have undergone, Nief and McBride are quite convinced in the stability of at least a few areas. “Meanwhile, the goals of education — knowledge, perspective, judgment, and wisdom — remain the same,” they said in article about the 2018 list.

The same could be said for Sigma Nu and its members. No matter how much its collegiate members, policies, or campuses may change, Sigma Nus will always remain committed to excelling with honor and living by the values of the Creed. Today’s collegiate Sigma Nus need their alumni brothers more than ever, especially those who will abide by the values of Love, Honor, and Truth. Don’t let generational differences diminish a passion to help today’s collegiate brothers.

Sigma Nu Leadership conference

My Last Year, Your Next Year

Henry Ellison_landscape crop

By Henry Ellison (Washington University in Saint Louis)

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Henry Ellison (Washington University in Saint Louis) serves as one of our collegiate leaders on the Fraternity’s board of directors. Each year, four outstanding collegiate leaders like Joey are appointed to serve a one-year term on Sigma Nu’s High Council (board of directors). The 2015 appointment application will be released soon with notification sent via email to all collegiate members. Initial questions about the Collegiate Grand Councilman position may be directed to: For another account about the Collegiate Grand Councilman experience, check out Joey Thomas’ guest post. The Collegiate Grand Councilman application can be found here.

You have nothing to lose in applying, and yet gain the opportunity to spend a year in the single most amazing and unique position available to collegians of the Legion of Honor.

About a year ago, I received an email that I assumed to be spam and deleted immediately. Well, almost. Luckily I hesitated and gave it a quick read (this would be a pretty short article had I not). I realized quickly that the email was not spam, but I still had no idea that it would lead to what has easily been the most unique, significant leadership experience of my life.

Sent from the Executive Director (I had no idea what that meant at the time), the email recommended I apply to the High Council (I had even less of an idea what that meant). I received the email late into my first semester as Commander of my chapter because I was registered to attend College of Chapters. Woefully ignorant about the structure of the national fraternity, I took the opportunity to do some quick research into what the email actually meant.

I was amazed and excited by what I found. The High Council, the highest power within the national fraternity when Grand Chapter is not in session, functionally the board of directors, had a place for collegians? I would have an opportunity to influence policy at the national level, as well as get a privileged inside look at how the national fraternity operates? I immediately started my application, took the next few days to draft it, and sent it in.

Tom Bymark and Tim Huffmyer_CofC 2013

Grand Treasurer Tim Huffmyer (Michigan State) working with past Collegiate Grand Councilman Tom Bymark (Minnesota) during a High Council meeting.

I remember so clearly first seeing the members of the Council during the interview at College of Chapters. Sitting across from me, asking me questions were some of the most accomplished and impressive Sigma Nu alumni on the planet. These men all had tremendous success in their careers, as well as their personal lives, and still took time to lead Sigma Nu, a responsibility they took on as volunteers. Simply put I was star struck, and then even more so floored when my name was announced over the speakers at the final dinner.

Since that night, my experience as a Collegiate Grand Councilman has been more than I ever could have imagined. I know that I have grown more in my abilities and style as a leader here than I have as a result of any other position. I have made amazing connections with accomplished industry leaders. I have gained a deep understanding of and appreciation for the structure of the national Fraternity, and am excited by the long-term leadership that we are so lucky to have, between Brad Beacham and the rest of the staff team. I  have also been able to influence national policy using my perspective at a smaller, private university to ensure that our policy nowhere discriminates unfairly against any of our chapters.

Then Regent Charlie Eitel even honored me with a letter of recommendation for medical school. Finally, I have met some truly remarkable people that I will stay in touch with forever, especially the three other collegians that have served with me this year.

I whole-heartedly recommend that any collegian reading this with the opportunity to apply to the High Council for the following year do so. It has been an absolute honor for me, and between the people, the opportunity to get an inside look at the Fraternity, and the ability to shape how the Fraternity functions, it is an experience from which anyone would benefit.

Becoming A Collegiate Grand Councilman


Joey Thomas_Epsilon Mu_Clarkson_Fall 2014 (2)

By Joey Thomas (Butler)

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Joey Thomas (Butler) serves as one of our collegiate leaders on the Fraternity’s board of directors. Each year, four outstanding collegiate leaders like Joey are appointed to serve a one-year term on Sigma Nu’s High Council (board of directors). The 2015 appointment application will be released soon with notification sent via email to all collegiate members. Initial questions about the Collegiate Grand Councilman position may be directed to: For another account about the Collegiate Grand Councilman experience, check out Henry Ellison’s guest post. The Collegiate Grand Councilman application can be found here.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill

As my plane landed in Tucson, Arizona, the feelings of appreciation, anxiety, and excitement began to overwhelm me, and simultaneously, Thursday, April 24, 2014 became a day I will never forget. It was that day that I had the utmost pleasure of finally meeting, in-person, the seven alumni members of the Sigma Nu High Council as one of four Collegiate Grand Councilmen. Memories of the monthly conference calls and brief run-ins at the 2013 College of Chapters ran through my head, but until this day, I could hardly compare myself with the prestigious men of the High Council. As I looked through the agenda for the weekend-long meeting, I recognized the names of Charlie Eitel, Joe Francis, and Lee Perrett. In my mind, there was a stark contrast between us. They are respected, dedicated, and successful. They have proven their worth to not only this great Fraternity but also in their professional and personal lives. To them, I could easily be seen as a lowly college kid from Butler University, who happened to stumble into a successful Sigma Nu chapter and be elected Commander. But they did not. In fact, they often seemed more impressed with the four of us collegians than we were of them.

As we gathered for dinner, I began to feel more at ease. It was at this point of relaxation that Regent Eitel asked each collegian to stand and “say a few words.” Immediately, the nerves returned. What would I say? Vice Regent John Hearn advised me to say something sooner rather than later, and as I stood to speak; I recognized that everyone at the table stopped eating and began to listen. This became the theme throughout the year. The alumni members of the High Council have continued to listen to my opinion, and in doing so, these brothers have taught me many valuable lessons.

High Council_66th GC

The High Council of Sigma Nu at the 66th Grand Chapter in Nashville, Tenn. The Council is made up of seven alumni members and four collegiate members.

After being elected Commander of the Epsilon Mu Chapter, I was immediately dubbed a leader. Throughout the year, I learned many lessons – most of them through my own failures. By the end of my term, I felt that I had finally earned this title. However, Executive Director Brad Beacham, and past Regent Charlie Eitel have taught me many more important lessons about effective leadership. As a Collegiate Grand Councilman, I have been able to witness a high level of respect and admiration for individuals and their opinions. Due to their dedication and ethical leadership, Sigma Nu has evolved into a well-oiled machine.

These alumni leaders have exemplified the values of our organization, and they demonstrate what it truly means to live by our values of Love, Honor, and Truth each and every day. Love is shown in the authentic friendships between all members of the High Council. Truth is uniquely manifested at each meeting as we discuss past experiences and openly communicate our opinions about the future of our organization. Lastly, Honor guides our every action.

I have had the privilege to stand among these inspirational alumni leaders to offer genuine insight into the current collegiate experience. By way of our principles, my voice is heard with clarity and significance. Our success does not come by simple fortune, but rather by a dedication to respect, moral rectitude, and the ability to listen to our fellow brothers. It has been an absolute honor to be a part of the High Council, to learn from the exceptional example set forth by these men, and most importantly to forward the ideals of our Fraternity for all members.


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