Category Archives: LEAD

Serving on the Educational Foundation Board of Directors is the Ultimate Leadership Development Experience

By Garrett Oberst (Butler)

Like many other collegiate members my age, I had no idea what the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation was a year ago. I didn’t know about the purpose of the Foundation or that it would change my life and instill in me the value of commitment to the Fraternity throughout my entire life.

My experience with Sigma Nu Educational Foundation began with what seemed like an accident. I applied to be a Collegiate Grand Councilman in the fall of 2014 thinking it was the only opportunity I had to gain leadership experience at the national level. To my surprise, I received a call from Joe Gillman, past Regent and chairman of the Foundation at the time. He told me of a new position with the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation, a position that I and Mark Nelson from Northwestern would be the first to hold.

While I enthusiastically accepted the offer to serve on the Foundation board of directors, I was hesitant and a little unsure of what was to come next. I had essentially just accepted a position with an organization I knew little about.

As I would soon learn, the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation grants the General Fraternity the funds they need to pursue these endeavors and enhances our fraternal experience both as collegians and members of the alumni chapter. Your scholarship, your LEAD sessions, and in many cases your chapter home, are all a result of the Foundation’s core purpose. If you have seen the beautiful Headquarters shrine, it is also a result of the Foundation’s hard work.

As collegiate members of the board, Mark Nelson and I are both current members of the awareness committee tasked with spreading the message of the Foundation to both alumni and active members. While our board is full of past Regents, Collegiate Grand Councilmen, and Alpha Chapter Affiliates, my opinion is valued as much as anyone else’s, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

My growth throughout this experience has been tremendous. I have gained insight into the strategic planning process and have begun to understand how a board of directors develops a vision for an organization. I have also had the opportunity to network with many successful individuals that serve on the Foundation board. Most importantly, this experience has inspired me to continue to commit my time, my talent, and my treasures to the Foundation for years to come because I now realize its importance.

I encourage you to apply to be a collegiate member of the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors. While right now you may be unclear as to what you will be doing, I promise you can expect to grow from this experience more than you could ever imagine. More importantly than that, you will play a vital role in the development in the Foundation’s strategic planning in the years to come.

Garrett Oberst


Innovative LEAD Ideas (Part 1)

Sigma Nu Leadership conference

By Scott Smith (Central Arkansas)

Innovation [in-uhvey-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.

2014 College of Chapters Day 1 Recap

Collegians and alumni braved blizzards and endure long travel days to arrive in time for the beginning of the 2014 College of Chapters in Roanoke, Va. Below we recap Day 1 in a series of 15 photos.

All photos by David Hungate/Dominion Images.

1. Staff member Bill Morosco hands registration materials to a new Commander at the registration area. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

2. Commanders wait to check in and pick up participant materials. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

3. Faculty members attend a pre-conference meeting to review curriculum and make final preparations before collegians arrive in Roanoke. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

4. A collegian talks with members of the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation staff. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

5. Participants fill their plates in the buffet line after a long travel day. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

6. Staff member Todd Denson leaves the staff office for the Ritual rehearsal. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

7. Chris Graham recites the long Creed from memory during the opening session. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

8. Regent Charlie Eitel welcomes students and faculty members to the 2014 College of Chapters. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

9. Staff member Spencer Montgomery facilitates a core session on visionary leadership. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

10. Members of the High Council – Sigma Nu’s elected board of directors – sing the national anthem during the opening session. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

11. Regent-Elect Joe Francis introduces his chapter brother from Epsilon Epsilon, Regent Charlie Eitel. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

12. The Ritual team prepares for the opening ceremony. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

13. A Division Commander badge hangs from a blazer in the staff office. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

14. Grand Chaplain Maury Gaston delivers a poetic invocation during the opening ceremony. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

15. Past Regent and SNEF Board Chairman Joe Gilman promotes a student giving campaign for the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation. Sigma Nu Leadership conference

New Group Learning Environment Mirrors Fraternity Leadership Development Programs

Faculty member Dave Mainella works with chapter presidents during the 2012 College of Chapters in St. Louis.

GOOD magazine has a new story up about an intriguing program at Penn State that aims to provide professional mentoring for college students all living in the same house:

Imagine as many as 60 entrepreneurial college students living under a single roof and being mentored by successful professionals in their chosen fields. That’s the idea behind a social living project called in State College, Pennsylvania.

Working with more than 50 student interns from Penn State, New Leaf built the framework that will serve as a model for other universities interested in the project: a two-year program for juniors and seniors that includes a semester of training, the opportunity to lead a semester-long project, a summer internship, and a personal mentor—plus a plethora of professional networking options in-house.

It sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? What are some ways fraternities could collaborate with GOOD or on a similar project?

There’s a session for that

This post is part of a larger series to address the most common myths, misconceptions, and excuses that chapters and members have regarding the LEAD Program.  Follow the entire conversation and get caught up on each of the issues we are addressing by clicking here.

15.      Got LEAD? There’s a session for that.

Everyone is looking for tools to make life easier.  What’s out there that can make this faster, more efficient or effective, and simplify my life?

Fraternity is no different.

Why reinvent the wheel or come up with our own tools when a tested one already exists?

LEAD is a proven effective tool for improving individual members and chapters.

Here are some examples of common chapter issues and the related LEAD sessions that address them.

  • Need to spice up meetings, LEAD sessions, or other events.  Want help in introducing groups to one another.  Looking for retreat activity ideas.

Next time you run into a problem, want to address an issue, or are looking to implement change, ask yourself, “is there a LEAD session for that?”  Chances are very good that there is.

LEAD answers the “why”

This post is part of a larger series to address the most common myths, misconceptions, and excuses that chapters and members have regarding the LEAD Program.  Follow the entire conversation and get caught up on each of the issues we are addressing by clicking here.

 Myth 14.      LEAD covers very basic information

In order to dispel this myth we must first have a common understanding of what exactly is considered “basic information.”

Basic information is intuitive and common knowledge (e.g. “the sky is blue”).

Topics such as leadership, ethics, and values may be considered as common knowledge.

However, LEAD takes an in-depth look at these topics and educates the participant to have a deeper understanding. When talking about basic information it just skims the surface while LEAD takes you to the next level.

Going in depth is what LEAD is based upon.

LEAD gives you the ability to answer the why.

Why am I a leader?

Why do I want to live a value-based life?

Why is it important to know how to work in a group?

How can I create effective change?

It gives individuals the tools and resources to teach others beyond the basics.

Basic information is the little things everyone can comprehend. LEAD paints the big picture for a participant to be able to articulate the importance of concepts like ethics, values, and leadership.

Using LEAD is your choice

LEAD Myths & Misconceptions – Part 13

This post is part of a larger series to address the most common myths, misconceptions, and excuses that chapters and members have regarding the LEAD Program.  Follow the entire conversation and get caught up on each of the issues we are addressing by clicking here.

Myth  13.      LEAD is mandatory

If I don’t do LEAD does that mean I’m not a member of Sigma Nu? No.

If my chapter doesn’t do LEAD will we be closed? No.

Can LEAD have a negative impact on me? No.

LEAD was designed to better all our members and make them better men. To give our members the means to be successful throughout college and long there after.

Not participating in LEAD doesn’t mean that you aren’t a member but it very likely means that you didn’t get the full experience of what Sigma Nu is about.

Sigma Nu highly encourages all of its members to participate in LEAD because it can help develop every member to be a better person. Individually it is not mandatory in any way but definitely highly encouraged.

As a chapter it’s important to understand that although you won’t be shut down for not utilizing LEAD it can greatly affect your performance in Pursuit of Excellence. To be an excellent chapter means that the chapter operates at a very high level. Without utilizing what LEAD can offer and what our members pay for means that the chapter is obviously not operating anywhere near this level.

Do you want to be excellent? DO LEAD.