Thursday, October 16, 2014
Why Build a Rock Chapter?
"Fraternity expansion is the process whereby a fraternity colony, or provisional chapter, is established at a college/university campus. "Colonization" occurs when a chapter had never before existed on campus, whereas "recolonization" occurs when a dormant or closed chapter is re-established on campus.
Sigma Nu's expansion motto is "Building Rock Chapters." A Rock Chapter in Sigma Nu Fraternity is, by definition, one of the finest fraternities at its host institution and one of the finest fraternity chapters across the North American continent. The intent of our expansion program on every campus is to lay the strong foundation upon which a Rock Chapter can be built.
Expansion can be a long and challenging process and is not necessarily for every campus. However, it can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students on those campuses where Sigma Nu expands."
The above three paragraphs are taken directly off the Sigma Nu Fraternity website and summarizes Sigma Nu’s expansion policy. I have talked to and debated this issue with many alumni. For 50 years we operated as a Sigma Nu chapter. We were never a rock chapter. We have many incredibly successful alumni. Our brotherhood was second to none. Why is it important to have a Rock Chapter?
The effort needed to re-colonize a chapter is huge. The Universities now expect their Greek Organizations to be laced with super powers. Like everything on a University campus, every year the bar gets set higher and higher. What we strove for and saw as incredibly successful in the past doesn’t even meet “Gold” standards today. Attending periodic meetings on campus with Alumni and Greek Advisers, listening to what is expected and reviewing the accreditation evaluations, I’ve become very aware of the standards today’s fraternities are expected to meet and encouraged to exceed.
This is why our National Organization has invested so heavily in developing the resources needed for a successful “Rock” chapter. They have remodeled the modern fraternity organization that looks nothing like what many of us grew up with:
1. The Chapter Advisor model, where a chapter has one Alumni Advisor they look to for all their guidance and advice, does not work.
2. The finances are more complicated than many small businesses.
3. You not only need to get to know all your pledge brothers, actives and some alumni, you’re expected to interact with the whole Greek community. Now, I’m not talking about having “Joints” with Sororities either, we’re talking about getting together with other Fraternities and Sororities to do major events together, i.e., philanthropies, community service, leadership seminars, risk management seminars.
4. You must be active on campus. Involvement with campus organizations is required.
These are all part of the Greek organization of today’s college campus.
To take a group of college students with common ideals is just not enough. Throwing a group of students together and saying organize your chapter and here is what is expected of you doesn’t work. There has to be an organized plan put together that is well thought out and organized to make sense for students to be able to see some value and worth in what they are being asked to do.
The demands of a college student today are so overwhelming there has to be true value and worth when looking at adding a whole new dimension to the puzzle.
Sigma Nu Fraternity has invested millions of dollars and thousands of man hours in putting programs together to give our chapters the best fighting chance to become the most respected and successful chapters on University campuses across our nation.
Part of this whole process, maybe the most critical part, is a strong and active Alumni Organization. This is the Rock to building Rock Chapters. The only way this plan works is with involved Alumni who are willing to contribute a few hours, once a month to guide and advise our chapter.
The social Fraternity that strives to have the best parties on campus and attract the best Sororities does not have any chance of surviving. Students want and expect more today. In a recent survey asking the question to incoming freshmen that have gone through rush and not joined a Fraternity, why did you not join a Fraternity? The answer was overwhelmingly, they just party too much.
If you really dig deep down into your memory bank, do you remember the most important reason you joined Sigma Nu? Yes, I’m sure it started as a great place to find a party. You had some incredible (or maybe you can’t remember) party memories. I was social chairman one spring semester. I remember the pressure. Everyone is looking to you for the time of their life. Each month had to top the last. But what I really joined Sigma Nu for were the ideals we all strive to live by. We had a great time, but without those ideals it would have just been a bunch of hollow events.
Getting back to my question, building a rock chapter is OUR legacy to Eta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity. I remember all too well the awful emptiness in the pit of my stomach as the Executive Director informed us that the High Council had decided to Suspend Eta Kappa Chapter. The sad, heart-wrenching feeling as Eta Kappa - San Diego State University scrolled across the screen at Grand Chapter, listing the suspended chapters during the prior biennium.
You need to be passionate about Sigma Nu and want to leave this legacy for all those coming after us and before us.