Monday, October 27, 2014

Tulane University - Can you keep up with Schiffman?

Jeff Schiffman is a Tulane SigEp alum and a former Chapter Counselor.

Thanks to Bill Hydrick for passing the article along

Tulane University - Can you keep up with Schiffman?

While some people’s motto is “don’t sweat the small stuff,” Jeff Schiffman’s motto is simply “ SWEAT!” 

Jeff Schiffman
Jeff Schiffman says his spinning class called RIDE “isn’t just about your body; it’s about your brain and your heart.” (Photo from Romney Pilates Center)
As the senior associate director of admission at Tulane University, his schedule takes him all over the world recruiting students. While life on the road can make it difficult to maintain any schedule, Schiffman is dedicated to staying healthy and having fun. 

After he took a spinning class in Los Angeles a few years ago, he was immediately hooked. This led Schiffman to start teaching his own class, a high-energy, full-body workout called RIDE, at Romney Pilates Center in New Orleans. The maxim of his class might be “think with your whole body” but with his musically themed sessions, ranging from ’80s to Beyoncé to Glee, his patrons often forget to think and just have fun. 

“You’ll leave my class covered in sweat,” Schiffman promises, “but it’s my hope with an incredibly positive feeling. RIDE isn’t just about your body; it’s about your brain and your heart.”

In fact, most of Schiffman’s activities in New Orleans center around body, brain and heart, and getting others into the same. Aside from doing triathlons all over the Gulf South, he participates in a boot camp in Audubon Park with Office of Admission staff. 

Through Outreach Tulane, Schiffman started his involvement with Youth Run NOLA, an organization that works to empower underserved students in the New Orleans area by training them to run races like the Crescent City Classic and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. 

Schiffman still runs with the same group of students he started with four years ago. And last month he helped Romney Pilates organize a Pride Ride for members of the LGBT community, which had a great turnout from Tulane students and staff.  

In everything he does, Schiffman puts his mind, heart and sweat all in to help others get the most out of theirs.

SigEp CA BB (U. of San Diego) 2014 Fall Rush Video

USD Sigma Phi Epsilon Fall - 2014 Rush Video from USD Sigma Phi Epsilon on Vimeo.

GA Alpha (Georgia Tech) 2014 Fall Rush Video

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lets Change Fraternity Culture Regarding Sexual Assault

As an organization SigEp has focused on the concept of "Sound Mind; Sound Body" for the last several years. That is now part of our core. Our academic progress across all chapters has been amazing since grades became something we measure. SigEp has also made great strides in the areas of diversity and inclusion is a relatively short time.

Now it's time for SigEp as an organization to address another negative stereotype about "Frat Boys" - sexual assault. And by "address" I mean more than scary stories in a risk management presentation.

We need to remember that "Virtue" is also a Cardinal Principle.We are instructed to "behave with decency as befits the day." Even - perhaps especially - when alcohol is involved. Lets work toward actively promoting Virtue as a SigEp quality.

How shall we move toward a culture that does not accept this type of behavior? Can we consciously build an atmosphere in out chapters where "this is NOT what SigEp does" is communicated from the national level, to the local volunteer level, to chapter leadership, and to the members? I asked these questions at the Ft. Worth "Volunteer Drive-In Training" session last week. The response I got was "You are the word junky, How would you craft the message?"

Fair enough. If you complain you get to volunteer. So here is what I think:
  • From the top down, the message about sexual assault should be "This is not accepted SigEp behavior." A balanced man does not assault his date, or his 'new friend', "I plead drunken stupor" is not an excuse. 
  • It's no longer 'cool' to slut-shame someones daughter.  
  • If fighting is a standards board offence, then sexual assault belongs there too. Yes, that would mean you could get penalized or even kicked out. 
  • We get lots of scary cases and 'what ifs' during the inevitable Sexual assault portion of risk management presentations. How about making a positive case for acting like a gentleman? Add more "act like this" to all the "don't do that."
  • Find a way to measure and reward positive behavior. This could be tough since we are talking more about the absence of bad actions, but maybe some of the professionals could suggest metrics.
That should be enough to get the discussion started. Lets hear from you now. Pro, con, too far out, not drastic enough? Have at it.

Here is a link to the article that had the video attached:
Fraternity Culture Linked To College Sexual Assault Problem | KPBS:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Chapter Size and the "Dunbar Number"

I saw this article in "The New Yorker" and it  got me thinking about chapter size and how 'effective' the college fraternity experience is. The Dunbar number? Generally speaking it is the number of people you call "friends". The article goes into it with more nuance, but lets call it 150 for now.

For years I have maintained (based only on anecdotal observation) that the minimum size of a good chapter is 50 men. Fewer that that and the chapter struggles to fill the operational positions for exec and the support areas.There is also difficulty managing finances (with the inevitable slow- and non-payers). and even fielding competitive intramural teams.

In reading this article I am led to consider whether there is an upward limit as well. Can you really have a full-on 'brotherhood' experience with more than 150 fellow chapter members? Perhaps there s a risk that a 150+ sized chapter will effectively split into multiple "sub-chapters" - groups who stick together and have independent agendas, even to the detriment of stated overall chapter goals and strategic vision. I know there are some 200+ member chapters. How do you keep it real?

Take a look at the article and share your experience and thoughts about it. Did you belong to a large "Sigma Phi Everyone" chapter, or a large chapter of another fraternity? How well did the experience work out. Was your chapter a smaller (100 or less) size? How effectively did you get to know all your brothers and did you work well together?

I'm not purposely leaving out sororities either. However, I suspect that there will be differences based on the presence or absence of a "Y" chromosome. I'd like to hear about it if only to show the contrast. Too many degrees of freedom and the examination gets unwieldy for this non-social scientist.

Lets hear your viewpoint. Comment either on the blog, Google+, or Facebook. I am hoping for some interesting discussion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 27 / 2014, 08 – 15 SEP


During the U.S. naval blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, who was the Secretary of the Navy? A SigEp Patriot, that’s who! 

In addition to that Brother, the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) honors and remembers 19 SigEp Patriots from nearly as many chapters, including one brother who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II.

In addition to the significant days in our history during this week, it is very important to remember that September is Suicide Awareness Month. Considering making a donation to where two-time Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran and Michigan Eta Brother Captain Justin Fitch, U.S. Army is highlighted speaking to the fact that 22 veterans a day commit suicide.

Please note the upcoming memorial for the North Carolina Beta brother who recently passed away.

09 SEP 1942
Bernard Kumo entered the U.S. Navy on this date. We found his name in an edition of The Journal, however the national headquarters has “Kumko” as his last name. Bernard became a brother at Virginia Eta at the conclusion of his military service, and his return to the University of Virginia where he graduated with the Class of ‘44.

08 SEP 1944
World War II Veteran and Kansas Gamma Brother Second Lieutenant Raymond L. Childers, U.S. Army was released from the military on this date after about 15 months of service.

13 SEP 1944
World War II Veteran and UT Alpha Brother Lieutenant Paul Pratt Reeder, U.S. Navy made the ultimate sacrifice on this date. Brother Reeder was a pilot with VT-22 off of the USS Cowpens (CVL-25) when he was killed in action when his TBM-1C (Avenger) crashed during the bombing of Negros Island, The Philippines. 

He entered the Naval Air Corps in OCT 1941, and was commissioned JUL 1942 in Corpus Christi, TX. Before he was killed Paul had participated in four major battles against the Japanese.

Brother Reeder was laid to rest with military honors at Smithfield City Cemetery in Smithfield, UT, and respect can be paid to him there at Plot C-41-10.

Friday, September 12, 2014

We Remember SigEp Patriots

[My apologies for the late post. This was scheduled to post at 8:30am East Coast Time yesterday - about 20 minutes prior to when the first plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001]


The SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) honors the lives, accomplishments and sacrifices of the following Brothers by remembering them on the 13th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. May they rest in peace.

SigEp Patriots Killed in Action Since 9/11:
Texas Rho Brother Kim Orlando, KIA: 16 OCT 2003, Karbala, Iraq
Georgia Delta Brother Bradley “Dad” Arms, KIA: 19 NOV 2004, Al Anbar Province, Iraq
New York Eta Brother Jacob “Puck” Pfister, KIA: 19 APR 2005, Baghdad, Iraq
Georgia Delta Brother Noah Harris, KIA: 18 JUN 2005, Baqubah, Iraq
Florida Epsilon Brother William Wood, KIA: 27 OCT 2005, Baghdad, Iraq
Louisiana Delta Brother Matthew Barnes, KIA: 14 FEB 2006, Qa’im, Iraq
Ohio Kappa Brother Norman Tollett, KIA: 28 APR 2007, Baghdad, Iraq
Tennessee Theta Brother Jonathan Dozier, KIA: 09 JAN 2008, Sinsil, Iraq
Tennessee Kappa Brother Israel “Izzy” O’Bryan, KIA: 11 JUN 2010, Jalula, Iraq
Tennessee Eta Brother Joshua Lawrence, KIA: 08 OCT 2011, Kandahar City, Afghanistan

The following SigEp Patriots were also killed while in the service of our country overseas since the start of the global war on terrorism:
Tennessee Theta Brother Kenneth Ballard, 30 MAY 2004, Iraq
Tennessee Alpha Brother Joseph “Trane” McCloud, 04 DEC 2006, Iraq

SPP pledges that these men and their service will always be remembered.

Anyone interested in additional information about these brave men please drop me an email.

Fraternally and Respectfully,

Brother Ed Jones, NY Eta '96
Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy Reserve
Founder, SigEp Patriots Project

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 26 / 2014, 01 – 07 SEP


The first day of this week marked the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II, a war that would shape the world. The SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) works tirelessly to learn about all of our military brothers, but takes particular interest in the WWII patriots as the VA says they are dying at the rate of 1000 a day. Obituaries are one way to learn about a person. However, I can’t possibly articulate the loss we experience if we fail to learn something about these men and their service from them while they are still alive. A shout out to the men of the California Pi chapter who get it, and are working with the Library of Congress’ Veteran’s History Project to interview veterans living near Stanford University.
WWI U.S. Army
Ambulance Service Patch

01 SEP 1918
This marks the date New Hampshire Alpha Brother Private First Class Charles E. Tayntor, U.S. Army Ambulance Service, Army Medical Corps sailed for France for his World War I service in Europe.

05 SEP 1919
World War I Veteran and Ohio Gamma Brother Captain Robert L. Tavenner, U.S. Army completed his service in Europe with the American Expeditionary Force on this date.

01 SEP 1942
On this date, the same year he became a SigEp, Alabama Alpha Brother William H. Weldon joined the U.S. Navy.

05 SEP 1942
A graduate of the University of Delaware (Class of ’34), Delaware Alpha Brother S. Clifford Dunn entered the Army on this date.

05 SEP 1944
Ohio Epsilon Brother Haldean S. Lindsey, member of the Class of ’34 at Ohio Wesleyan, entered the service of the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps on this date.

05 SEP 1945
Discharged on this date after nearly 42 months of service was World War II Veteran and District of Columbia Alpha Brother Staff Sergeant Logan P. Crossland, U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC).

07 SEP 1956
A SigEp Patriot made aviation history on this date.

Bell X-2
Photo Credit Wikipedia

Friday, August 29, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 25 / 2014, 25 – 31 AUG


This week the SigEp Patriots Project honors and remembers 20 brothers-in-arms from chapters across the country, including the only Founding Father with military service.

29 AUG 1918
Brother Kerfoot
Photo credit
On this date, Virginia Alpha Brother & Sigma Phi Epsilon Founding Father Chaplain (First Lieutenant) Franklin Webb Kerfoot, U.S. Army Chaplain Corps was killed in a collision of an automobile and a train on the Southern Railway in Chatham, Virginia. Brother Kerfoot had temporarily returned home from Newport News, VA where he was serving as a Baptist chaplain working among the soldiers departing overseas.

He was Class of 1902 at Richmond College and later attended Crozer Theological Seminary. At his memorial service he was remembered as “the most original preacher of his time” and it was stated that God took him to welcome the Soldiers who had “passed on” while on the battlefield.

Respect can be paid to Founding Father Kerfoot at Green Hill Cemetery in Berryville, VA.

30 AUG 1941
Brother Hissem
Just about nine weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Illinois Alpha Brother Joseph M. Hissem received his commission as an Ensign, U.S. Navy Reserve on this date. The Navy trained him to fly and just nine months later he would find himself in the middle of the Battle of Midway – the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

Was he the only SigEp Patriot there? It is unlikely, but he is the only one SPP has found so far. We will keep looking.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 24 / 2014, 18 – 24 AUG

“It may be taken as our position, and the basis of our system, that every man who enjoys the protection of a free government owes not only a portion of his property but even of his personal services in defense of it.” ~ George Washington


Greetings from Afghanistan! This week, the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) is honored and remember the actions, accomplishments and sacrifices of 21 SigEp Patriots, including two chapter founding fathers, a prisoner of war, and some great news!


19 AUG 1942
On this date in Toledo, Ohio class of ’35 graduate of Ohio Northern University, Ohio Alpha Brother Gerald W. Fling, entered the U.S. Army as a Private and joined the Army Corps of Engineers.

20 AUG 1942
Penn State graduate of the class of ’37, Pennsylvania Eta Brother Jay H. Albere, joined the U.S. Army Air Corps on this date.

21 AUG 1942
New Jersey Alpha Brother Adelphos H. Peters, Class of ’21 at Stevens Institute of Technology, entered the U.S. Navy Reserve on this date. He was originally initiated in to Phi Kappa Pi at Stevens in 1919, and is listed as a charter member of Theta Upsilon Omega when it took over the chapter in 1924. Adelphos became our brother when SigEp established NJ Alpha in 1938.

U.S. Navy photo of USS Tilefish (SS-307)
23 AUG 1944
Following his submarine training, World War II Veteran and Utah Alpha Brother Ensign Karl E. Ward, U.S. Navy reported to USS Tilefish (SS-307) stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Brother Ward joined the Navy in ’42 and served aboard the destroyer USS Boyd (DD-544) until MAR 1944 when he received orders to submarine school in preparation for his assignment aboard Tilefish.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 23 / 2014, 04 – 10 AUG


As I sit here on a U.S. camp in Afghanistan, I recall the other day where I was listening to the stories of patriotic Americans who served at this station before me. It served as a reminder as to why I am involved with the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) - simply, I believe the brothers who serve/served have stories that need to be told, and that their selfless service to the country needs to be remembered. 

Someone has to tell their story, and SPP looks forward to continuing to do so.

This week, SPP honors, remembers and celebrates the lives, accomplishments and sacrifices of a record 32 SigEp Patriots from 27 chapters serving since World War I, including one brother who was killed in action in Vietnam.

05 AUG 1917
The Ohio State University Class of ’08 graduate and Ohio Gamma Brother Robert L. Tavenner was commissioned an infantry Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army National Guard (Ohio) on this date.

07 AUG 1941
Four months to the day when the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor, Pennsylvania Mu Brother Joseph M. Becker entered the U.S. Navy.

04 AUG 1943
On this date, University of Washington Class of ’39 graduate and Washington Beta Brother Ronald S. Green entered the U.S. Army Air Corps.

09 AUG 1943
Pennsylvania Epsilon Brother Arthur C. Palmer entered the U.S. Army on this date. Arthur was a member of the Class of ’25 at Lehigh University.

10 AUG 1945
World War II Veteran and Delaware Alpha Brother Lieutenant Colonel Gerald H. Kadel, U.S. Army was discharged from his WWII service on this date.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 22 / 2014, 28 JUL – 03 AUG


This week the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) honors, remembers and celebrates the lives and commitment of 20 SigEp Patriots, including two Congressmen, a WWI fighter ace, Vietnam War prisoner of war, and a brother who made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII.

01 AUG 1918
On this date, World War I Veteran & Ace Fighter Pilot, New York Beta Brother Major James Meissner, U.S. Army Air Corps had his fifth air victory. Brother Meissner was flying his SPAD XIII, and a member of the 147th Aero Squadron during the engagement over Fère-en-Tardenois, France, northeast of Paris.

01 AUG 1941
While Europe was embroiled in war, in America, the call to arms had not been issued yet. Even so, Virginia Alpha Brother Allan Brockenbrough stepped forward, and the University of Richmond Class of ’39 graduate joined the Army on this date.

03 AUG 1941
Seventy-three years ago today, California Beta Brother Richard A. Halpern was commissioned an Ensign, U.S. Navy Reserve.

30 JUL 1943
Samuel D. Mock, Pennsylvania Iota Brother and Muhlenberg College member of the Class of ’31, joined the U.S. Navy on this date.

28 JUL 1944
On this date, World War II Veteran and California Alpha Brother First Lieutenant Edward B. Davis, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps Reserve made the ultimate sacrifice for our country when he was killed while engaging the enemy on Guam, Marianas Islands. For his courageous actions on this date, Brother Davis was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

Respect can be paid to Brother Davis at Section E, Plot 542, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI.