Saturday, May 05, 2007

Guest Post - Area Alumni Groups can aid AVCs

(This guest post is from Steve Sauer, PA Tau '02)

How the area alumni group helped my AVC

To explain how the area alumni group helped my AVC is really simple: Through the SigEpFeds, I met a lot of great people, some of whom were starting up an AVC for a local university. They met me, liked me (I think), and recruited me to involve myself in their AVC. I joined and soon started recruiting other people through the same channel, this area alumni group.

We now have 21 people in the AVC after two years, only five of whom are actual graduates of the chapter. Many of the others I attribute to the SigEpFeds, which -- as has been mentioned frequently in the past -- is a largely informal and independent group of individuals who (save for a few Renaissance brothers) share the common background of having participated in SigEp chapters during college, and now just happen to live in the same metropolitan area, whether they grew up around here or not (many of them didn't, myself included), and want to find ways to live out that lifetime responsibility of brotherhood.

How the area alumni group can help your AVC too

Some in an area alumni group say that getting involved in an AVC is the last thing on their minds, or something they want to do eventually but not right now. These are personal choices, like buying a house or getting married or having a baby. There's no reason to be intolerant of those who don't feel ready for that kind of responsibility at any given stage of their lives. For them, the area alumni group offers an array of activities from which they may pick and choose: events focusing on sports, philanthropy, family and networking. In a properly run area alumni group (and the SigEpFeds is striving to be that!), those opportunities abound.

Others want more or different things out of their lives and their lifetime experience of brotherhood, and an area alumni group can work to cater to those who want to participate in a ritual, mentor undergraduate brothers, or offer guidance and leadership as officers of an AVC. The area alumni group itself cannot provide these things, yet it has been a proven tool to link brothers together for a common good. The area alumni group brings together brothers who serve on various AVCs in the area, and these brothers can use the area alumni group to recruit brothers who are either straight out of college, new to the metro area, or have lived under the radar screen for a few years and now want to get involved.

A sad fact about the state of this fraternity is that although we are the largest in manpower nationwide, our 165,000 alumni are, by and large, scarcely more involved than by just sending address changes to SigEp HQ so they can continue to leaf through the pages of the SigEp Journal three times a year. It seems that HQ wants alumni to be active in AVCs so they can aid SigEp in its core mission of building balanced leaders for the future, but what is HQ doing to realize this goal? In my opinion, their efforts have thus far paled in comparison to those of the area alumni group. We have shown success in the DC area of recruiting brothers to become involved in AVCs, and I think it can, and should, be done elsewhere.

I think getting an area alumni group going in each major metropolitan area would help SigEp. Through the establishment of these groups, we would encourage volunteerism to help their keystone undergraduate chapters, thereby building balanced leaders for tomorrow. This is a real need and also an attainable goal. To respond to this need, I propose that HQ create a position for a full-time employee, who preferably bears firsthand experience in the creation and preservation of an area alumni group, to fly from city to city and consult with the alumni who are either founding or continuing existing area alumni groups.

And it just so happens that I will no longer have a job beginning July 1, 2007. Now is that a coincidence or what?

I welcome any and all feedback on this idea:

Steve Sauer
PA Tau '02
President, American University SigEp Alumni & Volunteer Corp., Washington, D.C.
Administrative chair, SigEpFeds area alumni group for metropolitan Washington
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