Let me give you a few examples.
- (1) Our chapter and regional leaders appointed by HQ tend to now always be the 20 somethings and our past staffers.
If you are over 35 you can forget being asked to do anything – that is unless you are past staff. Why don’t we use more of the expertise we have among our ranks?
- (2) After the one-ups-manship display at Conclave I am embarrassed to make a contribution to the Foundation less than a million dollars.
I guess my sustained and regular contributions are not needed and really don’t say much. That was clearly demonstrated when a small group of my closest Alumni Brothers sponsored a hole at the Conclave Golf tournament and they didn’t even put our name on the sign. Guess we were lucky the actually put up the sign.
- (3) Politics as usual.
Our double-secret way of selecting NBD members hasn’t changed in the 42 years I have been associated with this Fraternity.
- (4) We still don’t raise undergrads to be good and loyal alumni.
Regardless, the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity experience is what you put into it. If you don’t put something into it, you will reap no benefit. I think that is why some of the “marginal” people we have given bids to over the years have become our most loyal alumni. Sig Ep gave these individuals an environment which supported the development of their potential. Likewise, some of the “perfect” “balanced” people who have joined our ranks really fall by the wayside after graduation. The only benefit they get from 4 years of membership is a line on a resume. I think that even in the less than perfect chapters, those members who Fraternity is supposed to reach grab hold of our Cardinal Principles (e.g., Core Values) and become better men for it. For many of our Brothers the experience of Ritual can profound, life changing.
So the message I give to you as we are about to begin another year is for you to take inventory of your fraternity experience. Was it worthwhile? Did you embrace our Cardinal Principles into your life? Did you take away from Fraternity a set of life skills you might not otherwise have gained? Did you make lasting friendships? Did it take you personally to a higher plane of consciousness? If you feel you are not becoming a better person through your Sig Ep experience, then make a New Year’s resolution to roll up your sleeves and put a little more effort into it. Make it a priority, not just what you do when you are bored. Only then will you reap the dividends. There is no free lunch.