The Ten Obligations of a pledge and member of Sigma Pi Fraternity
In all chapters there should be pledge organizations for the purpose of acquainting the pledges with each other, familiarizing them with the procedures of the organizations, and of instructing them about Sigma Pi through a regular course of education. Usually pledges elect their own officers and, to considerable extent, manage their own affairs. At pledge meetings it is appropriate for any pledge to ask the chairman or pledge educator for permission to be heard and then, after being given the floor, to express himself on matters which may interest him. He may obtain backing for his ideas by introducing a resolution favoring his point for acceptance by the pledge organization. This resolution, if adopted, may then be presented for consideration by active members at a regular chapter meeting.
Not every man who joins a fraternity is going to become a devout member. It is only natural some will develop a greater interest than others. Sigma Pi expects from every member and pledge a reasonable amount of interest and participation in its affairs; in other words membership involves obligations. These obligations can be grouped under ten general headings and, although considered from the standpoint of a pledge, they apply to active and alumni brothers as well.
1. GIVE PROPER ATTENTION TO THE INTERESTS OF SIGMA PI.
Ordinarily a man should not become a pledge to a fraternity unless he can give a reasonable amount of time to its affairs. Let us say not less than three or four hours a week to serious thought and real work contributions toward the improvement of the organization.
Every pledge should look forward to holding at least one major chapter office. A pledge should make certain he will be able to attend chapter meetings and social affairs, and should not permit social engagements or interests without the chapter to interfere with fraternity meetings and functions. Upon becoming an alumnus, a member should endeavor to affiliate with an alumni group, to give both moral and general support to his chapter and to return to the campus for reunions, etc.
2. REGARD THE FRATERNITY WITH SPIRIT OF SINCERITY AND RESPECT AND GIVE EARNEST CONSIDERATION TO ITS TEACHINGS AND IDEALS.
It is absurd to attempt to control another’s thoughts; nor would it be desirable or in harmony with the ideals of Sigma Pi to suppress individuality or freedom of mind. When a pledge accepts the offer of membership, he obligates himself to regard the Fraternity with a spirit of sincerity and respect and to give its teachings his sincere consideration. Of course, he is expected to live up to his obligations. A disrespectful attitude toward the Fraternity is uncalled for and out of place and constitutes sufficient grounds for reprimand or other punishment, so long as the Fraternity continues to be motivated by its ideals.
3. MEET FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS PROMPTLY AND FULLY.
Every pledge and member is expected to assume not only his share of financial obligations in the Fraternity but also to pay all house bills, dues, and assessments when due. A chapter must have income to operate just the same as any commercial institution. Because of the mutual character of Sigma Pi and the fact a chapter is maintained by students whose finances are sometimes limited, it is even more necessary bills be paid promptly to the Fraternity. No one should ever become a pledge to a fraternity without first being informed specifically about all financial obligations. A pledge should withdraw if at any time he finds he cannot meet his fraternity obligations in full and with promptness. A chapter is thoroughly justified and, in accordance with the regulations of the Grand Chapter of Sigma Pi, is in fact required to sever relations with any pledge or member who does not pay his bills promptly.
4. CHEERFULLY PERFORM TASKS THAT MAY BE ASSIGNED FOR THE GOOD OF THE FRATERNITY.
No man wants to belong to a fraternity he cannot respect. Before initiation the pledge is not in a position to know or appreciate fully the significance and importance of Sigma Pi ideals and influences. A pledge is expected to join in with active members in performing duties necessary to the chapter’s well-being. In addition to insuring their respect, this method of service offers the satisfaction of utilizing their labor toward the progress of an institution in which they have a vital interest. Sometimes members do not discharge their duties and responsibilities with efficiency and dispatch. This sets a very poor example for the pledges. No member, whether an undergraduate or an alumnus, should assume an office or accept appointment on any committee in his chapter or in the Grand Chapter unless he has both the time and the intention to perform to the very best of his ability all tasks connected with the office.
5. AT ALL TIMES BE A GENTLEMAN AND USE MODERATION IN ALL THINGS.
Courtesy and consideration, the foundation of manners and major ingredients or morals, should be the guiding principles in a pledge’s or member’s behavior not only in the chapter house and among fraternity brothers but everywhere. Neither pledges nor initiated members should show disrespect in any way whatsoever to the name of Sigma Pi.
6. STRIVE AT ALL TIMES TO COOPERATE FOR THE GOOD OF THE FRATERNITY.
When a pledge agrees to support the interests of the Brotherhood, he pledges himself to stand by Sigma Pi, not according to any precisely stated formula, but on general principles and in a broad way. This obligation means he will defend the name of Sigma Pi even at the temporary expense of some personal prestige, if such a sacrifice be necessary; he will work for it until he knows fatigue; and he will be ever loyal and true in acknowledgment of the trust vested in him by his associates in the Fraternity. It means he will not discuss fraternity matters of a confidential, personal, or secret nature among non-members. It means he will be constantly on the alert to learn about Sigma Pi in order that he may serve it more capably. It means he will never shun an opportunity to give his best efforts toward advancing its ideals and good reputation. It means he will attend meetings and chapter functions, he will accept appointments, and he will contribute willingly his time, thought, energy and funds, within reason, toward the advancement of the Fraternity.
7. WORK DILIGENTLY TO MAINTAIN GOOD SCHOLARSHIP.
Application to academic work and studies is a college man’s first duty to his alma mater, his fraternity and himself. He comes to college primarily to acquire knowledge, and this is accomplished by intelligent and conscientious study. Nothing is more fundamental. Scholarship is the most important of all college activities. Nothing should be permitted to interfere with it to such an extent that the student defeats his own purpose in coming to college. It is honorable and directly in harmony with Sigma Pi ideals and standards to study hard, and to be proud of a good scholastic record. Neither a pledge nor an active brother should ever forget: one of the first objectives of the Fraternity is “to establish and maintain and aristocracy of learning,” and that second, industry in selecting college graduates for employment, looks upon good grades as an indication of a man’s capabilities.
8. PARTICIPATE IN WORTHY COLLEGE ACTIVITIES.
A freshman soon learns that the term “activities” embraces all extra-curricular interests at college and covers a multitude of the most varied occupations and diversions and, in some cases, a “multitude of sins.” Participation in college is good and is encouraged pro-vided: it does not interfere with scholarship; it does no injury through physical overexertion; the activities are in themselves worthwhile; and those participating are reasonably well fitted to do so.
Pledges are urged to become involved in constructive activities for which they have a particular bent, if doing so does not overtax their energies or interfere with studies. Pledges and members are cautioned about taking on too many different activities. It is far better to devote one’s energies to a few sound and worthy interests, to contribute the most to these, and to derive the most from them than to be a promiscuous joiner. Pledges and members are urged to take part in some outside activities but to use discretion in selecting them.
9. PROFIT BY ASSOCIATIONS WITH MEN IN SPIRIT OF FRATERNALISM.
Every pledge is more or less bewildered during his early days of pledgeship. If he has lived in a college town and “knows the ropes” of fraternity organization, he will at least be astonished by the assemblage of personalities. There are a thousand distinct species, and all are different and a bit hard to understand. But it is by living and knowing how to get along with all kinds of people that a man can profit the most from his personal contacts and associations while a college student. Living in intimate contact with interesting personalities, some of whom are likely to be a bit uncongenial at times, offers an opportunity granted to only a few. Most college men never fully appreciate the definite knowledge of human nature which they gain from seeing their fraternity brothers and fellow students at close range.
This opportunity for a life of such intimacy may never again come to them. Few also appreciate how their own characters are molded by this experience, and how tolerance and understanding grow through democratic living in a diversity of personalities.
10. BE AN EXEMPLARY SIGMA PI AND CITIZEN.
A good pledge and a good fraternity man will respect and abide by the laws and regulations of his fraternity and college, as well as the laws of state. Laws are not intended to restrict personal freedom but are designed for the protection and welfare of all. The more complicated society becomes, the more each individual has to consider his relationships with and responsibilities to others. It is important for a fraternity chapter to promote goodwill on the campus among the affiliated and non-fraternity students. Someone has said that the membership of a chapter is made up of four kinds of bones. There are the wishbones that spend all their time wishing someone else would do the work. Then there are the jaw bones who do all the talking, but very little of anything else. Next comes the knuckle bones who knock everything that everybody else tries to do. And finally there are the backbones who get under the load and do the work. What kind of member will you be? Remember, apathy constitutes the death of a fraternity and an individual.
In general, it can be said Sigma Pi Fraternity hopes and strives to bring out the best in every one of its members. In this hope, however, the Fraternity is doomed to failure unless each member is willing to put forth his best. It should be the personal ambition of every Sigma Pi to conduct himself and to realize the Fraternity’s ideals in his own daily life, so that those, both in and out of the Fraternity will want to emulate his character and accomplishments in advancing truth and justice. As long as you have the honor and privilege of doing so, wear with pride your pledge pin and the Sigma Pi badge. Be proud of being a Sigma Pi. Be proud of being a fraternity man.