I hope this message finds you and your families healthy and in positive spirits. To say 2020 has been a difficult and unprecedented year would be an understatement. Since 1897 Sigma Pi has encountered and navigated several large scale national and international events, however, this was the first time since 1936 that Sigma Pi was forced to cancel convention, and only the fourth time since Convocation was first held in Columbus, OH in 1908. As unfortunate as it was to have to make that decision, what has been invigorating is watching our undergraduate officers continue to lead their chapters during this time. The experience they are gaining will make them stronger leaders not only today, but for tomorrow, and they will be prepared to join or lead companies and be adapted for leading through a crisis. However, they and our alumni volunteers need more support.
Per our data, we are aware that currently, 44.5% of chapters will be back on campus, 48.2% will be a hybrid model, and the remaining are still undecided or virtual classes. These decisions by host institutions will force our chapters to reimagine their operations and recruitment in a virtual or social distancing space. I have recently held Zoom calls with many of our volunteers across North America and discussed the upcoming year, and they strongly welcome additional volunteers to assist them in their advising efforts with the undergraduate officers. If you have not been able to give of your time in the past, now is an excellent opportunity to contact your chapter, or a local chapter near you, to provide them support and advice as they enter into a semester of great unknown.
“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main” – John Donne.
So how can you help? Here are the top five items for alumni who want to help:
- Make a gift to the Sigma Pi Educational Foundation to support scholarships and educational opportunities for undergraduates – Donate Today
- Be a mentor and join an advisory board to provide guidance and support not only to the undergraduates but the volunteers who are currently involved – Volunteer Today
- Join your local Alumni Club, if your chapter does not have an Alumni Club, work with your alumni to establish an Alumni Club – Start an Alumni Club
- Submit stories to be used for The Emerald, The Emerald Online, Sigma Pi Quarterly, and other social media purposes – Send stories to email@example.com.
- Reach out to chapter brothers and stay engaged, even if virtually. We are a social organization, and the ability to interact is extremely healthy, especially during these times
While we continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19, we have stayed the course and focused on resource development and education programs for our chapters and volunteers. I want to take this time to highlight some of the new initiatives that will be forthcoming over the next three months:
- A revised new member education program – The Bayard Membership Experience, named after Samuel and Maurice Bayard, the first two initiates of Sigma Pi Fraternity. This will include an online learning element that will highlight our history, national and local operational structure, financial management, conflict management, and social media responsibility, to name a few.
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion education – We have assembled a Task Force that will be reviewing our programs and providing recommendations on resources and education to allow our members to engage in respectful and open discussions.
- Revised resources for our volunteers, Advisory Boards, Alumni Clubs, and Housing Corporations. These resources will help our volunteers be even better equipped to advise and mentor today’s undergraduate brothers.
I would also like to take this time to recognize Brother Joseph Melio (Arkansas State ’48), who left a direct bequest of over $100,000 to Sigma Pi. As we and his family mourn his passing, we are extremely thankful for his generosity and leaving Sigma Pi in his estate planning. His gift will be used to assist in the further development of educational resources and programs to benefit our undergraduate chapters.
Thank you for your support and dedication to the fraternal movement, especially to Sigma Pi. As we continue to progress and navigate COVID-19, mark your calendars for summer 2022, where we will celebrate 125 years of Sigma Pi in San Antonio. With all that we are currently experiencing in 2020, this will be one of the greatest conventions ever, and we look forward to having hundreds, if not thousands of brothers and your families there to celebrate with us.
Jonathan M. Frost