I want to begin by thanking all of our members, parents, and friends for your support and patience as we have been undergoing internal transformations at the Executive Office. It has been a challenging year and in conjunction to this transition, we have been working with chapters that have seen campus wide suspensions, and in some cases, health & safety concerns. In order to provide insight, I want to share certain updates on what has been occurring and where we are.
This past year, several college campuses underwent campus-wide suspensions of Greek Life. I want to ensure our members and friends that Sigma Pi chapters on these campuses, in most situations, are viewed in high regard as members of the Greek community. However, as the climate on college campuses continues to change it is essential that we evolve as a Fraternity to meet these shifting dynamics. As we continue to move forward, we will be actively monitoring campus initiatives and how they impact our undergraduates and the volunteers who work with them. This is being done via a joint effort with the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and the Pilot Initiatives being conducted by their staff on campuses across North America. It is important to note that Sigma Pi is a member of the Governing Council of the NIC, and I serve as our delegate where I work with other Fraternity Executives to stay abreast on these efforts. We believe this will provide more information on how we can improve our work to keep fraternities strong, while maintaining our values, and providing a place for college men to bond and develop their leadership skills.
The continued rising cost of tuition has university admissions in flux, where some are growing and others declining. This is of great importance to our sustainability planning. In order to understand this better, we will be monitoring enrollment trends as we work with our existing chapters on their recruitment and membership education practices; in addition to our market development and penetration strategies for chapter re-establishments and expansion to new campuses.
Another key component will involve refining our educational programs around leadership and health & safety. These efforts are currently being evaluated and implemented to make certain our members are creating a positive chapter culture; ensuring that Sigma Pi is a value-added part of the campus environment, while exemplifying our values and traditions in the highest esteem. In addition to these, we will be expanding our membership services beyond undergraduates, to our alumni. This will include improved training for our volunteers, support for alumni clubs, informational resources for housing corporations and enhanced stewardship efforts for our loyal donors.
In order to meet these objectives and increase our brand equity, we embarked upon an internal opportunity analysis to assess our staffing model and gain an understanding of our capacity to execute on these initiatives. This process allowed us to determine that we were inadequately equipped to provide the proper services in the most efficient manner that our members and constituents expect. Based on our final analysis, we developed a talent acquisition plan, and in November of 2017, we announced to our undergraduates and volunteers that we would begin a thorough recruitment process to restructure our operations. This reorganization involved the difficult decision to eliminate the Regional Director program and reallocate our financial resources more efficiently while better aligning our human resources.
I am excited to announce that this plan will be completed on time, allowing us to effectively strengthen our operating leverage as we grow from one department with five staff members to two departments with eight staff members. Now that this stage is nearing completion, we will begin the next phase of our talent acquisition development to recruit the additional people needed to execute our goals of providing a world-class service model that will also improve our competitive advantage in the fraternal industry. These efforts are being executed in a very methodical process with special emphasis on maximizing our current financial resources. It is important to note that the additions to our staff are being carried out without increases in our undergraduate member dues.
I would like to end by welcoming our new team members and we look forward to the continued support and confidence of our members, parents and friends. If you haven’t booked your summer plans yet, you should consider joining us in Niagara this August for Convocation as we celebrate Sigma Pi!!