Going to college, freshmen are faced with similar challenges and generally have similar goals. Everyone comes to college in order to be better, to grow. The only way to grow and to develop oneself is to capitalize on opportunities.
The SigEp experience is one that is built around opportunities. Constructed on the basis of the Ancient Greek ideals, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s founders took their philosophies and extracted them into a fraternity culture designed to bring about the best of everyone. Members can expect to have opportunities to create balance in their lives – to embark on a journey toward a Sound Mind and a Sound Body. Even borrowing from the Greek democratic idea of the polis, every member is expected to invest in the wellbeing of the chapter.
So, what are these opportunities? Members of SigEp can expect to be put into situations they otherwise would be in. At Iowa Theta, every member, as part of their Balanced Man Program, is trained in Mentors in Violence Prevention: a program in which attendees are challenged in their perspectives and trained to be active bystanders. Speaking personally, this program instilled a passion to stand up to Gender violence and is what motivates me to dedicate my time to Sexual Assault Awareness Week. It goes beyond that, though.
The chapter is meant to be a polis, an attempted recreation of Ancient Athenian society. Decisions are not made by one, or the few, but by everyone. When someone proposes a new bylaw, everyone is expected to weigh the benefits and the potential downfalls of that bylaw. Everyone is expected to think critically and act as a citizen of the chapter. The SigEp is challenged, both by his fraternity brothers and by himself, to rise to the occasion and give his time to the chapter in this way. While many may simply think of this as a responsibility (because it is), the SigEp Man looks at this as an opportunity. This is but one of many opportunities the SigEp Man will have in his short four-year career.
Ultimately, these opportunities culminate into an experience that centers around the individual, yet as part of the whole. The chapter can only be as great as the individuals on whose shoulders it is built upon. The SigEp experience is this, then: it is a process in which the individual becomes the many, and the many are made up of the individuals. The SigEp experience, blatantly, is a concept where brotherly love flows in between all of the men in the same room, but also outward into the campus, the community, and eventually the world. It is the lifetime responsibility of these brothers to continue to cultivate that experience for those that have yet to be blessed with it.
Each member of Sigma Phi Epsilon feels this duty to create an opportunity for their own brothers and also their future brothers. This opportunity is the lifeblood of the fraternity. Without it, the Greek ideals will fall once again, and this relic of philosophy and experience will be lost to the wayside.
Meet the Author
Benjamin Hirdler ’19
English and Philosophy Major
Former President, Chaplain & BMS Director