Sigma Phi Epsilon continually strives to break away from the idea of a stereotypical fraternity, on both the national and local level. While this passion to be different comes from many places and people, much of it is rooted in our creed. The creed is emphasized in the Balanced Man Program, especially the Sigma Class and guides much of what we do and believe in as a fraternity. One passage of the creed that has always stood out to me was the passage about the differences between us all:
“I believe that as a good fraternity member I must share a rich kinship of spirit with my brothers. Yet I realize that the members must be men of diversified abilities and talents. Among them are to be found the scholar, the athlete, the builder and craftsman, and the organization leader. But the scholar cannot make a fraternity. Nor the craftsman. The good fraternity member must be par excellent in manhood.”
This idea of surrounding ourselves with people from different fields is essential, and once implemented, has much more significant impacts than just creating a group of men with different majors. I have found that this group of people, from all across campus, creates a group from many different walks of life, and subsequently an ideal learning environment. There is so much to be learned and gained from getting to know people from that think differently and come from different backgrounds and disciplines of study. I cannot think of many other groups where a business major could become close friends with art majors, teaching majors, technology majors, and other majors from disciplines that rarely cross paths. Being a part of a group like this is an incredible opportunity for many reasons.
One reason that this is so important is that it closely replicates what the workplace will be like. I have heard and seen that a team cannot be fully functional without a wide array of people that think differently and challenge the thoughts of their peers. In the workplace, rarely is anyone surrounded by only people with the same degrees as them, which is what many experience in college as they gravitate strictly towards the people in their classes. I believe that this opportunity to be in a fraternity that encourages the idea of bringing together people from different majors to work together will have incredible benefits in our member’s future workplaces.
Another benefit of this ideology is that it helps improve member’s academics. With majors from all around campus, it is easy for members who are taking liberal arts core classes across different disciplines to reach out to people in those disciplines, with a greater understanding of the topics for help. This academic support is encouraged and available to all through the work done by our standards board. Our new “SigEp Scholar Program” is a prime example of this. The program has our members who get high grades, in a specific class, volunteer to potentially tutor other brothers taking those classes if called upon.
A third reason that I believe that this ideology is essential is because of the diversity of ideas that it opens up. Much of the danger of the stereotypical fraternity stems from people being surrounded by people that think just like them. This can create a dangerous environment where toxic ideas and activities go unchecked and undisputed. SigEp’s ideology of surrounding ourselves with different groups of people is a large part of what has allowed this organization to move forward and set the standard for other fraternities to follow.
Overall, I am so grateful that I joined SigEp when I was a freshman. I am so thankful for the life-changing leadership experiences that it has given me, but I am even more grateful to be able to get to know and learn from a great group of guys from all over campus and be able to call them my brothers.
Meet the Author
Hugh Zehr ’21
Economics major & Music minor