So here we are in 2014, the new year. That time of the year a lot of people make lists of resolutions. Those things we resolve or hope to accomplish in the upcoming 12 months. Some of you have made those lists. Some of you have already broken some of those resolutions. (Hey, it happens.)
But instead of trotting out the same old things we want every year, this time I’m trying something different. This list is NOT a list of things I want to accomplish. Instead, this is a list of things I wish my Sigma Pi brothers (both alumni & undergraduate) all across North America would do this year. Are they all realistic? Probably not. But, boy if just some of them came true… wow what a difference 2014 would make.
1- We get through this year without a major risk management violation, or worse. I’ll start with one that is more of a wish and a hope for our undergraduate chapters. But alumni are sometimes guilty of FIPG violations in an attempt to “relive the glory days” or “show them how we used to do it.” Well, those days are long gone, my brothers. And times have changed. But, think about it. What if every chapter were to follow the rules? What if no one had to go to the hospital to get their stomach pumped? What if no one was cited for underage possession and/or consumption? What if no kegs were involved in any party/event? What if everyone followed the rules and had a good time anyway?
2- Alumni that had a good time as undergraduates recognize that they should be helping today’s undergrads through giving. I don’t mean financial gifts here, although they certainly are needed, and I’ll get to that in a moment. I’m talking about giving a couple of hours a month back to our undergraduate chapters. We are in need of more Chapter Directors and Province Archons. I’ve got a list I can send you of where we need alumni to step up and help out. Additionally, where we have CD’s & PA’s in place, they could use support and assistance in the form of Alumni Advisory Board members. A couple of hours a month isn’t too much to ask to help our chapters. If you’re interested, contact your CD, PA, or me.
3- Our alumni will recognize that financial contributions are necessary and beneficial to our organization. OK, here’s the one about money. Some alumni feel like the only time they hear from us is when we’re asking for money. That’s sad. Sad that they feel that way, and sad that for some, it’s probably true. The truth is that we need financial donations to help support our chapters as well as our alumni. Sigma Pi does not charge alumni dues to our members. That’s different from other Greek-letter organizations. Our Educational Foundation is the IRS 501(c)(3) entity where you can give to Sigma Pi tax-deductible donations. The Foundation has a lot that they can do to support what Sigma Pi is doing. And they want to do more. However, if they don’t have the donations coming in, then they can’t give money back. It’s just that simple.
You can do like I do, and become a monthly donor. I have part of every paycheck I get go to the Foundation. It is simple. I don’t even have to think about it. It comes out before I see what my “take home pay” is. I don’t even miss it now. But I know that that amount out of each check is going to help Sigma Pi. We have several alumni who give a monthly amount of $18.97, in honor of our founding year. Those small amounts add up every month. You can make a gift to the annual fund. You can make a gift directly to your chapter through a CEF (Chapter Education Fund). You can make a planned-giving arrangement where a portion of your estate will go to the Education Foundation after you die. In many instances, you can make a matching monthly donation through your employer. (Ask if your employer does this.) The bottom line is this: we need your continued contributions to help Sigma Pi. www.sigmapiedfund.org/donation.php
4- We banish the phrase “I was in Sigma Pi in college” from our vocabulary. This one is a pet peeve of mine, I’ll admit. But while you were a pledge and then an initiate during your college years, you are a Sigma Pi for LIFE. Your membership lasts from the day you pledge until the day you die. Too many alumni think that their membership was only while they were in college. That’s wrong. We have to drive home to members, beginning when they are pledges and learning what it means to be a Sigma Pi, that they are members for life. Their brothers will be there from them for the rest of their life. They are making life-long friendships and experiences while they are undergraduates. But, the benefits of membership are for life. Instead of that phrase, which I won’t repeat here, I want to hear, “I am a Sigma Pi,” from alumni, and undergrads. Life loyal alumni are what we want. That starts by learning/remembering that membership is for life, then acting like it.
5- Everyone will realize that their fraternity experience is not just limited to their campus, but is tied to the international organization. This is what I like to call “the big picture.” You may pledge and initiate at the Alpha-Alpha Chapter of Sigma Pi at so and so university. But, while you may only experience the fraternity through the prism of only your campus experience, there is an entire international organization here for you. For undergraduates, you should take advantage of experiences like MYLC, SPU, and convocations where you can meet other brothers from other campuses from all across North America. You can see that some of your local problems are nothing compared to what other chapters are going through. You can find other chapters that are experiencing some of the same issues you are. And you can network with these brothers and start to build your fraternal network. For alumni, you should realize that you joined an organization larger than just your campus. You are a lifetime member of an international organization with campuses and alumni all over North America. Your financial contributions through the Educational Foundation benefit all of Sigma Pi, not just your campus. To give to your local chapter and be concerned about its welfare is to be expected. But, you should also expand your vision to include helping all of Sigma Pi. Giving of your time and experience as an alumni volunteer, or giving money to the Foundation benefits all chapters.
OK, there they are. My 2014 “hope for” Resolutions. Now, let’s all work together to help make these resolutions real in our daily lives. Happy New Year!