CHAPTER NEWS Fall 2015
Sigma Phi Epsilon at Northwestern University
A Note from the President Brothers, alumni, parents, and friends – Our last few quarters have been a great step forwards for our chapter. Coming off of learning that we had the highest average Fall Quarter GPA in the IFC, we led a strong recruitment effort, bringing our total membership up to 38 by the end of the quarter. On top of sending twenty members to the Carlson Leadership Academy (due mainly to the generous support of the AVC), the Member Development committee put together many fun events such as a trip to Second City and the Field Museum. As we look forward to next quarter, we are looking to further expand the number of brotherhood events as well as continuing recruitment to hit our chartering goals. In addition, the executive board will be focusing on beginning preparations on the chartering petition to ensure its completeness for the submission deadline. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for SigEp!
“This fraternity will be different, it will be based on the love of God and the principle of peace through brotherhood. - Carter Ashton Jenkins, Benjamin Gaw, William Phillips
-Tom Hyman, President
In This Issue
A Note from the AVC Alumni Commentary Buliding Balanced Men New Member Commentary Senior Reflects on Time in SigEp Northwestern SigEps at 2015 Carlson Leadership Academy
Alumni Commentary Brother Nick Johnson, Northwestern '05, is a lawyer at Lathrop & Gage LLP in Chicago
When I set foot on the Northwestern campus for the first time in September 2001, I knew one thing: I wanted no business joining a fraternity. I had in my head the standard, stereotypical notions of what “frat boys” were, and they weren’t me. Alcohol terrified me, I didn’t (and still don’t) like excessive high-fiving, and I wore socks with sandals because dammit, they’re more comfortable that way. And so I hunkered down in Ayers/ CCI Residential College, in the shadow of the SigEp house (Slivka Hall – the house that Windows Explorer built – hadn’t yet been built), studying for my Comm Studies exams (yeah, laugh it up, you engineers) and rocking out to Napster downloads. I was cool enough for my purposes. I didn’t need a fraternity to validate my existence.
And then I met Andrew, a rangy, laid-back Texan sophomore who was definitely way cooler than I was, and we started throwing around the football in the grass field west of CCI that wasn’t yet Slivka Hall. And gradually, the football migrated further west to the yard of the SigEp house, and then football gradually became Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza in the basement of the SigEp house, and then dinner gradually became just hanging out with a bunch of people who I really liked, and then hanging out gradually became me dropping a bid to SigEp. I had been rushed – hook, line, and sinker – without even having realized it. And then something even more interesting happened: those same guys who I really liked and who treated me really well before I got a bid treated me exactly the same way after I got a bid. No hazing. No keg stands. No womanizing. No, “Hey, eff that test, man.” Just good people who did good – and more often great – things. And then, soon enough, the guy who said he wanted no business joining a fraternity was actually conducting the business of one – as president, from 2004 to 2005, which was a year that felt like it lasted about ten years but contributed more to my personal development in college than anything else I did.
And now, fast forward ten years. I am a lawyer, Slivka Hall unfortunately still stands, and I have overcome my fear of alcohol (see the “I am a lawyer” part). And the people who I met during my four years at SigEp are still some of my best and closest friends. And I realize now that – at least when I was an undergrad – SigEp gave me far more than I could have given it, even though I tried. And that’s kind of the point of what outstanding institutions like SigEp do – they give and they develop, little by little, man by man, with the aim (realized in my case) that the whole is greater than each of its parts. And they do that with the contingent hope that after the graduation caps are set aloft and the vast corners of the real world slowly begin to close in, the men they’ve developed will, little by little, man by man, begin to give a little bit back, so that the whole remains greater than each of its parts. Which is why I’m now on the AVC, and why I’m happy to talk to any of you about SigEp, or law school, or lawyering, or the time we stuck a life-sized water buffalo head through the fourth floor window on the east side of house and blasted Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” on a constant loop for an entire weekend to annoy Slivka residents, or really anything you want. My email is email@example.com. Hope to hear from you.
Upcoming Events Homecoming Weekend 2015â€”IL Lamda Alumni BBQ The Illinois Lambda undergraduates and the Alumni Board invite all Illinois Lambda alumni to a casual barbeque after the Iowa/Northwestern game beginning at 5:00 PM on Saturday, October 17 at the chapter house at 2341 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL. Food and drinks will be provided. Families welcome! For planning purposes, please RSVP to Tom Hyman at thomashyman2016 @u.northwestern.edu. We hope to see you there!
Chapter Highlights Chapter GPA Report The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life released the Fall 2014 Greek Grade Report. SigEp, with an average GPA of 3.64, received the highest ranking among IFC chapters. The average GPA for all of the IFC chapters was 3.42. SigEp improved on its average GPA of 3.60 for Spring 2014.
Graduation Congratulations to brothers Tom Morreale, Jesse Suh, and Arjun Vellayappan on graduating at the end of the Winter Quarter and David Pawletki, Taylor Hanken,Michael Mantas, Jack Forbes, and Philip Holsted at the end of Spring Quarter.
Brothers Jesse Suh, Billy Kobin, Francis Chen, and Tom Hyman ran the Pi Day Run in March.
Building Balanced Men The most important goal of Member Development in the Winter Quarter is to introduce new members to the chapter and members. We kicked off Winter Quarter by teaching our new members about the core values and history of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Mark McCann, one of founders of the Northwestern chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, spoke about how he started and grew the chapter. Our new members also went to a number of lectures put together by the University about Greek life on campus. In order to foster a sense of community, we had the entire chapter come together for team-building activities and a group workout. An alumnus spoke with our members about how to use LinkedIn to improve your job search. During Winter Quarter, we also had two trips into Chicago. We went downtown to see Second City, the premier improvisational comedy club in Chicago, and we met up with an alumnus. We also went to the Field Museum, where we had the opportunity to learn about the special exhibits on Haitian Vodou and Vikings. As for Spring Quarter, we had a number of interesting brotherhood events including playing paintball, going to a Cubs game and going to the Lincoln Park Zoo. We also had speakers visit to talk about investments and real estate. Put on a mock debate led by a former member of Northwestern's debate team, and we started up our Brother Mentor Challenge so that we can have programming specifically targeted at graduating seniors. -Brett Sleyster, VP of Member Development
Get to Know the New Members Xavier Kirkham is a junior Communication Studies major from Alexandria, Virginia also pursuing the pre-medical track. He is involved with NU Nights, Undergraduate Premedical Society and Intervarsity. One question I always got is: why join a fraternity as a junior, or why didnâ€™t you join a fraternity earlier? The reason why I held off on joining a fraternity was because I did not think frat life was for me. Additionally, I thought most fraternities hazed, which absolutely did not appeal to me. It took a conversation with a friend who talked to me about his experience in a fraternity that started to change my opinion. Through that continued dialogue, I decided that fraternity life would be something that would fit me. A lot of my preconceived notions that I held were challenged which not only helped me to confront my own biases, but it also helped to change my view of fraternity life. When I visited SigEp, it was different. Everyone wanted to get to know me despite me being a junior. I appreciated that, and when I found out that there was no pledging process, I knew this was the right fit for me. Not only did I love the community but also it felt like home.
Max Zoia is a freshman Physics major from Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is on the club tennis team. I never intended to join a fraternity at Northwestern, but Sigma Phi Epsilon was refreshingly different. I'm as busy as any college student with my primary focus being schoolwork, and Sigma Phi Epsilon was more mature than I ever thought a social fraternity could be. SigEp respects my focus on school and does away with the unnecessary traditions to which so many fraternities still cling. It makes me proud to be surrounded by such intelligent and hardworking brothers, all with so much potential for success. After joining, I did my best to involve myself within the chapter so as to help maintain all the qualities I found important, and also to have an influence on future potential new members selection. SigEp seeks the highest caliber men, and I'd like to do my part in helping to select them.
SigEp Participates in NU Dance Marathon 2015 In March, a couple of brothers, including myself, had the opportunity to participate in Dance Marathon, which is a thirty- hour marathon of dancing and is one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the nation! This year, the beneficiaries were the Starlight Foundation, which helps improve the lives of kids with terminal illnesses and their families, and the Evanston Community Foundation, which supports local organizations in Evanston. We only had a couple of guys dance on the Sigma Phi Epsilon team, but we met up with some other brothers during the event. We all had a great time dancing and supporting the amazing causes this year, and we are hoping to have many more brothers participate in DM in 2016! -Sam Young, VP of Finance
Brothers and their dates gather in the house before SigEp Date Night in March.
Francis Chen is a sophomore Electrical Engineering major from Shenzhen, China. I grew up in Shenzhen, China, with the world's largest electronic component market right around the corner. There, I developed my interest in tinkering with electronics. At Northwestern, I'm excited to combine my passion for hardware design with my interest in renewable energy as the project manager of SmartTree and electrical lead of NU SolarCar. In my spare time, I enjoy playing basketball. During the Balanced Man Scholarship interview with brother Phil Holsted, when I was introduced to the philosophy of Sound Mind, Sound Body, I found that I couldn't agree more (with the philosophy), because I believe a strong body and an upbeat mindset should be valued equally as academic excellence. Last but not least, I really like the small recycling symbol on the back of my bid, which says: Printed on recycled paper because ΣΦΕ cares about the world.
Arthur Linne is a freshman currently undeclared but interested in mathematics. He is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a member of Northwestern's Super Smash Bros. club. He also travels to Chicago on Wednesdays to play the card game Magic. When I first came to Northwestern, I never even considered joining a fraternity. When I first started going to the SigEp house, it was really just for the free food from Sunday Night Dinners. However, once I started to meet people there, I found I really enjoyed hanging out with them. One of the parts that really interested me about SigEp as a fraternity is how small it is. I truly feel that I will have an impact on how the chapter evolves and what it will become. I really look forward to spending the next few years helping our chapter grow and develop as a community.
Senior Reflection David Pawletki, a senior Mechanical Engineering major, graduates in June. He reflected on his experience as a SigEp at Northwestern.
Obviously the greatest take-away from my experience in SigEp is the bonds of friendship that I have formed with my fellow brothers. I joined the fraternity pretty early on in my collegiate career, so I spent the last few years growing up with these guys. Thinking back, it's amazing to see how far we've come from where we started as a fraternity. Specifically, I feel our implementation of the Balanced Man program has been one of our greatest successes. Going through both the Northwestern curriculum and the Balanced Man program has really helped all of us develop as well-rounded men of principle, and I'm excited to see where the future takes us.
A Note From the Editor Fellow brothers, friends, parents, and alumni, I hope this publication has been of use to you. The chapter and our alumni seek to keep you updated with all of the goings-on within the chapter. Without your support, we would not be anywhere close to level of success we exhibit today. We greatly appreciate everything you have done and will do to support Sigma Phi Epsilon and our Illinois—Northwestern SEC Chapter. If you have any questions you would like the chapter to answer for you, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. We hope to answer any and all questions you may have. Fraternally,
“Every new idea is an impossibility until it is born.” -Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumnus and Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Ronald Brown
-Blake Disiere, VP of Communication
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“This Fraternity will be different.”