It’s been 36 years since I headed off to Boulder as a naive freshman — away from home for the first time — and was welcomed by the men of the Colorado Alpha Chapter at the University of Colorado.
When I joined the chapter, I didn’t really understand or appreciate the full meaning of SigEp. But since then, SigEps have hired me, been my business partners, stood alongside me at my wedding, vacationed with me and my family, consoled me as we grieved the loss of a brother, and they are still my best friends.
I found a home there. And though I’ve gotten older, raised a family and moved away for over 20 years, I’ve never really “left home.” I met men there who cared about me, shared their wisdom with me and helped me mature. They cheered me on in the good times, and they picked me up when I stumbled. They made me a better father, son and brother. They were, and still are, my heroes.
Two years ago at Conclave, I said that SigEp needs heroes, leaders and champions. And we still do — now more than ever. We need men in our Fraternity who inspire others to action, who focus on the greater good, who make a difference.
You can be one of those heroes. Whether it’s working with a brother on his studies, helping a brother who has fallen by the wayside or just being a good mentor … that’s what heroes are made of.
Our brotherhood just took a bold and necessary step by putting a plan in place to make all of our chapter houses alcohol- and substance-free. And SigEp has a distinguished history of making bold moves at tough times.
In 1959 our Fraternity rejected the prejudices of the past and eliminated all membership restrictions based on race or religion — a full five years before Selma.
SigEp also saw the booming growth of agricultural, mining and teachers’ colleges after WWII. Our leaders knew that with the negative perception of fraternities as elitist, SigEp needed to go to those schools and help grow healthy Greek systems. And we did. Others followed, of course, but we blazed the trail.
So it’s like SigEps to be heroes.
And today SigEp needs you to be a brother’s hero and leader and champion. We need you to take action personally — and show those men in our chapters that you care about them. There are a lot of brothers on campus today who are just like I was — an 18-year-old kid, stumbling around in search of something more meaningful. And I’m so grateful that I found it in SigEp.
I believe in the American college fraternity. I believe in Sigma Phi Epsilon. And I believe that together, we will keep SigEp moving ahead.
Will you join me? To get involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Bittman is a 1985 graduate of the University of Colorado. He served SigEp as a regional director, started 21 new chapters as an expansion director and completed his time on the Headquarters staff as director of chapter services. After spending time on Wall Street with Merrill Lynch and then serving as president and CEO of a $5 billion San Francisco– area investment firm, he returned to his alma mater to become the chief investment officer of the University of Colorado Foundation. He is currently a partner and chief investment officer at Perella Weinberg Partners. A Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient and member of the Board of Governors for over 25 years, he was first elected to the National Board of Directors at our centennial Conclave in 2001 and served for 14 years as Grand Treasurer. Chris resides in Denver with his wife, Kenda, and their five children.