The brothers of Alabama SEC have wasted no time rising to the top since returning to campus in 2010. After a brief period of absence following the chapter’s closure in 2008, the brothers have skyrocketed to a 3.48 average chapter GPA, grown to 115 members, and established themselves as the new model for what a college fraternity can be. And they’re not done growing yet.
Their secret? They’re not afraid to be a little bit different.
RECRUITING THE RIGHT MEN
When it comes to recruiting the right men, chapter president Jeffrey Collins, ‘15, says he’s not afraid to challenge the stereotype.
“Pretty much all the other fraternities have cookie-cutter membership,” he says. “They’re all the same, and they usually don’t branch out. For us though, we kind of have an advantage.”
“When our chapter was closed in 2008,” Collins says, “the campus just kind of forgot about us. When we came back, there were no expectations, and we could do whatever we wanted. So one thing we’ve done is just throw out the ‘frat’ stereotype and recruit whoever we want.”
Collins says now the chapter includes brothers from all over the country, representing all kinds of interests and activities.
“We’ve got guys in show choir, business fraternities, the rugby team, club sports … It doesn’t matter where they’re from or what they’re interested in. It matters who they are.”
One attribute that does remain consistent, Collins said, is their academic achievement.
“We have a 3.48 average GPA, so you can bet most of our guys are on the Dean’s list,” he says. “Last semester, 10-15 of us were on the President’s list, having earned perfect 4.0s. It’s cool, too, because it’s not just the older guys pulling everyone up. Last fall’s new member GPA was 3.49.”
RECRUITING THE RIGHT WAY
Another secret to Alabama SEC’s success is their willingness to work for what they want.
“Most fraternities at Alabama don’t actually actively recruit,” Collins says. “They let guys wander into their houses, and then just kind of see what happens.”
Current vice president of recruitment Trevor Pinchback, ’16, says they do things a little differently.
“During the summer we spend time with each of our potential new members to really get to know them,” he says. “We pair them up with guys who share their interests, majors, or where they’re from, and we try to gauge how interested they are. As soon as school starts, we bring them over to meet the whole chapter.”
“By the time we finally extend bids,” Collins says, “We know them extremely well. At that point, we’re not just inviting them to become ‘members.’ We’re inviting them to become our brothers for life.”
New member Jared Wyatt, ‘15, said he initially looked into a few fraternities, but something about SigEp stood out.
“You walk into the house at SigEp and you immediately feel connected. Whether somebody’s a senior or a freshman just like you, everyone is equal.”
“Other fraternities would talk to me and make it sound like I was going to have to have to be different from who I was,” he said. “When I hung out with the SigEp, everyone just acted like themselves.”
Wyatt said the other major draw to SigEp was their focus on academic achievement.
“You’re ultimate goal in college is to graduate and move forward in life,” he says. “Other fraternities say they have something like the BMP that moves you forward, but it doesn’t work out the way it works out at SigEp. The BMP is pretty much the definition of different.”
Moving forward, Collins says the chapter still has a long way to go, but he isn’t worried. Over the next five years, he says he hopes to see the chapter grow by another 30-40 brothers, and hopes to raise the chapter GPA above a 3.5.
“We’ve come a long way since 2010, thanks to the alumni, volunteers, donors and staff who have supported us. But we’re still in a growth phase, and we have to make sure our success lasts.”