At the 2019 Grand Chapter Conclave in Houston, 23 chapters received SigEp’s Buchanan Outstanding Chapter Award. Chapters that are awarded the Buchanan Cup are among the top fraternity chapters in the country and excel in every area of operations. Seven of the 23 chapters received Gold Buchanan Cups for winning the award at five or more consecutive Conclaves — representing at least a decade of sustained excellence. Below, we share some of the accomplishments of each of these 2019 Buchanan Cup-winning chapters.
GOLD BUCHANAN CUP RECIPIENTS
Five or more consecutive Buchanan Cups
D.C. Gamma – Georgetown
The D.C. Gamma chapter at Georgetown excels in recruitment and retention, holding over 100 BMS interviews in the last two years. The chapter has invested in member development and enlisted alumni to host career panels and one-on-one calls with brothers. In addition, the chapter invites guest speakers, including an admiral and consulting executive, to conduct seminars for members. Even without a chapter facility, brothers have carved out a strong presence on campus through community involvement and school-wide events. They hold a 3.59 GPA, recently added a faculty fellow and retained all but three members over the past two years. The chapter holds Sound Mind Sundays to promote discussion among brothers, and keeps everyone accountable for progress through each challenge of the BMP.
Maine Alpha – Maine
Each year, more than 20 brothers from the Maine Alpha SigEp Learning Community at the University of Maine attend Carlson. Maybe that’s why their chapter operations have been so consistently excellent. The chapter markets its Balanced Man Scholarship through direct mail to every high school in the state. In addition, the chapter has the highest GPA on campus every semester and consistently wins fraternity of the year. On top of all this, they actively fight against tiered membership. Members are not called “Sigmas” or “Phis,” they’re just brothers progressing through their transformational Balanced Man Program. The chapter home has been substance-free for over 10 years, and members conduct a campuswide sexual assault awareness week each year. With a dedicated, consistent group of volunteers who are well on their way to fundraising for a new house, this chapter looks set up for sustained success.
Michigan Theta – Lawrence Tech
The leader in manpower for over five years, the Michigan Theta SigEp Learning Community at Lawrence Technological University is by far the largest fraternity on campus. The chapter operates an excellent Balanced Man Program that frequently engages alumni and faculty to serve as content experts. In addition, the chapter partners with the university for career events and mentorship, and chapter leaders consistently review and improve member development programming. Named fraternity of the year the past two years, the chapter’s recent top-ranked GPA is its highest ever. This group has enjoyed consistent growth, recruiting outstanding men through the Balanced Man Scholarship. This past school year, the chapter interviewed 34 percent of the university’s freshman male class for the scholarship. An early adopter of SigEp’s substance-free policy, Michigan Theta is one of the only chapters to place in the top five in SigEp’s Founders Day of Giving for two straight years.
Nebraska Alpha – Nebraska-Lincoln
The Nebraska Alpha chapter at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln benefits from strong alumni involvement and a sustained history of success. The chapter has maintained the top manpower on campus for over five years and is focused on personal development in all aspects of operations. The chapter sent more than 20 brothers to the Rising Leaders program, and its standards board works to help members improve rather than just delivering punishments. This chapter is a valued partner in higher education through its work with the campus career center. With a premier environment provided by a $3 million renovation, the chapter’s faculty fellow teaches an honors course at the chapter home and also facilitates service-learning trips for brothers to far-flung locations such as Ecuador and Uganda. The AVC provides funding for BMP programming, bringing in outside speakers and hosting seminars as well as alumni events.
New Jersey Alpha – Stevens
The New Jersey Alpha SigEp Learning Community at Stevens Institute of Technology excels at maintaining a culture that differentiates it from other fraternities on campus. The chapter’s member development programming supports brothers both in academic achievement and physical fitness and draws heavily on content from the Lifetime Responsibility of Brotherhood for each BMP challenge. Brothers also take advantage of their proximity to a major city for BMP and cultural events. They recruit 365 days a year and have interviewed over 150 Balanced Man Scholarship applicants in the past two years. In addition, this chapter has a dedicated group of volunteers that is committed to supporting the Ritual and recently added a resident scholar.
Ohio Iota – Toledo
With the highest GPA among fraternities for over 15 years, consistent growth each year and the top manpower numbers for at least five years, the Ohio Iota SigEp Learning Community at the University of Toledo is the stand-out fraternity on campus. While many groups simply focus on fundraising, this chapter goes into its community to serve. Brothers started a winter clothing drive and distributed coats and hats to at-risk families in their area. The chapter has been substance-free for over 15 years, often hosting events with other Greek organizations, and thanks to strong volunteer support, it has mentors for each challenge coordinator. Continuing with the theme of quality and quantity, the chapter sent material on the BMS to every high school guidance counselor in the area. Recent members have included Division 1 football players and multiple “fraternity man of the year” award recipients.
Oregon Alpha – Oregon State
The Oregon Alpha SigEp Learning Community at Oregon State University has experienced a period of long-term success that can be attributed to the way it develops its members. Brothers are held accountable for progress through all four challenges of the BMP. The chapter hosts several workshops each semester on topics like alcohol abuse and sexual assault prevention that are regularly attended by over 100 brothers. The chapter also holds an annual career fair with involvement from alumni and raises tens of thousands for a local community organization. Brothers have enhanced their chapter experience by adopting SigEp’s substance-free policy ahead of schedule and not shying away from the difficult questions around this change. With a 3.0 GPA minimum, Oregon Alpha has been the GPA leader among campus fraternities 50 straight years and fraternity of the year for more than 10 years. The chapter recently celebrated its centennial and is well on its way to raising $2.5 million for the chapter home.
SILVER BUCHANAN CUP RECIPIENTS
Connecticut Alpha – Connecticut
The Connecticut Alpha chapter at the University of Connecticut has a remarkable level of retention because it provides an engaging four-year fraternity experience and sets a bold example within a challenging campus environment. New members build relationships with alumni during their Sigma Challenge, and the Phi Challenge brings everyone together for a TED talk. Maintaining a 3.15 GPA minimum, these brothers show their commitment to their university’s academic mission by holding faculty receptions. Members make it a priority to get involved with other student organizations, and the chapter recently won campus Fraternity of the Year. After re-chartering less than three years ago, the chapter has hit the ground running and is working to become a SigEp Learning Community.
Florida Alpha – Florida
The Florida Alpha chapter at the University of Florida stands out in a challenging campus environment through its commitment to continuous development and a fraternity experience that is not defined by alcohol. With multiple faculty fellows and weekly discussion groups, the chapter’s member development programming is consistent and well-executed. As the IFC chapter of the year, the chapter has developed relationships with every Greek council on campus, leading to collaborative events that widen perspectives. Florida Alpha recruits 365 days a year and received nearly 400 BMS applications over the past two years. It pays off, as this chapter has more than 100 men, a GPA above 3.5, and received special attention from the university president. The chapter’s pristine substance-free house recently underwent a $4 million overhaul, and it’s a newly accredited SigEp Learning Community.
Georgia Delta – Georgia
Many of the members of Georgia Delta’s SigEp Learning Community are recruited through the chapter’s Balanced Man Scholarship, which receives more than 200 applications per year. While dealing with strict formal recruitment policies at the University of Georgia, the chapter works 365 days a year to prepare for recruitment periods and maintains a manpower well above 100. The chapter has held a GPA over 3.5 for several years and runs a well-functioning Balanced Man Program with clearly defined goals and strong alumni mentorship for member development. Investments from volunteers and parents have led to improvements to the chapter’s historic home, including study room renovations. In addition, the chapter has raised more than $50,000 for a local children’s hospital.
Indiana Zeta – Valparaiso
The Indiana Zeta SigEp Learning Community at Valparaiso University has won fraternity of the year on its campus for the past two years, and for good reason. With the top manpower on campus for four out of the past five years, this chapter brings in a third of its members from the Balanced Man Scholarship. The chapter consistently has the top GPA among all Greek organizations, with a 3.0 minimum and an engaging academic incentive program. These brothers excel at building university relationships to provide value for members, recruiting several fellows and half of their volunteers from the faculty and staff. This leads to easy access to expertise and quality BMP programming. The chapter has a substance-free facility and has led the charge across the Greek community to de-emphasize alcohol as the focus of fraternity life.
Iowa Delta – Drake
The Iowa Delta SigEp Learning Community at Drake University has partnered with its university in many important ways, including having an influential presence on the IFC that has shaped health and safety policies for the entire campus. The chapter has had a substance-free facility for almost 20 years, is consistently first or second in grades, and has had the highest manpower on campus for the past five years. As part of a speaker series, the chapter hosted four talks from university officials, including the president. In the past two years, members have revamped their Brother Mentor challenge, providing value to many older brothers. It’s paid off, as Iowa Delta’s retention is exceptional. The chapter stands out on campus, with many brothers in leadership positions in student government and other organizations.
Iowa Theta – Northern Iowa
For more than two years, the Iowa Theta SigEp Learning Community at the University of Northern Iowa has had the top fraternity GPA and highest manpower on its campus, as well as a new member GPA over 3.5. With a strong commitment to partnership with their university, these brothers have hosted their school’s president, provost and dean of students. The BMP App is the only way for members to complete challenge activities, and they’ve recently enhanced their Brother Mentor Challenge to include training on life skills, like applying to grad school, cooking and managing personal finances. Brothers are learning to lead by operating a mentorship program at a local middle school that teaches boys to be active bystanders. In addition, the chapter utilizes campus resources to give brothers violence prevention training and hosts a sexual assault awareness week that raises the visibility on this critical issue across campus.
Kentucky Beta – Louisville
The Kentucky Beta chapter at Louisville holds the top fraternity GPA most semesters; the chapter’s recently implemented an academic achievement plan to sustain that success. The chapter recruits half its members through the Balanced Man Scholarship and has benefited from increased volunteer support and fundraising. The BMP is focused on helping brothers find purpose in college and beyond, including a robust Brother Mentor Challenge that was created with input from outside experts. The chapter has been a powerful, positive voice on campus, working with the university counseling center and partnering with its violence prevention center. These men are leading their entire Greek community to provide a safer experience through proposing new IFC bylaws and recently hosted the largest event in the history of their school’s Greek life, drawing nearly 1,000 people to hear from Rae Ann Gruver and Evelyn Piazza, two mothers who lost their sons to hazing.
Kentucky Epsilon – Murray State
The Kentucky Epsilon chapter at Murray State University holds the top GPA on campus by a mile, and consistently enlists its two faculty fellows to help with its Balanced Man Program. The school’s Greek system has recently undergone increased scrutiny, so brothers have taken it upon themselves to lead and provide an unquestionably excellent fraternity experience for the whole university to see. And it’s worked. The university’s president has been supportive of the change SigEp is inspiring on campus, speaking at the most recent Balanced Man Scholarship banquet. The brothers continue to recruit high-quality men through the BMS, bringing in 19 members from the BMS this year. Brothers also adopted substance-free facilities policy early and reconfigured their home to provide better value for members.
Louisiana Beta – Louisiana State
The Louisiana Beta chapter at Louisiana State University has set the bar high on campus, bucking the fraternity stereotype and providing leadership in a challenging Greek culture. With the top GPA on campus, the chapter partners with departments across the university, incorporating the career center into its BMP and using the university recreation office to create incredible Sound Body opportunities. The chapter has garnered nearly 300 BMS applications in the past two years and hosted a banquet with their vice president of student affairs as keynote. This chapter stands out among other fraternities with strong member development programming, using the BMP App to fit it into brothers’ lifestyles. And brothers serve in prestigious positions on campus, including student body president. They have committed alumni from all eras who serve as mentors, come to town for an annual networking event and helped guide the brothers through the substance-free transition.
Missouri Gamma – Missouri S&T
The Missouri Gamma chapter at Missouri University of Science & Technology knows how to build a pipeline to consistently bring in outstanding leaders. It starts with recruitment, with the university sending the chapter’s Balanced Man Scholarship application to every incoming freshman with an ACT score over a certain threshold. The chapter also sends BMS marketing packets home with brothers over the summer to give to local high school guidance counselors. These strategies are working: The chapter recruited 80 percent of its new members from the BMS. And once you’re in the chapter, you’re part of a culture of excellence. The chapter holds a GPA .3 above the all-fraternity GPA and uses the BMP App to facilitate a strong Balanced Man Program across all four challenges. Members also benefit from a speaker series that has included a SigEp founder of a large technology company and the state’s lieutenant governor, who has been invited to become a Renaissance brother.
Montana Beta – Montana State
The Montana Beta SigEp Learning Community at Montana State provides a powerful fraternity experience for a group of high-quality men. With more than 20 men per year recruited through the Balanced Man Scholarship, the chapter maintains a 3.0 GPA minimum, as well as a significantly higher graduation rate than the university’s average. The chapter utilizes university resources in its Balanced Man Program, like the counseling and career centers, and uses the app to inspire members’ personal growth. They’ve built a deep relationship with their faculty fellow and have a significant number of brothers in campus leadership positions, including student body president. They also launched a lecture series on topics important to brothers and hold engaging discussions among members on a regular basis.
Nebraska Gamma – Nebraska-Kearney
Over the past two years, the Nebraska Gamma chapter at the University of Nebraska-Kearney has prioritized the creation of a strong member experience by incorporating content experts into its BMP programming and utilizing the BMP App. Brothers are encouraged to take advantage of university resources, and they benefit from two faculty fellows who help coach members academically. It’s definitely working, as the chapter has held the top GPA on campus for 10 semesters. Members are leaders on campus, and several work with university staff in the admissions, residence life and chancellor’s offices. Recently, the chapter recruited over 30 members through the Balanced Man Scholarship, and members say that 365-day recruitment gives them an advantage over other fraternities.
North Carolina Beta – North Carolina State
The North Carolina Beta chapter at North Carolina State University adopted SigEp’s substance-free facilities policy early and credits it with helping improve recruitment. Perhaps that’s why, even though the chapter is one of the largest on campus, members feel that they have close relationships with their brothers. Additionally, the brothers have received over 600 Balanced Man Scholarship applications in the past two years. With deep partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity, this chapter does a lot of good in the community. Volunteers are committed to the undergraduates’ success, funding a new facility by engaging alumni from throughout the chapter’s history.
Oklahoma Alpha – Oklahoma State
With a GPA over 3.3 and a recently implemented an academic fantasy football-like program, the Oklahoma Alpha SigEp Learning Community at Oklahoma State University continues to work at making top grades. Brothers are invested in all challenges of the BMP and supported by a strong partnership with their university that provides programming and training. Members are involved in over 120 campus organizations, and the chapter led the charge on campus to help with relief from Hurricane Harvey, which gained attention from the university. Since the campus went substance-free a decade ago, Oklahoma Alpha has shown leadership through accountability to safety measures. And the chapter recently successfully managed the transition from its old house to dorms and from the dorms into its brand-new $5 million chapter home.
South Dakota Alpha – South Dakota State
The brothers of South Dakota Alpha at South Dakota State channel the consistent support they receive from alumni-volunteers into a strong Balanced Man Program and Ritual. They use the BMP App to keep brothers focused on personal growth, and members in the Epsilon Challenge learn valuable real-world skills, while Brother Mentors help set overall goals for the chapter. This chapter makes its presence known on campus through a campuswide sexual assault awareness week and a strong partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters. The chapter’s marketing of the Balanced Man Scholarship is comprehensive, as it sends postcards and emails to each male who applies to the university. But the chapter makes its biggest splash through its SigEp leadership academy. This program is open to all men on campus and helps them learn leadership and jumpstart their personal development. The program has become a valuable recruitment tool and clearly embodies SigEp values.
Washington Alpha – Washington State
Excellent member development programming is a hallmark of the Washington Alpha SigEp Learning Community at Washington State University. Through an alumni speaker series, periodic sound mind discussions and strong BMP activities, the chapter meets the personal development needs of its members. It’s tailored the Balanced Man Program to its local campus and frequently incorporates feedback from members. The chapter recruits large numbers of quality men, bringing in nearly 50 percent of its new members through the Balanced Man Scholarship. Active in both their community and campus, brothers have built a relationship with the university’s vice president of student affairs and also recently inducted two faculty fellows as Renaissance brothers. The chapter has a strong emphasis on accountability while holding the top GPA on campus, above a 3.3.
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