I received a letter in the mail recently. The letter stated that because I am a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon I could receive a special rate by changing my automobile insurance to Nationwide Insurance.
This letter is frustrating because it gives the appearance that SigEp has sold my information. This happens all too often with organizations in which I am not a member. I am sure that SigEp stands to profit in some form from a partnership with Nationwide. However, the letter I received does not state what those benefits are. I believe many alumni possibly share this view and have become frustrated.
As a university administrator, I understand the importance of developing partnerships to help support the mission of undergraduate organizations. Cuts in funding at many levels are forcing many universities to make decisions that ultimately affect out-of-classroom programming.
I will continue to support Sigma Phi Epsilon and Arkansas Epsilon. However, I would like some clarification on how alumni information is being distributed. Furthermore, if partnerships are established, I believe the partner should clearly communicate the benefits in their marketing.
Arkansas Tech ’04
Associate Dean for Residence Life, Arkansas Tech University
Thank you for openly sharing your concerns. Like you, I have seen the unfortunate effects of funding cuts on out-of-classroom programming. I also understand the potential consequences of failing to support our undergraduate brothers and adequately prepare them for life after college. SigEp is committed to filling the out-of-classroom voids you mention with the leadership, social and professional development opportunities our young brothers need to be successful…and balanced.
Since 2010, SigEp has been seeking new funding that will allow us to increase the quality and reach of our programs. Still, we are falling short of meeting the ever-growing demand. Last year, 20 percent of our undergraduates attended a SigEp leadership event – that’s not good enough when we only have a few, critical years to make a lasting impact on their lives.
At Conclave, undergraduates voted to increase their annual fees to help, but with student debt at an all-time high, this can’t be the only solution. We must also look to our alumni and friends for support. We need you to volunteer, to donate and participate in programs.
Our Nationwide partnership provides another way to make an impact. Alumni participation in our brothers-only benefits program helped send 30 additional undergraduates to this year’s Ruck Leadership Institute.
So, yes, SigEp does stand to profit from a partnership with Nationwide. But, more specifically, our undergraduates stand to profit from this partnership.
SigEp and Nationwide are working to include more information like this in each communication about the partnership – we want you to know the difference you are making. It is also important that we’re able to offer a trusted service and relevant benefits to our alumni. We want you to remain engaged with SigEp, to be proud of and continue to benefit from your membership.
I can assure you that Nationwide is prohibited from using the information we share for any purpose other than sending messages we approve. Still, a few alumni have requested that their names be removed from Nationwide mailings, and we have done so immediately. However, my hope is that our alumni find real value in this partnership and feel good supporting SigEp’s undergraduate programs at the same time.
Thank you for your feedback on this partnership as well as your continued support.
Brian C. Warren Jr.
Chief Executive Officer