Now more than ever, we are preparing to get back to campus this fall after time away. At Conclave, attendees developed skills and learned actionable lessons to advance SigEp in the upcoming academic year.
As Grand President Jelke shared in his outgoing speech: “Now more than ever, it’s time to firmly cement SigEp as not only the best fraternity around – but the best student organization on campus. With the best people, the best experiences and the best environment.”
Conclave educational sessions will help brothers cement this status. The kickoff session, “A Brotherhood of Resilience: Braving Adversity, Setting Our Future Course,” was presented by Zar Toolan, Columbia ’01. Brother Toolan is general partner and head of business architecture for Edward Jones. Emphasizing the power of SigEp brotherhood, the session encouraged brothers to come together, reconnect with SigEp and celebrate our shared resilience.
“Without setbacks, there can be no comebacks,” Toolan shared with attendees. Through isolation, uncertainty and a mostly virtual landscape, SigEps “met the moment” of the last year. Toolan shared his life experiences and how we must take care of ourselves and mental health moving forward.
After the session, Juan Munoz Rodriguez, Cleveland State ’23 shared, “Everything has an inevitable end, but the beauty is in putting in the hard work to live to see more days. This adds to my belief that an end is not an end, but the start of the next chapter — that’s the magic of life. This is resiliency.”
Recruitment is a topic on everyone’s mind as we are weeks away from the first day of classes, and “Winning at Recruitment: Tips, Tools and Techniques,” presented by Chris Minnis, ’00 Truman State, was an educational session attendees were eager to hear. Before Minnis was the senior corporate account manager for Dot Foods, Inc., he was a regional director for SigEp and went on to manage leadership programs and fraternity operations on the Headquarters staff.
The tips, tools and techniques Minnis shared prompted attendees to focus recruitment efforts on areas of need in the chapter. Looking for more leadership on campus? Recruit campus leaders. Need to do better in intramurals? Recruit people who dedicate time to athletics. Want your chapter GPA to go up? Recruit people with high GPAs.
“Chris bridged some of the differences in approach between undergraduate members and AVCs,” Mark Schordock, Missouri ’84. “‘Everyone sells,’ and ‘numbers are reviewed in most of life’s endeavors,’ were important takeaways. I believe our chapter and AVC can learn from his message that an 80 percent solution, violently executed, is likely better than delayed execution of a perfect plan.”
The “Leading from the Front: Changing the Game with the BMP” session discussed how preparing members for life’s challenges determines not only the success of our chapter, but also how far our brothers will go in accomplishing their life goals.
The session asked attendees if their chapter’s BMP is ready to position brothers for success in life during college and beyond. Seth Irby, Louisiana State ’11 and Sheehan Walker, Virginia Commonwealth ’11 taught attendees how to implement a relevant, adaptable BMP in your chapter.
Additionally, they challenged attendees to bring in experts to work with the chapter and tailor the BMP to the needs of the chapter. An attendee shared that the BMP does not have to be an experience that has to be done alone but instead can be completed with brothers.
Presenters charged attendees with bringing back the concepts they learned at the educational sessions so the learning and leading may continue into the next school year and beyond.
Saturday’s educational sessions included “Chapter Success in 600 Seconds.” a conversation-driven presentation where brothers learned from fellow undergraduates and volunteers who innovated and overcame obstacles in the past last year.
Reece Poppen, South Dakota State ’22, shared the “Brothers Teaching Brothers” program his chapter implemented. Brothers share presentations with each other about topics they are passionate about, from how to wear cologne properly to understanding SigEp bylaws. Brother Poppen shared there was buy-in from chapter members because they wanted to learn from each other.
Another presentation that had every seat in the room filled was “Promoting Mental Health in Your Chapter” by Dr. Brian Kassar, clinical psychologist at Montana State University, and Jared Fenton, executive director for the Reflect Organization. The presenters offered a summary of the state of men’s mental health, a discussion of masculinity and vulnerability, and strategies brothers can use to assist those with suicidal thoughts and foster protective environments within their communities.
Allen Marvel, Valparaiso ’23, shared that his biggest takeaway was “whenever you are talking with a brother who may be struggling in life, you want to show them these three things: unconditional love, don’t judge and that you will always be there for your brother.”