At a time when brotherhood and leadership are needed more than ever, undergraduates are eager to build skills that will enable them to steer their chapters through this unusual time and set them up for career success. SigEp is rising to meet this challenge. While the format may be different — gathering virtually instead of in person — our signature national leadership programs continue to provide the outstanding development opportunities brothers need. Presenting these programs virtually has broadened their reach, enabling SigEp to make a life-changing impact on more brothers than ever before.
For the 21st year, the Ruck Leadership Institute has helped brothers develop the skills to make an impact on their chapters, campuses and communities. This summer, Ruck was transformed from a five-day program at the University of Richmond, into an eight-week virtual experience for more than 260 brothers — nearly double the amount typically reached in person — led by 70 new and experienced Ruck facilitators.
“Virtual Ruck revitalized me and renewed my pride for SigEp, despite going through this current pandemic,” said Vincent Whatley, Kentucky Wesleyan ’22. “It can be hard because it seems like everything changed overnight within the world. But going through Ruck gave me the tools to keep trying my best and give my brothers the support that they need.”
Across the board, scholars agreed the preparation to face the challenges of this academic year has been one of the most significant things they gained from Virtual Ruck. One hundred percent of scholars said they’re confident they can navigate this upcoming academic year as a chapter leader and implement positive change in their chapter.
“I haven’t felt this confident in my leadership abilities ever,” said Matthew Van Hoecke, Missouri State ’23, a 2020 Ruck scholar. “Through the effort of the leaders and attendees, I’m now trying to perfect my weaknesses of leadership and better help my friends, brothers and family.”
This fall, the addition of a second Virtual Ruck session is providing an opportunity for even more brothers to develop their leadership skills. The fall program is a special session for rising leaders, where 370 scholars are preparing to take on chapter and campus leadership roles.
Additionally, this summer, 19 Tragos Quest to Greece scholars participated in an impactful experience led by four alumni mentors and a classics professor. Traditionally, the 10-day program exposes scholars to the origins of Greek philosophy, and visits to historical sites like Athens and Olympia illuminate the ancient civilization’s ongoing influence on modern life. This summer’s program was revamped into a seven-week virtual offering with interactive lessons that immersed scholars in Greek philosophy and culture. By its conclusion, scholars were amazed they gained so much insight about the origins of the fraternal movement, SigEp’s values and themselves from a virtual program.
“Quest really created a new foundation for how I evaluate things and make decisions and think about things that are going on in my life,” Jack Owens, Drexel ’21, shared. “It provided a framework and a new perspective on how I reflect upon decisions and choices.”
Similarly, one hundred percent of scholars surveyed said they found the Virtual Tragos Quest to Greece to be a valuable experience that met or exceeded their expectations.
The 2021 Tragos Quest to Greece is being planned to be held in person, and the application deadline is Oct. 28.
With many universities holding classes virtually for at least the fall semester, crucial aspects of the annual Life After College program, Cox Volunteer Institute and Carlson Leadership Academies are being delivered virtually. This fall, SigEp is rolling out nationwide career coaching and year-round officer training. This pivot makes these opportunities accessible to brothers across the country in a time when brothers and chapters need enhanced connection.
Career coaching has long been one of the most popular and impactful components of Life After College, which focuses on professional development. Through the new program, SigEp’s vast network of brothers and friends will share their professional expertise, coaching undergraduates virtually on various aspects of professional development.
Alumni interested in helping a young brother can sign up to be a career coach here, and undergraduates seeking to speak one on one with an alumni in their chosen field or to explore options can sign up here.
Caleb Gipple, Northern Iowa ’21, has participated in career coaching and considers connecting with SigEp alumni an invaluable experience for brothers preparing to enter the workforce. “What’s so special about career coaching is no other undergrad has that opportunity. I’d put money on it, if you went to your university’s college of business, students would be scratching and clawing for an opportunity like this. To have the pool of success and knowledge available … that is something only a small number of college students have, and frankly, you’d be foolish to not take advantage of it.”
Additionally, chapter executive officers and volunteers are engaging in monthly development and networking sessions, ensuring leaders have what they need, when they need it, virtually. Programs are led by industry leaders working in the professional roles related to the officer’s role and skill set who share strategies that will help the officers succeed in their roles and beyond. Through cohort discussions, brothers from different chapters have the opportunity to connect and problem-solve together.
Undergraduates are ready to take on the challenges we face today. And at a time when brotherhood is more important than ever, SigEp is answering the call to support them by presenting these programs on a larger scale than ever before.
This summer, we plan come together in person in Denver for the Grand Chapter Conclave on July 28 – Aug. 2, 2021.
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