Brothers and friends,
I’m writing this note as an introduction to me, as well as the ambitious work our Fraternity is undertaking. We’re about to break a few things, and I guess this is my version of a “heads-up.”
After witnessing the world go through a pandemic, it was great to see our undergraduate brothers return to in-person learning and enjoy a traditional campus experience. Rest assured, we’re focused on what really matters:
- Our cardinal principles of Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love
- Building Balanced Leaders for the World’s Communities
- A commitment to Sound Mind, Sound Body.
At our Grand Chapter Conclave last July, SigEp’s National Board of Directors unveiled its new strategic plan, a roadmap for taking us beyond our 125th anniversary and into an uncertain future in higher education.
It focuses on our people — the men we recruit and retain and the volunteers who support them; how our life-changing experiences shape them; and fostering safe living-learning environments that influence their growth. You can learn more about it at sigep.org/strategicplan.
I’ve helped build plans for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Ours is mission-driven, disruptive, measurable … and expensive.
Our initial, immediate priorities are:
- GROWTH: Expanding to campuses we know will embrace our definition of fraternity, growing existing chapters through year-round recruitment, and retaining juniors and seniors by providing a four-year experience they value.
- EXPERIENCE: Reimagining the “leadership continuum” — leadership development opportunities, the Balanced Man Program and SigEp Learning Communities.
- VOLUNTEERS: Recruiting and training as many of the best coaches and mentors as possible.
- CAPACITY: Preparing for the largest fundraising effort in Fraternity history to support these ambitious needs and goals.
There’s also an urgent, overarching issue that touches every part of what we’re doing: the mental health crisis facing college men across America. Alarming numbers of undergraduate men are reporting feelings of loneliness, anxiety and isolation. Our nation is experiencing record levels of addiction and deaths by overdose and suicide. Fewer men are entering college each year, and fewer are graduating.
Colleges and universities are struggling to get their arms around this. Many men don’t seek help, in large part because this goes against society’s image of masculinity.
Recent research shows men are far more likely to be vulnerable in the safety of their fraternity house or reach out to a brother they trust. I want you to know we’re in the process of reconsidering our role and capacity to help address this crisis in everything we do.
We often repeat a promise made by our Founders long ago, “This Fraternity will be different.” But “different” leaves me yearning for more.
In a world full of irrelevance, I wish they had said, “This fraternity will matter.” Because regardless of any plan, that’s job number one … we have to make a positive, measurable difference in the lives of young men, and that difference has to become a lifestyle that follows them after they graduate. In everything we do going forward, that’s our commitment.
With appreciation and brotherly love,
Billy D. Maddalon