What can a fraternity do to benefit the community in which it is located? Simply put, get involved. So, how do we get involved? How do we determine which organizations to help?
There are numerous community organizations that need the help of fraternities and sororities. From volunteer work to fundraising efforts, fraternity and sorority members bring added enthusiasm and exuberance needed by these organizations to fulfill their missions and efforts. The challenge for a fraternity chapter is choosing which organization and effort to support. Sigma Nu Fraternity has established the Helping Hand Initiative to help make this decision easier.
What is the Helping Hand Initiative
In 2004, at the 61st Grand Chapter, Sigma Nu Fraternity established the Helping Hand Initiative, the official international philanthropic and service effort of Sigma Nu. The Helping Hand Initiative consisted of two primary components: Founders' Week-of-Service and the Helping Hand Partners.
In 2008, at the 63rd Grand Chapter, Sigma Nu Fraternity expanded the Helping Hand Initiative's Founders' Week-of-Service into the Founders' Month-of-Service. Beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, the month of April will be the Founders' Month-of-Service to coincide with the April 1 birth date of founder Greenfield Quarles.
The Helping Hand Partners consists of three philanthropic and service-based organizations whose efforts are closely related to the mission of Sigma Nu. The Helping Hand Partners are:
The Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Participation in the Helping Hand Initiative will benefit not only the community, but will benefit the collegiate chapters and members of Sigma Nu as well. By participating in the Helping Hand Initiative, chapter members will continue to build various skills such as: Project Management, Communication Skills, Networking Skills and Leadership Development. The collegiate chapters will also benefit by improving community relations, building a positive chapter image and furthering the brotherhood of the chapter.
The Helping Hand Initiative exhibits a flexible, multi-faceted model of organizational interaction established to meet not only the needs of Sigma Nu chapters, but the needs of the community organization(s) with whom the chapters are working. The Helping Hand Initiative was NOT established to replace any community service or philanthropic traditions that may exist at any individual chapter. Rather, the Helping Hand Initiative was established to further the efforts of the collegiate chapters in regard to community service and philanthropy. The Helping Hand Initiative was established to promote the service and philanthropic efforts of the collegiate chapters and place Sigma Nu members, everywhere, in a position to realize the benefits and satisfaction of being a servant leader.
How Does the Helping Hand benefit Sigma Nu
The Helping Hand Initiative offers tremendous potential benefit to Sigma Nu chapters and members. Through their involvement, members have the opportunity to give back to the communities that have supported the fraternity for so long and members will be able to learn first-hand the benefits of being servant leaders. Furthermore, involvement in an international community initiative gives Sigma Nu chapters the opportunity to reaffirm the essence of what it means to be a fraternity.
What's in it for the Members:
- Project Management Skills
- Communication Skills
- Event Planning
- Leadership Development
- Meeting Deadlines
- Vendor Negotiations
What's in it for the Chapter:
- Project Management Skills for New Members and/or Officers
- "On-the-job" Training for new Officers
- Community Relations
- Stronger Brotherhood
- Improved Alumni Involvement/Relations
- Improved Sorority Relations
- Standards Fulfillment
- New Member Event
- Chapter Image
How does a Chapter get involved?
It is important to note that while a chapter is encouraged to participate with at least one of the Helping Hand Partners and/or during the Founders' Month-of-Service, it is not required. Simply put, the Helping Hand Initiative is an effort which lasts 365 days of the year; therefore, a chapter may choose to participate with any of the Helping Hand Partners at any point in the year, or during the Founders' Month-of-Service, or with any charitable organization that is not currently a Helping Hand Partner, during the month of April.
Getting involved in the Helping Hand Initiative can be done by following the steps below:
- STEP 1 – Determine whether or not the chapter's traditional philanthropic or community service event can be done during the month of April (Founders' Month-of-Service).
- STEP 2 - If the chapter does not have a traditional philanthropy or community service event, or, if the chapter is unable to host its traditional event during the month of April, then work to determine which Helping Hand Partner(s) the chapter would like to work with.
- STEP 3 – Once the chapter has made a decision, make a Commitment to the Helping Hand Initiative.
- STEP 4 – Once the chapter's commitment form is received by the Helping Hand Partner(s), or Sigma Nu Headquarters, the chapter will be contacted by a representative of the organization (Helping Hand Partner or Sigma Nu Headquarters) within five (5) business days. Be aware that this contact may come via telephone or e-mail. If the chapter is NOT contacted by a representative of the Helping Hand Partner or Sigma Nu Headquarters within five (5) business days, then please contact Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc., at helping.hand
@sigmanu.org or via phone at (540) 463-1869.
- STEP 5 – Upon being contacted by the Helping Hand Partner, or Sigma Nu Headquarters, it will be up to the chapter to plan out and establish the logistics of the event they will be hosting. Generally, chapters will want to dedicate 2-8 weeks of planning prior to the event taking place. If there are questions, or if the chapter needs assistance with the planning of its event, then contact the Helping Hand Partner the chapter is working with or Alex Combs, Associate Director of Leadership Development (alex.combs
- STEP 6 – Now it's time to have fun! The chapter has put in the hard work of planning and preparing for the event and now is the time to put that plan into action. Host the chapter's event on the day(s) it is scheduled for and enjoy the camaraderie of the brothers and the people the chapter's efforts are benefiting.
- STEP 7 – Upon completing its event, the chapter will need to Report the Helping Hand Event Results by April 30. The results of the chapter's efforts will be recorded in the Helping Hand participation file and used to promote the efforts of Sigma Nus across North America. Additionally, Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. will be available to assist chapters with drafting chapter-specific press releases to local news outlets to promote their efforts in the Helping Hand Initiative.
- STEP 8 – Send out press releases to local news affiliates. For assistance with a press release, contact the General Fraternity. Begin looking into the chapter's commitment to the Helping Hand Initiative for the next academic year.