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Best Practices Library

Candidate Development

Big Brother Programs Candidate Class Bonding Candidate Education
LEAD Phase I Parent Relations General Fraternity Resources

Big Brother Programs

CD1 - As part of their big brother program the Marshal holds two mandatory sessions to be eligible for being a Big Brother. At these sessions, he talks of what is required and expected of them as big brothers.

CD2 - The Marshal and LEAD Chairman interview each candidate's selected Big Brother. They cover topics regarding financial obligation, proper conduct and ethical responsibility. The chapter does this to ensure that the potential Big Brother is aware of the responsibility that comes with becoming a mentor.

CD5 - Sample Big Brother Contract

CD54 - Chapter hosts "speed dating" getting to know you event prior to big brother night to better pair up candidates and brothers.

CD55- Big Brothers must follow certain requirements once they take their Little Brother. This includes maintaining an above average GPA, holding weekly study hours with their little brother, and meeting every other week with the Mashal to discuss their Little Brother’s performance. This allows Big Brothers to model the way and show the chapter’s serious commitment to academic success. 

Candidate Class Bonding

CD33 - At the halfway point of every semester, the Executive Committee sits down with each candidate individually to ask how the semester and candidate education have been progressing. Additionally, each candidate is asked to give constructive criticism of the Marshal and the candidate education program in general. At the following Executive Committee meeting, the officers review their candidate meetings and share general criticisms the candidates levy. Marshals utilize this information to improve the candidate education program and their leadership styles.

CD43 - Each week the Marshal gathers all candidates together to participate in a "Unity Circle" teambuilding activity. During the teambuilder, candidates discuss different talking points, share different stories and experiences, and get to know each other better as a class. The instructions for the Unity Circle activity can be found in LEAD Phase I and in the Sigma Nu Teambuilding Guide under the Chaplain's Officer Resources.

Candidate Education

CD52 - The chapter provides each candidate with a “Creed Card” – small wallet-sized print of the Creed – to assist in learning the Creed. 

CD10 - The chapter treats their candidates as the next leaders of the chapter, involving them in everything from intramural sports to the committee system and allowing candidates to play vital and active roles in the chapter. All initiates take individual responsibility for getting to know the candidates, the progression of each through candidate education, and work to assist candidates to prepare for future leadership roles in the chapter.

CD11 - Periodically, the Marshal gives the candidate class an ethical topic and moderates a debate amongst candidates in a manner similar to a chapter meeting. This is designed to prepare the candidates to be able to handle conflict appropriately in chapter meetings once they are initiated. A list of Ethical Dilemmas can be found at the end of the Facilitator notes for Phase I LEAD sessions.

CD12 - The chapter created a candidate class code of conduct to which all candidates sign their name.

CD15 - The chapter has each candidate class complete a candidate class 'petition' prior to initiation. This is a mini petition/PEP including everything that the class has done over the course of the semester. It also includes brief bios about each person and how they contributed to the fraternity and what impact it made on their semester.

CD18 - Halfway through the candidate program, candidates elect new candidate class officers so that more candidates can gain officer and leadership experience.

CD22 - The chapter has created a candidate contract that details out the idea that you MUST actively contribute and pay dues through graduation. If you are a matriculate of the University, you are an active member of Sigma Nu. Candidates sign the contract at the last meeting before initiation. 

CD9 - Each candidate class meeting utilizes parliamentary procedure just as a chapter meeting would. The Candidate Class President runs the meeting while the Candidate Class Recorder distributes an agenda to all candidates. The candidate classes utilize roll call, reading and approval of minutes, committee and officer reports, old business, new business, and announcements. During the announcements portion, the Marshal provides his report and announces any chapter updates/events for the upcoming week. The candidate class is organized in much the same way as the collegiate chapter, responsible for many of the same responsibilities that it has. This practice prepares candidates to be productive and contributing members upon initiation.

CD7 - The chapter assists candidates in landing campus employment if they so desire, meet key University officials and introduce each candidate to the Fraternity/Sorority Advisor, Vice President of Student Affairs and President of the University if possible.  This practice allows key University leaders to learn the names and faces of candidates early and helps candidates find involvement opportunities.  Doing this has assisted the chapter in landing Student Body Presidents, IFC Presidents, etc.

CD8 - Each candidate is given a weekly worksheet by the Marshal in which they plan out how they will spend their time that upcoming week. Each candidate's Big Brother will review the plan with the candidate and offer him advice/tips on how to better manage time. This program assists in improving candidate academic performance and in acclimating candidates to the various commitments that go along with being a member.

CD36 - The chapter's candidate education program treats the candidate class as a fully functioning, separate entity within the larger chapter. Not only does candidate education incorporate the LEAD Program, but candidates are required to plan their own class fundraiser, alcohol-free social events, and service events for the entire chapter to participate in. The candidate education program is designed to be dynamic and teach candidates the applicable leadership skills to better prepare them for their future as active leaders in the chapter.

CD34 - The chapter utilizes two candidate meetings per week, one dedicated towards completion of LEAD Phase I and another actual candidate class meeting, like a chapter meeting, in which business, completion of required projects and upcoming events are discussed.

CD35 - The Marshal provides a listing of the expectations of being a candidate and requirements to become an initiate. These are presented to those who have accepted their bids and explained to them prior to the Candidate Ceremony.

CD37 - The chapter has divided its candidate education program into three distinct phases. The first phase is entitled 'Love', the second 'Honor', and the third 'Truth'. During these three phases, which last approximately three weeks each, the candidates are required to complete a certain number of LEAD sessions, attend chapter activities and functions, and other duties as required. At the end of each phase the candidates are rewarded with a big brother, candidate class retreat, and initiation, respectively.

CD16 - The chapter arranges a brotherhood retreat with each candidate class. During one night of the retreat, each candidate writes a short paragraph describing what the cardinal principles of Love, Honor, and Truth mean to each of them. Every candidate shares what Love means to them and the members then discuss actions they have seen that demonstrate members acting with Love or what they Love about The Fraternity. This is repeated for both Honor and Truth. The Truth session is saved for last as it tends to be the most revealing. Similar to the Unity Circle activity included in LEAD Phase I and the Sigma Nu Team Building Guide, members tend to be open and honest about themselves and issues the chapter is facing.

CD30 - Sample Candidate Retreat Agenda 1

CD32 - Sample Candidate Retreat Agenda 3

CD24 - Sample Advisor Charge to Candidates

CD25 - Sample Alumni Letter to Newly Initiated Members

CD45 - Sample Candidate Education Committee Responsibilities

LEAD Phase I Implementation

CD19 - The chapter uses "The Way of Honor" as a tool for Candidate Education. Candidates have weekly readings that they discuss in Candidate Class meetings and at LEAD Phase I sessions.

CD11 - Periodically, the Marshal gives the candidate class a ethical topic and moderates a debate amongst candidates in a manner similar to a chapter meeting. This is designed to prepare the candidates to be able to handle conflict appropriately in chapter meetings once they are initiated. A list of Ethical Dilemmas can be found at the end of the Facilitator notes for Phase I LEAD sessions.

CD20 - Chapter conducts a "supplemental" LEAD Phase I session where they bring in alumni to discuss school history (football/athletic history). This is generally done on a Friday or Saturday prior to a football game. It does an excellenct job of getting the candidates excited/connected to the university and athletic program and gives them an opportunity to interact with various alumni in an informal setting.

CD21 - The chapter has developed a PowerPoint presentation to inform all new members about parliamentary procedure and Roberts Rules of Order. This helps new members learn how to run an effective business meeting.

CD38 - The chapter makes sure that new candidates are familiar with The Law and chapter bylaws by having appropriate officers and advisors conduct presentations for the candidates on these governing documents.

CD40 - The chapter has created a "LEAD" book that it distributes to all candidates that includes chapter history, organizational structure, candidate expectations, and other resources. The books provide an outline of the candidate process and the necessary resources and tools for the candidates to have a productive and successful candidate experience.

CD23 - Sample Sigma Nu History Jeopardy Game


Parent Relations

CD13 - A sample webpage aimed toward educating potential new members and their parents on the expectations of candidacy. Website Example 

CD41 - The chapter distributes a letter to parents of new members welcoming them to Sigma Nu, introducing the chapter's leadership and alumni volunteers, and inviting parents to participate in a conference call to address any questions they have about the new member process.

CD42 - Chapter sends out a "Parents Email" to all parents of candidates following their induction ceremony. The Commander and Marshal provide their contact information as well as a breakdown of finances, expectations, requirements, etc.

CD14 - The chapter contacts candidates’ parents and friends to write personal letters to the candidates. The chapter then surprises the candidates by giving them these letters which allows candidates to reflect on who they are as a person and how they have become that person.

CD17 - The chapter each semester facilitates a conference call for the parents of all candidates. This call gives parents a sense of the organization's purpose, basic expectations of membership, what the fraternity has and does not offer, etc. This gets parents engaged from the start and begins building valuable relationships between them and the chapter. The more engaged and informed parents are, the lower the potential for member apathy.

CD53 - Chapters hosts a virtual informational session with the parents of the new candidates at the beginning of the candidate education program. The Commander, Marshal, and Chapter Advisor lead the session. They use the session to review chapter activities and priorities, expectations of membership, initiation requirements, and the common misperceptions about fraternity life. It is well attended and well-received by these parents of the newest members of the chapter.

CD26 - Sample Parent Conference Call Invitation Letter

CD27 - Sample Initiation Invitation 

General Fraternity Resources

GFCD1 - Candidate Education Program Components

GFCD2 - Steps for Implementing LEAD Phase I

GFCD3 - Building a Big Brother Program

GFCD4 - Guide for Running a Candidate Class Meeting

GFCD5 - Building a Successful Candidate Retreat

GFCD6 - Sample Candidate Education Questionnaire

GFCD7 - Sigma Nu Team Building Guide

Call for Practices

If you have a great example or resource that you think should be included in the Best Practices Library, we want to know about it. Send your examples and resources to Austin Lloyd, Director of Chapter Services, at austin.lloyd@sigmanu.org.

Additional Officer Resources

The perfect complement to the Best Practices Library is the specific chapter officer resources page. Here you can access additional resources and the chapter officer manual for each officer. Also be sure to check out the following pages on the Fraternity's service and philanthropy related resources: 

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9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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