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Chapter Consultation Program

Overview Fall 2021 Support 2020-2021 Overview & Results Our Commitment

Chapter Support Overview

At the onset of the pandemic, the Fraternity established three guiding principles for its support of collegiate chapters/colonies, alumni advisors, and house corporations: 1) the health and safety of members, volunteers, and staff; 2) continuity of the Fraternity’s operations at all levels; and, 3) enhanced communication with constituents.

The Fraternity maintained these guiding principles throughout 2020 and in its plans to support collegiate chapters for the 2020-2021 academic year, as also seen in the updated Pursuit of Excellence Program framework within Sigma Nu’s Pandemic Plan, and in developing the Fall 2021 chapter/colony support model.

The same was true in determining how best to provide ongoing assistance and personalized guidance to chapters, officers, and advisors for the 2020 and 2021 academic terms, especially through our Chapter Consultation Program.

In planning out scenarios for what the 2020 and 2021 academic terms may look like, we researched and evaluated the campus return plans for every campus where a Sigma Nu chapter is present, evolving CDC guidelines, and the shifting landscape of state and local restrictions. 

But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of innovation.

The necessity piece of that equation is that we (the staff) are here for you (collegiate members and officers, volunteers, general alumni, and campus partners). We refuse to accept a scenario in which your Fraternity is not offering the most robust, personalized, and impactful direct support to its chapters.

Fall 2021 Support

Chapter and colony support for the Fall 2021 term will be conducted in a hybrid format using a phased model.

Phase 1 – Officer Check-Ins and Roundtables

Throughout the month of August, key officers will meet with our consultant team to review best practices, expectations for 2021, and chapter-specific operational plans for the fall term. In addition to direct consultation with select officers, consultants will host a series of national roundtables to allow officers, advisors, and committee members to ask questions, solicit best practices, share ideas, and get feedback on their plans for the fall term.

Officer Check-Ins

  • August 2-5: Recruitment Chairmen
  • August 9-12: Risk Reduction & Social Chairmen
  • August 16-19: Treasurers
  • August 23-26: Commanders and Lt. Commanders

Roundtables

  • August 6: Alumni Relations, Candidate Education, LEAD
  • August 13: Recruitment, Scholarship, Service and Philanthropy
  • August 20: Alumni Relations, Candidate Education, LEAD
  • August 27: Recruitment, Scholarship, Service and Philanthropy

Phase 2 – Chapter/Colony Consultations

We anticipate conducting full chapter consultations with all chapters between mid-September and Thanksgiving. Where local conditions allow, consultants will conduct their consultations in-person on-site at the chapter facility or on campus (when not possible, virtual meetings will be scheduled). These two-day consultations will focus on officer training & check-in meetings; a chapter workshop on behavioral expectations, risk reduction, and social planning; advisor meetings; executive committee and candidate class meetings; and an opportunity for chapters to request additional meetings with specific officers, to conduct LEAD sessions, or attend other chapter or committee meetings.

Over the course of the fall, this should result in nearly three days of consulting time with each chapter and colony (a 150% increase over the traditional in-person model), opportunities before school starts for chapters to participate in six topical roundtables, and the return of in-person chapter-level educational workshops.

We want to ensure there is no doubt on this point: We are here for you. If your chapter needs additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Leadership Consultant to discuss options.

2020-2021 Overview & Results

Fall 2020

For 2020-2021 our team concluded that the traditional model of having Leadership Consultants physically visit every Sigma Nu chapter across the country would not deliver the level of extra support and service needed by collegiate chapters and would also not be prudent from a health and safety perspective.

We knew that each chapter’s situation would be unique and different, and that there was not a one-size fits all approach. Every chapter encountered its own unique set of challenges in 2020-2021, as they do every year. It was your courage, dedication, strength, honor, and commitment to Sigma Nu that ensured your chapter emerged, not just intact, but as strong as possible on the other side of the pandemic.

In that spirit, we are excited to share how the Fraternity innovated to support collegiate chapters and colonies throughout 2020-2021.

Virtual consultations were conducted in a phased approach for Fall 2020. 99% of chapters and colonies received three consultations between mid-August and Thanksgiving. This resulted in:

  • 150% more time with a consultant for every chapter
  • 200% increase in personalized officer training and support time for most officers
  • individual training with multiple officers not included in a traditional in-person consultation.

The Fraternity’s chapter support team – a collection of 12 consultants and directors – provided 460 consultation days to chapters and colonies over a ten-and-a-half-week period in the fall term. This included more than 3,400 officer meetings, and nearly 400 advisor check-ins.

A description of the phased approach is below.

Return to Campus & Fall Planning - from mid-August to mid-September

Focused on updating operational plans for the year, familiarity with changes to the Pursuit of Excellence Program (expectations, planning, and resources), chapter finances and budget, and adapting to campus plans and limitations (e.g. recruitment, housing, social distancing).

The Membership Experience – late September to late October

Focused on how the chapter is engaging and supporting all members

Transitions and Maintaining Operations after Thanksgiving – late October to late November

Focused on officer transitions, plans for a virtual end to the term, looking ahead to Spring campus/chapter plans

Winter/Spring 2021

Virtual consultations were conducted in a phased approach for Winter/Spring 2021. All chapters and colonies received two consultations between mid-January and late April. These one-day consultations were complemented by a series of regional officer roundtables in early March, the virtual College of Chapters program in early January, and a series of national Sigma Nu Institute offerings in early 2021.

This phased approach resulted in:

  • 200% increase in personalized officer training and support time for most officers
  • individual training with multiple officers not included in a traditional in-person consultation.

The Fraternity’s chapter support team – a collection of 10 consultants and directors – provided 310 consultation days to chapters and colonies over a twelve-week period in the spring term. This included more than 2,400 officer meetings, and nearly 300 advisor check-ins.

A description of the phased approach for Winter/Spring 2021 is below.

Return to School, Officer Training/Transitions, & Spring Planning – from mid-January to end of February

Focused on officer transitions and updating operational plans for the year, familiarity with changes to the Pursuit of Excellence Program (expectations, planning, and resources), chapter finances and budget, and adapting to campus plans and limitations (e.g. recruitment, housing, social distancing).

Officer Roundtables – Early March

Roundtables were facilitated virtually within consultation regions providing geographically similar chapters the opportunity to share best practices with one another and participate in Q&A with a staff member. Roundtables were conducted on LEAD / Brother Development, Candidate Education/Development, Brotherhood, Service and Philanthropy, Recruitment, Alumni Relations, and Scholarship.

Officer Check-Ins and Summer/Fall Planning – mid-March to late April

Focused on end-of-year programs and expectations, maintaining operations over the summer, and looking ahead to Fall campus/chapter plans.

Our Commitment

The Fraternity recognizes that each chapter has its own unique campus circumstances – whether operating entirely virtually or in-person with social distancing restrictions – and needs adaptive and ongoing support. The shift to virtual consultations for 2020-2021 was designed to be agile and flexible to both the evolving national and campus-by-campus situation, as well as flexible to each chapter’s unique plans.

As we move into Fall 2021, it is imperative for the Fraternity to continue to provide as much support to each collegiate chapter as possible. On-campus operations with few to no social distancing and capacity limitations represent an operational mode that most chapters have not experienced since Fall 2019. Chapters will have to rebuild and adapt operations – both to bring forward the innovations and best practices created during the pandemic, and to revive the best parts of pre-pandemic operations. This year’s phased approach is designed to help chapters do just that. The hybrid approach for consultations will allow our consultants to spend the last days of summer and first days for chapters back on campus making final preparations to hit the ground running this academic term; following that up with two-day consultations for each chapter in the fall term will help ensure each chapter gets support at the right times to meet their needs.

Questions, concerns, and inquiries about the Chapter Consultation Program should be directed to Scott Smith, Director of Leadership Development, at scott.smith@sigmanu.org.

© 2015-2021 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
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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