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Information for Parents

To get you started on learning more about Sigma Nu, watch the video below and see what other parents have to say.

What is fraternity?

In 1776, the first Greek letter fraternity was founded. Phi Beta Kappa was founded by a group of William and Mary students in Williamsburg, VA. The basic founding principle of Phi Beta Kappa was to offer an outlet for students to further their philosophic knowledge, as well as provide a social outlet for the students of William and Mary.

"Phi Beta Kappa, like Sigma Nu, was organized for those with ability, ambition and serious purpose in life." wrote Dick Vaughn, author of Sigma Nu’s timeless essay The Way of Honor.

Sigma Nu seeks members who have a serious purpose in life, as well as an ambition to succeed in whatever they do. Sigma Nu offers a collegiate experience that will further his ambition and ability to succeed during his time in school as well as his experience that will come following his collegiate career.

Why does fraternity matter?

A research study from Dr. Gary R. Pike of Indiana University finds that fraternity and sorority membership is associated with significantly higher levels of engagement on a number of measures including high impact practices, collaborative learning, student-faculty interactions, perception of a supportive campus environment, and discussions with diverse others.

The study can be found here.

Some specific conclusions found in the study included:

- Fraternity/sorority membership is also indirectly improved learning gains, acting through higher levels of student engagement.

- Despite being less diverse than students in general, fraternity/sorority members reported higher levels of interaction with people different from themselves than did other students.

- Membership in a fraternity or sorority is associated with greater involvement in curricular and co-curricular activities, promotes student learning and development, and promotes satisfaction with the college experiences.

- The largest positive effects were generally found for first-year students, arguing against deferring recruitment until the second semester or second year.

- The findings of this study indicate that fraternities and sororities are not antithetical to the values of American higher education.

What is required to become an initiated member?

According to The Law of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc., a candidate must satisfy the following requirements to become an initiated member of Sigma Nu Fraternity.

  1. The candidate must be a matriculate of the host university.
  2. A candidate must have subscribed his name to the formal obligations of the Fraternity.
  3. A candidate must have completed, to the satisfaction of the chapter, a Candidate Education Program, which has been adopted by the Chapter to emphasize the ideals, objectives and traditions of the fraternity.
  4. A Candidate must have satisfied all scholarship requirements for initiation imposed by both the Chapter and Institution where the chapter is located.
  5. No Chapter shall initiate a Candidate into the Fraternity until he has paid to the Chapter Treasurer his initiation fee and all Financial Obligations levied on Candidates for Initiation by The Law and the Rules of the Chapter.
    * Taken from Article 4, Section 5 of The Law of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.

Academics…Will Sigma Nu get in the way of my son's education?

Sigma Nu exists to cultivate and develop ethical leaders. An education is the most important part of that formula. Your son is a student first, and a Sigma Nu second. To ensure this is happening, Sigma Nu, in accordance with the North-American Interfraternity Council, has minimum standards that hold chapter's accountable to achieving a chapter-average GPA at or above their respective campus' All Men Average GPA. However, many of our chapters have a higher requirement for membership. In fact, over 60% of our chapters have above a 3.0 GPA.

Many of our chapters also offer study hours for their members.

What does Sigma Nu do for my son after College?

Not only does Sigma Nu provide lifelong bonds and friendships, we provide the tools necessary to be prepared to be successful in life after college. LEAD teaches our undergraduate members important skills, such as networking, interview and resume building skills and crisis management, to name just a few. By participating in Sigma Nu’s educational curriculum, your son will be equipped to be successful.

Sigma Nu will also provide an opportunity for philanthropic activities and community service. Many of our chapters require a minimum number of community service hours from their members.

Along with community service, most of our chapters also hold an annual philanthropy project. In fact Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. offers the chance for our chapters to take part in our Founders Week of Service, as part of our Helping Hand Initiative that takes place every spring.

The Truth about Alcohol

Another common misconception of fraternity men is that all they do is drink. Many fraternity members elect not to consume alcohol and still have an enjoyable and beneficial fraternity experience. Conversely, there are certainly members who do elect to consume alcohol.

Ultimately, we are an Honor fraternity committed to our mission of developing ethical leaders for society. Though our individual chapters may, and do, hold social functions, brothers are expected to uphold and adhere to all federal, state, and local laws, as well as the policies of the university and Sigma Nu.

Since its founding in 1869, in opposition to hazing at the Virginia Military Institute, Sigma Nu has, and remains, committed to risk reduction and should chapters be in violation of our Risk Reduction Policy, they are subject to disciplinary action from the General Fraternity. The safety of our members, along with abiding by local, state, and federal laws, is a priority. Please review the risk reduction portion of our website for more information about our educational and disciplinary efforts in this area.

The Truth about Hazing

Like the misconception that all fraternity men do is drink, people often incorrectly believe that hazing is an accepted component of joining a fraternity. Sigma Nu is unique in the fact that we were founded based on honor, which stems from our founders rebelling against the common practice of hazing at the Virginia Military Institute. That principle still holds true today.

The Fraternity engages in significant efforts to educate our collegiate and alumni members on the importance of creating and implementing a values-based new member experience based on the Fraternity’s LEAD Program and devoid of hazing.

Should a member have an experience otherwise, Sigma Nu provides an anti-hazing hotline and email address to anonymously report acts of hazing. These services are available not only to our collegiate members, but to you as well.  Should you believe that your son is being hazed, we encourage you to contact us 24 hours a day by calling the hotline at: 1-888-NOT-HAZE or by sending an e-mail to: anti-hazing@sigmanu.org.

As a parent, what can I do to help?

We invest significant resources in equipping our members with the knowledge and skills necessary to make healthy choices. One of our primary programs is CommunityEdu. At some point in his collegiate career, and likely in the first or second semester of his time in Sigma Nu, your son will likely complete the CommunityEdu program. This online science-based course addresses the critical issues of alcohol abuse and misuse, sexual assault, hazing, and mental health.

A companion piece to CommunityEdu is AlcoholEdu for Parents. This resource includes a set of talking points and resources designed to support the conversations about alcohol that you may have with your son.

Additionally, chapters are always looking for volunteers to help with chapter functions and parent organizations.

Get involved! We encourage you to seek out the chapter officers and alumni. Communicate with them if you have concerns. They should be able to answer any questions that you may have.

Above all else, you should be asking your son questions, such as:

  • How is your experience going so far?
  • Are you doing okay balancing the new time commitments?
  • How are your grades?
  • What have you been learning through Sigma Nu?
  • Have you taken CommunityEdu yet? What stood out to you?
  • What has your new member program involved?
  • What’s going well in the chapter? What’s not going so well?

Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention

In 2021 and 2022, the only years in which fraternities have been eligible, Sigma Nu Fraternity earned the highly regarded Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention for our best-in-class digital prevention and wellness programs. The CPN Seal represents the highest standard for online prevention education, with a rigorous set of criteria to ensure the Fraternity makes a measurable impact across the critical areas of sexual misconduct, alcohol and drug misuse, and mental health. 

As this recognition reflects, Sigma Nu Fraternity has made it a priority for all members to participate in a number of online trainings and virtual programs aimed at creating a safe and inclusive organizational culture. Participation in some of these programs has been incentivized, and others will be part of the ongoing wellness initiatives integrated throughout the Sigma Nu experience. This continued investment in prevention is central to upholding the Fraternity's mission, honoring member trust, and preparing members for success on campus and beyond.

The Fraternity's comprehensive digital education efforts, paired with the work of advisors, alumni, and collegiate members every day to reinforce the values and expectations of our organization, will support the Fraternity in moving through challenges and help prepare a bright future ahead.

© 2015-2022 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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