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Interview with SNEF Chairman Ben Buettell


With Sigma Nu's 2019 Day of Giving coming up on October 16th, The Delta sat down with Chairman of the Sigma Nu Education Foundation (SNEF) Ben Buettell (Northwestern) to discuss the important role SNEF plays in protecting, strengthening, and advancing Sigma Nu's mission and how every initiate can make a life-changing impact. Don't forget to stay tuned to our social media channels and our Day of Giving page for updates!

The Delta: What sparked you to get involved in Sigma Nu?

Ben A. BuettellBen Buettell: I was the Commander of my chapter during my senior year. When I graduated, I was asked to get involved with the Housing Corporation at my chapter. I’ve been involved in some way since graduation. One thing that drove my involvement were the different relationships that I had with brothers who were alumni when I was Commander. For me, I saw people like Ed Forrester (Northwestern) who committed their time, talent, and treasure for years. This compelled me to serve.

What sparked you to get involved in the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation?

Past Regent Jim Cherry (Hampden-Sydney) came to see me in 2009 to share an update about Sigma Nu and learn how I wanted to be involved. At that time, I was serving as the Chairman of the Gamma Beta (Northwestern) Alumni Advisory Board and was honored to be asked to be involved at the national level but didn’t have the time to commit.

Once we finished the recolonization at Gamma Beta, I felt that the alumni that I’d met who were serving at the national level were outstanding men. Headquarters had put a great deal of time and energy into recolonizing our chapter at Northwestern and it felt like a good new opportunity for me to get involved with the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation and serve at the next level. I wanted to give back. I had a wonderful experience with lifelong friends and a successful chapter. I remember feeling that the alumni serving in the leadership positions at the national level were the highest quality people. You can’t have enough friends and I thought it was time to get engaged.

Another part of my decision had to do with the legacy of other alumni. During Gamma Beta's recolonization, Ed Forrester received the Regent’s Medallion of Merit. He had done so much work to keep the alumni together during the time our chapter was dormant. He was a true mentor.

What is your fondest Sigma Nu memory?

A group of brothers from Northwestern went up to Wisconsin to a brother’s home for the weekend. Joe Bernstein (Northwestern) and his family were good enough to host us. His mom was Florence Henderson, the actress who played Carol Brady in "The Brady Bunch." We took a big bus up to an Italian restaurant on a lake near Racine. There were about 60 guys in the room. Suddenly, a few of the guys started singing "The Brady Bunch" theme song. Then everyone else joined in. Joe had a big smile on his face while we sang. I think that moment captured the spontaneity, friendship, and humility of our brotherhood. It was a funny, spontaneous moment.

Why is it important to have a strong base of support for Sigma Nu?

Obviously, it is important to have active chapters and a strong base of collegians. That number is currently more than 11,000. But in order to be around for another 151 years, we can’t just rely on the young men to be on their own to move the fraternity forward. We need all alumni to invest in Sigma Nu so we can maintain the excellence that Sigma Nu stands for, to maintain our ritual, our history, and to provide continuity. Donors can provide wisdom and resources to make sure Sigma Nu stays strong.

How do annual gifts help Sigma Nu?

Just the way every organization needs to have a strong base of resources to pay for the day to day, Sigma Nu needs support. It is similar to a church; I’ve done stewardship for church campaigns. You always want 100% participation. We can’t provide the kind of experience our collegiate brothers deserve without resources.

What does it mean when an alumnus invests in Sigma Nu?

They are providing opportunities for young men to be exposed to other young men in a collegial atmosphere and open their eyes to a whole new world in college and beyond. Investing in Sigma Nu means giving opportunities to others. Whether you know someone in your local chapter or someone across the nation, you are making a difference in the lives of collegians.

Where do gifts from the Day of Giving go to?

The biggest impact alumni can make is giving to the Fund for Excellence. This unrestricted fund goes to support all the work that the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation and Sigma Nu Fraternity does to develop ethical leaders. Whether it is the LEAD Program, a chapter retreat on mental health, College of Chapters, or our leadership program for chapter Commanders, these resources can go to shape the lives and values of our more than 11,000 collegians.


© 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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