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Alumni Chapters Overcome Pandemic, Reentry Fear

Socially, it has been a difficult 16 months. It has been harder for some more than others, but we have all been impacted in some way. Through it all, Sigma Nu alumni have withstood the challenges of COVID-19. This is particularly true of our alumni chapters.

  1. They have overcome the adversities of the pandemic and have played a bigger role in brothers' lives than we probably realize.
  2. They have maintained a central role in furthering relationship building between alumni by facilitating meaningful interactions.
  3. They have continued to perpetuate friendships, and they provided for the ongoing experience of fraternal brotherhood.

Not unlike a global pandemic, moments of isolation, anxiety, and fear are particularly ripe opportunities for alumni chapters’ impact by connecting and engaging alumni. It turns out that relationships are critical. Whether it is deeply personal and intimate, or casual and friendly, each relationship strengthens our resilience – our ability to get through difficult and stressful situations. Case in point, American society finds itself beginning to emerge from a 16-month period of a form of social isolation, and with it has come an unexpected phenomenon – reentry fear.

Reentry fear is not a fear of COVID-19 itself. Rather, it is anxiety, worry, and nervousness that develops around the consideration to one’s reintegration to a noisy, crowded, social world. According to a February (2021) survey by the American Psychological Association, nearly half of respondents said they felt uneasy about adjusting to in-person interactions once the pandemic ends, and vaccination status had little impact on people’s responses (“As daily life slowly creeps back to pre-pandemic routines, some feel dread” – Chicago Sun-Times, April 2021). As a matter of fact, it is very likely that you know someone who has felt a twinge of reentry fear.








In times of hardship, our relationships are key components to our well-being. As science journalist and author Lydia Denworth explained in a July 2020 interview with Greater Good Magazine, “Research suggests that friendships can help us find purpose and meaning, stay healthy, and live longer. The intimacy, support, equality, and emotional bonds we have in our friendships are unique.” Now, tell me, does that not sound a lot like brotherhood…like fraternity?

Throughout the pandemic, alumni chapters were forced to adjust their operations, while maintaining their focus on connecting and engaging alumni. In fact, the annual reporting data submitted by alumni chapters for the 2020-2021 academic/fiscal year, indicated the great efforts they made to engage alumni:

  1. 81% hosted at least one event for alumni.
  2. 74% implemented a plan to communicate with alumni.
  3. 25% even found a way to conduct the Affirmation of Knighthood ceremony for graduating brothers.

To top off, seventeen (17) alumni chapters were either chartered or reinstated in the last two years (9 in 2019-2020; 8 in 2020-2021).

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, alumni chapters remained steadfast in their efforts to facilitate connection and engagement among alumni – or, put more simply, to perpetuate friendships. With our world slowly returning to a form of normalcy, the efforts of alumni chapters can be even more impactful as we are able to gather in person. “There’s a richness to being with your friends in person, and it hits all your senses…there’s a difference when you see them on a screen vs. when you see them in person,” continued Denworth.

Regardless of the challenges, Sigma Nu alumni – particularly in the collective form of an alumni chapter – have shown they can overcome adversity and will continue to further our brotherhood with zeal.

© 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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