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Life of Love

By Ryan Hartwig (Southeast Missouri State)

As a lifelong member of Sigma Nu, I found our brothers resonate with one of the three values over another. For some, it’s Honor, for others, it’s Truth, and for me, it is Love. The love my brothers showed me through my college years catapulted me into a world of higher education and made fraternity and sorority life a passion for me. Brotherly love, as often portrayed by fraternity men, consists of “bro-hugs” or the occasional chapter retreat, but it runs much deeper than that, as many of us know. Rather, the love that makes fraternity men – “men” – comes from trust, hard conversations, peer-to-peer accountability, and the lessons we learn from our mistakes. Regardless of age, it is never easy to accept or give others the love we deserve, but when it concerns the safety of our brotherhood and its members, it is one of the most important values you will have. 

Giving love to another is something that some people feel needs to be earned, like respect. But what if we change our perspective and assume that love is something to be given to everyone? With that mindset, we can change how we treat other people and view the world around us. Loving one another means prioritizing dignity in a relationship and confidently allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with others in their time of need or even our own. It means we can care for others in a way that encourages personal growth and lead with a willingness to look after one another when life becomes difficult to manage. In exclusive organizations, like fraternities, where membership is based on the group’s selection, it is easy to disregard this concept of love and assume that every candidate is given an equal opportunity to earn the love given to all initiated brothers. As progress would have it, however, our fraternal communities are at risk of becoming outdated or irrelevant to the college campus. How the media perceives fraternity is a reality for some of our brothers and their associated chapters. To continue to remain an asset to our campuses and the communities we serve it is important that we continue to improve the way we perceive membership selection, LEAD Phase I, and the concept of brotherly love towards everyone who meets us. 

Starting with recruitment, how we present ourselves to the community needs to come from a place of love. By leading with love, potential new members will know how our fraternity expects people to be treated. Therefore, we establish ourselves as a fraternity of men who love one another and love members of the community that we serve. How you express love and consideration to your candidates shapes the way that you work with one another, grow with one another, and support members through one of the hardest transitions in their lives as freshmen leaving the comforts of home. From here, we can create a culture of brotherly love, where we put trust in one another to serve others as they need. By sharing trust in this way, Sigma Nu will continue to be leaders inside and outside the fraternal world, as it has done since 1869. 

From my undergraduate experience in the Mu Kappa Chapter at Southeast Missouri State University, I can say this simple concept kept our chapter sustained and successful even when we were at our lowest in membership and chapter morale. It has stuck with me since my joining and is the same philosophy I continue for the women’s organization I now work for. For some groups, it might be seen as a gigantic shift in their internal structure and culture, but if we choose to lead with Love at the forefront, it sets the motion for how Truth and Honor play into our daily lives and how we choose to come to each table we sit at. These values can transform the experiences of our members and those that follow into something incredibly rewarding. Love. Honor. Truth. Nothing Less

Ryan Hartwig is an initiate of the Mu Kappa Chapter at Southeast Missouri State University. He currently serves as the Director of Educational Technology for Delta Zeta Sorority.

© 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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