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The Relevance of Sigma Nu, Anchored in Brotherhood

By. Justin Wenger (William Jewell)

Brother Bill Courtney (Mississippi) offered the closing remarks of the 2022 College of Chapters, and there was a particular line that hit me right in the gut, “We’re under attack, guys.” That statement should serve as a wake-up call for all Greek members because it’s true.

The unfortunate reality is that Greek-letter organizations are used to naysayers and negative commentary. We’ve grown accustomed to them and view it as the cost of doing business. However, there is something different about this new wave of “attacks,” though. They’re organized, explicit, louder than ever, and they believe the Greek community is unhealthy - detrimental to the college campus environment. As a proud brother of Sigma Nu, the realities of these new affronts to Greek organizations have made me reflect on our Fraternity, our mission, and how Sigma Nu remains relevant to the college experience.

For most of us, joining Sigma Nu was about belonging – fitting in and being a part of something more. As a new candidate, we are immersed in a communal environment that promotes the development of deep relationships that quickly form a support structure. This environment not only allows for but encourages enjoyment, taking on new challenges, teamwork, and, ultimately, trust. In fact, the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) has compiled research that supports the positive relationships that develop in fraternities.

“While college men are experiencing loneliness and depression at increasing rates, fraternities empower students to create a strong support system. This family – this home – that fraternities provide offers help and guidance when a member needs it most. Research shows that this connection can create a strong sense of belonging, leading members to have more positive mental health and less anxiety and depression than other students. Brothers feel comfortable having tough conversations and learning from each other, and when they seek help, research shows members are twice as likely to reach out to a fraternity brother than anyone else.”

A sense of belonging is a key - and widely unspoken about - factor for the development and growth of young men.

  1. It feels good to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
  2. We gain confidence and are inspired to act.
  3. It plays an important role in the development of our self-identity.

 

Findings from the research compiled by the NIC further support the growth and development that occurs because of fraternal relationships.

    • 83% of members indicate stronger leadership confidence because of their fraternity membership.
    • Fraternity members show significantly higher learning gains than their peers in their first year of college.
    • Fraternity members are more likely to be thriving in every aspect of wellbeing - career, community, financial, physical, and social wellbeing.
    • Fraternity members experience stronger retention and persistence to graduation. 
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These data points come to life in our collegiate chapters as they gather for LEAD sessions, participate in community service and philanthropy events, plan chapter events, and take on-campus leadership roles. Alumni experience value through the lifelong friendships formed in college, not to mention new friendships formed through alumni chapters and alumni clubs.

Whether we realize it or not, Sigma Nu has been, is, and will continue to be relevant in our lives, purely because of the relationships it fosters. A quality, impactful relationship includes three things. According to science journalist and author Lydia Denworth, “It’s a stable, longstanding bond; it’s positive; and it’s cooperative – it’s helpful, reciprocal, I’m here for you, you’re there for me.” For me, Denworth has aptly described the anchor of what also makes Sigma Nu relevant to today’s college campus – brotherhood.

© 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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