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Letter to the Editor

The 2020 College of Chapters was the first time I had been involved with the event since I left staff in 2014. The entire weekend was a fantastic event, and I could not stop thinking about how much fun I was having. Something that struck me was how many times the General Fraternity staff and High Council thanked the volunteer alumni facilitators. It was not until about a week later that it hit me – they were thanking us because we were all volunteering our time for this.

To me, one of the most important aspects of being a Knight in the Legion of Honor is the importance placed on offering the helping hand. Volunteerism is set not as a goal of hours to hit but what should be a part of our everyday life. That is why it took me a while to understand why we, as a corps of volunteers, were being thanked for our time.

Having had some time to think about this idea of volunteerism and Sigma Nu, I came up with several thoughts:

  1. Nothing comes out if you do not put anything in: I am a big believer in karma. Unfortunately, I have also seen that no good deed goes unpunished. However, that has never dissuaded me from following through on my belief that we all must do good for others. Volunteering one’s time – in whatever way you feel you should, enjoy, or have talents – is a vitally important way to add a constant stream of positive action to the world around us. Now that may sound a little flowery, but I have seen the impact – firsthand – that this has. One of the ways I enjoy volunteering is with the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters. For years, I have seen the amazing impact of being a consistent positive element of a young kid’s life. I also enjoy seeing how they try to find their own way to give back to those around them.
  2. We have an obligation to give back, but it does not have to be a drag: As Sigma Nus, I believe we are obligated by our oath to choose the harder right over the easier wrong. This was a major theme of the College of Chapters I attended. For volunteerism, that means making it a part of our everyday life. When working with the chapters I advise, I often say that if you or your chapter does not like LEAD, you are doing it wrong. I feel the same way about volunteering. If you think about volunteering with dread, you are likely picking ways to volunteer that are not right for you. I enjoy working with young kids, Sigma Nu, military-family-related groups, and my religious community. Each one brings me joy, and I give my time in a way that hits on my passion, skills, and experience. I am sure everyone can find the right opportunity for them. Sometimes that means just trying a bunch of different things and seeing what the best fit is. We have an obligation to give back, but we should also get enjoyment out of it.
  3. There are always people with less who we can help: No matter where we are in life, there is always a way to give back. This could be very small because it is all you can give at that time. The important thing to remember is that there are always people in our communities, our state, our country, and our world who are in far more need than we are.
  4. We have to be the change: A favorite quote of mine from Mahatma Gandhi is “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This was also a quote referenced during College of Chapters. There are a lot of things going on in our country and our world that could be better. We have to think about what we can influence and change for the better of all. Again, this may sound flowery, but – for example – if we make an effort to remain civil, then that is one less person who is contributing to the negative noise. I look at volunteerism as a means to help make this happen. Each of us can make our own small mark in making this a better place to live. Time is one of the only things we all share, and giving of it is a currency that has real value to all involved – we just have to channel that value in the right direction. By doing good for the betterment of others, our own world (such as our community) will just start to look just that much better.
  5. We are initiated only once, but we have to continue to earn the right to wear the badge: Another one of my favorite parts of College of Chapters is when everyone recites The Creed together. A room full of 300+ people all talking about believing in the Life of Love, walking in the Way of Honor, and serving in the Light of Truth. Each time we say it, I believe it to be a recommitment to the oaths we took to become Knights. I also believe we should continue to live up to those values – every day. Now, none of us are perfect – I am certainly not –but that does not mean we should not strive to continue earning the right to wear our badge and call ourselves Knights of the Legion of Honor. Continuing to lend the helping hand is a major part of that commitment.

I know my love for Sigma Nu –my brothers and the organization – is not unique. We are all lucky to have so many role models, mentors, and heroes to look to as a North Star. This idea of the honor and obligation to help others is something I believe makes Sigma Nu, and fraternities and sororities in general, so important today. My question – and my challenge – is how will you choose to lend a helping hand and continue to live up to your obligations as a Knight in the Legion of Honor?

© 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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