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Sigma Nu’s 67th Regent, Tim Huffmyer (Michigan State), reflects on the past biennium, advice for collegiate and alumni brothers, and how Sigma Nu is investing in increasing our alumni engagement. 

Your role as an alumni volunteer for the Fraternity began with your tenure as Epsilon Rho (Michigan State) Alumni Chapter's Treasurer in 1997, followed by your role as Chapter Advisor of the collegiate chapter in the early 2000s. What has inspired and motivated you to get involved then and stay involved over your 20 years of service? 

What initially inspired me to get involved was my interaction with Epsilon Rho alumni volunteers like longtime Epsilon Rho Chapter Advisor Grant Davidson. Brother Davidson set a great example of a lifelong commitment to the Fraternity. Personally, Grant is one among many others who made a positive impression on the importance of serving Sigma Nu. These men lived the values and principles of the Legion of Honor.  

Our honorable Mission, "To develop ethical leaders inspired by the principles of Love, Honor, and Truth," has motivated me to stay involved as a volunteer. Further, I have appreciated the opportunity to interact with collegiate chapter leaders, observe their accomplishments, and watch them grow. Since joining the High Council, I have had the pleasure of serving alongside over seventy-five collegiate chapter members, who joined the board as Collegiate Grand Councilmen. These gentlemen have been truly inspiring and, to me, are a reminder of the timeless importance of our principles. Society needs leaders that will lead with these principles, and Sigma Nu prepares the next generation of men for that purpose.  

In your remarks to the 69th Grand Chapter, you spoke about a strategic focus on alumni commitment and engagement. Why was that important to you, and why do you believe it is important to the Fraternity? 

Without alumni engaged as advisors, house corporation leaders, mentors, and donors to advance our Mission, alumni and collegiate chapters would have a very difficult time succeeding long-term. The Fraternity’s primary strategic imperative has been Chapter Strength for over a decade. In that time, we have seen a strong correlation between alumni support and collegiate chapter success. Ensuring that our Fraternity is investing in increasing alumni engagement, in turn, yields healthy and thriving collegiate chapters.  

What is Operation Accelerate, and how will it benefit our brothers and the Fraternity moving forward? 

With our 150th Anniversary as a launching point, we have focused on carefully coordinating the Fraternity’s and Sigma Nu Educational Foundation’s respective strategic priorities over the last five years. During this time, the Fraternity also created our Alumni Commitment Framework to quantify and measure the engagement of our alumni. The outcome of these efforts has been the adoption of Operation Accelerate, a focused approach to leverage the respective resources of the Fraternity and Foundation to drive alumni involvement and engagement at all levels. The Alumni Commitment Framework, and by extension, Operation Accelerate, identifies five focus areas – Connect, Engage, Invest, Brotherhood, and Relationship Building. Each area includes multiple strategic components targeting specific commitment behaviors, guiding the Council, Foundation Board, and staff to increase the value of lifetime membership and develop perpetual fraternal leadership by identifying, educating, and engaging alumni. 

What have been some of the outcomes, thus far, from the Fraternity's efforts to engage more of our alumni brothers? 

Operation Accelerate is still in the early stages of implementation, but seeing the initial positive outcomes is exciting, with more on the horizon. Among the initial outcomes is a significant increase in communication, with the Fraternity launching The Gavel newsletter, The Gavel Podcast, and The Quarterly, an alumni and chapter news digest, to augment our flagship magazine The Delta. The Fraternity also redeveloped the Sigma Nu Mentor Network, launched an engagement webinar series, and we are nearing completion of Sigma Nu’s first oral history project, which has compiled alumni stories about the positive impact Sigma Nu has had on their lives. The Fraternity is reinvigorating Alumni Chapters and Alumni Clubs and continuing to build upon our corps of volunteers supporting our collegiate chapters, which has grown more than 200% since 2005. Today more than 2,000 dedicated alumni are mentoring and advising our collegiate brothers and leading house corporations. 

How do you see alumni engagement playing out in the future? What hurdles will have to be overcome to get there? 

We must sustain this higher level of work required to increase alumni engagement. That is one of the reasons for the studied and deliberate nature of our approach. We must also continue to recognize the increasing pace of society and competing demands and interests, making time even more scarce, valuable, and difficult to capture.  

Another hurdle to overcome is effectively and consistently communicating with our members beyond our current efforts to keep members updated on the Fraternity’s activities or opportunities for engagement. Sigma Nu has been working closely with our partners at the North American Interfraternity Conference to ensure we communicate the exceptionally positive value of the fraternity experience. We now have independent research to back up what we all know anecdotally. The fraternity experience correlates with student and alumni success and positive life outcomes. It is critical we provide this information to our brothers, higher education leaders, high school students, and parents, and the larger society. 

What would be your advice to a young alumnus who is unsure how to support the Fraternity after graduation? 

The most valuable contribution a young alumnus can make is volunteering his time to serve local chapters as an advisor and mentor. Young alumni can learn how to do so from our more experienced alumni volunteers. I also encourage younger alumni to support our Educational Foundation through regular giving at whatever level is appropriate for them. Both of these opportunities can have a dramatic impact on the success of our Fraternity. In fact, Sigma Nu is one of the most successful men's fraternities in North America because previous generations of our alumni have stepped up to provide their support. The support of the next generation of alumni is essential to maintain that level of success and influence. 

This summer, you will conclude your term as Regent of Sigma Nu Fraternity. Looking back over this past biennium, do you have any favorite memories or accomplishments? 

Easily the most enjoyable experiences were the chartering events and anniversary celebrations. I was honored to participate in many of these events around the country, including the rechartering ceremonies for Iota Rho Chapter at the College of Charleston, Beta Eta Chapter at Indiana University, and Zeta Lambda Chapter at the University of Tulsa. Milestone anniversaries at Epsilon Delta Chapter at the University of Wyoming, Beta Chapter at the University of Virginia, and Mu Chapter at the University of Georgia have been outstanding. The interactions I’ve been fortunate to have with our dedicated collegiate chapter leaders and alumni at these and other events, and their enthusiasm for Sigma Nu, are unforgettable and direct evidence of the value of our Fraternity. 

What is your vision for what Sigma Nu can accomplish in the next 3-5 years? 

Sigma Nu is the only men’s fraternity founded upon the honor principle. Young men today need the Sigma Nu Fraternity experience, and the lives of alumni are enriched by their fraternity membership. So, first and foremost, our job is to protect, strengthen, and continue to advance Sigma Nu. In the next three to five years, we will see alumni engagement continue to increase at all levels and the strength of collegiate chapters increase. This progress will ensure the Legion of Honor’s positive impact now and for the generations to come. 

© 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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