By James Marien —
In today’s culture, university fraternities are often satirized as being filled with khaki-wearing, young men who guard their front doors from people who know no one there. However, University of Wisconsin–Stout’s recently chartered and newest fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, (ΣΑΕ or SAE) is proving pessimists of Greek life wrong by following their creed: The True Gentleman.
In November of this year, SΑΕ finally achieved a goal they’ve been striving for: national chartering. “Chartering,” according to third year student and SΑΕ Health and Safety Chairman Luka Zane, “…simply means attaining the status of a national chapter in the eyes of our national headquarters in Evanston, Illinois. Overall, this process typically takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 years.”
While SΑΕ has been an official Sigma colony since September of 2012, they’ve finally met all the prerequisites for a chapter, which include, “…a colony review, good GPA, philanthropy and fundraising events, community service, successful recruitment and many other aspects,” explains sophomore Derek Johnston.
The chartering ceremony, which took place on Nov. 14, included the roughly 40 members of the fraternity. Representatives from the head of the national fraternity made the journey to Stout to welcome their new brothers into the organization.
“We received our chartering plaque, which includes all of our names and the names of founding fathers. At dinner, the Eminent Supreme Archon gave a speech about the history of ΣΑΕ,” said Ben Alt, a sophomore in the construction program. “He explained a lot about the fraternity and how mistakes of individual chapters don’t represent the national fraternity as a whole.”
While several other Greek chapters on campus have recently been accused of hazing, SΑΕ strives to make sure new members feel accepted as vital members of the fraternity. New members are accepted openly and taught what it means to be a true gentleman.
“To be a true gentleman”, said second year student Singsai Xiong, “means that you make others a priority rather than yourself, have respect to all, and make yourself a better person.” It’s important for Xiong , as the newly appointed Warden of SΑΕ, to understand the creed and goals of other members, as the Warden is an important member of the board of the fraternity.
SΑΕ, as a Greek organization, requires that each member complete 10 hours of community service per semester. This requirement means that SΑΕ completes over 800 hours of community service a year. “Brothers will often go above and beyond this requirement and complete more,” said Zane.
“The great thing about community service,” said Xiong, “is that it makes you feel better about helping out the community and the fact that you are helping people who simply need help.” ΣΑΕ completes activities like visiting retirement and nursing homes, raising money for charities such as Children’s Network, going to elementary schools to assist teachers, going to canned food drives and much more.
Outside of helping other people in the school and local communities, ΣΑΕ members get to be a part of a much more tight-knit community of their own.
Zane said, “Greek week, where all of the brothers in SΑΕ come together and compete to shine in the limelight… often brings out our true and strong sense of brotherhood with each other.”
Still ecstatic about being welcomed into the national brotherhood, Sigma Alpha Epsilon will continue to uphold the creed of The True Gentleman. While they’ve hit one milestone in chartering, they look to reaching new goals in the future.