Frequently Asked Questions about Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity
Q: What is Sigma Alpha Mu?
A: Sigma Alpha Mu was founded in 1909 at the City College of New York as a fraternity of Jewish men. This is a values-based organization that provides social, service and scholarship opportunities for its membership. Sigma Alpha Mu is also referred to as Sammy or SAM.
Q: Do you have to be Jewish to join Sigma Alpha Mu?
A: No. Sigma Alpha Mu was founded by Jewish men, but is not exclusive to men of the Jewish faith. In 1953, Sigma Alpha Mu opened its membership to welcome all men of good character. We do partner with some Jewish organizations like Hillel and Chabad, as well as encourage Jewish recruitment.
Q: What's a bid?
A: The bid is an offer to join the member.
Q: How long is pledging?
A: Sigma Alpha Mu does not recognize "pledging" but does have a candidate education period. That term may last for a maximum of eight weeks according to fraternity policy.
Q: What campuses have a Sigma Alpha Mu Chapter?
A: The complete roster of active chapters is located on the Chapter Roll page of our website.
Q: What happens when an undergraduate member transfers to a different college/university?
A: If Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity has a chapter on that campus, the student is able to transfer their membership to that chapter. If there is not a Sigma Alpha Mu chapter on that campus, the student can work with the university and headquarters to try to start a chapter on that campus. Sigma Alpha Mu does not allow its members to quit or drop their membership to join another fraternity.
Q: What is the Fraternity structure and how is it governed?
A: The International Fraternity is comprised of four legal entities; the operating entity (Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, Inc.), the Sigma Alpha Mu Endowment Fund, SAM National Properties, and the Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation. The Fraternity is governed by its Convention, which elects a board of directors (called the Octagon) comprised of seven alumni and one young alumnus. The Octagon elects four officers (Supreme Prior, Vice Supreme Prior, Exchequer, and Recorder) who govern in between official board meetings. The Endowment Fund is governed by seven Trustees who are appointed by the Octagon for three-year terms. Its purpose is to provide financial support to the Fraternity and to provide loans for housing. SAM National Properties was established in 2015 to invest in real estate and manage properties. The Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that can accept tax-deductible contributions. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance to the Fraternity for its educational and leadership programs and to provide scholarships and financial assistance to SAM members.
Q: Is there a Fraternity Staff and Headquarters?
A: Yes. The staff is based out of the International Fraternity Headquarters located at 8701 Founders Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268. The Octagon employs a professional and administrative staff that handles day-to-day operations. The staff is led by the Executive Director.
Q: I've heard that hazing is still a problem on today's college campuses? Will my son be hazed?
A: Hazing is strictly prohibited by Fraternity policy, university policy, and laws in many states. Sigma Alpha Mu's educational and leadership development programming is oriented toward teaching constructive candidate education as a new member orientation. If you suspect that your son is being hazed during his candidacy, please immediately contact the Fraternity's Executive Director via phone (317-789-8338) or the Anti-Hazing Hotline at 1-888-NOT-HAZE.
Q: What are the costs of membership?
A: Dues and fees are set by each local chapter. The International Headquarters assesses fees as noted by our Blue Book (Constitution & By-Laws) which include the one-time Lifetime Membership Fee of $380, Annual Dues of $91, and a Risk Management Contribution- see next question. All local chapter dues and fees are established by chapters independently of the international organization.
Q: What is the liability insurance charge?
A: Sigma Alpha Mu has a risk management program that provides, in addition to training and educational programs, liability insurance coverage for chapters, chapter officers, chapter advisors, international officers, volunteer leaders, and house corporations. The cost of the program is assessed to each chapter (called a Risk Management Contribution) based on the 3-year average number of chapter members. The base fee is approximately $240/per member. This fee might be higher if the chapter has risk management violations or has claims history. The fraternity offers discounts of up to 50% of this fee when chapters meet certain risk-reduction criteria (e.g. alcohol-free housing, extra training, high academic performance, etc.).
Q: Are scholarships available to members?
A: Yes. The Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation grants over 200 scholarships totaling more than $200,000 to members of the Fraternity. The scholarship application process takes place during the winter months and recipients are announced in early March of each year. The application form can be found on both the Foundation's website. Additionally, the Guller Young Scholars Program provides $500 scholarships to new members that earn a 3.75 GPA or better during the term they are initiated.
Q: Is there a housing option?
A: Housing differs from campus to campus, but Sigma Alpha Mu will work with a chapter if their wishes are to achieve housing. Some houses are managed by local housing corporations, which are usually managed by local volunteer alumni. SAM National Properties and SAM Property Management exist to support chapters looking for housing.
Q: Does the Fraternity have a national philanthropy?
A: Yes. The Fraternity has an official partnership with the Judy Fund of the Alzheimer's Association. Members host local events to raise funds for this worthy cause and participate in No Shave November. This fund was established in memory of the late wife of a fraternity alumnus. Overall, our chapter members raised over $360,000 last year for various national and local charities.
Q: Why should I join a fraternity if I already have a group of friends?
A: A fraternity is an opportunity to not only build a brotherhood of friends, but it helps build yourself into a stronger man through community service, philanthropy, and leadership skills that will translate through all your stages of life.
Q: How do I start a chapter?
A: Contact the Executive Director or Director of Chapter Services for more information.