On this, our 112th Founders’ Day, the fraternity remains a thing of the spirit. Our Creed implores us to foster and maintain among its sons a spirit of fraternity – a spirit of mutual moral aid and support. My hope for this Founders’ Day is that you feel that spirit of fraternity shine bright in yourself. I hope that Sammy continues to be a source of friendship, laughter, nostalgia, and care. For so many in Sigma Alpha Mu, the relationships forged have remained everlasting, ever faithful, ever staunch and true.
The spirit of fraternity that we feel is also reinforced by research that proves fraternities foster positive mental health, serve as a success accelerator for students, and engender love for and loyalty to the alma mater and its ideals. Our fraternity experience has touched more than 70,000 fratres on more than 151 campuses in our 112 years. The ripple effect of the lessons learned and the relationships forged have undoubtedly left a positive impact on this world.
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. Fratres 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 member than anyone else.
Fraternities are an accelerator for success, in college and beyond. Students spend 90% of their time outside the classroom. Fraternities capitalize on those hours by preparing men for success in college and in their futures far beyond what their peers experience. And a study of thousands of alumni of diverse backgrounds shows this holds true regardless of an individual’s background or socioeconomic status entering college.
Because of higher expectations, as well as the support and network fraternities provide, members experience greater gains in learning and graduate at higher rates than their peers. Nearly 75% of chapters offer focused leadership development programming at least monthly, and 83% of members say their confidence in their leadership skills increased because of their membership. Fraternity and sorority members also report higher levels of interaction with people different from themselves, lending to members being more prepared than their peers to join a diverse workforce and community. So, it is no surprise that fraternity alumni are twice as likely to believe their college experience prepared them well for life after college.
Fraternity members can tap built-in alumni networks, finding jobs more quickly than their peers. Research shows almost half of members had a brother who helped them find an internship or job and provided them with career advice. Fraternity alumni report being more fulfilled in their careers and lives in every aspect of wellbeing measured, from career to community and financial to physical, because of the relationships and resources they can leverage.
So, while research shows that one in five students considers joining a fraternity but don’t because of concerns around academics or finances, studies show membership is a worthwhile investment.
Fraternities create lifelong connection to the campus, community and their peers. Fraternity men love their collegiate experience – as students and as alumni. In fact, more than 8 out of 10 fraternity members say they would re-join their organizations.
Research shows, fraternity membership connects men to the university in a way that nonmembers simply don’t experience. They’re more satisfied as students and as alumni are more likely to recommend and give back to their alma maters. Members are more engaged inside and outside of the classroom than their peers—they report feeling more supported by their faculty and nearly half serve in leadership roles across campus. They’re also more connected to their local communities, with research showing they spend significantly more time volunteering than non-affiliated students.
We’d love to hear your Sammy Story – if you aren’t one of the 3200 that has done so already. And, if you have a few more minutes to share minutes, we would welcome your participation in our alumni experience survey.
I am certain that our Founders would be pleased with the spirit that continues to burn bright in Sigma Alpha Mu.
Fast & Firm,