Many volunteers and staff alike wrestle with finding new and engaging avenues for our alumni base to which they gravitate. In this vein, we are excited to talk about the relatively recent creation of Sigma Alpha Mu National Properties. This organization has introduced a new avenue of alumni engagement and supports the Fraternity and its practical implications on growth. Why does this idea of housing, while not new, warrant your attention? Alumni groups have banded together before to assist in down payments, but could rarely do so with the comfort of knowing that their investment is being looked after by a professional team connected to the changing realities of the Greek and real estate world.
When it was established in 2016, SAM National Properties had a clear purpose: to develop and solidify the housing inventory of this organization, and by extension to help ensure the success of ΣAM as a whole. Chapters with housing facilities recruit more men than those who do not. That is only one part of the story. Housing or central facilities stand as places of congregation, but equally as important, as places of support. Brothers reading this today can remember when a group of alumni banded together to help make a special project into a reality. As we are preparing to expand to more campuses across the country, the potential for housing to become another arm of alumni involvement can already be seen.
“The potential for housing to become another arm of alumni involvement can already be seen.”Kenneth Schneider (Chapman, ’10), Director of Alumni Development & Real Estate
Let’s call attention to a specific group of alumni from the Sigma Omega Alumni Club. The chapter at North Carolina State University has not been active for many years; however, two members delivered a check of $25,000 to help secure a plot of land in the current phase of the Greek Village. The leadership of Richard Williamson, Lee Garret, and Roy Neulicht cannot be overshadowed. In the weeks following this news, several Sigma Omega alumni from across multiple decades of initiation have connected with staff to share their enthusiasm for the upcoming project and are looking to become more involved.
Another SAM National Properties project at the University of Illinois is in conjunction with the re-establishment of the chapter. It displays another example of how housing provides beneficial support to the local chapter and the international organization. While the return of any chapter is exciting news, there has also been a new level of Rho Chapter alumni engagement including those not initiated in the chapter at the University of Illinois. Currently, there are 11 groups of and/or individual ΣAM alumni invested in the rebuild of the house in Urbana-Champaign including the current Rho chapter alumni group and representatives, class of ‘89 and ‘90. The opportunity to invest does however go further than one’s alma mater. We have seen non-chapter-related participation of alumni from the Sigma Zeta, Sigma Kappa, Gamma Kappa, and Mu Theta chapters. The story of the Bridge Builder was taught to many of us during the candidacy process, focusing on the ideals of providing mutual moral aid and support even if you will not directly benefit from them. I submit that these alumni exemplify that value.
How do our undergraduate members feel about housing? Many of the campuses this organization expand to include housing as an integral element of organizational success. On campuses where there are current expansion efforts, Illinois, Cornell, and Ohio State, housing is a centralized location and stands as a symbol of foundation and belonging to a greater community. It is not the sole factor of success, but we cannot discount its far-reaching impact.
“As we look forward to the growth of our organization in alignment with our vision, it’s important to celebrate the incredible victories of the last year.”Kenneth Schneider (Chapman, ’10), Director of Alumni Development & Real Estate
It is not enough for Sigma Alpha Mu to facilitate opportunities for service. We must also understand that our diverse brotherhood will be passionate about different types of investment. Whether in terms of time, money, or leadership, each contribution helps to ensure a successful future. There are currently over 40 active chapters and multiple provisional chapters. In addition, there are new ones being added every year. This organization runs on the efforts of our alumni. As an investor or a volunteer, there are more opportunities than ever before to be a bridge builder, which is essential to the work we do.
If you are interested in investing or learning more, contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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