Written by Jerry Conrey (Cal State-Fullerton, ’84)
It started with a phone call; not received but placed. After many years of reading The Octagonian, and seeing a consistent set of the same volunteers leading the fraternity, I thought it was time for me to offer my assistance. Lee Manders, who was Executive Director at the time, took my call and recognized my professional expertise as a risk manager and insurance broker, and recommended that I be placed on the Standards Committee. There, I saw firsthand how we protect Sigma Alpha Mu through education, policy, and accountability. I soon learned how my experience could help make meaningful contributions to support our student brothers. That was the start of my volunteer journey in Sigma Alpha Mu.
Expanding opportunities for graduate members to get involved and give back to support our student leaders continues to be a priority. This is an effort I have championed as a member of the Octagon. It requires constant cultivation – a task I relish. You’ve heard it said many ways, “you get out of it what you put into it. ” In this context, engagement as an alumnus is what you make of it. Whether your interest is at the chapter or international level, there are great opportunities for those that seek it.
Investing yourself in any organization requires time, energy, and passion; our Creed, mission, and vision are worthy investments to perpetuate Sigma Alpha Mu. The international fraternity, bolstered by our ΣAM 2030 strategic plan, has played an outsized role in helping chapters and members navigate challenges that could have cut off the next generation of brothers.
Thanks to the pandemic and Zoom, I met nearly every new initiate from the past academic year. They told me during Good and Welfare how they love Sigma Alpha Mu, how it has helped them feel supported and connected, and how they already see the lifelong relationships they’re investing in today. I can see myself in their youth. It warms my heart and it’s all the thanks I need as a volunteer.
My investment in Sigma Alpha Mu has produced unexpected returns. The fratres I’ve volunteered with are now counted among my closest friends. I’ve hired a talented, recent graduate from across the country that I met at Convention. I have received business referrals and even learned that some existing clients are fratres from other chapters. These aren’t the reasons why I’m involved, but it speaks to the power of fraternity. The Octagon encourages you to unlock the potential of our community as an alumnus. The dividends of involvement are a lifetime of memories and friendships.
Many ANSWER the call to serve; as your Supreme Prior, I am encouraging you to PLACE the call instead – like I did 9 years ago. The fraternity needs you now, more than ever, to help transform Sigma Alpha Mu into the first choice of collegians seeking a forward-thinking, inclusive fraternity which enhances the university experience and prepares the fraternity member for a fulfilling life.
Their phone number is (317) 789-8338.
Do place that call,
Fast and firm,
Jerry L. Conrey
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