The Bridge Builder Campaign

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Written by Director of Development Kenneth Schneider (Chapman, ’10)

The most iconic lesson of our fraternal education is the Bridge Builder. A pilgrim comes across an old man and states, “You’re wasting your strength building here…you never again must pass this way….Why have you built the bridge at the eventide?” Immediately the old man responds, “A youth whose feet must pass this way. This chasm that has been naught to me…Good friend, I am building that bridge for him.” We can help realize the vision of Sigma Alpha Mu by identifying with the message from the old man. Hence, there is no better name for our Bridge Builder Campaign. 

Fraternity is like any other business. With sustainable growth, our organization can ensure that the eight pillars make it to the next generation of collegians. When we choose to support expansion, specifically the Bridge Builder Campaign, we directly impact the longevity of our beloved Fraternity through a non-tax deductible 501(c)7. There is an opportunity to support now and reinforce the resources necessary to make an expansion project a success.

So why support expansion? 

Each expansion project embodies our mission of providing a forward-thinking, inclusive fraternal experience. What better life skill is there for a student looking to grow themselves, personally and professionally, than starting a new organization on their campus? Those founding and refounding fathers who embark on this journey often become Sigma Alpha Mu’s strongest advocates.

Founding Father of the Omicron Chapter at Cincinnati, Logan Rock (Omicron, ’21), reflected, “My experience taught me how to overcome barriers, create an amazing community, and work hard for what I have. It showed our chapter that there will always be obstacles, and you’ll need to figure out how to overcome them to move forward.” 

Our growth staff promotes the Founding Father story to students nationwide. Its tangible impact helps students see that Fraternity is a force for good. Sammy Moscovitch (Rho, ’22), current Prior of the Rho Chapter at Illinois, reinforces this notion, commenting that the experience of being a Founding Father has “led to some great relationships which opened up doors that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.”

What Happens During An Expansion?

Coming from a former traveling consultant who has initiated dozens of Founding Fathers into this organization, this impact is not surprising to me. Still, many throughout this great organization need to learn the impact this experience has. As opposed to general fraternity recruitment, founding a new chapter introduced me to students who wanted something different from their collegiate experience. They found the current Greek system on their campus to need something in an environment where every interest had an affiliated club. However, starting a new fraternity provides some of the most practical and hands-on experience for those interested in creating a business, growing their leadership skills, and leaving an impactful legacy behind. These individuals identify strongly with the values of the eight pillars. In a way that is unique to most opportunities on that campus, they can implement these ideals directly into practice, as opposed to having to morph an existing culture into the one they want to lead.

While finding these leaders is one of the most satisfying elements of the expansion project, I would be remiss if I did not mention the effort behind the scenes to make that moment happen. Before we get into a position to extend the Founding Fathers bid, there are hundreds of cold calls made and countless hours of meetings on campus. Growth Consultants, often hundreds or even thousands of miles away from home, spend weeks developing events and leadership development opportunities. We sometimes spend holidays and birthdays in hotel rooms. However, whether at the University of Nebraska, Washington State University, Michigan State or anywhere in between, seeing the young men grow from provisional chapters to fully recognized members of their campus community made the work worth it. 

This is who you, as alumni, are supporting when you decide to support the Bridge Builder Campaign. Today, as a staff, we look to leverage technology in the expansion process by hosting Virtual Good and Welfares. What started during the pandemic to connect our alumni has transformed into an invaluable tool to help our members become excited about the return of their chapter to campus. Recently, we held a Virtual Good and Welfare to launch our expansion at NC State (Sigma Omega Chapter) and for the University of Rochester (Mu Rho Chapter). These hour-long virtual meetings allow our fratres from all eras to gather, many for the first time. 

We reconnect and tell stories about our time as undergraduate members. We learn about the impact of the Founding Fathers’ experience and how we can support its development, participating from wherever we call home.

Where does the Bridge Builder Campaign fit into this conversation? 

We recognize that, until now, limited resources have been available to excited alumni ready to return their dormant chapter to the active list. Over the last year, our Bridge Builders Campaign has seen multiple inspiring examples from alumni who have directed their financial donations to assist in funding staff time and the active needs of our Founding Fathers to create sustainable growth. Being amongst the first donors for this campaign, members of our Octagon provided leadership, matching funds targeted at the support of this initiative.

Growth is essential to our organization’s continued excellence. We can realize our mission for years when you support the Bridge Builder Campaign. This spring, we initiated the Founding Fathers of our 152nd campus at Clemson University and the first class at Sigma Iota (University of Michigan) in almost ten years. This Fall, ΣAM is returning to NYU and Purdue University. The Bridge Builder is needed now more than ever.

Do you believe that growth is essential to the future of SAM? Do you love being able to reconnect with your candidate class and chapter brothers and want to provide that experience to those just getting started?

The Bridge Builder Campaign will directly support the growth and health of Sigma Alpha Mu. Visit to make a contribution to our future Founding Fathers.