"School is my first priority. Could joining Sigma Chi hurt my grades or mean I have less time for my classes?"
Lifelong learning is one of the three ideals on which our fraternity is founded. Above all else, we are an organization that strives to promote scholarship in and out of the classroom. We will never expect you to sacrifice your schoolwork for the fraternity. Quite the opposite, in fact: we will expect you to excel in your courses, and we will do our best to help you in this endeavour!
The only thing we ask is that you manage your time well, so you are able to meet the obligations of pledgeship while maintaining your grades.
"I have a busy schedule this term. How much time does it take to join Sigma Chi?"
Busy students are usually the ones we want to recruit—it shows you care about your academics and are already involved in the community! We do our best to make our schedule flexible around yours, and we understand if you need to miss things on occasion to meet other obligations. We want you to succeed in everything you do, not just in Sigma Chi.
If you pledge Sigma Chi, you will be required to attend a three-hour pledge meeting once a week during your pledgeship and help us with our social and philanthropy events. The overall time commitment is about the same as a first or second year elective, but with a much higher return on investment than you would expect from a typical lecture!
Don't be discouraged by the time commitment! Many of our brothers are in intensive academic programs or otherwise heavily involved, so if anything, Sigma Chi will help you refine your time management skills.
"Sigma Chi's badge is a white cross. What role does religion play in the fraternity? Do I need to be a Christian to join?"
Sigma Chi is not a religious order, and we have no religious practices. The white cross reflects the time period in American history during which Sigma Chi was founded: all seven of our founders were Christians, as were most students at the time, but we welcome men of all faiths. In our chapter alone you will also find Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and more.
The only thing close to a religious requirement is that we ask all members to recognize there exists some power greater than themselves, whether it be God, a set of values or virtues, or even the laws of physics! This is simply to give us some sense of shared humility in our mission to pursue ideals of friendship, good character, and lifelong learning.
"Why do you have secret rituals? What is the reason for having ritual at all?"
The ritual of Sigma Chi distinguishes ourselves from not only other Greek societies, but from all other organizations. While many attributes of Sigma Chi may be similar to other societies and organizations, our ritual is the one thing that sets us apart. It serves to create a common experience for the brothers and binds them in a closer way. It also creates a sense of commitment, as well as a sense of loyalty to fraternity.
How is the ritual so unique? It is kept secret from non-brothers to create that sense of uniqueness that strengthens the bonds of each initiated brother. More importantly, secrecy provides a learning process for potential members, so that they can learn more about what Sigma Chi stands for before committing to its ideals. This process is known as pledging.
"How expensive are dues in Sigma Chi? What is the money used for?"
Our dues are among the lowest in the country—we like to run a tight ship! As of summer 2018, they typically range from $350 to $400 per active term. The exact amount is decided on in the first week of the term: we discuss what we want to accomplish, set ourselves a budget, and split the cost between the active brothers. Currently, our dues are a bit higher than they normally would be because we've had a large number of brothers graduate during the last few semesters. However, the more active members we have, the cheaper dues are!
Some common expenses are recruitment events, philanthropy projects, insurance for the chapter house, and food or decorations for social events. Money from dues is never spent on alcohol.
"What is a bid? How are they chosen?"
After Recruitment events, when a fraternity extends an invitation to a Rush to join, this is called a bid. It is then up to the Rush to decide whether or not he would be a right fit in the fraternity by accepting or declining the bid.
Bids are mostly based on the Jordan Standard as it represents the minimum requirements for both potential brothers and brothers to live by. The Standard, with which the fraternity started, was declared by Isaac M Jordan to be that of admitting no man to membership in Sigma Chi who is not believed to be:
A Man of Good Character...
A Student of Fair Ability...
With Ambitious Purposes...
A Congenial Disposition...
Possessed of Good Morals...
Having a High Sense of Honor and
A Deep Sense of Personal Responsibility
As Sigma Chis, we strive for the ideals and characteristics of the Jordan Standard which exemplifies our beliefs while being aware that no one is perfect. As such, you should ask yourself: do I possess these qualities?
"What does it mean to pledge a fraternity? How do I pledge Sigma Chi?"
During the pledging process, you'll familiarize yourself with the fraternity by learning about its founding members, its history and even the Greek system as a whole. One key aspect of pledging is to be able to prove oneself to be worthy of being made a brother. Will the Pledge uphold the ideals of the fraternity? Will he be someone they're proud to call a brother?
Pledging Sigma Chi comes with a bit of a time commitment. Pledge class happens once every week and in addition to the information mentioned above, you'll also get to know how you can become involved in chapter operations after you become a brother.
"When is initiation? What does it involve?"
Initiation is the culmination of the pledging process. During initiation, potential brothers will take their final steps toward becoming a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. It is a wonderful experience that is shared by the brothers exclusively. Like with pledgeship, there is absolutely no hazing during initiation. Initiation is a very important part of Sigma Chi and we would never do anything to harm that experience.
"Do you have to drink to be in Sigma Chi? How many of the parties involve alcohol?"
We are not a "party fraternity". We do enjoy a healthy social life, and we often host dinner parties or social events with alcohol, but this is in no way a core part of our mission. Aside from our Wine & Cheese at the end of rush, none of our recruitment events involve alcohol. At no time do you need to drink to be a part of Sigma Chi, and many of our brothers have indeed chosen not to drink, for religious or personal reasons.
We hold ourselves accountable to the same standards of behaviour whether sober or drunk, and the health and safety of guests at our social events is always our first priority.
"I've heard some fraternities haze during pledgeship or initiation. Does this happen at Sigma Chi?"
This is an easy one! We don't haze. No physical hazing, no mental hazing, no hazing—period. It's a common concern because some fraternities still practice hazing and because it's shown in movies, but you truly have nothing to worry about here.
We trust and respect you, and we will strive to earn your trust and respect during pledgeship, so you can enjoy your initiation completely worry-free.