Greek Life spotlight: Sigma Phi Epsilon

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Joshua Nehemiah Bester | jbesterlewis@radford.edu

What began in 1991 by a fraternity known as Sigma Phi Epsilon, is now what a local chapter at Radford University is trying to accomplish. The new Sigma Phi Epsilon is currently adopting a new form of intake with their pledging, but without the traditional pledging being involved.

It is called the Balanced Man Rite of Passage, and like many other fraternities it still is not an easy process, but Sigma Phi Epsilon takes pride in how they run this. Most fraternities focus on about six to eight weeks of proving worth through hard, rigorous, and even embarrassing tasks, but the Balanced Man Rite of Passage is all about becoming a better man.

The Rite begins with the Sigma passage, which is mostly for those who have just joined the fraternity or are aspiring to become a brother. The next is the Phi, which is mostly for sophomores, then there is the Epsilon phase, which is for juniors. Finally, there is the mentoring portion, which is reserved for the seniors of the fraternity whose main job is to help the younger brothers going through the phases of Sigma, Phi, and Epsilon rites.

What makes this fraternity stand out is that this process does not end once you are initiated; the rites continue through all of your college years.

“The seniors guide the rest of the brothers through mentoring and by doing that they become a balanced man by the end of their journey,” said senior Carlton Gover.

“Pledging is not a bad thing, but it’s something that we don’t want our guys going through to prove themselves,” said sophomore Devin Jones. “We want everyone to be held accountable and pledging is not the focus of what we are as a fraternity.”

Because the fraternity is trying to rebrand themselves, they are also looking for young men who can match up with their standards.

“We’re looking for those who are really active, scholastic, care about grades, have above a 3.0 and are doing extracurricular activities in the community,” said Jones.

The national average among male Greeks is a 2.6 grade point average, however the brothers at Sigma Phi Epsilon currently have an average above a 3.0.

Another unique characteristic about Sigma Phi Epsilon is that they are not strictly confined to Rush Week because they are able to recruit year round.

“Understand that it’s never just one thing that defines you,” said Gover. “It’s about the connections that you make and later have in life. Professional outreach, leadership skills, this is what you will need after college. What makes this fraternity different is that we teach all our guys how to budget, how to conduct themselves, all the basics of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and we want that not just for our fraternity, but for the ones at Radford so hopefully the image can be changed.”

Jones summed up how he and his brothers felt about their organization in five simple words.

“This fraternity will be different,” he said.

For more information on Sigma Phi Epsilon contact Carlton Gover at cgover@radford.edu or Devin Jones at djones31@radford.edu.