A Successful Story. . .Phoenix Alumni Chapter
In October of 2004, the Phoenix Alumni Chapter of Sigma Chi initiated the Big Brother/Mentoring Program at ASU at Epsilon Upsilon, our chapter there. The Program was initially created with the purpose of not only mentoring our young brothers, but also creating an atmosphere that would encourage more active participation of our many Phoenix area alumni group. Both goals not only were met, but also were far exceeded.
The program was designed and set up in the fall of 2004, and launched the initial effort at the start of the January semester with a pilot group of 10 alumni and 10 undergraduates. The undergraduate brothers at ASU, who clearly saw the benefit of such a relationship, enthusiastically accepted it. The alumni were also enthusiastic since they were able to share their life experience and really help a young man with whom they had the common experience of brotherhood in Sigma Chi. They were excited and passionate to be a part of a program that asked nothing of them but to be a good brother and mentor.
To determine the matches, the undergraduate was asked to fill out a form with his personal information, including his major and his goals in life. The program was limited only to junior and senior Sigma Chi.The alumni were asked to do the same, indicating their experience and professional accomplishments. Then, they were matched, mostly on their career goals, but also on their personal interests.
Participation was simple and straightforward: the alumnus was given the Sigma Chi’s contact information and was instructed to set up a meeting with him as soon as possible. The purpose of the initial meeting was to get to know the young Sigma Chi, exchange phone numbers and develop a level of rapport with him. Ultimately, the goal was to share his own experiences after college and help his young charge make the transition from college to the working world. After the initial meeting, the alumnus was encouraged to contact his man on a regular basis, at least once a month, to see how he was doing and if there were any questions or needs with which he could assist him. Of course, the undergraduate was also encouraged to call his mentor if he had any questions or needed his help or guidance.
The process was kept as simple as possible. There were minimal reports, and only one rule: no money could be loaned or borrowed. The administrator of the program would only request a report via email toward the end of each semester to determine if the young man had graduated and if the Mentor wished to remain in the program and/or if he wanted to remain with his current charge. The relationship between the alumnus and the undergraduate was completely determined by themselves. Some met much more frequently than requested, some met less. This simplicity of execution was a key factor in the program’s success.
Moving ahead to 2009, the Big Brother/Mentoring program at Epsilon Upsilon is continuing to grow and prosper. There are now over 35 mentoring relationships and more are planned for next fall. The chapter uses this program as a focus issue for rush each year, touting the benefits of not only the privilege of being a Sigma Chi, but also access to a world of experienced and successful professionals that will call you “brother.” They are the only Greek organization, fraternity or sorority, that offers anything like it, and it has distinguished them as THE house to join. Parents of our Sigma Chi’s have totally embraced the program, and see it as a major benefit of their son joining.
At the beginning of this article, it was mentioned that one purpose of the program was to increase alumni participation, and it has succeeded well there too. Since initiating the program, monthly meeting attendance has more than doubled, and they enthusiastically support the effort we are making with our young brothers at ASU!
The ASU Big Brother/Mentoring program is serving as a shining example of what we can do to see our young brothers succeed and grow as individuals, and at the same time, provide a forum for our alumni to provide valuable and timely information to them. It is truly a win-win program!
If there are any questions, please contact Doug Patterson (Beta Phi-67) at firstname.lastname@example.org