It is hard to imagine that on March 9, 1856, as Noble Leslie DeVotie and seven young men gathered at the University of Alabama to form a new fraternity, they could have predicted the phenomenal growth of our Noble Order.
Today, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has a presence on nearly 240 campuses with almost 15,000 collegiate members across the country. DeVotie had a simple motive — to perpetuate friendship. Indeed, it is friendship that brings us together and brotherhood that binds us together. And so, as I begin my two-year term as Eminent Supreme Archon, I invite you to join me on this incredible journey over the course of the next biennium.
As ESA, I will work with the Supreme Council to focus on five specific priorities:
- Seek Input: Listening is a key component of leadership and, as such, I will make it a priority to reach out and listen to the ideas, suggestions and priorities of students and alumni alike to ensure we are meeting the priorities of the Realm.
- Streamline the Student Experience: A student’s time is his most precious resource. With that in mind, we need to take the time to review, evaluate and streamline carefully the important education, training and certification programs the Fraternity offers to ensure they are meaningful, impactful and user-friendly.
- Double the Number of Alumni Volunteers: While the Fraternity boasts more than 200,000 living alumni, only a fraction of these individuals are engaged as volunteers. We must launch a comprehensive campaign to recruit the next generation of alumni volunteers and leaders. Increased alumni involvement will provide critical support to our chapters and increase giving to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Foundation.
- Reduce Our Exposure to Risk: If we consider today’s student who is graduating with an average of $30,000 in debt, we must ensure that finances are not a barrier to membership. To accomplish our assistance to him, we must provide tools and resources to reduce our exposure to risk in an effort to continue to drive down the cost of the health & safety fee.
- Roadmap for Success: To move forward as a team, my first priority as ESA will be to bring our stakeholders together to launch a new three-year strategic plan for the Fraternity. The planning process will be organic in nature and will provide an opportunity for input from every student and alumnus to chart a clear course and common vision for our future.
Every great organization faces triumph and tragedy and, certainly, SAE is no exception. The key to enduring success, however, is to learn and evolve as a result of the challenges we face, to ensure we remain relevant and vital for future generations of brothers.
I left the 159th Anniversary Convention in Newport Beach inspired by the enthusiasm of our collegiate members and the loyalty of our dedicated alumni. And I am confident that our best days lie ahead.
Best Wishes and Phi Alpha,
Steven W. Churchill (Iowa State ’85)
Eminent Supreme Archon