Sig Ep to return to campus this winter
Although the fraternity will not have access to its former house until the summer, two development directors have temporarily moved to Hanover to begin recruiting new members.
After a three-year absence from campus, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity will return to Webster Avenue this winter. The chapter’s return, originally scheduled for fall 2020, was delayed by over a year due to COVID-19, and will begin before the fraternity regains access to its house this summer.
The Sig Ep house is currently being used as college housing. Assistant director of residential operations Bernard Haskell wrote in an emailed statement that “there is no change in the use of the house at this time.”
However, according to new chapter development director Jake Schozer, the reopened chapter will begin recruiting new members this term, despite not having access to the house until the summer. The fraternity has already established a new website and Instagram page, and Schozer and new chapter development director Adrian Galera have temporarily moved to Hanover to facilitate the reopening and recruitment process.
“This winter presented the best opportunity to begin to meet with students and begin recruiting,” Schozer wrote in an emailed statement, adding that he and Galera will remain in Hanover into the spring to “work with [new members] to create a healthy Sig Ep chapter at Dartmouth.”
Schozer wrote that most of Sig Ep’s recruitment process will consist of one-on-one or small group meetings, which allows the fraternity’s representatives to get to know potential new members personally. He also wrote that this method of recruiting should minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the house’s reopening process.
Greek Leadership Council chair Brandon Zhou ’22 said that while Sig Ep’s recruitment will begin this winter, he expects that the house will see a larger rush class this coming fall when the main fraternity rush cycle takes place. He added that while Sig Ep is starting the recruitment process from scratch, the fraternity is returning as an old chapter rather than establishing a new chapter, as the Office of Greek Life is not currently accepting the establishment of new Greek houses on campus.
One unique aspect of the national fraternity is its emphasis on the Balanced Man Program, which the fraternity’s website calls the “cornerstone of the Sig Ep experience” and says provides members with “opportunities for personal growth and achievement.” The program focuses on knowledge of the fraternity, leadership skills and professional growth, as well as intellectual achievement and physical health and wellness — including maintaining substance-free fraternity houses.
“You cannot drink your way to peer solidarity, mastery, ownership, or meaningful relationships,” vice president of finance for Sig Ep’s Alumni and Volunteer Corporation Board Isaiah Berg ’11 wrote in an email. “How many of Dartmouth’s particular treasures or expectations of the future are created or sustained by alcohol? None. There is room for a new kind of fraternity at Dartmouth focused on principles.”
In order to attract students to the Balanced Man Program, the fraternity is offering $2,000 Balanced Man Scholarships to “students who have shown academic excellence, leadership skills, and a commitment to their health and well-being,” according to the fraternity’s website. All students who identify as men and who have a 3.0 GPA or higher are eligible for the scholarship, regardless of their intentions to join the fraternity.
Tommy Corrado ’25, whose father was a member of Sig Ep at Villanova University, said that he was excited to hear about the fraternity’s return to campus and that he is “definitely planning on rushing next year.” However, he said that Sig Ep’s lack of current members may deter potential new members hoping to form connections with upperclassmen, and their substance-free policy may be “unappealing” for some students.
“Maybe some people are looking for a dry fraternity to still have all the positives and benefits of having a brotherhood and having a group of people that have your back, but not have the alcohol involved, which for some people might be really enjoyable and valuable,” he said. “It’s exciting to see [Sig Ep] come back and just to have another option.”