After being on campus for just over two years, the Sigma Chi Fraternity at UNC Charlotte has gained its charter.
Sigma Chi was founded in 1855, and has since initiated over 300,000 members. The Sigma Chi Fraternity’s Headquarters are located in Evanston, Illinois. The fraternity have 239 chapters at colleges nationwide. Sigma Chi’s mission is to develop undergraduate men into well-rounded people, while developing their character in the areas of Friendship, Justice and Learning.
The 36 men at UNC Charlotte’s chapter, led by President Tyler Rochelle seem to be doing just that.
“We’re learning the ropes” Rochelle said.
For a new chapter, recruitment can be a long process. “We wanted guys to know that we recruited them because of their individuality” Rochelle explained. “Sigma Chi’s aim is to recruit men, and help them be the best version of themselves. We want guys to know that you can have a strong brotherhood without sacrificing individuality.”
To Rochelle, retention is one of the most important aspects of recruitment. “Each semester, we focus on recruiting quality guys that will stay committed to the chapter” Rochelle said.
Rochelle himself had not planned to join Greek life when he first entered college. “I hated it, I thought it was stupid” Rochelle revealed. “I started looking around, and I found Sigma Chi to be a fraternity comprised of men with different talents, temperaments and convictions. Those are the kind of men we look for during recruitment.”
With a new charter, Rochelle is optimistic about the future of Sigma Chi. “We’re a new chapter, so we don’t have a lot of history. With that, our men are focused on refining the vision of Sigma Chi.”
Rochelle says that his chapter has an advantage by having many young members. “We have a lot of younger guys in the chapter with high ambition that can keep the chapter moving forward” Rochelle said proudly.
As the chapter grows, Sigma Chi is starting to turn their focus towards philanthropy. “We’ve done a few small events on campus, but in the fall we’re excited to participate in our national philanthropy, Derby Days” Rochelle mentioned.
Derby Days is an online competition between Sigma Chi chapters. Chapters are challenged to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute, founded by Sigma Chi brother John Huntsman. Typically, chapters partner with women’s fraternities and sororities to raise money for the cause. Since the competition was started in 1995, Sigma Chi chapters have raised over 400 million dollars in the fight against cancer.
“A few sororities have already showed interest in participating in the fall” Rochelle said.
The Derby Days competition typically only involves women’s organizations from the PanHellenic Association. Knowing this, Rochelle wants to take a different approach to his chapter’s philanthropy.
“We’d love to see participation from organizations in the National PanHellenic Council, as well as the Diversified Greek Council” he said.
As Greek Life continues to get slandered in the media, Rochelle believes it’s important to promote Greek Unity. Fraternities and sororities on campus have done events similar to Derby Days, including Lambda Chi Alpha’s Watermelon Bust, Chi Omega’s Chi Olympics, and Delta Sigma Theta’s Five Programmatic Thrusts.
Since joining, Rochelle has never felt closer to his brothers. He said that the chartering banquet was one of the proudest moments he’s had since becoming a member. “Receiving our charter means that, instead of interacting with 36 people, we now get to interact with over 300,000 people.”
Before a fraternity is chartered, the chapter is essentially ran by their nationals. After being awarded a charter, the future of the chapter depends on the undergraduate members.
“At the ceremony, a lot of brothers got emotional” Rochelle said. “To see a group of ambitious, motivated guys come together and start an organization like ours – well, it’s a beautiful thing when that happens.”