Purpose of New Member Education
Every year, over a thousand neophytes join the ranks of Sigma Pi membership. And, ever year those neophytes participate in new member education. Every single Grand Sage of Sigma Pi, from Francis L. Lisman to E. Andrew Morris has once been a neophyte. Each brother should treat each neophyte as if he may be a future Grand Sage and every neophyte should think of himself as having the potential to join the ranks of our international officers and leaders.
Some view new member education as a time for neophytes to "prove their worth," yet any type of education should prepare students to become leaders in the area in which they’re being taught – in this case, within the fraternal context. Whereas some see new member education as an opportunity to mold men, this rarely can play itself out. We know that most people start college with a set of values generally determined by their socialization agents (i.e. family, friends, religious institutions, educational institutions, etc…); we also know from research that most people will leave college with those same sets of values. It is unlikely (and nearly impossible) to think an eight-week new member education process can mold the values of any person. As a result, this process serves more to start a conversation and open up an opportunity for mutual trust and respect to be created amongst brothers and new members.
There is often tension between new member class unity versus chapter unity. Certainly, neophytes should share a connection with their fellow neophytes, but no more so than the senior in the chapter who one day might help that neophyte get a job. These lifelong connections are what fraternity is about. As a result, while new member education might be an experience for neophytes, there is as much importance in incorporating neophytes into the daily operations of the chapter. Neophytes should be assigned to committees and encouraged (and required) to actively participate in these committees, just as any brother would be. Too, neophytes should be encouraged and required to attend weekly meetings (just as all brothers are) and participate in all non-ritual parts of meetings.
When Samuel and Maurice Bayard joined Sigma Pi as the first neophytes, it was not their task to memorize the history of the fraternity – it is clear to see, they were making the history of the fraternity. To this end, every member of every chapter of Sigma Pi is every day making the history of the fraternity – whether it shows up in a book in 100 years or is just lived on in the memories of chapter brothers, it is much the same.
Sigma Pi is an eternal brotherhood with more than 100,000 lifetime members. This brotherhood has counted amongst its membership astronauts, business leaders, politicians, entertainers, and many others. As the neophyte embarks on his journey in Sigma Pi, we should be ever vigilant to remember that Sigma Pi can shape the futures of these men, just as it has for the 100,000 brothers who have come before.
Learning Objectives of New Member Education
1. Neophytes will be able to recognize the most basic tenets of Sigma Pi, including its history, values, and obligations.
2. Neophytes will be able to describe the fraternity’s values.
3. Neophytes will be able to apply the fraternity’s values in his own daily life.
4. Neophytes will be able to analyze the impact of the fraternity’s values on how he leads his life.
5. Neophytes will be able to evaluate the fraternity from a critical, yet developmental perspective.
6. Neophytes will be equipped to develop himself and others as a leader.
FIPG Policy on Hazing
No chapter, colony, student or alumnus shall conduct nor condone hazing activities. Permission or approval by a person being hazed is not a defense. Hazing activities are defined as:
"Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.
Such activities may include but are not limited to the following: use of alcohol, paddling in any form, creation of excessive fatigue, physical and psychological shocks, quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of the chapter house; wearing of public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste, engaging in public stunts and buffoonery, morally degrading or humiliating games and activities, and any other activities which are not consistent with academic achievement, fraternal law, ritual or policy or the regulations and policies of the educational institution or applicable state law."
Sigma Pi Policy on Hazing
Hazing is defined to include, without limitation, any act or activity, whether physical, emotional or social, committed by any brother or Pledge of the Fraternity that subjects or is intended to subject any other brother or Pledge of the Fraternity to paddling in any form, physical exercise resulting in excessive fatigue or exhaustion, deprivation of normal sleep and rest, any form of corporal or mental punishment, the placement of anyone in actual or simulated peril or jeopardy of unhealthy, undignified methods and stunts, treasure hunts, road trips, kidnapping, late work sessions or any other activities which interfere with scholastics embarrassing, ridiculous or disconcerting treatment, or public ridicule or criticism that endanger the safety or well being of a brother or Pledge. For the purposes of this section, the Fraternity hereby adopts and incorporates by reference the duly adopted definition of hazing, as it may hereafter be amended, of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, as well as the applicable definition of hazing duly enacted as a law of any state, province, or country wherein a Chapter or Colony of the Fraternity is a recognized student organization. Any inconsistencies that may exist with regard to the above definitions of hazing are to be resolved, for the purpose of this section, in favor of the most restrictive definition."