This Fraternity Will Be Different ...
The Balanced Man Program is a non-pledging model of member development that was introduced by Sigma Phi Epsilon in 1991 to “to emphasize achievement in the chapter, campus, and community.” It differs from the older pledge-based model of development by doing away with the pledging process in favor of granting each brother equal rights and responsibilities immediately upon their joining the fraternity. This means that every brother has equal standing and no brother has to work their way up or earn respect through a strenuous pledging process. Instead the Balanced Man Program implements four self-paced challenges: sigma, phi, epsilon, and brother mentor. These challenges are designed to span a brother's entire college career and grow him in six core areas: SigEp, sound mind, sound body, personal, leadership, and professional. At Marquette we add a seventh core area - service. In order to recognize those core areas in men outside our chapter we offer a scholarship to two freshman men who demonstrate the qualities of a balanced man.
The first challenge a brother undertakes upon joining SigEp is the Sigma Challenge. He then moves on to the Phi Challenge and from there the Epsilon Challenge and the Brother Mentor Challenge. These challenges occur under the guidance of a teacher appointed by the Vice President of Member Development and involve both discussions and individual work by the brothers undertaking them. This allows for each brother to set his own pace and work the challenge into his academic life, without it causing stress or harming his grades. It also allows him to develop friendships with every brother in the chapter as they support him and provide help when he needs it. The goal of each challenge is slightly different but they all aim to develop the brother into a well-rounded and balanced man.
Core Areas of Development
As a brother progresses through the four self-paced challenges he grows in six core areas, each of which is designed to address and cultivate one facet of what makes a Balanced Man.
The first core area is SigEp. Here brothers discover the meaning behind the letters they wear on their chests. Brothers learn the history of our fraternity, the values we hold, and the purpose behind our mission. They also learn about our national philanthropy and about our chapter philanthropy.
Sound Mind is focused on growing a brother academically and strengthening his mental health. To develop a sound mind our chapter has optional group study sessions every Sunday. Outside of those scheduled study times many of our brothers work and study together. To keep a brother's mental health strong we hold discussions on stress management, on how to recognize signs of anxiety and depression, and encourage open dialogue between brothers.
Our chapter offers several opportunities for brothers to develop a healthy lifestyle. Besides making regular trips to the Rec and Straz to work out, our brothers put together an intramural basketball team each year and we have a group that trains to run the Madison Marathon. Several of our brothers compete on other intramural teams and many pursue their own athletic interests. We also bring in guest speakers to discuss habits that contribute to healthy eating and living.
To grow our brothers personally we pair them with an older member of the chapter that they can rely on for help, be it academic or personal, known as a Brother Mentor. We also encourage each brother to pursue their interests outside the fraternity and many do so by joining some of the numerous clubs Marquette offers. To develop ourselves into men with a balanced perspective we bring in quest speakers who talk with us about subjects such as privilege, gender, and diversity.
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said "leaders are made, they are not born." We believe in that message 100% and offer many ways for our brothers to become great leaders. SigEp's Leadership Continuum offers six programs for brothers to attend, among them are the opportunity to learn speaking and leadership skills from alumni CEOs and the opportunity to travel to Greece. All of these programs aim to improve the networking skills, etiquette, and leadership ability of SigEp undergrads.
This core area has several overlaps with Leadership. It differs though in that it stresses action over ability. Here brothers learn the manners and work ethic that contribute to success in both a career and in their personal lives. They gain an understanding of how to act in an internship or job interview, in the office, and in other professional environments. This is accomplished by brothers participating in the resume building, interviewing, and networking workshops we hold with the help of our alumni.
The Marquette Seventh
Marquette places a huge emphasis on service and giving back to the community. We added service as a seventh core area because we do too. It is through serving others that we learn the most about ourselves and gain a wholistic outlook on life. We strongly encourage each of our brothers to regularly do service and many of them do. Our brothers serve in food pantries, schools, and hospitals across Milwaukee and as a chapter we complete several group service projects each year.
More information on the Balanced Man Program and the continuous development model it promotes can be found here at SigEp's national website.