Alumni News - Vol. 3, Issue 1.
A Note from the Chairman
As the new year begins the excitement of what this year holds for Sigma Lambda Beta is upon us. In addition to our new operating system with Greek Track replacing the Brotherhood Network the thing that I am most excited about is Betacon 2022 in Reno Nevada. For the past two years, our Brotherhood has experienced our national conventions, Betacon 2020 and LI 2021, on a virtual platform due to the Covid pandemic.
Although both events occurred and were successfully pulled off the fact that our Brotherhood could not meet face to face in over two years I feel has put a strain on our Brotherhood bonds nationwide. Yes, as Chapter Brothers we get to bond with one another while we work and go about our daily lives but this fraternity this Brotherhood is much more than our individual Chapters, it's about our Sigma Lambda Beta Brotherhood as a collective and one of the strongest ways we build those bonds is by meeting and breaking bread with one another face to face.
As stated I am extremely excited about Betacon 2022 in Reno, Nevada, and the ability of all of our undergrad Brothers having the possibility to meet with one another, but I am also excited about our push to make this one of the biggest Betacons ever by including as many Alumni Brothers as possible to attend the event along with all of our undergrad Brothers. Our Executive Office is hard at work to make this happen and have put considerable resources in place to make this occur. Savannah Buys, our Director of Alumni and Donor Development, along with our most recent hire, Brother Joel Rhea, our Alumni Development Coordinator, will be reaching out to our Alumni nationwide to get them on board to attend this year's Betacon and see what type of resources they can bring to the table. In addition, this will be the first year that Sigma Lambda Beta, as a national organization, will be hosting our very own golf outing, kicking off Betacon 2022 that Wednesday, June 29th.
We are looking forward to seeing what type of Alumni engagement we can bring back into the organization and if you have any questions or suggestions on how we can make this year's Betacon even better please feel free to email me at email@example.com. Happy New Year, my Brothers, and I look forward to seeing everyone at Betacon 2022 in Reno, Nevada.
"From Xavier's Desk..." by Xavier Romano
Welcome to 2022, Gentlemen. This past holiday was a bit on the surreal side as our Executive Office (EO) team brought ou r new Stallion Network to life. Because of the timing of this transition, this was anything but a holiday season for the EO staff who were nothing short of remarkable. So far so good. You will recall that "patience" was our buzzword and this has proven to be true. We have had a handful of minor hick-ups but as expected, our largest challenge is our ongoing clean-up of "duplicate accounts." I think the most encountered had six (6) different email addresses! We are - as I suspect many of you - learning something "new" literally each and every day. I also need to thank Tony Schmidt, the Greek Track CEO who has personally shepherded our transition and continues to do so. And what has become clear to us in the EO is we will all get more out of the Stallion Network by filling out in full the "profile." As both collegiate members & a handful of alumni have noted, "totally different experience," or "now this is not scary!" Both are so very true!
This note also sparks the beginning of "From Xavier's Desk." I hope to bring you all thoughts, reflections...even concerns that I am addressing at any one time. Not surprisingly we are in a continuing COVID-world where campuses move their enrollments from on-campus to "virtual" to back-on-campus. Implications on our collegiate chapters are significant as our men drastically want to be on-campus. We learned, maybe not surprisingly, that being "virtual" is not the ideal Beta environment. So a return to campus is a must for our chapter health. Fortunately, our Regional Directors are demonstrating a level of "connection" to their regional chapters that is very impressive. We are in turn from the EO working diligently to ramp up communications across the board which is both welcomed and timely.
As we turn our sights to Betacon'22 in Reno/Sparks (June 30-July 2, 2022), and again launch our exciting Books 4 Beta's initiative with the continued support of the Ammar Muflah Foundation supporting Beta's at the undergraduate & graduate level who need financial support in the purchase of their text-books, I cannot help but think of the potential of the new year. This is also a time of new initiatives as 2021 was tough on our Nation, society & Fraternity membership at large. I think we were all "feeling it" as we turned warily to 2022. But I believe that 2022 is a year for re-engagement, new opportunities for our collegiate membership, and you, the Fraternity alumni membership. We were excited in the EO to welcome Joel Rhea to our team as Alumni Development Coordinator this month and are actively searching for a Director of Member Services to the EO. If you have someone in mind, please, contact me ASAP!
2022...welcome...& enjoy The Stallion Network!
SLBEF -- Fueling The Light
“Fueling the Light” is not just the motto of the Sigma Lambda Beta Education Foundation, it is a never-ending passion for the SLBEF’s Board of Trustees! We are continually pushing ourselves to find new and better ways to meet our mission – which put simply is to raise and manage funds so that SLB and our brothers can better themselves and those around them.
In 2021 we celebrated the SLBEF’s 20th year of existence. And it was a record-breaking year in LOTs of ways. Be on the lookout for our 2021 annual report to learn more. Through this report, we strive to be fully transparent and inform you of our results. We also do it to thank those that support the foundation, as it is only through the giving of their 3Ts
(Time, Talent, & Treasure) that we are able to do what we do. Our 2022 efforts are starting to gain momentum. Here is a quick list of things to be aware of and on the lookout for:
Opportunity for Wisdom Scholarships – The application process is open. This year we are DOUBLING the number and will be providing 4-$1,000 scholarships.
Grants – SLB entities who are looking to offset the cost of events that align with the pillars of SLB should submit a grant request.
Our Entity Specific Fund program allows entity members to develop a financial instrument to help provide for the ongoing needs of their entity. In 2021 we grew the number of entities involved in this program and will be looking for more growth in 2022.
There are 1.5 years left in the Lifting Up campaign and we have more work to do to reach the $100K goal.
We will also be offering ways to be a part of the SLBEF and our committees.
The work of the SLBEF isn’t easy. Our passion and love for Sigma Lambda Beta is what keeps us going. In 2022 we will continue our pursuit, and we need your help! You can learn more about all of the items above, as well as how to contribute and be a part of “Fueling the Light” by clicking here. Here’s to an even better 2022!!
The Sigma Lambda Beta
Education Foundation Board of Trustees
Joel Rhea's Campaign to Alumni Engagement
Let me start by humbly saying thank you for this opportunity! My name is Brother Joel “El Futuro” Rhea from Western Illinois University (Beta Chapter, Fall 1987). I am a dedicated bilingual educator with almost 30 years in the field. I hold a BS in Elementary and Bilingual Education, an MA in Educational Leadership, and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction. I have been a classroom teacher of all grades from kindergarten through eighth, a junior high school and high school coach of basketball and track, a school administrator, and a district-level administrator. It is my mission to ensure communities of underserved and low socio-economic families have high-quality education opportunities. This is done by making sure I am present with a purpose wherever I’m at: classrooms, hallways, or in the neighborhood. I believe in servant leadership where I am a resource. I currently serve on the WE CAN Achieve Foundation Board of Directors, Beta Chapter Scholarship Board, and I am the Chairman of the Beta Chapter Alumni Association. I currently live outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Married for 28 years to my wife Raquel, who is also in a Greek letter organization. Father of 2 daughters Yazmin age 25 and Tatyana age 21. Father of 2 pit bulls Petunia and Pauly. I have been blessed with being involved in many aspects of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc.'s growth over the years. Now, I start a new chapter for me and our great organization as the Alumni Development Coordinator.
For 35 years, we have focused on developing our undergraduate entities. Once a member becomes an alumnus it has been sink or swim to keep them engaged. We have let many great Brothers slip through the cracks. This must stop! We have a new tool that we must use to better inform and track our brothers. That tool is our newly-released Stallion Network through GreekTrack. The old Brother Network was a very difficult system to use and did not provide us with what was promised. After just a few weeks using the Stallion Network, I can see the benefits it will provide us as an organization moving forward. So please make sure to spread the word and get everyone you know signed up on the Stallion Network. Another area that I want to focus on is establishing Alumni services. I know for this to be successful, we will need Brothers to provide us with input and feedback. I believe it is important to get buy-in from our members, not just tell them what they need. So be on the lookout for messages from me.
Finally, we have been undergraduate-driven when it comes to our national budget. We receive approximately 60 percent of our funding from our undergraduate entities. We need our Alumni and their networks to start contributing. This is the only way we will be able to provide services throughout the years. I know we as Brothers love Sigma Lambda Beta. To ensure that future generations can become BETAS, we must do what other fraternities have done, contribute. I will be talking with the Alumni brothers about different ways that they can make a difference.
I look forward to this challenge. I am excited about working with my Brothers
from Coast to Coast. Please feel free to contact me with questions, ideas, or concerns via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 319-242-7540 ext.8601
Brother Joel “El Futuro” Rhea
Financial planning tips for multigenerational families … from your friends at Principal
For people who live in a multigenerational family home, there can be lots of potential short- and long-term upsides to sharing daily life with children, parents, grandparents, or other relatives. And even before the pandemic, multigenerational family homes—defined as at least two generations living together—were a growing trend. In 2018 about one out of every five people lived in a household with at least two or more generations under one roof.
Some families live in a multigenerational household because they want to—and others do because they need to. When a mix of generations live in one home, their financial pressures and goals may look different. These four tips can help you keep track of what’s important to you—and important to your family, too. To learn more, click here!
Alumni Caucus Update from Jason Smolka
This past Summer during Leadership Institute members of the Alumni Caucus, Alumni Associations, and at large Alumni members participated in a virtual leadership track. Though not the first time our Alumni have run in parallel with our Undergraduates, it signaled a rebirth and reinvestment of and by our Alumni in our national events. The chilligate life is fun, but there are plenty of alumni interested in gathering in a more formal way. With BetaCon set to be in person this upcoming year, we are excited about the possibilities of a full Alumni Track of sessions targeting both our delegates and our chilligates that happen to be in attendance.
We are going to be seeking brothers that have expertise, insight, and desire to bring their wisdom and knowledge to the Brotherhood. We will be looking for brothers that can bring
expertise in areas such as career development, graduate school perspectives, leadership development, personal finance, and even fatherhood. For those looking to be in town for
Betacon and willing to give of their Time and Talent please be on the lookout for the call for speakers that will be forthcoming.
For those individuals who are looking to form an Alumni Network in your city or grow an Alumni Association from your chapter’s alumni, please reach out to Savannah Buys at email@example.com.
Omega Fund Update from Jason Smolka
The Omega Fund was established with the goal of supporting the families of our
brothers after the unfortunate
time of their passing. In the first month
of this year, we have already lost two brothers, Fernando “Ustalona” Cintron of the New Jersey City University Chapter ...and brother Hector “Hermes” Serrano of the Sigma Gamma Chapter at the University of California Santa Barbara. We mourn the passing of these brothers and share their stories on our webpage.
While this is the unfortunate reality of our purpose we also want to take the opportunity to ensure brothers are informed of how they can prepare themselves for this inevitability. In the
coming months, the Omega Fund will look to bring information and experts that brothers will have the opportunity to learn from and ensure they are preparing for the future.
In the next edition of the Alumni newsletter, Brother Larry “Lalo” Pacheco will be providing some insight into the importance of having a financial plan for the end of life and what you can do
to prepare for this. In addition to providing this information directly to the brotherhood, Brother Lalo is currently looking to engage with a cohort of these professionals and experts to plan out the coming year of informational sessions and knowledge sharing. If you’re interested in sharing your knowledge, please reach out to Brother Lalo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we want to encourage brothers to learn more about the Sigma Lambda Beta Omega Fund and how we work to serve the Brotherhood. Please visit our website at slbomegafund.com and follow us via Facebook and Instagram.