Alumni News: Vol. 3, Issue 3
A Note From the Chairman...
As the month of May comes to a close, we are just one month away from our 2022 BetaCon. Our Executive Office has been hard at work trying to make sure that this is going to be one of the best BetaCons' up to this point. We want to make sure that every Brother, undergrad and Alumni, feel like a MVB (Most Valuable Beta) while at BetaCon, starting from registration until the final dinner on Saturday night.
The importance of BetaCon is immeasurable, as we will have the opportunity to elect our future Executive Board of Directors (EBOD), National Chairman, celebrate the accomplishments of our Brothers, and review and potentially pass new resolutions, leading our Brotherhood into the future.
Yes, we will finally have the opportunity to meet as a nation, in person, and celebrate our Brotherhood. I want to ensure that all of the Brothers that are going to be attending BetaCon 2022, and especially all of the delegate Brothers, take the time out to understand your important role and how your leadership and vote will lead our fraternity into the future.
Please take time to read through all of the resolutions and take time to get to know the Brothers that are running for the leadership of our Brotherhood.
Be safe in your travels. I, along with our Executive Office and Executive Leadership, look forward to seeing you all soon.
Roberto Ceballos, Chairman
Interested in cementing your active membership to Sigma Lambda Beta?
The BetaCon Golf Tournament has been cancelled due to high airline and gas prices. For the full story, click here. If you purchased a golf tournament ticket/registration, and have yet to speak with Savannah Buys, please contact her at (319) 242-7540 ext. 8605.
We appreciate your patience and thank you for your support! We hope to see you all at BetaCon in ONE MONTH!
From Xavier's Desk... THE EVOLUTION AT SIGMA LAMBDA BETA...
...I suspect this to be true! And at 36-years of age it strikes me that within the spectrum of collegiate Greek life, Sigma Lambda Beta is knee-deep in enjoying the array of challenges (and opportunities) that face social Greek-letter societies. This natural evolution is in and of itself challenging enough as the environment in wich we exist continues to evolve with no abatement in sight. However, I would submit to you that we are not operating in "normal" times as the stressors impacting the world of higher education are - while not exclusively - challenges that transcend the United States and are in fact global.
A conversation that I had this week to some degree illustrates this in a surreal way. In a conversation surrounding Betacon 2022, I was able to explain that approximately three years ago I was in contract negotiations with The Nugget which for all practical purposes was a truly different global operational environment. His comment to me was - and I would agree (!!!) - that while we were able to negotiate a very special rate for hotel/conference, at that time the Reno/Tahoe International Airport moved from being one of the best priced airports to fly in and out of in the Nation. And we know that aviation fuel costs (together with our gasoline costs) have skyrocketed since the onset of the war in Ukraine. Asked why I did not factor this into pricing...well, I thought to myself that had I known something like this I suspect that my "life" would be a bit different. But his point was well taken.
In my weekly conversations with an array of collegiate members and Fraternity alumni there is a 90+% likelihood that someone will ask me if I see a change in Beta men? I will often inquire a bit further for clarification but more often than not what each is asking is about the other. Those Betas who are seemingly different. These conversations are not intended to be snarky but come from a very real place of thoughtfulness and enquiry. What I often find is that they are often probing as to what makes them different.
Do I see these differences that each is asking of me regarding one another...or "the other?" Indeed I do...but also do so with a very different context. Being a tad bit older than many of you... OK, most of you, what I do see are generational and at times cultural nuances that for some are profound. The other reality as it were is that Greek Life has and is undergoing major transformations regarding the University relationship to the Greek-letter society...those social & not academically related Fraternities & Sororities. But something that I see at the core of how one perceives the other is in the use of technology and more specifically the use of social media in our lives. From my seat, the differences can be perceived as rather substantial. It has certainly given both the Executive Office and myself much to reflect on knowing that for simplicity's sake that one generation is curious about the other. I find this oddly normal. But how in the world can I communicate this to you?
Oddly enough at least a part of the answer had been sitting on my desk for at least a month. And sometime early this afternoon I was writing a follow-up note to a chapter president in the South regarding an upcoming IN-FOCUS article which I would love for him to take on...but it dawned on me that alumni are not likely to know what IN-FOCUS is. So some background...in an attempt to capture some of the amazing work, projects, challenges, etc., that has made their Beta experience particularly meaningful and special. What is key here is that I was getting feedback from collegiate membership that during our COVID-times that they knew virtually nothing of one another and were feeling isolated from one another on campus and from one another in the Fraternity. So IN-FOCUS is designed to share an experience(s) that the author's believe are meaningful for their contemporary Brothers. The authors are largely undergraduates but a younger alum also took up the challenge of articulating how SLB contributed to their Law School success.
As IN-FOCUS is still very young, I thought it best to simply share these fascinating profiles with you. What follows are links to the (number of IN-FOCUS articles). Each of which I hope you will find fascinating, insightful and do an amazing job articulating their personal collegiate experiences where the Fraternity plays an important role in their lives. I also think that you will find the diversity of narrative simply fascinating, candid and reflective regarding the role SLB has played in their lives.
We will see that with time we will continue to hear more about generational perspectives of the other. Over time we will become even more diverse as an organization, begin to address some of those generational challenges that while very real are also opportunities to refinement as all around us will continue to evolve. For example, is something that should also be sent to alumni as we do with our collegiate membership OR should we simply have a link to IN-FOCUS in ALUMNI NEWS so that you can click and read? Let me know!
So...as May comes to a close this means that June is around the corner.
And with June...!
Updates from th Education Foundation...
Brothers – Here’s a quick update on some of the things going on with the SLBEF:
Added lots of new content and features to our website. Check it out: slbfoundation.sigmalambdabeta.com.
Provided > $2,500 in grants to SLB entities during the spring semester.
Raised > $2,000 during our Founder’s Month Challenge, and then more than doubled it to provide SLB a $4,500 grant for BetaCon 2022.
Finishing up the selection process for new SLBEF Trustees. An announcement will be coming soon.
Working to streamline the grant application process – which we plan to unveil at BetaCon 2022.
Added a couple more new entities to our Entity Specific Fund program, with more planned.
A selection committee is finalizing who will be the four recipients of our $1,000 Opportunity for Wisdom scholarships. We have doubled the number of scholarships! Recipients will be named during BetaCon 2022.
As you can tell, there’s lots in motion! In addition to all of that, we continue to prepare, and are excited for, our attendance at BetaCon ’22! We hope to see you there.
The Sigma Lambda Beta Education Foundation Board of Trustees
The Stallion Store..., Darius McDowel
It is with great pleasure that I announce that the new Stallion Store will be coming soon to all brothers. This is just Phase One of the stores so it is just the bare-bones model, but as time progresses, the store will be getting updated to include more categories and functions. In the future, we are aiming to have both a brother-only store as well as a public store. The brother-only store will, of course, have different items for purchase compared to the public store. We all know in this Greek world people love to give Greek-specific merchandise to others so why not offer a public store.
The store will include a very limited selection in the beginning as we test it out
to make sure everything is running properly. For this first phase, members will
need to be logged into their Stallion Network account to access the store. If you are
a brother who either has not activated their account or just never made one, then
please reach out to me via email here. We will shoot out a mass email to all brothers
on the Stallion Network letting all know when it is operational.
Director of Member Services
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Alumni Caucus Update..., Jason Smolka
In one month, BetaCon 2022 will kick-off and for the first time in 4 years, brothers will get together in person to congregate and celebrate with one another. While BetaCon (formerly known as Convention) has always brought with it a large number of closely associated with, but non-registered members that would descend upon the weekend. These members which would eventually become known as “Chilligates” have been a fixture of BetaCon and we have not always embraced nor wanted these Chilligates to be around. Denver was the first BetaCon around that started to embrace the Chilligate and Iowa City had planned to be the first BetaCon that intentionally included a “Chilligate package”.
This year, we hope that many of you brothers do decide to come and rep as a Chilligate. This Alumni Day is designed to continue the growth of the Sigma Lambda Beta ecosystem. For those who are interested in participating but cannot physically attend, we will have a Zoom option to participate. The first session, designed to coincide with many brothers' lunchtime, will bring members of the EBOD and Executive Office to the table as an opportunity to discuss the initiatives and ways in which alumni members can be involved and support the national Fraternity and undergraduate entities. From there we will transition to a discussion about best practices for Alumni Networks and understand that many virtual attendees may drop off for this portion. The day will wrap up as more individuals hopefully can join virtually, with a discussion on how brothers can engage with the SLB ecosystem, in ways that are direct and powerful and bring about the impact individual and small groups of brothers have been looking to take on the Brotherhood for years.
Alumni Update..., Bro. Joel Rhea
As the Alumni Engagement Coordinator since mid-January, I have learned a lot about the needs of our organization. When we are undergraduates, we have the training to become new member educators, how to run a Chapter meeting, how to have a successful fundraiser, etc. During our years on our college campus, we are never provided development into being an Active Alumni. For four years we are trained on how to be an undergraduate entity. Unfortunately, there was never a process or training on how to be a good alumnus. Now 36 years later, we need our alumni to be active and to develop future alumni.
What does it mean to be an active alumnus? There are many areas in which we as graduates can continue to play a vital role in Sigma Lambda Beta. It is important to guide our younger collegiate members. Assist them in areas where they may be struggling. This can only happen when there is a good relationship between the two parties: undergrads and alumni. Many times, Alumni try to relive their glory days and forget that they are not the current undergrads. These current undergrads are dealing with issues on campus that many of us never faced. Covid-19 has changed the face of fraternity life as we knew it. For two years many college campuses did not allow face-to-face meetings, recruitment, or new member education unless it was virtual. Also, many universities are trying to scale back their Greek systems due to numerous legal and cancel culture demands.
Alumni can also help by providing financial assistance on a local or national level. Many Chapters need financial support to attend annual events like BetaCon and LI. As alumni, we understand the demands of making sure all dues are paid. Recently, without the ability to host fundraisers, many Chapters are struggling to figure out how they will attend BetaCon. Many will have to rely on Alumni assistance to help them pay for registration, transportation, and accommodations. As we know the costs of everything have skyrocketed. A plane ticket that was $250 two months ago is now over $700. These are unexpected costs that no one could have foreseen. But it’s the responsibility of the Chapters to be there no matter what.
On a national level, we have been building SLB off the backs of our undergraduate men. Their dues have been anywhere from 65%-90% of our total income. Most other fraternal organizations have a dues structure for their alumni membership to be considered
active. These dues go directly to the national organization. Also, many alumni donate annually or sponsor national events for their organization. These donations help provide
funding for staff salaries and other services. Wouldn’t it be nice to own our Executive Office building one day? How about having a Director of Expansion who would travel and start new Chapters across the US?
If we as Alumni don’t give back to the organization that we love what could happen? Well, if we don’t start providing financial assistance to our national organization, we may lose some of the services that we provide to our membership. It would make life so much more difficult if our undergraduates didn’t have a Director of Members Services to contact when they needed something. How would we operate if we didn’t have a Director of Operations? Your contributions are going to take SLB to the next level. We would love to offer many more services, but that takes money.
What’s in it for me? This is a question we all ask at one time or another. In 1986, I’m sure some Founding Fathers were asking this very question. Over the years I have heard many brothers ask this. For me, it was hard to understand why a brother would ask this. Over time and maturing, I have a better understanding of why this is being asked, but let me ask you this, “What do you need to become Active or to be a contributor?” We are more than a fraternity; we are a family! So, let’s make sure we continue to better our organization like we state we will in our Creed!
GOOD TO KNOW:
The last day to register for BetaCon is JUNE 1ST!
There are still opportunities to sponsor BetaCon 2022. Contact Savannah Buys to learn more.
If you would like to utilize the Flexible Options registration for BetaCon, please note that "Name Badge" does not guarantee your registration! You will need to register for one of the other options.
EXECUTIVE BOARD OF DIRECTORS CANDIDATES
Brian Castro - EBOD, Chairman
Business and Non-Profit Organizations Partnerships
Continuous improvement of National Operations
Brotherhood Personal and Professional Development
Continuous Alumni Engagement
Steve Galvan - Chairman
Efficient use of SLB and university resources
Accountability and communication from top to bottom
Fraternity stability and Growth
Clear and open pathways for alumni engagement
Jason Smolka - EBOD, Chairman
Consistent, transparent, and trustworthy leadership
Development of a life-long leadership development model
Reduce the overall cost of membership
Provide new platforms/mediums for alumni to be involved
Increase the diversity and depth of revenue resources
Jose Pangelinan - EBOD
Mauricio Amaral-Vazquez - EBOD
Stronger leadership development for undergraduate brothers.
Creating a clear path for Brothers to enter Alumnihood.
Internship opportunities for undergraduate brothers.
Post COVID-19 strategy for undergraduate chapters.
Making SLB the premier Fraternity in the Nation.
Thank you for reading our May 2022 Alumni News, and thank you to our authors for your contributions to Sigma Lambda Beta.
If you have any questions regarding Alumni News, sponsorships, or BetaCon, please reach out to the Executive Office at (319) 242-7540.
See you at BetaCon!
Donor & Communications Coordinator