• Sigma Lambda Beta

Alumni News | Vol. 3, Issue 5

Chairman's Letter

Greetings Brothers,


As my time in the seat of Chairman is coming to a close, I have been reflecting on the successes and challenges that I have worked through during my time in this position. I can honestly say that I feel that I have moved the needle in a positive direction during my Chairmanship with the undergrad Brothers and how procedures are handled at our Executive Office. In the same stroke, I feel like not enough was accomplished, especially regarding Alumni engagement and participation within our organization.

When I began my tenure, I wanted to concentrate on our Alumni engagement but taking a look at what was at the time our most pressing issues, I had to put Alumni engagement on the back burner and take care of the current issues that we were dealing with to make sure that our organization continued to move in a positive direction, especially after dealing with the fallout of Covid and our lack of induction and initiation numbers.


For our Brotherhood to continue to flourish and to reach the heights that we all believe our organization can reach, our Alumni participation must kick in. It is great that we have 30 plus Alumni Networks and 10 plus Alumni Associations across the SLB nation but this is not enough. In my judgment, I feel that our Alumni Networks are stagnate, and registration has not grown within our Alumni Networks across the nation. It is the same Brothers coming out for meetings, events, and conventions and donating their Time, Treasure & Talent to our Brotherhood. Although I love these Brothers for everything that they give to SLB, it is not enough if we are going to move forward. Those Brothers, if not already, will burn out and lose focus if more Brothers do not step forward to help. WE NEED EVERY ALUMNI BROTHER TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE BROTHERHOOD.

  • Join an Alumni Network or Alumni Association, and if you do not have one in your region or an Alumni Association at your Chapter, create one.

  • If your Alumni Network is not doing the project you would like to see done, then step up and create that project, lead it and add your leadership to the network. There is no one stopping you from doing it.

  • If you cannot participate in an Alumni Network or Alumni Association for whatever reason, then donate to our national organization and pay your At-Large Alumni dues, which are only $86.00 a year.

  • If your organization/corporation is hiring, reach out to our Brotherhood to try and get a Brother hired. We have plenty of undergrads and, for that fact, Alumni Brothers are always looking for great opportunities.

  • If your organization/corporation is looking to partner with a Latino organization, then lead them our way. They can become one of our sponsors, and in turn, we can provide them with what they are looking for from a sponsor.

  • If your organization/corporation matches your contribution to a 501c3, then look at donating to the SLB Education Foundation or the We CAN Achieve Foundation and have your donation doubled, which will be used for the betterment of our Brotherhood.

Last but not least, we have an Alumni Intake Process ready to be used to bring in older gentlemen into our Brotherhood post their collegiate experiences. These men will bring a wealth of knowledge and resources to our organization once they become Brothers. In addition, they will have the spirit and energy of a Neo and help bring new blood and energy into our Alumni Networks across the nation and hopefully get them more active within our Brotherhood.


At the end of this year, my Chairmanship will be over, but my work with SLB will never be done. I will commit to continuing my work with SLB and helping build our Alumni engagement across the nation, but I am asking for every Alumni Brother to make their mark, and whatever you can contribute to your Brotherhood, please step up and do it.


Brothers For Life. We Are, We Are.



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Chairman-Elect's Letter

Bro. Steve Galvan (Epsilon, 2006)



Brothers of the Most Honorable,


I hope this message finds you all in good health and spirits. Also, I wish all brothers a great and prosperous 2022-2023 school year. May you achieve the personal, academic, athletic, and fraternity goals you set out for yourself.


As I near the beginning of my term as Chairman, I reflect on all the great leaders of SLB who have mentored me along the way and provided me with the guidance and support to make decisions that would benefit the fraternity as a whole.


In my campaign for Chairman, I addressed the House of Delegates with a strategic plan outlining the next four years as a path moving forward post-pandemic:


First and foremost, who are we, and what do we stand for? We need to defend our Creed and what is on the shield. We hold a powerful voice on our college campuses, and our social media coordinator Mauricio Amaral-Vázquez has done an excellent job of circulating national information that is vital to our existence.


It is not new news that hazing continues to be a problem among social fraternities and sororities. The incoming EBOD, alongside the REC, will align the New Membership Education with our values and vision! To be successful in this goal, it will take all of us. One incident could prove to be too costly for the fraternity. The statement has been recited over and over “Once you cross, the real work starts now." So let's do our best to provide the next generation of brothers with an experience and the tools they can use to become the best versions of themselves, to ensure this experience as an undergrad carries over to many years of active status as an alumni.


Alumni Advisory Boards (AABs), introduced by Bros. Roberto Cellabos and Jorge Pérez DeJesus, will continue to be used to help entities on the local level with recruiting, programming, and finances. This way, the streamline of communication and the evolution of a Beta man can be continuous.


As students of higher institutions, the ultimate goal is to graduate. We want to make sure that this occurs. The incoming board will work hand in hand with the Executive Office on providing academic workshops and communicating with entities that are at or below the minimum GPA. We also want to showcase brothers, entities, and regions that have achieved academic success.


Lastly, purple healing is a social-emotional/mental health well-being initiative to help brothers cope with feelings and allow for emotions to flow in a brave space. A committee put together by Brother Victor Secca-Diaz will create a curriculum, and hold healing platforms. More information will be released by October 10, 2022.


In closing, the least important word- "I." For myself and the incoming board to be successful, it will take all of us. I look forward to the challenges and the growth of our beloved fraternity needed to move the needle forward.





30K Feet View of the Salón de Hermandad

Bro. Norvis Huezo (Pi, 1995)


It is amazing and humbling to reflect that an idea that surfaced 23 years ago was the genesis of the Salon de Hermandad. How did the idea surface? In full transparency, it started as a casual conversation between Mary Peterson and Norvis Huezo, over a glass of chardonnay and a Sam Adams draft beer, during the December 1999 annual North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) business meeting.


It was that event that planted the seed of creating the Salon de Hermandad; the goal was simple: create the most distinguished entity within Sigma Lambda Beta, that acknowledges and recognizes Brothers that have gone significantly above and beyond the principles of Brotherhood, Scholarship, Community Service, and Cultural Awareness. Brothers that tirelessly and consistently gave themselves to the Fraternity, while having their careers, family, friends, and significant others.


The 1998-2000 Board of Directors reviewed a proposal to create the Salon de Hermandad; the proposal highlighted the exemplary contributions and impact that these five individuals made. In July 2000 at the Convention in Schaumburg, IL, five Brothers were inducted as the founding Salon members (in last name order): Ian Bautista, Baltazar Mendoza, Mary Peterson, Juan Valdez, and Ric Zamudio. They were the first Salon members that received this honor, and a small yet powerful symbol of appreciation; the Salon de Hermandad medal that cemented their legacy in Sigma Lambda Beta. Since 2000, 16 members have been inducted to the Salon. It is remarkable that many of these individuals continue to be highly involved by contributing their time and talent to the Fraternity and other community organizations.


Even though the Salon de Hermandad has been around for 20 years, we continue to evolve, mature, and grow. As a result, a top priority of the Salon is to solidify the nomination process. With the talent that exists in the Salon, we are confident that it will quickly streamline this process to ensure that all brothers that should be nominated are considered for this recognition. Moreover, as the Salon grows, it will continue to explore opportunities to contribute at a larger scale, whether at regional meetings, Leadership Institute, or BetaCon. We are excited about future opportunities and continue to help our beloved Sigma Lambda Beta!



The Time for Alumni Engagement is NOW!

Xavier Romano, Executive Director



In my time at the Executive Office, I have experienced what is in essence two very distinctive and at times very different versions of Sigma Lambda Beta Intl., Fraternity, Inc. There is the pre-Pandemic "Beta," that was full of confidence and despite the challenges of most Fraternities, there was the very real sense that anything was possible. As I have said to a good many, there was a level of "organizational self-confidence" that was palpable, exciting, and an understanding that SLB's best days were yet to come.


Then came the Pandemic and what I can only define as our collective new world order that significantly impacted the environment of higher education in a devastating fashion, as it related to the on-campus experience. Try as we may, we struggled to adapt to the "virtual environment." What came as no surprise to many is that the SLB Brotherhood is a dynamic, engaging, and intimate process. One that can best be experienced in person. But across the country, our men tried to adapt to a virtual environment. Some successfully but, for most, there was an understanding that this is not the functional Chapter environment they knew and understood, and struggled to maintain par. In many chapters, numbers dropped significantly while historical ailments came into focus. I recall a conversation from years ago with then Fraternity Chairman, Diego "Chapin" Back, who articulated to me during my "educational process" that historically, the Fraternity struggled with recruitment and leadership transitions at all levels. Years later, during this Pandemic-era, "Chapin's" observations resonated in my mind. If these were our historical challenges, imagine then our collective challenge with membership numbers during this Pandemic Era.

Now operating back on campus, attitudes and confidence in the on-campus environment continue to grow. But something radically has changed during this Pandemic-era. Two months ago in a meeting of National Greek Leadership, Lambda Chi Alpha reported on very concerning proprietary research (in other words, they are not sharing publicly but believed all should know). Lambda Chi Alpha noticed a historical drop-off in their fall 2021 recruitment numbers which they did not understand. Even considering the post-Pandemic environment, the Fraternity could not explain this precipitous drop-off. LCA brought on board an external research firm that learned that for men that entered University in the fall of 2021, 90% had no interest in Greek Life whatsoever. What?!?! If true, the ramifications for all of us in Fraternities (Sororities fared far better in the "COVID virtual environment." Many can move to virtual educational processes in the blink of an eye. Some, such as Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, had record intake due to "alumni intake.") is substantial.


To make matters more complex, the record numbers of men of color entering higher education have not kept pace with women of color, and these numbers now appear to be tracking south. In other words, while demographic growth continues to be the norm in our society, this is no longer directly translating into university enrollment numbers for men of color at four-year institutions. This is to say that we are continuing to work in helping our community navigate these continuously evolving collegiate environments. We in the Executive Office are working hard to understand that our undergraduate operational environment may have substantially changed during the Pandemic.


I am confident that we will regain our on-campus traction and membership numbers, but it will not happen overnight and will be a gradual growth. We are with the Executive Board of Directors looking at ways in which we can impact our historical challenge of recruitment and leadership transition. This conversation not only continues, but we are in the Executive Office beginning a process of chapter engagement that will be ongoing. And I do not doubt that in a period of EBOD transition, attention to our historical challenges continues to be a priority. Say nothing of focus for Leadership Institute '23.


This said...YOU - the SLB Alumni - can make a substantial difference. Most Fraternities took a substantial loss in their membership numbers. And many with housing are facing some very difficult financial challenges. For several reasons, our SLB alumni are not engaged at the same level of engagement as other Fraternity alumni. As you may recall, Joel Rhea, recently touched on this in a recent ALUMNI NEWS. I would, however, like to ask for your engagement in an SLB "environment" of YOUR CHOICE. Be it the Education Foundation, an Alumni Network, or Alumni Association, "adopt" a local chapter that you would like to work with and mentor or volunteer for volunteer leadership roles. Find the place of engagement that brings you the most joy and fulfillment. Know that your engagement will not only matter NOW but potentially more than ever before. But at the end of the day, this Fraternity...SIGMA LAMBDA BETA needs you & your engagement now more than ever. If you have any questions as to how best to engage please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally.


As the fall begins, I hope that this finds each and every one of you well. SLB, like other Fraternities, is coming out of the Pandemic era with challenges. None of these are irreversible, and progress is already underway. What is needed is YOU, and for you to find your place of engagement and joy within the Fraternity. You have so many options but find the one that means the most to you.



Fraternally,


Xavier


Why and how should I give back to Sigma Lambda Beta?

Bro. Joel Rhea (Beta, 1991)


As an undergraduate, I remember not having many alumni Brothers to ask for assistance for the Chapter. Over time as we grew, I made sure that I gave back to the organization, especially my Chapter. This is an area in that we as an organization need to educate our undergraduate and alumni members. Sigma Lambda Beta is a business. We have an Executive Office, Staff, materials, and services that are not free of charge. So how have we paid for all of this? Unfortunately, over the years, a majority of these have been paid for by undergraduate dues and fees. If this continues, we will not be able to sustain many of the services we provide for our members. Who wants to volunteer their time to oversee 50 Chapters? Who will be our business manager, accountant, and collection department for over 100 entities? In the past, the National Board of Directors were elected to specific voluntary positions like Vice President of Finances. This Board member would be in charge of all things financial while working their full-time job. This has changed over the years to our current Executive Board of Directors and Executive Office staff.


To have staff, we need to have funds to pay them a living wage. The new member pin, Active pin, and other materials also have associated costs. To provide the best services for our members we need money to fund our initiatives. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more services and dedicated staff members for our organization?


What are some ways we can start providing financial assistance to make sure we are the best fraternity we can be? The Beta Realtor Challenge is a way for us to help our brothers who are realtors and help raise money for the organization. If one of the participating realtors sells a property to a brother or someone who mentions SLB, the brother realtor will donate 5% of their commission. This Challenge will end on December 31, 2022. This helps build our brothers' client list and Keeps the Money Purple!


Another way we can help financially is by donating to other initiatives we currently have or by suggesting other initiatives. Right now, we have the 86 Club and Books 4 Betas. The 86 Club provides Alumni members with some tangible items and services. These funds have been used for alumni services and staffing over the years. The Books 4 Betas initiative is for undergraduate and graduate brothers. This fund provides financial support for books for our members. This semester we awarded 14 Brothers financial assistance for books. We will be having a Books 4 Betas campaign soon to make sure we can continue to support our brothers’ educational endeavors. Many brothers donate to their local Chapters. This is great but we need to think more globally in our donations. We now have enough members who can pool resources together to have a strategic fundraising plan. We need to tap into outside sources as well to provide sponsorships and funding for projects.


Many brothers get donation burnout because they are asked all the time to help financially without seeing a return on investment. I am sure with the talented brothers we have; we can come up with numerous ways to help support SLB. Developing groups of think tanks to sit and work collaboratively to make an impact on the financial future of our fraternity.

In conclusion, the why is the easy part. We love Sigma Lambda Beta and believe that it can have a major impact on our communities worldwide.


The "how" is a little trickier because we need to work together, Coast to Coast, to come up with plans of how we can be successful in fundraising. I am open to discussion with any brothers who have ideas on how we can start a campaign, get corporate sponsorships, available grants, or any other way to raise funds for SLB. Please contact me at jrhea@sigmalambdabeta.com if you have any ideas or interest in helping us with these challenges. I look forward to hearing from you.




SLBEF Recap – What You Need To Know


The Sigma Lambda Beta Education Foundation’s Board of Trustees and committee members are tirelessly working towards meeting our mission to raise, steward, and provide funds solely for the benefit of Sigma Lambda Beta’s brotherhood. Following is a summary of some of the items we are focused on. Additional details on these and other items can be found at slbfoundation.sigmalambdabeta.com.

  • 86 Nights Before Xmas: The time has finally arrived… it’s time to kick off our 4th annual 86 Nights Before Xmas ornament campaign! We have a special design this year that definitely won’t disappoint and will be flying off the shelves. Starting October 1 st and through the holiday season, you can get ornaments as gifts for yourself, your entire line, or a deserving member in your chapter. Learn more and get your ornaments on our 86 Nights Page.

  • Entity-Specific Fund growth: The SLBEF provides every SLB entity the ability to essentially create their own non-profit by using our existing tax status and technology. We are proud to announce the creation of 3 new entity-specific funds (ESFs) in the last quarter! We continue to look for more entities (chapters, alumni associations, and/or alumni networks)to be a part of this program. To learn more you can go to our ESF page and/or email fincom@slbfoundation.com.

  • Grant Application process video: We are pleased to report that there has been an uptick in grant applications since implementing our process improvements. So far this fall semester, we have received nine applications. Most recently, we have posted a very detailed walk-through video of how to fill out the grant application, which you can check out on our Grants page. As Alumni, we ask that you work with your undergraduate entities to ensure they are aware of and submit grants for application programming. You can learn more at our website and/or email givcom@slbfoundation.com.



Alumni Caucus Transitions

Bro. Jason Smolka (Omicron, 2005)


Brothers,

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the first Alumni Caucus Chairman after its founding at BetaCon 2020. I am thankful for having the opportunity to connect with the Alumni Network Chairmen from around the country, host our first-ever virtual Alumni Retreat, and facilitate the Alumni Day at Betacon 2022. As all good things must come to an end, we are searching for our next Alumni Caucus Chair to take on the mantle of pushing our Alumni Movement forward.

You may be the ideal candidate if:

  • You are an Active Alumni member, paying through an Alumni Network, Alumni Association, or At-Large

  • You can dedicate time to connecting with Alumni Network Chairs and hosting 3 Alumni Caucus meetings annually.

  • You believe that we must better leverage the combined strengths of our Alumni members.

While the role of the Alumni Caucus is still being defined, there are some key priorities of the role already defined. The next Alumni Caucus Chair will be focused on the following four activities for the coming year(s):

  • Running the Alumni Caucus meeting of all active Alumni Network chairmen.

  • Facilitating opportunities between Alumni Networks and expanding the marketing/communication reach of individual Alumni Networks.

  • Recruiting additional Alumni Networks and supporting Alumni Network expansion.

  • Plan the Alumni Retreat in conjunction with EBOD and EO to take place in Summer '23

While our retreat was virtual in 2021, our goal is to push forward with an in-person retreat for Summer 2023 that will give our Alumni the opportunity to network, socialize and regain their connection with Sigma Lambda Beta.

If you are interested in this position, be on the lookout next week for the official application packet to come through your email. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jason.smolka@gmail.com.



Omega Fund Update


In addition to September being the kick-off for Hispanic Heritage Month, it is also National Life Insurance Awareness month. While having minimum life insurance to cover the end-of-life costs is definitely something we believe everyone should have, you may find that it doesn’t provide the level of support truly needed. Even with some forms of life insurance, over half of Latino Millennials say their families would face a financial hardship within six months should the primary wage earner pass away. Proper planning with life insurance can ensure that your family will be supported beyond those six months.



Not only has life insurance been shown to be a tool that can support families after the passing of a loved one, but it can also be used to build generational wealth during your lifetime. Join our upcoming session hosted by brother Lalo Pacheco of the Unstoppable Upsilon Gamma Chapter, on October 11th at 9:00 pm EST/6:00 pm PST to learn more about that aspect of life insurance.

If you’re one of the 40% of Millennials who have not purchased life insurance yet but are considering doing so in the next 12 months, come and learn more and be well prepared for this decision. If you’re part of the 60% who are not considering purchasing in the next 12 months, may I remind you of the lesson many of us learned during our education process, a failure to plan is a plan to fail, so be prepared and learn about the different plans you can make to support your loved ones and yourself.


To sign-up for the session on October 11th, please click here.