Thank you for your interest in Sigma Chi at Saint Louis University! Below are some common topics/questions we often get asked by potential new members and parents. Feel free to click topics on the list to be brought to that particular section. If you have a question that wasn't answered here, feel free to explore the rest of our website or contact the appropriate member of the Executive Board.
"School is my first priority. Could joining Sigma Chi hurt my grades or mean I have less time for my classes?"
Lifelong learning is one of the three ideals on which our fraternity is founded. Above all else, we are an organization that strives to promote scholarship in and out of the classroom. We have brothers from a wide variety of majors in the various schools/colleges of the University so don't think any major could exclude you from being able to join a fraternity. We will never expect you to sacrifice your schoolwork for the fraternity. Quite the opposite, in fact: we will expect you to excel in your courses, and we will do our best to help you in this endeavor! Our Scholarship Chairmen is in charge of holding brothers accountable to the GPA requirements of our chapter (2.5 minimum) and holds regular optional study hours throughout the semester.
The only thing we ask is that you manage your time well, so you are able to meet the obligations of pledgeship/membership while maintaining your grades.
"What is a bid? How are they chosen?"
Bids are invitations to join a fraternal organization, typically to their pledgeship program. After our open Recruitment events have concluded, we invite a select few potential new members (PNMs) to our two invitation-only which typically include a formal dinner (at no cost to you) and a "Smoker." The "Smoker" is where you will be presented in front of the chapter and asked a series of questions to allow the chapter to learn more about you at a deeper level. You will then have a one-on-one interview with the Consul (President) to see your understanding of the fraternity. After all the invited PNMs have gone through the smoker, the chapter then votes for who we wish to extend a bid to. Those chosen will then be given a physical bid/invitation to join Sigma Chi and given 24 hours to decide whether they wish to accept the invitation or not.
We judge whether or not to give a bid largely based upon the Jordan Standard and their interactions with the chapter. For more information, please refer to the Recruitment page and its subsections or contact the Recruitment Chairman.
"How expensive are dues in Sigma Chi? What is the money used for?"
The dues paid by members of Sigma Chi help fund the operations of the chapter. We are the only fraternity at SLU that has "all inclusive" dues, meaning members pay one flat sum instead of being nickeled and dimed having to pay individually for social events, t-shirts, formal, recruitment, etc. While this does mean our dues are slightly higher up-front, ranging from approximately $400-500 ($200 during the COVID pandemic), it often results in our dues being less expensive than the total paid by other fraternities' members at SLU at the end of the academic year. Being "all-inclusive" means you know exactly what you'll be paying for. The chapter votes at the beginning of each semester on a budget detailing how and where the chapter's funds will be used, meaning each brother has a say in how his money will be utilized. Dues can fluctuate up and down slightly from semester to semester depending on the size of the chapter and what we wish to accomplish in a given semester.
Considering that men who live up to the Jordan Standard come from varying financial situations, we do offer payment plans, scholarships, and financial assistance to brothers who need them. Please see the section on Scholarships for more information
Some common expenses that dues help fund are recruitment events, philanthropy projects, insurance for the chapter, food and venue costs for social events, intramural sports, etc. Money from dues is never and will never be spent on alcohol.
For more questions about dues and the financials of the chapter, please contact the Quaestor (Treasurer).
"Do you have to drink to be in Sigma Chi?"
Drinking is not a part of what it means to be a Sigma Chi and thus we will never force any of our members to drink. While individual members may choose to drink alcohol, we as a chapter hold each other accountable for our actions and decisions. In fact, many of our brothers choose not to drink at all; serving as an example that you can be in a fraternity, have a rich social life, and not need alcohol to do so.
While alcohol is often served at our social events, we strictly adhere to university, city, state, and national policies/laws making sure that our venue has a proper license to serve alcohol and that only brothers and guests of legal drinking age are served alcohol. Should an underage member/guest attempt to purchase alcohol at one of our social events we will promptly eject them from the event and contact the university for proper sanctions. No alcohol is served at any of our recruitment events.
We hold each other accountable to the same standards of behavior whether sober or not, and hold the health and safety of guests as a top priority. Because of this, we also have sober monitors at our social events along with our Risk Manager, who works to ensure the safety and well being of the chapter and its guests/associates.
For more information about our alcohol related policies, please contact the Risk Manager.
"I've heard some fraternities haze during pledgeship or initiation. Does this happen at Sigma Chi?"
This is a very easy question. We do not haze-period. Hazing whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise is a detriment to a strong brotherhood. We understand that this is sadly a common concern given news/media headlines and what's shown in tv shows and movies. Too many have lost their sons, brothers, nephews, and loved-ones to the horrid act of hazing. Sigma Chi at Saint Louis University will have no part in that number. We believe that trust, honesty, compassion, and respect are integral parts of maintaining a strong brotherhood. Hazing simply does not reinforce those values. During pledgeship, initiation, and beyond we will never force you or inflict anything upon you that would harm you in any fashion.
Should you suspect anyone of being subjected to or committing hazing, we urge you to contact our Risk Manager, our President, University administration, or the authorities so that proper action can take place.
Finding the Right Fraternity
"How do I choose the right fraternity for me?"
During recruitment, the fraternities you visit should be informing you of the benefits of that particular group. All fraternities participate in intramurals; all fraternities have social events with sororities; all fraternities promote brotherhood in their own ways. As you attend the various recruitment events, it is important that you ask questions which concern you: costs, activities, scholarship, etc. If a fraternity talks more about its competitors than itself, be aggressive and ask about that group. Little progress is made in condemning another organization. Perhaps most important, make your decision on your own. Even though your best friend or the group you attended recruitment events with has decided on a particular fraternity, you do not have to. Your friends should always be your friends. Just like the fraternities are seeing whether you would be a fit for their membership, you should think about how their values and actions align with yours. The choice of fraternity is completely yours. It is a decision you have made for a lifetime. Remember, you are not joining a name or a house, you are joining a group of men.
"When is initiation? What does it involve?" Initiation is the culmination of the pledging process. During initiation, potential brothers will take their final steps toward becoming a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. It is a wonderful experience that is shared by Sigma Chi's exclusively. Since every Sigma Chi experiences the same initiation, it serves as binding force which holds the brotherhood together. Like with pledgeship, there is absolutely no hazing during initiation. Initiation is a very important part of Sigma Chi and we would never do anything to harm that experience.
"What does it mean to pledge a fraternity? What does pledgeship look like?"
Sigma Chi utilizes a 5-week pledgeship program called "Preparation for Brotherhood" (P4B) which teaches pledges about the history of Sigma Chi and the greek system as a whole. Though a pledge may fit the Jordan Standard, through pledgeship he'll show whether he is worthy of being made a brother who will uphold the ideals of the fraternity. The pledges will be guided by the Magister (pledge educator) who will help prepare them for the ceremonies of initiation and make sure they are knowledgeable about Sigma Chi. A "Big Brother" will also be given to each pledge who will serve as their advocate to the chapter and as a model for what it means to strive for the ideals of Sigma Chi.
For more questions about pledgeship, please contact the Magister.
"Sigma Chi's badge is a white cross. What role does religion play in the fraternity? Do I need to be a Christian to join?"
Though our badge is a cross, this does not mean we are a religious order. Though many of our values are based in christian principles, by no means does someone have to be Christian to be a Sigma Chi. Our chapter is made up of brothers who hold a variety of religious views from Jews, Christians, Athiests, Agnostics, and more. Though we do welcome any faith background, the only religious "requirement" is that we ask all members to recognize there exists some power greater than themselves, whether it be God, a set of virtues/values, or even the laws of physics. This belief in a greater power helps give us a sense of shared humility in our mission to pursue the ideals of friendship, justice, and lifelong learning.
"Why do you have secret rituals? What is the reason for having ritual at all?"
The ritual of Sigma Chi distinguishes ourselves from not only other Greek societies, but from all other organizations. While many other attributes of Sigma Chi may be similar to other societies and organizations, our ritual is the one thing that sets us apart. It serves to create a common experience for the brothers and binds them in a closer way. It also creates a sense of commitment, as well as a sense of loyalty to the fraternity. How is the ritual so unique? It is kept secret from non-brothers to create that sense of uniqueness that strengthens the bonds of each initiated brother. More importantly, secrecy provides a learning process for potential members, so that they can learn more about what Sigma Chi stands for before committing to its ideals. This process is known as pledging. For more information on how our ritual guides our daily lives, please contact the Kustos or Consul.
"I'm not sure I can afford joining a fraternity. What sort of scholarships or aid does Sigma Chi offer?"
As discussed above, academic excellence is a key part to our mission of lifelong learning. In order to promote this learning and assist brothers in need. Sigma Chi offers a plethora of scholarships available to brothers based upon academic performance, demonstrated leadership, chapter involvement, and/or financial need. Sigma Chi is also the only fraternity at SLU to offer a scholarship sponsored through the university called the "Kevin Wade Memorial Scholarship." It is a scholarship in memory of Kevin Wade who was initiated into our chapter in 1984 and passed away in 2008. The scholarship is only offered to Sigma Chi's at SLU who have shown leadership for the advancement of the fraternity. As discussed in the dues section, our chapter also offers need based scholarship/aid to brothers who may be struggling financially but still wish to participate in chapter activities.
Sigma Chi as a international fraternity also offered numerous merit, leadership, and need based scholarships and aid through the Sigma Chi Foundation. In 2020 alone, Sigma Chi provided over $520,000 in academic scholarship awards to its members, the most out of any college fraternity. Sigma Chi even offers scholarships for graduate students, pledges, military servicemen, and even chapter Sweethearts!
For more information on scholarships please see the Sigma Chi Foundation website or contact the Scholarship Chairman.
"I have a busy schedule this semester. How much time does it take to join/be a part of Sigma Chi?"
Busy students are usually the ones we want to recruit—it shows you care about your academics and are already involved in the community! We do our best to make our schedule flexible around yours, and we understand if you need to miss things on occasion to meet other obligations. We do like to say that you will get out tenfold what you put into the fraternity, so involvement within the chapter as much as you are capable is recommended. At the end of the day however we want you to succeed in everything you do, not just in Sigma Chi.
If you pledge Sigma Chi, you will be required to attend weekly pledge meeting (approximately 1-3 hours a week) during your 5 week pledgeship. The overall time commitment is about the same as a 1-3 credit hour course, but with a much higher return on investment than you would expect from a typical lecture! The Sigma Chi Leadership Institute will even provide a leadership certificate approved by the Illinois State Board of Education at the end of pledgeship and if you complete other leadership programs offered by Sigma Chi with the possibility of it counting as college credit in the near future. Sigma Chi is the only fraternity to offer accredited leadership programming.
Don't be discouraged by the time commitment! Many of our brothers are in intensive academic programs or otherwise heavily involved with a job or clubs, so if anything, Sigma Chi will help you refine your time management skills.