By Will Ryan–
On April 2, it was announced that U of L’s chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity is being presented with the 2013 Chapter Award of Distinction from the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
The North-American Interfraternity Conference serves as the national governing body for 14 of the 19 men’s social fraternities that call U of L their home. According to NIC President and CEO Pete Smithhisler, the Chapter Award of Distinction “recognizes outstanding achievement across the board.” This distinction is granted annually to five chapters across the continent and Sigma Chi is the first chapter from U of L to have been honored in the award’s 11-year history.
According to Mr. Smithhisler, the Chapter Award for Distinction is intended to “shine a bright light on what the chapter is doing. The other chapters on campus will be inspired to promote excellence as well.”
When asked about being recognized, junior Josh Henderson, the president of U of L’s Sigma Chi chapter explains that “the members act like we were taught during the initiation process, which is to promote character, campus, and community. I think that played a big part in winning this award.”
“The coolest part of this process,” says Henderson, a biology major, “is that the national Sigma Chi headquarters applied for us. I had no idea that we were even being considered until I got a phone call saying that we won.” The Sigma Chis draw national attention through annual philanthropy events such as Sigmapalooza, a concert benefiting Kosair Children’s Hospital, Derby Days, a week-long festival that raises money towards the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and the Blanket Drive, which this year donated 2,356 blankets to homeless shelters around Louisville.
Jeff Lamb, U of L’s Inter-Fraternity President, proudly promotes Greek Life. “This last fall the (Greek) men did over 25,000 hours of service, retention rates are higher by about 20%,” he reports, “and graduation rates are higher for Greek members by about 19 percent. It seems as though Greek life is much more beneficial than many students believe.”
When asked about the future of Greek Life, Henderson of Sigma Chi predicted “I think Jeff Lamb would agree with me in saying that this award will help Greek Life grow at U of L by bringing the Greeks some positive attention. I’m sure that some of U of L’s other chapters will earn this distinction too.”
A group of Sigma Chi members will travel to Saint Louis on April 14 to attend the NIC annual meeting, where they will formally be presented with their award.
Photo by Simon Isham/The Louisville Cardinal