Leadership Seminar Offers Opportunity For Brotherhood Bonding

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by Jonathan Sangster

“Which chapter(s) on campus are possibly stronger than Sigma Nu and why?”

This was one of the many thought-provoking questions discussed in break-out groups towards the beginning of Gamma Alpha’s annual Leadership Seminar this February.  Many of the exercises and discussion topics of the day serve to remind attendees that the active chapter and alumni are dedicated to maintaining the highest standard.

For six years now, the Gamma Alpha Alumni Association has met in the Mallory C. & Evelyn "Tommye" Jones Classroom in Tech Square for the majority of a Sunday afternoon.  This year we met on February 8th and nearly the entire active chapter was in attendance.  It’s a formal event, and one that the chapter takes very seriously.  In one break-out group a brother commented, “Our alumni involvement brings formality to chapter gatherings such as this.  It helps add even more accountability to the goals we have as individuals and as a chapter.” 

Gary Jones (Gamma Alpha 1290) emceed the day, starting with ice breakers that led into an Alumni Association introduction by our President, Alex Brown.  As the Chief Legal Counsel of Georgia Tech, Pat McKenna (Gamma Alpha 1345) reviewed a dozen slides on risk policies with the chapter.  Gary stressed the uniqueness of our relationship with our faculty advisor during his introduction, “Pat is a Vice President reporting directly to Georgia Tech President, Bud Peterson!  Pat has a remarkable perspective on risk awareness that he is going to share with us.”  During Q&A with Pat it became quickly apparent that the chapter leadership has adapted to meet evolving and strengthened regulations in recent years.  Internal developments in house monitoring policies and bystander intervention training are just examples of what the chapter is doing to stay ahead of the curve.  Pat acknowledged those efforts and re-stressed the importance of them in today’s environment.  Jimmy Trimble (Gamma Alpha 1670) discussed officer transition and helpful tricks to prioritize continuity and growth as the chapter makes leadership handoffs.  Jonathan Sangster (Gamma Alpha 1946) gave his annual talk about rush: the numbers, the talent, and the competitive advantage of reaching candidates first.  Our most recent alumni speaker, Joe Gammie (Gamma Alpha 2032, Alpha 602), a former student-member of the High Council and an Alpha Chapter initiate commented, “The leadership seminar is our annual opportunity as Gamma Alpha alumni to instill in the chapter their responsibility for excellence.  It’s a good practice to begin the year arming them with the tools and support to be successful.”  Joe gave an overview of house maintenance from his perspective.  With a unique knowledge of all house systems, Joe has offered to serve as a liaison to the active chapter in this important area.  Adam Fuller (Gamma Alpha 1701) reviewed the current financial state of the housing corporation and how our objectives and our business model are extremely unique.  Reminding the chapter that one aspect of the business is staying competitive on campus, Adam emphasized, “Your rent actually went down from last year!  That doesn’t happen in the real world!”  Adam’s involvement has been crucial to improving our financial situation.  His Q&A at this annual event has been an incredible value-add in bringing an understanding to the active chapter:  Somewhere on top of the founding principles of integrity and honor, cogs and gears are at work that operate one important side of Gamma Alpha as a business.  Alex closed out the day by bringing the focus back to the active chapter, presenting a letter for the newest Eminent Commander, Spencer Neely, to read aloud.  An excerpt:

On behalf of the Gamma Alpha Alumni Association, we express our gratitude to you and the executive officers for the remarkable start to your tenure in 2015.  The passion and commitment you, your team, and the entire chapter have displayed have given us comfort that this leadership team will certainly be “Best of Breed”. For nearly 120 years,

Sigma Nu at Georgia Tech has offered young men a reliable standard that emphasizes academic excellence, great leadership, and appropriate social development.  Inspiring young men to realize their potential will continue to be a consistent theme of the brothers of Gamma Alpha of Sigma Nu.

We know this generation of Brothers will continue to make a positive impact and will promote the tradition of “Making a difference, one Brother at a time.”