Sacred Heart University has further expanded their fraternity and sorority life program with the addition of the Sigma Chi fraternity this fall. Founded in 1855 at the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Sigma Chi has become the sixth fraternity at SHU.
Junior Jack Kirkwood will serve on the Executive Board as the chapter’s President.
“Starting this chapter has always been a thought since my friend group is already so large,” said Kirkwood. “Everyone was on board, so I brought the idea to both the Sigma Chi headquarters and Sacred Heart’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) to see how to go about it and now here we are.”
The chapter has 18 founding members so far and they will be participating in their first recruitment this semester. Everyone who joins between fall 2022 and the official chapter installment on campus will be considered a founding member since they will be part of the first pledge class to be initiated at SHU.
“Being a part of this has given me a lot of real-world experience because I have been able to start building something from the ground up,” said Kirkwood.
There are 235 active undergraduate Sigma Chi chapters in the United States and Canada. There are now five in Connecticut alone with the addition of SHU, including the University of Connecticut, Western Connecticut State University, University of New Haven and Yale University.
“For this year and going forward, we want to become a group that represents both Sigma Chi and SHU to the best of our ability,” said Kirkwood. “We want to be able to make a positive difference in our community while still evolving as individuals.”
Senior Gage Derrenbacher, the IFC Vice President of Recruitment, shared the council’s role with starting this new chapter.
“We formed an Expansion Committee that had representation from the five chapters at the time,” said Derrenbacher. “We all collectively decided that Sigma Chi’s values aligned with the IFC, other chapters and the university as a whole.”
Junior Jack Farrow will also be serving on the Executive Board as the chapter’s Vice President.
“Our biggest goal for this chapter is to win the J. Dwight Peterson Significant Chapter Award,” said Farrow. “This is the highest honor in the fraternity, and it recognizes the best chapters for the year nationwide.”
Sigma Chi’s mission is to shape leaders committed to the improvement of character, campus, and community. The elements of friendship, justice and learning were the basic principles the founders used as the foundation of the organization.
“It is super exciting being a founding member of Sigma Chi at SHU, but it is also going to come with a lot of responsibility,” said Farrow. “I know that all of the other founding members are up to the challenge and can’t wait for this process to begin.”
The badge of Sigma Chi is a white cross to symbolize the Christian faith of the founders. This is similar to the white cross that the Sacred Heart crest has in its shield to celebrate their Catholic intellectual traditions.
“We researched many different chapters, but Sigma Chi’s values and philanthropy definitely stood out to us, which is why we ultimately decided to pursue them,” said Farrow.
According to the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute, Sigma Chi has partnered with the Huntsman Cancer Foundation for their philanthropy since 2005. In June 2019, they pledged $20 million to women’s cancer research and treatment at the institute.
“I am most looking forward to watching this chapter grow during its time on campus,” said Farrow. “I’m excited to come back to SHU after I graduate to see the progression it has made and hopefully all the success it has had.”
Sigma Chi will be hosting a Court Night at the Bobby Valentine Health and Recreation Center basketball courts. The brotherhood event will take place on Monday, Sept. 19, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. They will also post updates on their Instagram @sigmachishu.