Balanced Man Program
It's no secret that SigEp is here to make men better men – Balanced Men. So what exactly do we mean? We believe that shared experiences and continual growth of our minds and bodies helps us live a full life.
The Balanced Man Program will guide you through the changing needs you will have in college as you grow and mature as a leader. Each Challenge is self-paced and self-determined and emphasizes three specific areas in your life: Self, Chapter, Community. These areas are all important in developing your leadership and interpersonal skills.
SigEp is there to help you along the way and provide opportunities and new experiences on your quest as a Balanced Man. As you develop as an individual within your SigEp chapter, you are helping to build a stronger chapter with diverse experiences. You are encouraging others to get out there and try new things – to stretch their minds and bodies to new heights.
Ultimately, the goal of The Balanced Man Program is to help you develop the skills, gain the experience, and meet the people that will help push you one step ahead - things you'll be able to use for the rest of your life.
The Balanced Man Program will help you learn more about yourself, about your Fraternity, and about your campus and community. You will also learn innovative ways to impact each of these areas within your life to fully develop your potential. Through a re-dedication to the ideals of brotherhood and personal responsibility, The Balanced Man Program is one of the best ways for you to make the most of your time in college and beyond.
How will you live up to the expectations set before you? How will you become a Balanced Man?
In 1991 Sigma Phi Epsilon developed a four year, continuous development 'Balanced Man' program, which abolished pledging altogether, instituted year-round recruitment, encourages lifestyles based on the three cardinal principles, and includes a number of tasks geared towards creating diverse experiences that promote the ideals of "a sound mind and a sound body". Colorado Gamma implemented this innovative member development program in 2000.
SigEp headquarters credits the Balanced Man Program as the driving force behind the continued growth and success of the fraternity. Some of these accomplishments include SigEp's 90% undergraduate retention rate, a major improvement in the national average SigEp GPA (3.04, Fall 2007), and SigEp's status as the nation's largest fraternity by undergraduate membership.
The Balanced Man Program consists of four challenges labeled Sigma, Phi, Epsilon, and Brother Mentor. Each challenge contains required tasks that progressively develop a member's self, chapter, and community.
A new SigEp brother is welcomed with the introductory phase of the program, the Sigma Challenge, and must complete a program based on self-discovery, chapter activities, and community service. After completing the Sigma Challenge he enters the Phi Challenge.
This challenge is centered on building balance. Here, more advanced tasks await him that include becoming a member of other on-campus organizations and taking a leadership role in the chapter.
The third challenge in the Balanced Man Program is the Epsilon Challenge, centered on being an effective campus and community leader; at this level the brother has a full understanding of the Fraternity, the brother is also expected to hold an executive or chairman position in both the Chapter, and at least one outside organization.
This is an additional level introduced with the Balanced Man program. Brother Mentor signifies a brother's commitment to his chapter by completing all three levels of the Balanced Man and by going beyond and completing the challenges set forth by the Brother Mentor program. These include a very large community service requirement and tasks that better the chapter as a whole.
All challenges in the Balanced Man program are self-paced.
Balanced Man Program Questions
Sigma Phi Epsilon supports a national member development program called the Balanced Man Program (BMP). This program was designed in the late eighties by the leaders of SigEp in order to eliminate the many problems that had developed out of the traditional pledge system. Although SigEp has not forced the BMP on individual chapters, many chapters have adopted the program because of its progressive and positive thinking. Today over 80% of all SigEp chapters are Balanced Man chapters. The following is a list of common questions concerning the Balanced Man Project.
What is the main difference between the BMP and a pledge system?
First of all, lets clear some things up. A pledge system does not always equal a hazing fraternity, however it does promote hazing activities for a number of reasons. First, a pledge chapter is a two-tier system where there are two groups, pledges and brothers. This is not true with a BMP chapter where there are multiple levels of development, and The only separation is the member's knowledge of the ritual and their progress on their individual journey of brotherhood. A person becomes a brother when they accept the invitation of membership, not after a certain time period and a one time initiation process. A new member in a BMP chapter has all the rights and privileges that any other member in the chapter has.
Does such a strong emphasis on the individual journey of each member take away from the unity of the entire group?
This is a common misunderstanding and an argument commonly heard among pledging fraternities. They believe that pledging develops pledge class unity. Although this maybe true, the idea of pledge class unity can only take away from the brotherhood of the entire chapter. The BMP fosters unity among all his brothers, not just among individual pledge classes.
How does this journey of brotherhood differ from a pledge type initiation?
The BMP is based on a lifetime journey of brotherhood that continues even after graduation. There are five stages of brotherhood; the last of which can only be achieved after graduation. Thus, the SigEp man continually has a goal to strive for; a new level of excellence to reach. In a pledge system, new members are put through a pledge program where they are taught all the knowledge necessary to be put through initiation. This leaves the member of a pledge system with nothing more to achieve and the development of the man sometimes comes to a halt.
If there are no pledge activities, how does the chapter determine when a member is ready to go through the next rite of passage?
Unlike the pledge system, there are no mandatory house cleanings, scavenger hunts, or hell weeks. The BMP has set goals for each rite of passage that must be achieved before continuing to the next challenge. These include milestones such as community service, GPA requirements, campus and chapter activities, progress in sound mind/sound body discipline, and even achieving the personal goals that each member sets with his mentor. Passage into the next challenge is determined solely by the achievement of these goals and not by the vote of the "active" chapter.
Isn't the Balanced Man Program just a modified pledge system?
Absolutely not! New members receive all the rights and privileges of any other member. Furthermore, new members do not have to wait to become involved in the operation of the fraternity. Every new man is quickly given some sort of responsibility, and is free to move up the ranks of leadership. Pledge type activities such as house cleaning, yard work, etc. fall on the entire chapter, not just the new members.
Every brother in the BMP chapter has the responsibility to look out after each brother and promote brotherly love among the chapter. The BMP not only helps out new brothers but continues to encourage older brothers and alumni.
In the words of our Founding Fathers ...
"The purpose. . . . shall be to create and encourage the perpetuation and friendship among men; to develop, strengthen and maintain a high moral character among its members; to inculcate those high moral principles which are essential in the proper discharge of the duties which naturally devolve upon an individual as a member of society; to promote the formation of such friendships as will result in the highest degree of happiness of its members; to induce and encourage work along scholastic, athletic and social lines, and to create and foster such sentiments and encourage the performance of such deeds conducive to the upbuilding of a pure and noble manhood; to impress upon its members the true significance of fraternal relationship; and to aid and sustain as far as possible the government and the discipline of the institution at which its chapters are located."
- Sigma Phi Epsilon Founding Fathers, October 20, 1902