Members of the Preparation for Brotherhood committee and Sigma Chi International Fraternity Headquarters staff spent the 2015 to 2016 academic year conducting the Alpha and Beta tests of the Preparation for Brotherhood pledging program. Now, they are working to integrate the feedback they received from participating undergraduates to improve the program prior to its planned rollout to the entire Fraternity this fall.


“One of the biggest concerns voiced by undergraduates was what they perceived as the elimination of I-week,” says Jim Cogdal, BRADLEY 2003, senior director of membership development at International Fraternity Headquarters. “Some thought that we got rid of it altogether, including the ceremonies of initiation. Nothing could be further from the truth.”


To help assuage that worry, the committee has included into the Preparation for Brotherhood program a period in the lead-up to initiation called the Ritual Bridge.


Beginning on the Wednesday prior to initiation, the Ritual Bridge will include experiential activities involving a period of individual reflection, as well as an activity that prepares the pledge for entrance into the chapter's brotherhood. In addition, the Ritual Bridge will also include a final pledge class candle pass and a commencement dinner at which a pledge will reaffirm his desire to join the Fraternity, followed by the Magister’s final speech to the pledge class prior to the start of the Ritualistic ceremonies.


Other changes include a committee review process for retaining activities traditional to local chapters, as well as Connections, a program that facilitates conversations between pledges and brothers. Connections is meant to replace the system that many chapters employ in which pledges obtain the signature of a brother in their copy of The Norman Shield after conducting an in-person interview.


For more information about the Preparation for Brotherhood program, contact Cogdal via email or phone at (847) 869-3655, ext. 253.