The chapter was on the brink of collapse in February. Years of turmoil have haunted Sigma Rho for nearly a decade. Now we have an opportunity to transform Sigma Rho into a fiercely strong stable fraternity.
There’s much to be excited about!
A sleek new modern building with impressive amenities
A strong housing board committed to long-term success
Many alumni reconnecting following the all-alumni reunion last September
A determined alumni base poised to forcefully end the instability of the last decade
What we have:
Exciting plans that are certain to become reality
Strong players involved
Momentum – following the 2018 reunion and general zeal resulting from nearly losing Sigma Rho
What we need:
YOU: Involved, passionate alumni
Much has been happening behind the scenes to get to this point. Details could not be shared until a deal was finalized, as you can understand. We’re fleshing out plans on a design level now that we know next steps are certain. Design sketches of the new building will be sent out soon, for example.
There’s an incredible opportunity here, not only to create something extraordinary, but also to capitalize on this massive turning point to change the trajectory of Sigma Rho. We think you’re going to want to get involved once you get a better understanding of what’s happening. The events unfolding are exhilarating!
How We Got Where We Are Today
It’s important to start this process by recognizing how we got to where we are today, address misconceptions & misunderstandings, and get everyone on the same page as best we can.
As we unpack this, we kindly ask you withhold judgment of others and discard predispositions. It’s easy to point fingers, question people’s intentions, and/or judge other’s behavior. The Closures The two closures (2009 & 2018) dealt serious blows to the chapter, needless to say. Along with this, owning & maintaining a large historic house is very expensive. The 2018 chapter closure was nearly the final nail in Sigma Rho’s coffin – primarily due to financial burdens.
Because of this, some have been quick to characterize the actives who were apart of the house during the respective closures as dubious & irresponsible. The two of us writing this correspondence don’t have insight into the 2009 closure, however, the 2018 closure appears to have inconsistencies after speaking to all involved. Because of this, we strongly urge everyone to withhold the natural instinct to cast blame. The hard reality is the closure happened, and we are now where we are today. It’s important to absolve those involved – from the Beta actives on campus during that time to the General Fraternity – as it’s time to focus on re-building Sigma Rho.
General Fraternity Some have questioned the General Fraternity’s intentions throughout this process. It’s truly unfortunate Sigma Rho was closed in 2018. Both sides feel strongly in their respective positions. Again, for the purposes of re-building Sigma Rho, we need to accept realities as they are now.
With that, the General Fraternity has been working with us in good faith ever since the discussions transitioned to thwarting permanent closure of Sigma Rho. We anticipate this will continue moving forward and have every intention to foster a strong relationship with the national office. Replacing Historic House with New Modern Building The Sigma Rho Housing Association approached Champaign-based real estate developers (Royal Properties) in 2013 as they were deeply troubled by the chapter’s bleak financial trajectory. Revenues pitted against expenses appeared untenable over time. Consequently, they sought the expertise of fellow Sigma Rho alums who were seasoned developers.
Many options were explored – from salvaging the current house to tearing it down and building a new structure. Ultimately, there was complete lack of funds and low alumni support.
In fact, the decision to tear down the house felt a bit forced. The only path to avoiding this regrettable outcome was to fundraise serious dollars among all of us alumni – of which all previous efforts had failed. The Housing Association even contracted a firm to assess the fundraising potential among our alumni, and the results were dismal. They concluded there was low potential to raise funds anywhere near what was needed. It needs to be said clearly that our collective lack of involvement played a significant role in the inability to save the historic house we loved.
It was under these dire circumstances that a radically new idea was born: building a new structure that will house Betas and non-Betas alike – whereby the rent revenue from non-Betas will go directly back to the Chapter. In other words, there’s a built-in revenue model that will sustain Sigma Rho’s future in perpetuity. It’s important to reiterate that all rent revenue will go back to the Chapter – through the oversight process of the housing association – and not any third party. The guys at Royal were incredibly innovative in conceptualizing alternatives for Sigma Rho following the inevitable demise of our beloved house.
More info will be coming soon, including: (1) details about the new building, (2) the list of Housing Board members, (3) as well as financial documentation illustrating this innovative & unprecedented approach. This is truly exciting! Please take time to get caught up on what’s happening and consider getting involved. Feel free to ask questions or share thoughts by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.