The University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter of Sigma Nu has paired with chapter officials to begin their reappearance on campus after a two-year suspension.
Sigma Nu was closed in 2014 after six members were suspected of triggering fire alarms. When the Lincoln Police Department and Lincoln Fire and Rescue teams were called to the house on Jan. 19, 2014, they found dozens of fire code violations in a messy house.
Sigma Nu has been cleared to begin recolonization, a process which will bring the fraternity chapter back to campus.
The recolonization process usually takes anywhere from 12 to 15 months, but Will DeViney, the expansion and recruitment consultant with Sigma Nu Fraternity Inc., said several schools have made the transition in less time.
“Our staff are prepared to move as quickly as this group of men are ready,” DeViney said. “Our goal is to equip them with the tools and resources so they can be the very best chapter officers.”
The process of returning to campus is comprised of four objectives and segments, beginning with recruitment.
Sigma Nu added four additional staff members on campus to help with potential new member meetings, when they meet with several people one-on-one for 20 to 30 minutes each week.
“We get to know each guy personally and want to ensure they will be a great fit for our organization,” DeViney said.
The old members of Sigma Nu who were involved with the fraternity up until the suspension are suspended until graduation.
“They are still Sigma Nu brothers,” DeViney said. “We will not ostracize them, but this experience will look different than what we had two years ago.”
The second part of recolonization will be colony training. During the last 10 to 12 weeks of the semester, the staff from Sigma Nu will hold trainings which will rebuild the fraternity.
“We focus heavily on officer training, leadership development and each phase of chapter operation to build solid, long-lasting plans.” DeViney said.
The third and fourth phases will follow up with Sigma Nu staff members, and proceed with a rechartering ceremony and initiation of new members into the fraternity.
“Our staff will have a full-time staff member, Will DeViney, live in Lincoln the entire fall semester,” said Ryan Anderson, Sigma Nu alumni adviser.
DeViney will be joined by four other members at various times throughout the semester.
“The alumni have formed an Alumni Advisory Board which will provide direct help and support to every area of chapter operations moving forward,” Anderson said.
Students can expect to see the Sigma Nu house reopen in spring 2018.
When the fraternity was suspended in 2014, the housing corporation was developing a plan to renovate the house.
“The events and their timing were truly unfortunate,” DeViney said. “But now that we are officially beginning recolonization, momentum is building among alumni supporters and construction planning is actively progressing.”
Both DeViney and Anderson said the fraternity has learned over the last 10 years that Sigma Nu’s most successful chapters have active and engaged alumni advisory boards.
“Sigma Nu has a deep and rich history at UNL, and those alumni have recommitted themselves fully to this effort (of recolonization),” DeViney said.
The fraternity considers recolonizing a significant personal, financial and time investment, DeViney said.
UNL and Sigma Nu have worked closely throughout the suspension period to be transparent in giving the fraternity a clear set of expectations as they move forward.
“We are here to build a premier student organization and anything less is unacceptable to us or our alumni,” DeViney said.