The Road We’re On
From Randy Plank, President of Theta-Xi of Kappa Sigma, Inc. (House Corporation and Alumni Group)
It’s truly amazing that I’m writing this and you’re reading it. What that means is that we’ve actually lit off quite a resurgence in the Kappa Sig alumni group. Something that I certainly did not foresee a few years ago. But, boy, it feels good and right to be involved with it, and we’re doing some very good things and making steady progress.
Our new era started in 2005, when Mark Davenport, Dave Ballinger, and Mike Darch put out the word that the chapter was in financial crisis. The undergraduate membership had dwindled to 12, the old house facilities were in disrepair, and we were struggling to collect house bills and meet operational expenses. The crisis was real – without an emergency infusion of cash and alumni guidance and support, it was likely that the chapter would cease to exist. So it’s accurate to say that our new era started with the emergency business meeting on September 17, 2005, when 54 alumni and undergrad brothers gathered at TSU to start dealing with the problems together.
Step 1 was to stabilize the house finances, operations, and collections. The alumni board was expanded and alumni / undergrad committees were set up and activated for initial tasks. Emergency triage was the focus in the fall of 2005. Stability and direction were established over the course of the 2005/06 school year.
Step 2 was mentoring the undergrad brothers to reinforce Kappa Sigma traditions of house pride, campus leadership, and community service. After 40 years of dedicated service to the chapter, Bill SanGiacomo was promoted to Advisor Emeritus and the advisor team was expanded with additional alumnus and faculty advisors who became engaged to counsel the undergrads on a regular basis. The alumni board, undergrad officers, and advisors began conducting regular conference calls at the start and end of each semester to review objectives, plans, and progress.
Step 3 was to strengthen collaboration with Tri-State on shared objectives and standards. Our alumni brothers sit on TSU’s Boards of Trustees and Governors, and we communicate and work with the university on many fronts, formally and informally. If you haven’t seen Tri-State lately, you would be impressed with the great things going on there. The campus has never looked better, and the enrollment is growing, with over 500 freshmen entering each of the last two years. Our chapter’s future and the school’s future are joined at the hip, so it is a priority for us to maintain very positive and proactive relations with Tri-State.
Step 4 is ongoing to address our chapter housing situation. Our old houses do not compare favorably with the new student housing that TSU is building, and there is pressure (with good reason) to clean up fraternities in general. When TSU helped the Phi Kaps build a new house in 2007, we knew we had to do something to compete for the best students and to differentiate our chapter house from other fraternities and student housing. Fortunately, we own the best possible site on the hill overlooking campus, the sports fields, and the golf course. So over the last two years, our building committee developed a great new house design while our financing and fundraising committee established the business model and necessary funding support, and we broke ground on June 11, 2008, a major milestone in our chapter history. The new house will be ready for occupancy at the start of the 2009 school year. More information on the new house project is provided in the adjacent press release article.
The goal of all this is to maintain Kappa Sigma’s position as the # 1 fraternity at TSU, providing a chapter brotherhood environment rich with traditions and pride, that encourages excellence in leadership, scholarship, and community service.
So if you’re reading this born-again Hilltop Breeze, then we’re succeeding in spreading the good news to more alums. Thank you for making the time and effort. I hope you will find the motivation and time to engage further in some way. It’s worth it. Please come to our next reunion on the weekend of September 26 - 28, 2008, which will coincide with TSU’s Homecoming. You’ll find it fun and rewarding to get re-acquainted with the brothers of your era, and to meet and mix with other alums and our undergrad brothers. And you can see the new house going up and get a feel for what a great chapter home it will be. Our house bonds really do last and make a difference - Kappa Sigma is a big part of what makes all of us who we are today.