A Semester Abroad With My Brothers
By: Michael Levenson

This past semester I spent four months living in Madrid with fellow SAE brothers: Scott Goryeb, Zac Bright, Samuel Rickets, Aaron Kesseli, and Rem de Rohan. The memories made throughout my time in Europe will certainly last a lifetime, and being able to experience them with five of my brothers is something I will never forget. The bonds made by living with each other in a foreign city and traveling across Europe together were unique to say the least.

In Madrid all of us lived with local families in order to really experience living in another country. This was perhaps the greatest part of my time in Spain. The family that Scott and I lived with, as well as the family that Zac lived with, have become somewhat of an SAE tradition in their own right. Brothers from the Syracuse chapter of SAE have lived with these two different families for each of the past four years. They have become accustomed to bringing in new SAE brothers every year and have told me how amazed they are at the class of all of the brothers that have stayed with them over the years.  

Our journey took us to many different places where we experienced new and exciting cultures that made us realize how different the world can be from one place to another. While every weekend trip was amazing, there was one that stood out in particular. This was a three day trip that Scott, Zac, and I took to Interlaken, Switzerland home of the legendary Swiss Alps. Skiing in fresh powder was something that all of us had always dreamed of, and making it a reality was extraordinary. One moment in particular that was truly special occurred on our last run down the mountain; we stopped about half way down, moved to the side and simply reflected on everything that we had been doing together for about an hour. Sitting on the edge of the mountain overlooking the most beautiful site I have ever seen in the massive Swiss Alps with two of my fellow brothers is something that will always stand out in my mind. The good times however did not end on the ski slopes. On our final day in Switzerland all of us went up in a plane together and went skydiving over the Alps. This was a thrilling experience to say the least, and after the parachute was pulled we got to float through the air looking at endless rows of amazing snow capped mountains.

While my semester abroad was something that will stay with me for the rest of my life one thing is for sure, it’s good to be back at Syracuse with all of my fellow brothers and living in our chapter house. I think I can speak for all of us that went abroad when I say that coming back to a place like SAE and reuniting with all of our fellow brothers is the only thing that could possibly top everything that we did last semester.

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72nd Annual John O. Moseley Leadership School
By: Eric DeWitt

On August 8th, fellow SAE brother Christopher McKelvy and I flew into Miami for the start of what would be an extremely fun, educational, and beneficial week. After a night of relaxation at the luxurious Doral Golf Resort & Spa, we along with 900 other brothers from schools all over the country made our way onto the magnificent Carnival Cruise Ship “Imagination.” Thus began the 72nd Annual John O. Moseley Leadership School, which would take us from Miami to beautiful Playa del Carmen, Mexico and back.

After settling in and meeting some of our brothers, we made our way to a meeting held by the Supreme Council. After introductions, a rousing chorus of “Come Sing”, and a few other formalities, Chris and I introduced ourselves to Eminent Supreme Archon M. Todd Buchanan, as well as other members of the Supreme Council. This was followed by our first group sessions. In these sessions, small groups of about 10-15 brothers would come together and swap stories about our chapters, brotherhood, and personal experiences. We met with these same groups throughout the course of the week, and it is safe to say that both Chris and I came away from these sessions with a slew of ideas for chapter development and more importantly a new group of friends.

Another interesting element of the Cruise were the larger seminars which we attended daily. At these seminars, about 50-75 brothers were privileged enough to listen to a keynote speaker, who would educate us on various elements that accompany any fraternal chapter. Personally, one of the more interesting seminars that I attended was a speech on University Relations by Blaine Ayers, a 2001 Kentucky Epsilon alumni and current Dean of Students at the University of Kentucky. He brought up a number of things which we could do here at Syracuse in an attempt to better our relationship with the University. I left the seminar feeling confident about the steps that we as a chapter could take to improve our University Relations.

The week that Chris and I spent at National Leadership School turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. Not only did we get to stay aboard a magnificent cruise ship, not only did we make hundreds of new friends, we returned from Leadership School with the ability and the knowledge to improve our chapter and continue New York Delta’s ascension amongst the Greek Elites here at Syracuse. Phi Alpha!

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Mentors Against Violence Program
By: Dan Goldmeier

Starting on October 5th through October 8th I was engaged in training to properly inform my peers on ways to prevent domestic violence, and inappropriate behavior that can contribute to the depression of others. This program is known as Mentor in Violence Prevention or MVP.

The MVP Model originated in 1993 with the creation of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. With initial funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the multiracial MVP Program was designed to train male college and high school student-athletes and other student leaders to use their status to speak out against rape, battering, sexual harassment, gay-bashing, and all forms of sexist abuse and violence. Syracuse University saw the success of the program among college student athletes and wanted to venture out to the rest of the school, so they began with the Greek system.

During the training sessions, groups of approximately 30 students from all diverse backgrounds discuss and are educated on inappropriate behavior, mainly related to sexual and verbal harassment. The sessions were designed to show examples of violent behavior and then discuss, in a safe environment on how these actions can be prevented. I found these sessions were essential in the learning process among students.

MVP opened my eyes, and taught me to try and prevent narcissist behavior of others.  Before going through MVP I was oblivious to how a simple action of verbally harassing someone can cause such emotional distress. I was giving statistics of violent actions committed on college campuses, which was mind boggling. According to the statistics someone I am very close with committed such actions. This information made me want to change my behavior and monitor the actions of others.   We at SAE have been involved and active with MPV for two years now and our presents in this program had been rising

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ΣAE National Convention
By: Sam Ricketts

This summer, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon National Convention was held in the beautiful capitol of our nation: Washington, D.C.  Being a summer student of Georgetown University, and thus a temporary resident of the city of Washington, I jumped at the chance to attend this convention.  I decided to participate in the 2007 National Convention to broaden my role as a brother and a member of our Beloved Order, as well as to get in touch with the Fraternity on a national level.  And furthermore, my participation in the event, as I reasoned, would allow our chapter to forego the transportation and lodging expenses that would be incurred had we elected to send a brother who was not a resident of the area.

Even before the convention began, I was delighted to run into brothers from all over the nation- from Michigan to California- while out and about in the city in the week leading up to the event.  Once the festivities began, we were hosted in the beautiful J.W. Marriot, located in the heart of Washington.  Our hosts were very accommodating, and the Brothers were given great meals to enjoy in the presence of one another.  With these meals came inspirational stories of brothers from all paths, and the strengthening of fraternal bonds with the singing of “Friends” and “Violets,” among others.

On the floor of the convention, the Brothers came together to discuss and vote on important issues that would affect every brother, the nation over.  It was a moving experience, being convened with brothers of all chapters around our country in pursuit of the betterment of all, and the assurance of the well-being of our Fraternity for many years to come.  The prevailing theme of the discussions was the future of our Order, when our sons may get to experience and take part in what has come to hold such esteem in our hearts.

When it came time to discuss such prominent issues as the raising of national dues and initiation fees, we were portioned off into smaller, discussion groups.  In these groups I encountered brothers who were fiery and enthusiastic about our order and its national administration, and who emotionally discussed the issue of brothers’ dues with regard to its repercussions for undergraduates, as well as its necessity for recruitment and the maintenance of our Fraternity.  In elections and forum discussion and debate, I participated in and witnessed brothers of all ages and chapters coming together to strengthen our Order as a whole.  In the elections the Brothers made many wise decisions, not the least of which being the election of M. Todd Buchanan as Eminent Supreme Archon.  Brother Todd is an inspiring and dedicated brother who has devoted many years to our Fraternity, and who will undoubtedly lead Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the best direction.

Overall, my experience at the National Convention in Washington was a memorable one.  It strengthened my bond with our Beloved Order, and with my brothers from all over the nation.  It was a chance for me, and my chapter, to exercise a voice in the national administration of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and also to have a blast with brothers whom I never otherwise may have had the chance to meet.

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Habitat For Humanity
By: Greg Mendez

This past semester many brothers had the opportunity to go abroad.  For many months they were far away from home indulging in the foreign culture while at the same time getting academic credit.  I unfortunately was not one of them, but I did make up for it by spending a solid two weeks on my summer volunteering in Canada.

I volunteered for an international program associated with Habitat for Humanity.  It is something that I have thought about for a while and finally decided to do.  For two weeks I lived on a farm with fourteen complete strangers.  Everyone was from somewhere in the US, except one who was from Costa Rica.  Their ages ranged from twenty-one to sixty-three.  Not knowing anyone was a little overwhelming, but it didn’t take long those feelings to go away.

Every morning we all packed into two vans and drove twenty minutes away to a small town called Owen Sound, about three hours north of Toronto.  The first day, we arrived on site to three newly poured cement foundations and about eighty local volunteers dress with steel-toe boots and hardhats to match.  It was our job to finish these three buildings as two stories, three bedroom duplexes.

I’ve never done construction before and my skills were beginner to say the least, but that’s all irrelevant.  It didn’t take long before I had a skill saw in my hand cutting wood studs to frame out the rooms.  There were retired carpenters all around the site coaching and teaching us rookies how to build a house and how to do it safe and right.  They were all so pleasant and patient.  I actually became good friends with one of them, and he ended up buying me a few of tools and a belt to put them.  It was completely unexpected and ended up being one of my greatest experience for the trip.

The duplexes went up so quick.  The first story walls, the second story walls, the windows, the bathtub, the roof, the stairs – everything came together.  At the end of my two weeks the houses weren’t completely finished but they were damn close.  The finishing touches would be added after I left during a period called the post-build.

There was a ceremony on the day before I left were they dedicated the six duplex units to the six families that had been selected.  All but one family had little children, and they were so grateful for all of our hard work.  The smiles and the laughs were priceless.  I am absolutely delighted that I got the opportunity to do something like this.  It is an incredibly fulfilling experience to know that with the power of numbers so many unfamiliar people can get together and build, not houses, but homes for six deserving families.