Who Cares Out There?
From time to time, a feeling is expressed by house corporations that the fraternity doesn’t care about chapter housing. As a matter of fact, safe and adequate housing is one of Sigma Chi’s highest priorities and will receive even more attention during Bob Jones’ Grand Consulship. The Mission Statement of the Grand Trustees is “...assist our house corporations in the acquisition, construction, renovation and maintenance of chapter houses that are appropriate residences for our brothers and worthy of the reputation of Sigma Chi”. Key areas of expertise include:
Fundraising. Providing safe and adequate housing costs money. Often, rent revenues are inadequate to pay for maintenance and improvements so house corporations must look to other fund raising methods. Fortunately, the Grand Trustees have developed several effective fund raising strategies that range from selfhelp to hiring a professional depending on the amount and reason for the need.
Communication. Keeping in contact with alumni can be a challenge. Some house corporations have either an inaccurate or incomplete mailing list, if they have one at all. While the university may be some help, level of cooperation in providing the information is not consistent because the university may view the fraternity as fund raising competition. The General Fraternity has a database that can be helpful for getting started but having a complete and accurate list is largely up the chapter. It takes time, effort and persistence. That said, having a complete mailing list is absolutely essential to garnering volunteers and funds. An email list is ideal since it drastically reduces communication costs.
Renovation Planning. Your house corporation may be considering renovating or replacing an existing facility. Fortunately, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. The Grand Trustees have considerable combined experience in design, financing, construction, scheduling and fund raising. Also, other chapters have successfully executed such plans and can be very helpful in guiding a house corporation which is entering unchartered waters.
Education. In 2005, the Grand Trustees launched its first House Corporation Officer Training Seminar (HCOTS). HCOTS is a weekend training session held at a central location where house corporation members are provided training in key aspects of a house corporation management. The program is provided at no charge to attendees and generously underwritten by the Risk Management Foundation. It has received rave reviews from attendees and the plan is to host an annual HCOTS to expand the impact of this valuable resource.
Getting & Staying Legal. House corporations are designed to be legal entities (thus the “corporation” part of the title). As legal entities, being incorporated in your state is absolutely necessary. Being incorporated provides certain legal protection for house corporation members. Getting incorporated is usually inexpensive and requires little more than a form and a filing fee. An annual renewal fee must be paid to the state to keep the corporation in force. Each house corporation should have a set of Bylaws which describes its scope of authority and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which describe how the corporation operates. The Grand Trustees have developed a sample set of Bylaws which can be adapted for use. Before enacting Bylaws of any kind, they should be reviewed by a knowledgeable attorney in your state.
The Sig House. The Grand Trustees publish a quarterly newsletter to educate, stimulate and encourage house corporations. The Sig House has wisdom of the ages and resources like legal, fund raising, how to attract volunteers, obtaining financing, risk management and other areas that every house corporation needs to know about to be successful. If you are not receiving this newsletter, email Editor Rich Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on the distribution list.
A Personal Resource. Each Grand Trustee is assigned several provinces to oversee. (See Page One of The Sig House for a list of Board of Grand Trustees by name and province assignment. Both Grand Trustee and assigned provinces can change from time to time so always check the latest newsletter for the current information. ) Your Grand Trustee is there to provide the resources you need.
Who cares? The Grand Trustees do. For proof of that, contact your assigned Grand Trustee and watch him perform.