The New Executive Board of Sigma Nu Mu Iota

The New Executive Board of Sigma Nu Mu Iota!

From left to right:

Eminent Commander – Michael O’Brien MI# 271
Lieutenant Commander – Mason Brooks MI# 267
Treasurer – Dylan Mcdonald MI # 268
Recorder – Justin Schmidt MI # 275
Eminent Marshall – Rocco Vivolo MI # 280
Chaplain – Gerald Gravina MI # 276

The Idea of “Ritual” #4 – Newly Initiated Brother

By:  Zachary “Wolf” Stough | MI #249 | Beta Tau Candidate Class

Rituals are important to many organizations because of how they exemplify the ideals of that organization. Our rituals are sacred and everything means something. As a newly initiated brother, I have had the chance to see some of the ritual ceremonies depicted twice. Once as a candidate, and once as an active brother. Upon hearing the rituals a second time, I have been able to notice the small hidden points that outline what it means to be a brother and Knight in Sigma Nu.

To a non-Sigma Nu, our ritual would have little importance. To me, our ritual is very important. The concepts brought forth in the ritual embrace the ideals of love, truth and honor, the founding principles of Sigma Nu. Our ritual is rich with these ideals and embodies the idea of what it means to be a Knight in the Legion of Honor.

The Idea of “Ritual” #3 – Candidate

By: Thomas Hoover | Spring 2015 | Beta Upsilon Candidate Class

Though my experience with Sigma Nu has been short thus far, the connection I’ve made with it has been life changing. When I heard that it was National Ritual Celebration Week I began to ruminate about my experience with rituals. Rituals are defined simply as repetitious acts performed by a group. We experience rituals everyday of our lives. For instance, taking the bus to work everyday or even brushing one’s teeth are rituals, simply repetitive actions. So if these monotonous tasks can be considered rituals what makes Sigma Nu’s ritual special?

Purpose. Without purpose ritual means nothing. There I was in a room surrounded my great men who had all gone through the same candidency ritual, each one of them took the same oaths as my fellow candidates and I. This oath is the same oath that gentlemen from the 1800’s took, affirming their allegiances to the principles of Love, Honor, and Truth. This is the purpose of ritual. It is repetitive because it proclaims concepts worth repeating. Love, Honor, and Truth have survived for generations and generations. I am sincerely honored to have been chosen to take part in these acts which have bound members together forever.

The Idea of “Ritual” #2 – Alumni Brother

By: Christopher “Coloring Book” Winn | MI #211 | Beta Kappa Candidate Class

To me, ritual is so much more than something that you recite a few times each semester. It is a feeling, a process, and something that you can experience over and over again. I still look back on my candidate ceremony when I was a first year student having no idea the impact that Sigma Nu would have on the rest of my life. Those ideals and beliefs became the guiding principles of my life, not because I wanted to adapt to the belief system of Sigma Nu, but because those beliefs had always been a part of me.

The ritual served as the catalyst for me to turn beliefs into action. Being removed from college for a few years now, I still get goosebumps when recite the ritual or visit for any ceremonies. In my opinion, if you don’t get goosebumps, you have done it wrong.This feeling is meant to remind us of a greater purpose and to challenge us to be forever developing with the guiding principles of love, honor, and truth in mind.

The Idea of “Ritual” #1 – Active Brother

By: Richard “Rugrat” Hoover | MI #235 | Beta Pi Candidate Class

The idea of a ritual is an interesting concept. It’s something so secretive, yet something we all know and live in our daily lives as moral human beings. People look to the ritual from either two sides – those who know, and those who don’t know.           

In this post, I, as an active brother and past chaplain of Sigma Nu Fraternity, hope to discuss those two sides, as well as provide my own insight as to what ritual has done for me personally, in my life.

Those who know

Those who know and understand the ritual are the select few who were chosen by their organizations to learn the true values of the organization. However, those who understand have a great duty and that is to live their values as per the ritual. This sounds like a complex task, however, in reality it is quite simple.

One of the things I’m always telling my new members is that “The ritual is nothing super secret that will give you great power when you learn it. You are already a man of great morals and values – that’s why you’re here. The ritual is just another way for you to live the values you already have, but now identify them in a new way that is the same for all your brothers. It’s a new way of looking at yourself, and the world around you.” To live the ritual, simply keep living as any good person would – that is what your ritual asks of you. The interesting thing is that it gives you new insights, thoughts, and ideas to continue living an ethically straight lifestyle. Many times, the ritual will use symbolism and allegory to explain it’s concepts and values – these are here to help you remember the timeless lessons and values that have survived for years on end.

Why is it secret? The ritual is not secret because there is anything bad in it. Just as when a family member discloses a secret to you, you are to keep that secret. As brothers disclose the ritual to you, you are to keep it as a brother. We can look at this from the common saying, “Be your brother’s keeper [of the ritual]”. 

The best way to learn and love your ritual, I find, is to teach it. Work with your new members to understand what was asked of them the night of their initiation. Lack of knowledge of the ritual comes from a lack of education, so teach, teach, teach, and learn! Ther more you look over the ritual and teach it to others, the more you will find in it. Ask people what certain lines mean to them – there is no right or wrong answer – the ritual is a personal experience. 

The ritual is personal because it is yours to share with your brothers or sisters. That is what brotherhood/sisterhood is. It is something for you to reflect on, live by, and teach to your members. It is personal because only few know it, and you probably have it committed to memory. It is an experience because it is yours for the taking, and living and experiencing. You will truly experience it when you ask yourself “have I lived by my values” after undergoing a challenging situation. To this day, I still hear my big brother in my head saying, “little, was that honorable?”

Those who do not know

To those who don’t know they see the ritual as silly, secretive, and funny. They have preconcieved notions of the rites and ceremonies we go through and it is our job to prove them wrong. The way we can change their mind is to live the ritual in our daily lives. Take the lessons, and show them by carrying yourself accordingly as your obligation instructs.

To those who don’t know – I challenge you to ask a Greek member about their ritual. While they cannot disclose all information to you, watch as they fade into memories of their ceremonies and share with you the positive experiences of something so intangible, yet powerful.

My ritual experience

My ritual has redefined the way I look at and approach everyday situations. I now look through the eyes of a Knight, seeing everything as a test of the Honor principle and my Knightly vows. I knew nothing of the rites and ceremonies before entering greek life, but have been so positively influenced by them. I now have a new code of ethics in which I can define myself by and is a constant reminder to live by the obligation I took for my organization. My ritual has laid out direct plans for improving and building myself, and gives all the tools to do so. The ritual brings people thirsting for knowledge, acceptance, and improvement out of the darkness and into the light of truth, knowledge, and growth.

My positive experience with the ritual of Sigma Nu has also brought me to  to the gate of Freemasonry, who with their own ritual have continued to build me into a better man, and give me more knowledge and principles to govern my daily life. As all rituals are similar and distinctly unique to their own organzations, they all preach morality and kindness in a very special way that we are to take into our hearts and mind and commit to our daily lives. The symbols remind us, the stories move us, and the lessons are lived by us.

I invite you to reflect upon your own ritual and ask what has it done for you, what can you do for it, and are you living as it acts? The ritual evolves as you do and is only as good as you make it to be – make it the best – make it your life.

Congrats to the Beta Upsilon Candidate Class!

The Mu Iota chapter is proud to welcome 8 new candidates as members of the Beta Upsilon Spring 2015 candidate class. The candidate class consists of:

  • Julian Berrios
  • Tyler Benson
  • Jake Smith
  • Thomas Hoover
  • Kevin Bjarnason
  • Alex Demetro
  • Jared Cormier
  • Ian Loveall

Love To Believe In The Life Of Love

Honor To Walk In The Way Of Honor

Truth To Serve In The Light Of Truth