Department: Chapter Alumnus Spotlight
This is a tale of two alumni associations. At first glance, they may appear to share one brain because they rally behind the same chapter, Georgia Sigma. Yet they each focus on different facets of how they help the men at Valdosta State University. In this edition of the Chapter Alumnus profiles, we explore the Valdosta and Georgia Sigma Alumni Associations.
It’s the perfect example of the difference between a chapter and an area association. Yet the groups have strong traditions that center on the same theme: to make the experience for collegiate and alumni members in Valdosta a beneficial, lifelong one.
The Valdosta Alumni Association, which consists of alumni from various chapters who live in the Valdosta area, serves a strong regional role. It provides brothers an opportunity to enjoy continuing benefits of brotherhood in their adult lives. On the other hand, the Georgia Sigma Alumni Association works more directly with the chapter, its members serving as mentors to aid the college men in being successful and making the transition to alumni life.
Georgia Sigma’s Alumni Association formed a little more than a decade ago out of the need for alumni to assist the chapter. At the time, the students were in disarray, lost their physical house and accumulated a substantial amount of debt. But, determined to save their alma mater, several alumni stepped forward to get the remaining men into a new house. “Those few guys who were still involved in the chapter would not be here today, I’m afraid, if it hadn’t been for the alumni who stepped forward,” says Danny Davis (Valdosta State ’79), who’s served as head of the chapter alumni association since it first started.
“I was a die-hard ΣAE and still am,” he says. “I hated to see the Fraternity fail, and the call for help came at a time in my life when I could give time toward the cause.” Davis always has recalled what his Pledge Trainer, Fred Smith, told him: “You only get out of something what you put into it.” His words, Davis says, served as a driving force and motivator to turn the chapter around.
Alumni who stepped forward ended up saving the chapter from closing its doors. That success, in turn, created an engaged group of alumni with a strong spirit. In the years following the comeback, the Georgia Sigma Alumni Association operates in other capacities as well. Members offer assistance to the chapter, especially during times like recruitment and homecoming. And the association organizes annual Founders Day events.
“It’s a way to keep the friendship strong and the bonds in action ever since I graduated,” Davis says. “The Fraternity experience was a huge part of my learning, and had it not been for ΣAE, I might not have made it through college.”