Winning a Gold Buchanan Cup as a chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon is a coveted honor. It’s a feeling unlike anything else and you are surrounded by your brothers who are experiencing and feeling the same things, albeit each with their own unique perspectives. I might be biased, but I’m pretty sure our 14 brothers in attendance at Conclave cheered the loudest out of all the awarded chapters once our name was announced for our sixth consecutive Buchanan Cup and our second Gold cup since rechartering. While chapters are awarded their Buchanan Cups at Conclave, you have to understand that Conclave isn’t where Buchanan Cups are won. Buc Cups are won years in advance of Conclaves – two years if you are winning a consecutive Buc Cup and possibly longer for a first. That’s a long time in terms of a fraternity. A lot can happen, a lot of people are involved, and a lot of work goes into making the chapter the best it can be. It’s the effort that goes into winning a Buc Cup that makes the feeling of winning one so much sweeter.
It’s an unwritten tradition at NJA that the brothers writing the chapter’s Buc Cup application stay up through all hours of the night proofreading and finalizing the final draft. I had the luck of being one of those brothers this past March before the application was due. We stayed awake until 3am, listening to music, talking, reading over our application and previous examples, and putting two years worth of work into a limited number of words. It’s an incredibly difficult task, especially since most of the accomplishments we write about were done by brothers who had previously graduated. As many know, Conclave only happens every other year. We combed through as many documents and notes as we could find, racked our brains to remember all of the major events and accolades, and tried to explain to the computer screen exactly why NJA deserves a Buc Cup.
It’s really easy to see the effort and the work that our brothers put towards what they do when you are a member of our chapter. It’s really easy to see the way all of these things come together to make this SigEp chapter what it is and why it is deserving of a Buc Cup. It’s really hard to put all of that into words. It’s hard to fill an application with experiences like the late nights and long talks, the laughs and the tears, the highs and the lows. We have to explain through words and pages just how special our chapter and each brother who is a part of it is.
Now, I don’t mean to disapprove of the method for selection; I don’t know of a better way to do it and it seems to get the best results. I only wish to point out that a Buchanan Cup is not just the hardware or the application or even the announcement of our chapter in front of 1,000 people. No. A Buchanan Cup simply a symbol for hard work, great achievements, and continuous success and improvement.
I sit here now, fresh off the heels of our shiny new Gold Buchanan Cup sitting in our house, writing about my view of our journey to this point. Where we’ve been, and where our chapter is going. When I see the Buc Cup, I see the work that has been done. But I also see the work that has to continue to be done. Because the only thing that looks better than six Buchanan Cups on the wall…is seven Buchanan Cups.
Proud to be.