Giving back to the community is an important idea here at SigEp NJA. But, we do it so often that it can be difficult to find new, creative ways to give back. After weeks of talking with Brothers about what I could do to give back, I had the idea to serve the community who always serves us. Our faculty. They are the ones who work every single day to educate us, help us realize our potential, and make us better people. Typically, we don’t do much more than say, “thanks for a great class!” to them at the end of the semester. This seemed so ill fitting for them having just spent the past few months making sure we get the best education possible. And we rarely get the opportunity to know what our professors are like outside of the classroom. This event would open the door to help us build relationships with the people who are important to us and say thank you to them for their years of service to us and our school.
After seeking out advice from professors, mentors, and Brothers I got to work organizing the Faculty Appreciation Dinner. Over the next month, I got to learn how to plan an event and all the little details that make an event like this successful. During this entire process the most satisfying thing I experienced was the reaction of faculty when they got their invitations from myself and other Brothers who invited them. They were all clearly very surprised to receive an invitation since there had never been an event like this before on campus. We saw faculty members smiling from ear to ear, eager to attend!
After many weeks and sleepless nights of planning and preparation we were ready to go. The invitations were handed out, the catering was ordered, and the extension looked great! All we had to do was wait for the faculty to show up. As the faculty slowly started to filter into our house, they mingled with brothers, some of whom they had gotten to know well over the years and others that they were just meeting for the first time. We were able to get to know the professors outside of the classroom in a way like never before. They were interested to learn more about us just as much as we were interested to learn more about them. The opportunity for them to really learn more came when our chapter president, Dan Raleigh, and I gave them a presentation about our values and who we are as a brotherhood. At the end of the presentation, our faculty asked why we had chosen to host this event. And the answer was simple: we just wanted to say thank you! While we only planned for faculty to stay for a few hours many stayed longer because they were having such a good time.
I couldn’t have done this without the help and support of my brothers who supported and guided me throughout the process. From the ones who initially helped me develop the idea to those who helped me with the last minute details, I couldn’t be more grateful. And while I am graduating at the end of this year, I sincerely hope that this event will live on for many years to come.