Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Nationally Founded: March 9,1856 Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Founded at UI: November 1,1919
Flower: Violet
Colors: Royal Purple and Old Gold
Motto: The True Gentleman
Number of chapters nationally: 208
National headquarters location: Evanston, IL

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Brotherhood Activities:
Brotherhood for the 270,000 members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon is based on almost 150 years of successful tradition to promote the highest standards of life long friendship, personal achievement, community service and leadership. The brotherhood activities of our University of Idaho chapter are intended to:

  • Cultivate high moral standards and provide excellent examples of character to improve the intellect, citizenship and leadership of our members,
  • Develop in our members the skills to facilitate making and growing deep meaningful lifelong friendships, 
  • Surround each brother with lifelong friends who support and encourage one another in all honorable ambitions through good and bad times,
  • Provide members with a physical and organizational environment that is conductive to the pursuit of academic excellence and creates a successful framework for lifelong personal growth,
  • Solicit the advice and guidance of alumni brothers and other advisors to learn from their experience to avoid problems and achieve maximum potential,
  • Approach diversity and individual differences in personal relationships through the integrity and virtues advanced by our fraternity’s creed, The True Gentleman.
Brotherhood for Idaho Alpha’s 1700 active and alumni chapter members is a lifetime event. Last year we all signed a birthday card for a 100 year old Idaho Alpha brother sending him our congratulations for a rich and full life. He in turn told us about his experiences on the Moscow campus before electric blankets and Lindberg’s flight across the Atlantic and invited us to celebrate his next birthday with him in California. Our brotherhood activities also extend to alumni who return year after year for Homecoming, football weekends, the annual SAE golf tournament and other chapter activities. Over 500 of our active and alumni brothers stay in touch through weekly communication on our internet site hosted by the University of Idaho. During the past year we all have been treated with interesting and humorous e-mails with chapter pictures from the founding of our chapter in 1917 chapter life in 1920s, 1930s and 1960s.

Many of our brotherhood activities take place in our 72 year old chapter house with its close to an acre lot at the entrance to the university. Active members then contributed to its construction during the Great Depression by cashing in life insurance policies and panning for gold. Our chapter house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Our current generation honors the memory and accomplishments of brothers before us by singing the same traditional fraternity songs they enjoyed and by memorizing The True Gentlemen creed. We are excited that our alumni brothers are halfway though raising $1.5 million to update and expand our chapter house so that Idaho Alpha will continue to prosper for the next 50 years and beyond.

Many of our brotherhood activities are centered on each year’s pledge class as this is where our newest members will create their first lifelong friends at the University of Idaho. Our pledge classes bond by sleeping on the same sleeping porch and taking local trips together. Soon after rush each new pledge receives an upper classman "big brother" to act as his mentor and coach. This big brother soon becomes another life long friend. All pledges at the end of their first year look forward to the future day when they can be a big brother and help a new SAE.

Brotherhood activities also revolve around dances, inter-mural athletics, classes, community service projects and campus politics. Dinners together with our songs are also experiences that we enjoy as fraternity brothers. Our 11 man local alumni advisor board, chapter advisor and parents club add an additional special dimension to our fraternity experience. Although we operate the chapter alumni help us avoid mistakes, provide advice on important chapter matters and sponsor off site leadership retreats.

We truly are a brotherhood of friends whose activities extend for a lifetime.

Academic/Scholarship Activities:
Based on decades of proven results, SAE at the University of Idaho is a good academic investment. Our alumni are accomplished men in business, education, politics and the arts. Notable SAEs include presidents, senators, judges, astronauts, architects, admirals and generals. Our alumni include leading CPAs, MDs, lawyers, management consultants and winning coaches. It is OK too if a SAE wants to follow his own different path; recently one of our alumni proudly stated that he was the only tugboat captain on Lake Coeur d’Alene with a MBA.

We are pleased that Idaho Alpha alumni include the first Idaho varsity athletic to participate on the USA Olympic team, a chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission, the first Medal of Honor winner from the University of Idaho and a current justice on the Idaho State Supreme Court. We believe it is important to prepare well-rounded men who will become responsible citizens, excellent husbands and fine fathers. One of our best mottos is "What we are to be we are now becoming".

Scholastic achievement is important to both our active and alumni members. A member’s seniority or "pin number" in the house is based on his GPA – which means for example, grades determine priority in study room assignments each semester. The remodeled chapter house is designed to enhance academics with a library, complete internet wiring and mini apartments for those who have low "pin number" (good grades). Alumni members expect academic achievement from chapter members and provide a natural network for high achievers with internships and jobs after graduation.

Our study table hours are four or more days a week depending on need. At the end of each semester the chapter holds an academic dinner to recognize GPA achievement of our members. Our alumni provide $5,000 in annual scholarships that are based heavily on academic achievement. National scholarships and one-time low interest loans up to $5,000 are also available through the SAE Foundation if the member has at least a 3.0 gpa. Beginning in Fall semester 2005 a chapter academic coach from University of Idaho faculty will provide individual counseling to enhance member learning skills and personal results. Good grades are expected at SAE and we want to attract good students to join our brotherhood.

Philanthropic/Community Service Projects:
Community service enables SAE members to give back to the community some of what we have been fortunate to receive. Once a year the chapter hosts a Mom’s Weekend golf tournament to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network and over the last 10 years, this event for active and alumni brothers as well as our guests has raised over $30,000 for charity. Twice a year we take part in The Adopt A Highway program and go out together with friends to maintain our section of roadway. Another activity is to host children from the married student housing near our chapter house at Idaho Vandal basketball games.

Social/Campus Activities:
SAEs at Idaho have a tradition of fun. Active chapter members have been holding our Fall Violet Ball formal dance since 1919 to honor our founders and to select our Violet Queen for the year. The Bowery dance is a spirited Winter chapter costume event that has fun with 1890s immigrant life in New York City. Every Spring since the 1920s the Paddy Murphy Spring picnic has celebrated Irish working culture. Occasionally the Paddy Murphy has a new twist – like when some of our Basque brothers substitute their spicy food for more traditional fare.

We also sponsor the Sig Alph Olympics, which is a day of fun "track meet like" competition for sororities and women’s halls. The chapter also has other events that include sorority exchanges and pumpkin carving contests. Our Fall Cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene is another fun date event. During the 2004/2005 academic year we sponsored an educational event in partner with The Women’s Center and sororities to address alcohol abuse and "club drugs" that are a natural concern on American campuses today.

SAE believes that chapter leadership and campus political offices are excellent training for leadership after graduation. We intentionally elect a slate of chapter officers for each semester to give our members the opportunity to learn through personal experience. We believe that our semester terms of office give our members twice the opportunity to gain leadership and business experience than most fraternities that elect officers for a full year. It is important for us to run our chapter like a business and accordingly six chapter positions are paid over $5,000 in room and board credit each year to recognize their responsibility in chapter management. House officers range from president (chapter management) to house manager (pays our vendors) to warden (keeps our equipment operating) to rush chair (marketing and sales). Officer room and board credits are additional to available alumni academic scholarships. Many alumni tell us that they gained their first business experience in the SAE house.

Campus leadership positions naturally come to our members as a result of our chapter training. Currently SAEs hold campus leadership positions that include the IFC President, as well as a member of the IFC Judicial Board. SAE also currently holds five of the fifteen ASUI Senator positions in the student body leadership here at the University of Idaho. SAE takes pride in other aspects of leadership and involvement with the University as well. Members are involved in a wide array of internships on campus ranging from marketing internships with the athletic department, as well as the Vandal Scholarship fund and Biology departments.

Awards & Honors (local & national):
Idaho SAEs are selected nationally each year to attend our fraternity’s week long national Leadership School in Chicago, Illinois. Last year during Leadership School our chapter received the national SAE award for best communications and scrapbook. Together with our 11 man alumni advisor board , chapter advisor and academic coach we intend to win the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon Zeal Award for the best chapter in 2007. Our chapter has won this award before and it is time we do it again.

We are looking for future members and parents who are interested in helping us grow, live our values and achieve our goals. Please visit us anytime at 920 Deakin or call us at 208-885-6621.