The University of Southern Mississippi’s Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter took home the Volunteer Excellence Award for the second year in a row at the Carlson Leadership Academy (CLA) Conference in Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 21-22. The Sigma Phi Epsilon national chapter sponsors the conference every year.
“Satisfaction is the moment you stop improving,” said senior kinesiotherapy major Nick Missel, who added that he and other Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity members like to keep that in mind when striving to improve their chapter and make a difference in the community.
“We wouldn’t strive to make these changes if we were satisfied with past successes,” Missel said.
The Volunteer Excellence Award is awarded to a chapter that excelled in volunteer recruitment, performance and the retention of volunteers in the chapter in the past year. “It’s important to us to look for ways to continue our progress in our time put into the community,” Missel said.
At the conference members were divided into groups to attend sessions based on the area they wish to lead the chapter in the future in areas such as recruitment, finance and member education.
Freshman kinesiotherapy major Eric Breila said the conference is a great time to network and connect with other members of the fraternity.
“It was a great experience as a freshman to go out and see all of the regional SigEp chapters and meet brothers from all over the South,” Breila said.
Sigma Phi Epsilon volunteers in several areas across the community, including the retirement home, Wesley Manor, and with clean-up efforts for Black Creek.
Missel said nine chapter members volunteered at Civitan Camp, a summer-camp for disabled children and adults, resulting in a contribution of over 120 hours of service that week. “We are super excited because we won the award last year and we decided to set a goal to increase the amount of community service hours that our chapter participates in this year,” Missel said. “We decided to make some brotherhood events to go to as a chapter and help out in the community in places like Wesley Manor and Black Creek, to make community service fun,” Missel said.
This year Sigma Phi Epsilon at Southern Miss is changing it’s philanthropy to benefit Extra Table, a non-profit organization founded by local celebrity and chef Robert St. John that supplies food to soup kitchens and food pantries.
“We are changing our philanthropy to Extra Table because we wanted to help out a cause that would help our community more,” said Gary Stanton, a junior entertainment industry major.
“Robert St. John is such an activist in the community, so it will be great to get him involved with our philanthropy,” Stanton said. “It makes sense to have a food-related activist involved with our philanthropy since our annual philanthropy event is a chili-cook off,” Stanton said.
Freshman biology major Matthew McMullan said the conference was a great opportunity to learn more about developing his leadership skills.
“It was cool because we got to meet SigEps from other places. We got to branch-off into the office that we would eventually like to hold, and learn how to perform the job more efficiently,” McMullan said.