The Sigma Beta Sigma colony of Delta Sigma Pi began after a RIT leadership meeting when Spencer Crawford was approached in the fall of 2009 by Kari Hazzard about establishing a professional business fraternity on the RIT campus. In the beginning the two colonists only met twice a month in one of the dining areas on campus until the first months of 2010. At this point Spencer was acting as the Vice President of Finance while Kari was acting as the President and all other Executive Committee positions. In January, they held an information session to try to recruit more business students to join but did not have much success.
Not long after the information session, Spencer met a graduate student named Ayoub Ghazanfari. Ayoub was more than willing to help establish the Sigma Beta Sigma colony. They started to develop a marketing plan to get more business students to join. Ayoub become the Vice President-Colony Operations. Jessica Rought joined in February, and she became the new Vice President of Finance while Spencer became the new Senior Vice President. Ayoub talked to other graduate business students, and three more joined the colony. It was at this time that we started to have official colony meetings. These meetings were a combination of executive committee meetings and general body meetings as there were not enough members to rationalize having two separate meetings. One of the main contributors was José Urbina, who became the Vice President-Alumni Relations.
At the beginning of Spring Quarter in March, the colony arranged an alumni dinner in one of the rooms in the Business building, but only one alumnus showed up. The event was still a success, and he talked about the types of skills that we would need to be successful in the workforce and how to impress employers. The colony hosted its first professional event in April. Frank Sklarsky, an RIT and Epsilon Lambda chapter alumni, was the current Chief Financial Officer of Eastman Kodak Company. Mr. Sklarsky spoke for 75 minutes on the interactions between Kodak and Wall Street investors and answered questions for an additional half hour.
The Sigma Beta Sigma Colony returned for the fall 2010 with hopes that recruitment would go well, and they could finally begin to get the colony running smoothly. Jessica and Spencer represented the colony at the Fall Club Fair for incoming students. Unfortunately, recruitment during this time was difficult, because only around 200 of the over 4,000 incoming freshmen were business or economics majors and thus eligible to join. On September 11 Spencer and Jessica, the two remaining undergraduate members of the colony, hosted the Niagara Regional Conference. The colony finally started to grow during the second week of classes. Emily Cheng and Atharva Sabnis were brought into the fold. Emily, a junior, was elected Senior Vice President, while Atharva, a freshman on campus, was elected the Vice President of Colony Operations as Ayoub stepped down due to his new full-time job that would keep him from being an active member. Emily immediately proved an excellent new Senior Vice President, as she brought in Kailey Griffith only a week later. Kailey became the colony’s new Vice President of Professional Activities. By the last week of September, the colony had gained two new members, Joshua Wolhandler and Bryan Carlo, who began as Vice President of Alumni Relations and Chancellor, respectively.
In the middle of October, recruitment finally started simply being word of mouth. On October 13 and 14 Joshua and Kailey went into Professor O’Neil and Professor Ward’s freshmen business classes for in-class presentations on the colony. The presentation lasted a mere five minutes, but it caught the interest of many of the freshmen, and the information session that followed was a huge success. The colony was excited to have about 40 interested members who came to some of the first few meetings.
Unfortunately, as the group was just beginning to hold events and did not yet have much planned, many of those 40 members quickly lost interest. After this loss of interest, there were 18 members devoted to seeing the colony reach its goal of becoming a chapter of Delta Sigma Pi. With the new members the colony had finally grown large enough to have a full executive committee. Eric Cohen and Megan Johnson were elected Vice President of Scholarship and Awards and Vice President of Community Service. Of the new members, most were freshmen, but there were two seniors, Manuel Rivas and Henry Lajara. The new freshmen included Saeed Alarif, Lauren Brockbank, Geoffrey Blosat, Tykemia Boatwright, Nicholas Guerin, Jennifer Gibson, and Shannon
On November 6, nine members of the colony traveled to Syracuse University to celebrate Founders Day with some of the chapters in the Niagara Region. It was the first time that many of the colonists had the opportunity to interact with collegiate members of the fraternity.
On November 9, the colonists held their first fundraiser, a bake sale in the lobby of the Lowenthal Building, home to the Saunders College of Business. The bake sale also served as an opportunity for the colony to establish itself in the college’s community. Finally, in December the colony was able to begin working toward the six community service events needed to petition for a charter. This event took place on December 4 as the colonists stood outside the nearby Marketplace Mall and rang the donation bell for the Salvation Army. Only two days later the colony held another community service event, a clothing drive for warm winter clothing. On December 16, a few days before the university’s winter break, the colony participated in a bottle drive, collecting bottles as a second fundraising event.
The first professional event of 2011 was held on January 20. The colonists gathered at Kailey and Emily’s apartment to watch the movie, “The Corporation.” Earlier that day the colony had been visited by Professor Mandrycky, the Careers in Business Professor at RIT, for another professional event. Professor Mandrycky discussed the topic, “Professionalism in the Workforce,” and discussed in detail resume and interview tips and how to act in a professional atmosphere. On February 19th, the colony attended its first national event, when six members attended the Northeastern LEAD Provincial Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.
The colonists returned in the beginning of Spring Quarter with new ideas and goals after speaking with collegiate members at LEAD. On March 14, the colony hosted a blood drive on the RIT campus. The event was a huge success. More fundraising occurred only a few days later on March 22, when the colony hosted another bake sale. Members got together and had fun baking an assortment of sweets to sell to their classmates. The night was a great bonding time for the colonists. The next day the members sold the baked goods in the College of Business and later throughout the dorms. The colony hosted another professional event on March 24. The event was very informative and consisted of a discussion on International Business. On April 4, over half of the colony piled into two large cars and visited the Delta Sigma Pi Alpha Kappa Chapter at Buffalo University. The colony found the experience very rewarding and informational, as it showed the colonists how a chapter runs. It was also a good bonding experience for the colonists and allowed them to meet many new people.
On April 11, the Sigma Beta Sigma Colony co-hosted an event with Women in Business, one of the more prominent clubs in the business college. The two groups brought in Heather Dera, the Talent Acquisition Specialist from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, to come speak to them about, “Life after College Interviews, Job Hunting and More!” The event was a huge success with close to 40 students in attendance.
On April 15, the colony had a social event at an Indian restaurant. On April 29 the colony ventured to the local daycare on campus called Margaret’s House to help entertain the children. On the same day the colony gave tours of the campus to prospective high school students. In May, the Sigma Beta Sigma Colony gained seven more members who brought the colony membership up to 25. The CFO of Kodak came to RIT to speak about the job duties and structure of the company’s employees on May 5. It was yet another interesting professional event for the colonists. Also, this was the second time the colony held two professional events in one day, as later that day a Personal Finance professional event was hosted. May 7, marked RIT’s fourth annual Imagine RIT innovation festival, and the colony volunteered to help with the exhibits at the Saunders College of Business. There was an alumni dinner held later that night with several Delta Sigma Pi alumni from the Rochester area.
The colony held its final community service event of the academic year on May 8. After the success of the clothing drive before the holidays, the colonists thought that another clothing drive was a good idea. The colony held its final professional event of the year on May 13. The event was titled, “Financial Advisor Duties,” and was presented by Michael Chablik, Vice President of Finance from Merrill Lynch.
The Sigma Beta Sigma Colony returned to campus in September 2011 excited for a new year. Petition requirements finished, the colony was able to enjoy a successful recruitment season while putting together the pieces of the petition. Senior Vice President Emily Cheng unexpectedly received an internship opportunity in New York City for the fall term, and Kailey Griffith stepped into Emily’s role. Tykemia Boatwright was elected Vice President of Professional Activities to take up the vacancy left by Kailey Griffith. With two members graduating in May 2011, and five members on co-op or study abroad for the term, the twenty members remaining on campus began aggressively recruiting with in class presentations the second week back on campus.
On September 19, the colony hosted its first informational session of the year. Spencer Crawford and Kailey Griffith delivered a great presentation on the colony and the national fraternity. After the presentation the members mingled with prospective members over pizza. On September 21, colony members represented the fraternity at the Saunders College of Business Fall picnic where the colony recruited new members, as well as showcasing the colony to both faculty and students. The following day, September 22, the colony hosted its second and final information session, which nearly thirty prospective members attended.
Many of these prospective members attended the next few meetings, and on September 30, the colony inducted the first wave of new members, bringing the total colony membership up to 46. That evening the colony celebrated with a social event where the new and old brothers got to know each other. The next morning the colony welcomed in October by helping children find warm winter jackets at JC Penney. On October 5, the colony took its first trip of the year to downtown Rochester to attend a meeting of the Rochester Young Professionals. The meeting covered finances for young professionals. Before the general body meeting on October 7, the colony hosted Kelvin Womack, a partner at Deloitte Consulting LLP. At the general body meeting, the colony closed the recruitment season with 51 members.
Dale Clark visited the colony on October 20 and 21. The colonists were pleased to welcome him and gain valuable insight about the petitioning process and handed Dale a rough draft of the petition. From October 24 to October 26, the colony held a Halloween Bake Sale along RIT’s most populated path, the Quarter Mile. The event was very successful and allowed the colonists to establish themselves as a presence to the university at large. On October 27, the colony volunteered at a Halloween event with disabled children. On November 4, the petition was completed and sent to the National Office of Delta Sigma Pi.
On November 11, the Board of Directions at National Office approved the petition. The colony was excited to finally be in the last phases of becoming a chapter. They hosted one more professional event on November 16, and performed two more community service events in early December, which included ringing the bell for the Salvation Army and a clothing drive. In the last week before their initiation on January 28, 2012, the colony had 45 collegiate, 4 faculty, and 2 honorary members eager to finally become brothers of Delta Sigma Pi.