An Introduction to ΣAM for Parents

For your son, making the transition from high school to a college or university may seem like an imposing challenge. Fraternities exist as a proven support network for your son as he embarks on this new period in his life. Over 3,000 students across the continent are currently members of Sigma Alpha Mu. Since 1909 over 60,000 men have been initiated into Sigma Alpha Mu. ΣAM is recognized as one of the top “Greek” organizations in both academics and community service at SUNY Geneseo.


Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity can help personalize your son’s college experience by offering a scholastic support system; hands-on experience in leading committees, managing budgets, and interacting with faculty and administrators; exposure to potential careers through educational programs; the chance to give back to the community through service projects and close friends who will cheer him on when he is successful and support him when times are tough. With all the opportunities available to them, it is no wonder that fraternity members tend to graduate from college at a higher rate than those men not involved in fraternities.


As a parent, you are undoubtedly concerned about your son’s college experience and the choices he will make. This information is designed to answer some of the questions you may have about fraternity membership.


You don’t even know my son, why are you “recruiting” him already?

At ΣAM we recognize the importance of continuing and enhancing a student’s relationship with his family. Parents are encouraged to stop by the Fraternity house when they visit Geneseo, and we even hold a Father-Son weekend annually. By making ourselves visible and hopefully helpful during the Week of Welcome, we hope to disassociate ourselves from the stereotypes common to social fraternities and sororities.


My son isn’t a “frat guy,” why would he be interested in ΣAM?

We aren’t the typical “frat guys” either! SUNY Geneseo’s admissions process generally guarantees that only the brightest and most driven students arrive on campus. We seek men with the potential to maintain a GPA above the school’s all-men’s average. We also seek men with the desire to give regularly to the community through service and philanthropy projects. In short, we seek the best of the best.

The following code of ethics represents some of the basic expectations of Sigma Alpha Mu membership:

I will strive for academic achievement and practice academic integrity.

 I will respect the dignity of all persons; therefore I will not physically, mentally, psychologically or sexually abuse or haze any human being.

I will protect the health and safety of all human beings.

I will respect my property and the property of others; therefore, I will neither abuse nor tolerate the abuse of property.

I will neither use nor support the use of illegal drugs; I will neither misuse nor support the misuse of alcohol.

I will challenge all my fraternity members to abide by these fraternal expectations and will confront those who violate them.

We believe that adherence to these values results in healthy and attractive members. If this is consistent with your son’s best interests, ΣAM is the organization for him.


I’m concerned about my son’s grades—what impact would fraternity membership have?

Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedoms of college. Sigma Alpha Mu can assist in that transition. Our chapter offers scholarship programs which include study partners, mandatory study hours at Milne Library, and time management workshops. Your son can access the network of fraternity members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills centers, computer labs, and academic advisors. The standard for our members is the school’s all-men’s average, usually around 3.0 on the four point scale. Because we stand to benefit through scholarships, grants, and also “bragging rights,” it is in our best interest to strongly encourage all members to achieve the highest possible grade point average.


Each year the Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation awards many scholarships to its currently enrolled members, based on criteria such as academic excellence, financial need or field of study. Around the first of January, your son will be encouraged to prepare an application. Our members at SUNY Geneseo received approximately $10,000 in scholarships from the ΣAM Foundation last year.


What about pledging and hazing?

Hazing has no place in Sigma Alpha Mu, period. We are committed to maintaining a candidate education process that is free of the negativity and abusive tendencies that occur within other “Greek” organizations. Please feel free to contact our chapter president, Michael Baranowski, at any time with questions regarding our candidate education, or “pledging,” process. He can be reached at


At Sigma Alpha Mu your son will experience a period of orientation and education. During this time your son and the other new candidates will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the fraternity and the university, leadership retreats, community service projects and activities designed to build and strengthen friendships among the new candidates and the older fraternity members.  ΣAM is committed to a six-week membership education period which instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist your son in overcoming some of his concerns about success in college.


Who is actually in charge of the fraternity?

Chapter members who are elected to council positions manage the day-to-day operations of the local chapter organization. These four gentlemen, known as council, include the president, vice president, treasurer, and recorder, and they all hold year long terms. Council then chooses officer positions for the rest of the chapter members based on skills/abilities and preferences. These officers are assisted by members serving on committees and by alumni who act as advisors. Our chapter includes 30 current SUNY Geneseo students and an ever-growing alumni network.


Being in ΣAM sounds like it takes a lot of time.

Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one’s time. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through his fraternity involvement your son will learn how to balance his academic work, campus involvement, and social commitments.


Thank you for your time and consideration, and congratulations on your son’s start at SUNY Geneseo. Please feel free to contact our chapter president Michael Baranowski, or to approach any member who may be wearing the ΣAM letters with any questions you may have.