It is an experience that Brady Heath of Paris, Tennessee will never forget, and one he is excited to share with others. The University of Tennessee at Martin junior attended a one-of-a-kind leadership training program through his fraternity in Richmond, Virginia, from June 12-16. The program, called the Frank J. Ruck Leadership Institute, is a five-day interactive immersion experience with fellow undergraduate members of Sigma Phi Epsilon and alumni facilitators.
Heath is the Vice President of Member Development of his chapter, having previously served as the Vice President of Communications. The program focused on guiding attendees through personal leadership exploration, while encouraging them to make a positive impact in their campus community back home. The fraternity builds leaders like Heath by encouraging them to be leaders both within the organization and on campus. His experience with Ruck provided valuable perspective on his roles in and outside the classroom.
“This past week has changed my life,” Heath said. “When I first arrived in Virginia, I had absolutely no clue what my vision for myself and my chapter would look like. I left with a clear understanding and a support network that will help me execute that vision.”
Heath was selected as one of the top 150 undergraduates in the country, our of more than 13,000 SigEp members. The Ruck Leadership Institute focuses on the leadership practices espoused in one of the best-selling leadership books of all time, “The Leadership Challenge,” co-written by Barry Posner, a nationally renowned leadership expert and SigEp alumnus. The program is one of the ways SigEp lives up to its mission: building balanced men.
Participants were divided into smaller groups of about 20. They attended interactive classroom sessions as well as team building events, such a high-ropes course and cooperative exercises to demonstrate the core theme of the week: For “the few to impact the many.”
“Brady’s experience at Ruck is the kind of leadership development we want for all of our members as they prepare for life after college,” SigEp’s local alumni association president Stephen Yeargin said. “Our alumni and volunteer organization is incredibly proud of him and the example he sets for his fellow members.”
Brady’s strong academic performance earned him a spot on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll and helped his chapter achieve a 3.16 GPA for the spring semester, ranking it first among the seven Interfraternity Council (IFC) organizations on campus and beat the all-male average at UT Martin by nearly half a point.
SigEp is a pioneer in the fraternity world by being among the first national fraternities to eliminate the traditional “pledge model” for membership, instead granting full rights and responsibilities to members the day they join. Prospective members are invited to join the fraternity throughout the year.