A New Effort to Strengthen our Bonds

Brothers Adams and Barclay introduce our Steering Committee

Introducing the Steering Committee

Over the last few decades many traditions—from rituals to daily work—have evolved and changed. Some for the better and some worse. We believe we are at a crossroads where actions are needed to ensure a strong and successful future for the Alpha of California. With the pandemic coming to an end and a spirit of revitalization in the air, the California Sigma Phi Board of Directors approved a motion in January to acknowledge and support the efforts of a Steering Committee formed by Co-Chairs John Adams I’67 and Jerry Barclay I’71. The Steering Committee is committed to the following Mission Statement:

"The Alpha of California Steering Committee’s mission is to articulate a vision of the Alpha, to be recommended to the Alumni Board, that captures the essence of our unique relational, historical and mystical qualities, and defines methods for rekindling these across generations of Sigs, to unify and solidify the bonds of the Society.”

The committee will have a representative from every decade from the ’50s through the ’10s as well as the active chapter and operate under the following conditions: the active chapter will be involved in the committee’s processes, processes will be transparent, and the Board will be kept informed of the committee’s activity. So far, the Steering Committee has met three times via Zoom. If you’re interested in supporting our efforts, click the button below to donate directly to our chapter or donate through the national website here.

Donate Here

A letter from the Co-Chairs

There has been a noticeable drop off in continued involvement of alumni from the late ’90s, ’00s, and early ’10s. Additionally, many older Sigs maintain close friendships and networks with their peers but no longer participate in Sig events and activities, and have lost contact with the active chapter. Sigs from the ’60s and earlier have held a belief that the active chapter became more boarding house than fraternity starting in the early ’70s. While that perception is subjective and debatable it is nonetheless held by many.

The Steering Committee intends to thoroughly evaluate past and present practices. It recognizes that many things change with time—society and social norms, culture, laws, and institutions—and that Sigma Phi is no exception. Many traditions common in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s would today be considered hazing and some are now illegal. Good riddance to that behavior. But many traditions and rituals—some now lost—have been key to forming lifelong friendships and a love of Sigma Phi. 

As a very positive development, today’s Alpha is a far more diverse group of both actives and alumni. Alumni who have maintained contact with the active chapter recognize that individuals who have populated the house over the past decade up to the present are highly intelligent, studious, and energetic with strong feelings for Sigma Phi. Leadership from alumni is needed to understand the why, what and how to rekindle closer relationships between alumni and the active chapter.

In addition to strengthening our chapter’s bonds, the Steering Committee is also organizing around renovation efforts. The physical condition of the house is poor. In some areas the exterior shingles are all but disintegrated, and bathrooms need major repairs. We face a big challenge, but we will not be starting from scratch. The Alpha has invested in substantial studies and preparation of plans that provide a suitable base from which to move forward. However, we believe any successful fundraising effort will require support from a broad range of alumni, and that support will require a strong bond with the Society and confidence in alumni leadership, the active chapter, and the future of the Alpha.

The Steering Committee is seeking as much involvement as possible.

There are several ways you can participate and contribute. The following subcommittees have been established:

  • Communications

  • Traditions & Rituals (Current and Past)

  • Recruiting & House Finances

  • Strengthening the Bonds

  • Gender Inclusive Membership

  • Thorsen House Brick & Mortar

The subcommittees will do much of the work and develop recommendations for the Steering Committee to approve prior to recommendations going to the Board. The Board will then review and respond as follows: approve for implementation, reject, or send back for more study and revision. At least one active brother will be a member on each subcommittee.

Alumni brothers, please consider the above subcommittees and tell us if there are any you find compelling and would like to join. Our goal is to present the Board with early recommendations for creating the subcommittees in May (if possible; immediate approval is not essential). We anticipate it will take well over a year to formulate, plan, and implement strategies and activities.

The Steering Committee’s current membership (we are still recruiting ’90s and ’00s members) is:

  • Herb Foster I’59

  • Pete Clark I’65

  • John Adams I’67

  • Roger Graham I’68

  • Jerry Barclay I’71

  • Johnny Hornung I’75

  • Joel Shumaker I’80

  • Moses Cesario I’89

  • George Syrop I’12

  • John Paraskevopoulos I’14     

  • Zach Ross I’17 (Active President)   

We welcome and encourage your feedback! Please contact us if you want to sign up for a subcommittee or if you have questions or suggestions.

Esto Perpetua,

John Adams I’67 
Jerry Barclay I’71

Some Announcements:

Join the Cal Sigma Phi Slack Chatroom!

We created a chatroom for California Sigs to keep in touch. You can access Slack on your desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. We have 35 members and counting, click the following link to join! https://join.slack.com/t/calsigmaphisociety/shared_invite/zt-o62honpj-qhZ~ijhnLl1tyXJ~Jc_sbA

Thank you to our donors!

We’d like to celebrate the Sigs who answered our call for financial support in last month’s newsletter. We raised over $2000 for March 4th!

  • Ted Bosley I’73

  • Steven Walraven I’08

  • Art Siriwatt I’13

  • George Syrop I’12

  • (and a few others who chose to remain anonymous)

If you’re interested in supporting our efforts, click the button below to donate directly to our chapter or donate through the national website here.

Donate Here