Delta Sigma Phi New Member Education Facilitator Guide

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Delta Sigma Phi

New Member Education

Facilitator Guide
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Welcome to Delta Sigma Phi’s New Member Education Guide!

The purpose of this guide is to provide a core set of discussions and activities for your chapter’s newest members. The ideas introduced to someone at the beginning of his fraternity experience will shape his view of Delta Sigma Phi well beyond initiation. It is important that we successfully prepare our members so that they will pursue the personal development opportunities offered by the Fraternity and contribute to your chapter in a meaningful way.

Many chapters have developed their own new member programs throughout the years, and many of these programs have helped produce the future leaders of our organization. However, outside of recruitment, Delta Sigma Phi chapter leaders have requested assistance with new member education more than any other aspect of fraternity life. It is in response to this request that the national office is providing a new member program that comprises the best practices found from chapters across the country.

This New Member Education Facilitation Guide includes eight lessons that address the core philosophy and vision of Delta Sigma Phi. Each lesson is supplemented by online material found on The Lamp. Also included in this guide are facilitation tips and additional notes that chapters have found helpful while leading these lessons.

This guide does not contain any esoteric information and all information found here can be shared openly with non-members, parents, campus professionals, or anyone else you would like to show.

Delta Sigma Phi has a vision to become America’s Leading Fraternity, and we hope this guide will help your chapter develop the men who join our cause.


Ry Beck

Director of Education

Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity


About Delta Sigma Phi


Purpose of New Member Education


The New Member Education Team


Getting Started


New Member Education Overview


Lesson 1: Welcome to Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity


Lesson 2: Our History and Vision


Lesson 3: The Values Driven Fraternity


Lesson 4: Men of Courage – Personal Responsibility


Lesson 5: The Leadership Challenge


Lesson 6: Strive for Academic Success


Lesson 7: Men of Action - Giving Back


Lesson 8: Building a Stronger Chapter




Hazing Policy

Team Building Activities

The Lamp




Frequently Asked Questions


Facilitation Tips


Additional Resources


Closing Comments


About Delta Sigma Phi

Delta Sigma Phi is a national not--profit organization for men who strive to better themselves by demonstrating courage, taking actions that improve society, and committing to excellence. Founded on December 10th, 1899 at the College of the City of New York, Delta Sigma Phi has grown significantly over the years to now include over 100 active chapters, 5,500 undergraduate students, and 115,000 initiated members.

Our lifetime fraternity experience builds better men – we challenge our members to become better students, citizens, and professionals who advance society through values-based leadership.

Delta Sigma Phi has set a bold vision, entitled Vision 2025, to become America’s Leading Fraternity. Accomplishing this vision will require the dedication of all our members and our stakeholders who believe the future depends on better men. Vision 2025 commits to offering leadership development for all our members, increasing the service and philanthropic efforts of our chapters, improving academic performance across every campus, and engaging more mentors and volunteers than ever before.

We are a passionate organization that strives to go beyond what is typical by investing in the lives of those who share our vision and purpose. Although Delta Sigma Phi was founded over a century ago, we believe our cause is more relevant today than ever before. We know it will take courage, action, and excellence to achieve our goals, but we are confident in our resolve to make the world a better place.

Purpose of New Member Education

Delta Sigma Phi offers a lifetime of education and learning opportunities, but these experiences begin by introducing the basic concept of life as a fraternity man. The purpose of our new member education program is to provide greater clarity about our organization, and begin discussing concepts that will serve as the foundation for a new member’s view of Delta Sigma Phi.

A successful new member program will provide personal development for everyone involved. Specifically, participants will be able to identify their personal values, build meaningful relationships, practice student leadership, and understand the basic Delta Sigma Phi membership expectations. We use the phrase “participants” intentionally; while new member education is designed with the new member as its primary focus, we encourage all members in a chapter to contribute to the conversations taking place. It is important to distinguish that new member education is not meant to teach every detail about Delta Sigma Phi, but instead, it serves as an introduction and an overview to our fraternity experience.

It is also our hope that new member education promotes an environment where trust and learning is a two-way street. While new members have much to learn about Delta Sigma Phi, our organization can only grow if we learn from the thoughts and ideas of our future brothers. This fostering of mutual respect and learning will require new member educators, and the entire chapter, to recognize new members as their peers, removing the hierarchical barriers that are often created when any organization grows its membership.

Ultimately, it should be the ambition of Delta Sigma Phi that our new member education program is recognized as a key contributor to the development of young men who are transitioning into their undergraduate fraternity experience. The result of a successful new member program is an individual who has obtained basic skills that will help him become a better version of himself, and a chapter that has involved members who are committed to enacting positive change within their community.

The New Member Education Board

Most Delta Sigma Phi chapters have elected at least one person to guide new members though an educational program that lasts from the Pinning Ceremony to Initiation.

While every chapter should organize this process in a way that works best for their own circumstances, we have designed a few recommendations based on a summation of the best programs found across the nation.
What is a New Member Education Board?

A New Member Education Board is a small group of people who introduce fraternity life to new members. It is the responsibility of the board to create an environment suitable to learning, encouraging participation in new member meetings, and guiding discussions. We recommend that your education team consist of the following:

  • Two or three initiated members, ranging from sophomores to seniors.

  • One of these members should be elected to serve as the primary “New Member Educator” who serves a one year-term.

  • Additional members should be assigned specific responsibilities that best suite your chapter’s program. Whatever their responsibilities, it is important to identify their role(s) prior to starting your new member program.

Which members should be on the New Member Education Board?

  • Some qualities of people selected to your education team might include members who are: good listeners, patient, non-judgmental, and who genuinely care about the development of your new members.

  • Members who are pursuing a degree in education might be ideal candidates for the “New Member Education” position.

  • Members who believe new member education should be a rigorous or stressful process designed for new members to “prove” themselves should NOT be considered for this position.

Getting Started

The following new member guide is meant to serve as a resource for a chapter’s New Member Education Board. Once your chapter has chosen a group of members to serve on the board, we recommend reviewing this guide to better understand the lessons you would like to deliver.

Here are some items to consider as you prepare for your new member program:

  1. What are the dates for each new member meeting?

Remember, your new member program cannot exceed eight weeks. You may plan one lesson each week, or you may include multiple lessons each week to reduce the overall duration of your new member program. Many Delta Sig chapters conduct their new member program in less than eight weeks.

Whatever you decide, make sure your meeting dates are set in advance so that you can share this information with new members, initiated members, campus administrators, and the national office. There shouldn’t be any surprise activities or unclear meetings when it comes to your new member education program.

  1. Where and when will new member meetings be located?

Whether your meetings are held at a chapter house or on campus, it is important to choose a location that will be easily accessible for all participants. At times it may be convenient to have Internet access or projector capabilities for meetings, especially if you plan on having guest speakers – for that reason, on campus meeting space can be ideal for new member meetings.

Meetings should not be held late at night and should not last any longer than two hours. Most meetings should last between 60-90 minutes.

  1. Who is invited to attend new member meetings?

New members should plan on attending every new member meeting, however, each chapter should have a process for new members to receive missed information should they not be able to attend a meeting.

Initiated members should be encouraged to attend new member meetings when possible, however, they are to be considered participants along with new members. Ask initiated members to contribute to the meeting they attend or ask them to avoid meetings if they only intend to disrupt the process.

Guest speakers should be encouraged to attend some of your meetings. If there is a campus administrator, professor, Delta Sig alumnus, or community leader, who can add value to any of your meetings, plan in advance and ask the entire chapter to attend.

  1. Can we include different activities in our new member program other than what is described in this guide?

Yes. However, any changes or additional activities should be submitted to your chapter’s designated Assistant Director of Chapter Advancement for approval.

We ask you to submit your changes for a couple reasons:

  1. We will continue to update our New Member Education Facilitator Guide based on the best practices found across the country. If you have created a lesson or activity that works, we want to hear about it.

  2. Many chapters have unintentionally created programs that include activities that could be identified as hazing. In order to further educate chapters on the subject of hazing, it is important that we are able to review the planned activities created by your chapter.

  1. Can non-members see this new member program?

Yes. New member programs have often been considered secret, but there is nothing included in any approved new member program that needs to be hidden. Your new member program should be yet another selling point that demonstrates the leadership training offered by Delta Sigma Phi.

  1. Does every new member have a copy of the Gordian Knot?

The Gordian Knot is still a part of this new member program. Rather than serving as the center focus of your discussions and activities, the Gordian Knot can be considered a supplemental resource that helps new members learn more about our organization. It is still important for every member to have a copy of the Gordian Knot for the new member program.

New Member Education Overview

The Delta Sigma Phi New Member Education Program includes three esoteric Ritual ceremonies and eight exoteric lessons. The following overview provides a brief description of each ceremony and lesson in the recommended order of completion.

Each lesson also has supplemental online content accessible on Delta Sigma Phi’s online learning platform, The Lamp.

Pinning Ceremony

Following the acceptance of bids for a new member class, the chapter should perform the “Pinning Ceremony” as outlined in the Delta Sigma Phi Ritual Book. New Member Dues and Fees should be paid at this time, and the chapter should report all new members to the national office and university.

Lesson 1: Welcome to Delta Sigma Phi

This lesson will introduce new members to Delta Sigma Phi, better defining what it means to be a member of the fraternity movement. New members will begin developing friendships with other members of their chapter while constructing personal expectations for the new member experience.

Lesson 2: Our History and Vision

During this lesson, new members will investigate the history of Delta Sigma Phi and their local chapter. New members will also plan personal and chapter goals that help accomplish their vision of the future.

Lesson 3: The Values-Driven Fraternity

This lesson will allow new members to better define their personal values and the corresponding actions that demonstrate those values. Members will also further explore the values and purpose of Delta Sigma Phi.

Lesson 4: Men of Courage – Personal Responsibility

This lesson will explore the concepts of bystander behavior and personal responsibility. By addressing real-world scenarios, members will be asked to think critically about their values-based actions and ethical decision-making.

Lesson 5: The Leadership Challenge

This lesson will teach an overview of the Student Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. Members will discuss the five practices of leadership: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

Lesson 6: Academic Success

Our members are students first. This lesson will support academic efforts by outlining the basic expectation of all Fraternity members while also providing best practices related to student academic success.

Lesson 7: Men of Action - Giving Back

This lesson will introduce new members to the concepts of service and philanthropy, providing avenues for involvement in their respective communities. Service learning will be an important component to this lesson.

Lesson 8: Building a Strong Chapter

By completing this lesson, new members will have the opportunity to learn about their chapter’s organizational structure and goals. New members will also identify areas of involvement for their future participation in their chapter.

Initiation (Informal and Formal)

Following the completing of the New Member Education Program, all new members should be initiated in accordance with the Delta Sigma Phi Ritual Book. Initiation should take place no later than eight weeks following the “Pinning Ceremony”. Initiation Fees should be paid at this time, and all new members should update their personal information on the Fraternity’s website if needed.

LESSON 1: Welcome to Delta Sigma Phi


This lesson will introduce new members to Delta Sigma Phi, better defining what it means to be a member of the fraternity movement. New members will begin developing friendships with other members of their chapter while constructing personal expectations for the new member experience.


  1. New Members will be able to interpret the core purpose of Delta Sigma Phi.

  2. New Members will be able to summarize Delta Sigma Phi’s member expectations as outlined by the Code of Conduct.


  1. Team building Activity. 20 min.

  2. Pledge Ceremony Discussion. 15 min.

  3. The Purpose of Delta Sigma Phi. 20 min.

  4. Member Expectations. 15 min.

  5. Hazing Policy. 15 min.

  6. Final Thoughts. 10 min.


  1. Team Building Activity materials.

  2. Ritual Book.

  3. Chapter calendar and notes.


  1. Read Chapters 1-3 of the Gordian Knot.

  2. Complete the “Welcome to Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity” lesson online using The Lamp.

Example Team Building Activity: “Interesting Facts”

Meeting Outline 1 of 6

By participating in this activity, new members will learn interesting details about each other’s lives; this could include facts such as: hometown, favorite band, a previous accomplishment, personal hobbies, etc.

Each new member, participating initiated member, and New Member Educator will write one or two personal facts on an index card or scrap piece of paper then place that paper into a container. Once everyone has placed an “interesting facts” into the container, someone removes one card to read aloud. The group then attempts to connect the card with the appropriate person. After a few guesses, if the correct person has not been identified, ask him to raise his hand or come forward. Once the author of the card is determined, the container is passed for someone else to read another card. This process is repeated until everyone’s card has been read.

Materials Needed:

  1. Pens

  2. Index cards or scrap paper

  3. Container


  1. We recommend breaking into small groups of 5-10 people to complete this activity.

  2. Participants can reveal general or personal information about themselves, whatever they feel most comfortable sharing.

  3. Sharing personal information can be difficult for many people, encourage everyone to be respectful and supportive of one another throughout the activity.

  4. Have fun with it; let people elaborate about the interesting facts they are sharing.

Pledge Ceremony Discussion

Meeting Outline 2 of 6

Having recently completed Delta Sigma Phi’s Pledge Ceremony, spend time discussing the significance of the messages found in this Ritual. Everyone connects with the Ritual in a different way, and we often tend to forget much of what is said immediately after the ceremony. For the Ritual to have meaning we need to reflect on what has been written; select and share a couple passages from the Pledge Ceremony that you feel are particularly important to Delta Sigma Phi.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What about the Pledge Ceremony did you like the most?

  2. What about the Pledge Ceremony did you like the least?

  3. What does this shared passage tell you about our Fraternity? How does that shape your view of Delta Sigma Phi?

  4. What questions do you have about the Pinning Ceremony or our Ritual?

The Purpose of Delta Sigma Phi

Meeting Outline 3 of 6

Delta Sigma Phi is can be described in many ways; it is a men’s social fraternity, a group of civic-minded leaders, and a non-profit organization. While these descriptions tell us what type of organization we are, they don’t explain our purpose – the reason why we exist.

“Delta Sigma Phi exists to build better men. We believe that our fraternity experience helps men define their values, create meaningful relationships, and learn to be leaders in their communities. It is our goal for members to become the best versions of themselves, contributing their best thoughts and actions to their friends, families, professions, and society.”

We recognize that each member has his own interpretation of this purpose, and will apply this philosophy in a unique way to his own life. Regardless of how members choose to better themselves, it is important that we take time to discuss the purpose of our Fraternity.

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