SigEp Blog

Learning to Live Without Gluten

Two months ago I received life-changing news; I am gluten intolerant. At first, adhering to a gluten-free diet seemed like daunting task. Up until this point, I had been an avid late-night snacker, famously known for going on late-night food escapades and sustaining myself on extra large pizzas and chicken wings Thursday through Saturday. Now, I was forced to not only think about what stores are open past 2 a.m. on a Friday but also what foods I was even able to eat.

What is gluten intolerance?

When people think of gluten allergies, more often than not, they think of Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease, unlike gluten intolerance/sensitivity, is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces an immune response when an individual exposes themselves to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley). This adverse reaction to the protein leads to the damaging of villi in the intestines and ultimately the inability to properly absorb nutrients.

Gluten intolerance, unlike Celiac Disease, is not an autoimmune disease. However, a recent study carried out by Columbia University confirmed that gluten exposure among non-celiacs still did, in fact, trigger a systemic immune reaction and cause intestinal damaging. The symptoms, therefore, are mostly the same and range from chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal and neurological manifestations, “foggy mind,” and anxiety, to name a few.  While both Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance are issues that have been prevalent for quite some time, in the past 20 years, incidents of both Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance have risen — raising questions about what factors (environmental, dietary, etc.) have changed that may be contributing to this.  

My Experience

For the past year and a half, I had/have been experiencing a number of strange symptoms. I felt constantly fatigued, experienced chronic abdominal pain, and had random twitches throughout my body. It was undoubtedly a relief to get an answer to these issues; however, I was now forced to confront the facts and make a substantial change in my diet, something I had never really thought about.

The transition surprisingly has not been too difficult. Although I am still getting used to the routine (I still often discover that foods I believed I could eat safely are actually not), our health-conscious society has made nutritional information readily available and has produced gluten-free substitutes for any late night snack you can think of. I still crave a chicken parmesan every now and then, but in all honesty, the new diet has kept me eating healthier and feeling great!

Tamio Guild, MSB ’18

SigEp Blog, Uncategorized

Why SigEp?

Everyone is nervous about how they will fit in socially once they get to college. It’s incredibly daunting to go to a new place, with new people, away from home. I can remember wondering how I would find my group of friends, and wondering if I could ever replicate the friendships I had made over my 18 years in New York. I’m happy to tell you, though, that you have nothing to worry about; eventually, you’ll find your niche at Georgetown, whether it’s with SigEp, or one of the other amazing organizations on campus.

When I got to school, I knew I was in Darnall, and I had heard that people in that dorm got really close, but other than that I knew nothing about the social life here at Georgetown. In terms of a larger friend group, I was lost. Would it come together organically? Would I have to seek it out? Where would I find it? I asked myself these questions constantly the first week of school. And then I got an invite to the first rush event. A barbecue on the front lawn. I won’t pretend that I wasn’t nervous. I immediately started talking myself out of going, saying that I wouldn’t like them and that they wouldn’t like me, and that it wasn’t worth taking time out of my day. Luckily, my roommate convinced me to go.

I can say without a doubt that going to that barbecue was the best decision I made at Georgetown. Within minutes I felt a bond among the brothers on that lawn. It was immediately clear how much they liked each other; how much fun they had together. This was the group I was looking for. I decided right there that I had to rush.

I can barely imagine what my Freshman year would have been like if I didn’t rush. I never a reason to be scared about finding friends or finding plans. Whether it’s just a couple guys to play Fifa with, or get-togethers every weekend, I’m never without a place to go. Even more than that, I have made friends now in almost every other group on campus, through my connections in SigEp. I am living with 4 of my best friends next year, all from my pledge class. Sigma Phi Epsilon is a unique group at this school. I can tell you that no matter who you are, it is worth at least giving rush a try; you might just find your brothers like I found mine.

Sam Silverman, College Class of ’20

New Student Guide, SigEp Blog

Five Tips for Add/Drop Week

Navigating the first week of college can be difficult. Coming off of NSO, meetings with RAs, and dozens of lectures in the ICC about all of the different aspects of college life makes you feel ready to start class, but there are a few tools for navigating Add/Drop and course selection that make your entire first work seem easier.

  1. Don’t be afraid to shop classes. Huge lectures will be relatively introductory the first week, so if there’s a smaller lecture or seminar you’re interested in that meets at the same time, see if one of your friends is also taking the big lecture and meet up with them afterwards to see what it was like. Going to smaller lectures earlier on is important for getting a seat in the course, because you can often walk up to the professor at the end of the class and request an add/drop into the class, even if it’s full on MyAccess.
  2. Friday recitations aren’t (usually) difficult to change, and can mess up signing up for another class that meets on Fridays. If you want to try and switch recitations to take another course, just email your professor and explain the issue. More likely than not, they’re fine having an extra person or two in a given Friday recitation.
  3. Use the course evaluation tool on MyAccess. Everyone touts RateMyProfessor as the best tool, but often, it’s the most extreme reviews on either end; students that strongly disliked the professor, or students that loved the professor. The course evaluation tool on MyAccess has more data, more questions, and is quantitative. Plus, you can see historicals for all the semesters a given course has been taught. To see it, just click on “Course Evaluation” when you’re on a given course’s page.
  4. If you’re not into the core requirements, cross-list. Regardless of the school you’re in, you’ll find a pretty lengthy list of required courses you’ll need to complete before you graduate. Many of you won’t take major classes until even the end of your sophomore year. If you’re daunted by the core, consider cross listing your requirements to bang two out for the course-space of one. To do so, on MyAccess in the schedule search, select a given core requirement in the “fulfills requirement for” menu, scroll down to the X-List menu, and choose the department or requirement you’d like to double up with. Common cross lists include Theology/Philosophy, HALC/Philosophy, HALC/Diversity, and more.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take electives. Most students will take 12 course majors, maybe a 6 course minor, and require a 14-16 course core curriculum. That still leaves you with 6 courses of free space, and that’s just to fulfill the 40 required courses to graduate, which many students surpass. Some students choose to take all six of those electives later on, but throwing one in your first semester can be a nice way to expose yourself to an area of interest you don’t plan on majoring in.

Eric Jubber, College Class of ’20

Recruitment, SigEp Blog

Rush Guide Fall 2017

Be sure to join our fall 2017 rush Facebook event by clicking here.

SigEp’s recruitment process is atypical for a fraternity. This blog post is meant to show first, how the recruitment process goes; second, what we look for; and third, why it’s different.

Most fraternities follow a simple vote-with majority rule, where after a series of events, all the guys will congregate and simply vote for prospective brothers, deciding whether or not to accept them. Here at Georgetown SigEp, we do things differently. Instead, we have an eight-person recruitment board, headed by the Vice President of Recruitment, and voted on by the whole fraternity. They represent the eighty brothers in the chapter, and decide together on the new class for a given semester. These eight brothers attend every rush event, and work to get to know every rush on a personal level. We’ve found that this is a very effective strategy; these eight brothers can make deeper connections than the entire fraternity, and make sure that every bid we give out is a good fit.

In addition to the Recruitment Board members, the opinion of the entire chapter guides us to our decision as well. We listen to stories from non-board members about specific prospects in open deliberations, so that every brother’s voice can be heard. After an info session and a few rush events, the recruitment board works with the entire fraternity to do first round cuts; a few more rush events happen, and then the recruitment board works together to decide on the prospective class.

What do we look for? In a sentence, all the brothers in SigEp care about developing themselves as people. There’s no one-size-fits-all, but the we pride ourselves on being social students who are looking to improve ourselves and our community. It’s a little bit of a cliche answer, but it’s true. We have brothers from all manner of different backgrounds, and we have brothers pursue all kinds of different careers. The one piece of advice for a rush? Be yourself. Don’t fake your personality, because we’ll be able to tell. Don’t try and be the loudest one in the room if you’re used to being a bit more shy, and don’t try and “get your time with the board.” If you come to the events, we’ll make the effort to get to know you. Check us out in Red Square during syllabus week, stop by our table at the activities fair, and come to our info session. It can be hard to open up to people, but rush is as much about you making sure that you feel you fit in with us.

SigEp nationally holds the motto “This Fraternity Will Be Different.” At Georgetown, we’re forced to be; we don’t have permission to be university-recognized, so we make our name known in other ways. We’re in the capital of the country, and keep ourselves busy in this kickass city by giving back in different ways. We’re more unique and, to many, the perfect substitute for the typical fraternity that Georgetown doesn’t support.

If you’re interested in rushing SigEp or learning more, check out our recruitment page to meet the board, and look back for updates on our Fall 2017 rush schedule, and as always, reach out to em1087@georgetown.edu if you’ve got questions.

Eric Menna, VP of Recruitment, SFS Class of 2018

 

SigEp Blog

Paying It Forward

At Georgetown, no matter what you’re into or what you join, your experience will be defined by the people you meet.  And, clichéd as it might sound, any organization crumbles without the passion, dedication, and support of its members.  For many organizations on campus, the motto is you get out what you put in. As the vice-president of Member Development for SigEp, I can tell you that this is 100% accurate. Rarely, if ever, does any organization commit to its people in the manner we do with Member Development, to helping our members develop their minds, bodies, and life-long friendships.

At the core of MD are “challenges,” based on the amount of time you have spent in the fraternity, which help guide our brothers through their years at Georgetown. We also have weekly “sound mind” and ”sound body” events; in the past these have ranged from inviting speakers to speak to the chapter, to holding dodgeball or basketball tournaments. But what makes MD so special is that it builds upon itself, as it relies upon the wisdom and talents of older brothers to facilitate growth in their younger peers.  In that cycle of leadership and mentorship, brothers often find that their most rewarding moments in SigEp come from “paying it forward,” and learning that their knowledge and opinions matter just as much as the alumni they once looked up to themselves.  No two brothers are the same when they enter or leave SigEp, but regardless of one’s background, MD ensures that brothers graduate with the confidence and network to thrive after college.

I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to see our MD work from the inside, and I cannot say enough about my experiences.  From our biannual retreat to places like Gettysburg and Antietam, to resumé workshops, to discussions on manhood with Georgetown faculty, we continue to push our members to grow.  We continue, to steal a phrase from the Jesuits, to seek the “magis,” or the more. We’ve had alumni teach us about topics ranging from artificial intelligence to bartending.  In the next semester I look forward to expanding our MD efforts to capitalize on the endless opportunities surrounding us both on campus and in the broader D.C. area.  Part of what makes Georgetown such an incredible school is the access to the museums, monuments, and history, and we do our best to make use of that access. SigEp is in the business of building balanced men, and we do not pretend to be perfect. But for me, to understand the impact MD has, I simply need to look back on the person I was when I entered this fraternity and compare him to the man I am today.  As an underclassman I made a decision to join and to invest in SigEp, and I can honestly say that it has returned that investment for me tenfold.

Sam “MemDev” Bernstein, VP of Member Development, College ‘18

SigEp Blog

SigEp Abroad and at Home

Coming into SigEp, I didn’t really understand how incredible the network would be. I’m not even talking about the nationwide network of SigEps, who may want to hire you, or the alumni we have who want to meet you, but just the guys that are in school, right now. I really appreciated this when I went abroad. Brothers study in so many different places, different continents, countries, and cities, giving you the opportunity to visit many more places than other people (it’s pretty cost-effective to stay with a brother rather than a hotel).

This never hit harder than when I was in Barcelona, visiting SigEps for Halloween. We went to La Sagrada Familia, one of the most beautiful churches in the world, and were just awestruck at the size and grandeur of the building. Myself and a few other brothers found ourselves lost in the discussions about the architecture, and stained glass, and the incredible story of Antoni Gaudi. That’s when I realized how incredible it was that I had found a group of guys with whom I could spend the day appreciating the beauty of Barcelona, and spend the night having some of the best nights of our lives.

I think that’s the hidden beauty of what SigEp at Georgetown really means. This is a group of guys who are smart as hell, and can still go out until 4am in a new Spanish city. There’s a lot of organizations that can promise you friendships, or professional opportunities here at Georgetown. But the process by which SigEp selects people is different; it brings together and amazing group of guys, all of whom you can absolutely be proud to be brothers with. I had an incredible time while studying abroad; and whether it was in exploring the streets of Morocco, partying in the tents at Oktoberfest, or celebrating my birthday in Dublin, my experience was made because of brothers. And it’s not only abroad; you’ll find on campus the same sort of experiences. There’s always people to go play pickup with, go into DC with, or even talk politics with. It’s an amazing group, and one that I’m damn proud to be a part of.

Written by Daniel Rosenberg (SFS ’18)

SigEp Blog

A Brief Commentary on Georgetown’s History with the American Slave Trade

It is almost impossible to judge the events of yesterday by the morals of today. This becomes increasingly difficult the more centuries one peers back into history. It is only through studying our faults and learning from our mistakes as humans that we can progress, as a people.

Reflection is a vital aspect of the creed of the Jesuits and as students attending a Jesuit university, it is essential that each student takes this process seriously. This is particularly pertinent to the recent events and information surrounding the history of Georgetown and its construction involving slaves and the slave trade.

It is no secret that the United States has a past teeming with racial tensions and slavery. However, Georgetown has taken a massive step in unveiling some of the actions of former university leaders in an effort to increase transparency and stimulate dialogue among students and intellectuals alike.

In 1838, Jesuit university officials sold 272 slaves into the vociferous, southern slave trade in order to continue financing the university. By bringing these events to light, President John D. DeGioia has received massive amounts of scrutiny. His decision to unveil this history is courageous. Is something that shall pave the way for dealing with racial tensions in the future. It is vital to remember that each student, faculty, and alumnus would not have benefitted from the university had it not been for the 272 brave souls who underwent horrible torture, treatment, and barbaric living conditions. This we must never forget.

In an act of atonement DeGioia has allocated funds and an institute for the study of the descendants, renaming the buildings associated with the descendants, and favorable treatment of the 272.

John Locke, a famous English philosopher, once said that “education begins the gentleman but it is reading, good company, and reflection that must finish him”. Young men and women seeking to become well-rounded individuals for others would do well to follow this stoic worldview. As members of Sigma Phi Epsilon, we thoroughly believe and support the equal treatment of all races, genders, and creeds. The principles and virtues by which we live-virtue, diligence, and brotherly love-have stood the test of time and have guided brothers through troublesome ethical dilemmas for more than a century. They serve as an unwavering moral compass to fall back upon and provide steady ethical judgement during even the most arduous ethical dilemmas. When these ideals are ubiquitous in the actions of each brother and each of these philosophies are taken seriously after extensive reflection, it is possible to reconcile the immoral actions of yesterday with the moral solutions of today.

 

-written by James Callaway (College ’19)

The link to the aforementioned study can be found here: http://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/

Facts compiled from two separate news sources:
Brown, Dorothy A. “Georgetown’s Apology for Slave Trade Doesn’t Go Far Enough.” CNN 5 Sept. 2016: n. pag. Print.
The New York Times Editorial Board. “Georgetown and The Sin of Slavery.” The New York Times 23 Apr. 2016: n. pag. Print.

 

New Student Guide, SigEp Blog

9 Tips for NSO and Beyond

1) NSO can be overwhelming, and that is totally fine. 

There are close to 2,000 new freshmen coming in and everyone is just as lost as everyone else (and if they seem like they have it together, they’re doing a fantastic job at hiding it). Do not be afraid to simply go up and introduce yourself to as many people as you can. Everyone is desperate to make new friends, but often people are too scared to take the first step and speak to anyone. Reach out, listen, and find out awesome things about your incredible new classmates. The first few weeks are some of the most fun on campus, so be bold.

 

2) Don’t be afraid to try something completely new 

If you find yourself sitting in your room and have some spare time, walk around campus. You will find flyers for different clubs, groups, and organizations all over campus. Additionally, attend SAC far. This event is the main vein into joining any club on campus and there will be hundreds of people waiting for you to ask about their respective clubs. When deciding whether or not to join a club it’s always better to sign up for something and then leave it rather than regretting you never signed up in the first place. Find people you like, follow your passions, and you’ll love your Georgetown experience.

 

3) Stay on top of deadlines, coursework, and your email 

Your Georgetown email, MyAccess, and Blackboard will be some of your most useful tools over the next four years. Almost everything that you need to know will be in either emails sent to you or posted on Blackboard/MyAccess. Take the time to read those emails and familiarize yourself with the other two services—they will all be an integral part of your academic life.

 

4) Be frank and honest with your new roommate(s) 

Living with someone who you barely know is incredibly intimidating and is not something to be taken lightly, especially if this is the first time you have ever had a roommate in your life. Issues arise and the best way to deal with these is to be upfront and honest with them. Passive aggressiveness and petty power games do not solve anything. You two will be spending a lot of time together during the year, and, given the chance, they may just become one of your best friends on the Hilltop.

 

5) Formulate a fitness regimen quickly

Those jokes about the freshman 15 you’ve been hearing from everyone…they are based wholly in truth. Regardless of whether you were an elite athlete in high school or never had a thing for sports, a proper diet and fitness regimen goes hand in hand with performance in academics. With all the freedom of college, it’s too easy to opt for eating bad food and gouging on weak nutrition. Therefore, it is essential that you regulate yourself in what you’re eating and how often you are exercising. Leo’s has great healthy options, which actually taste (relatively) good and every single person on campus pays for a gym membership to Yates, so you might as well use it. Additionally, there are many yoga and alternative fitness studios throughout Georgetown, or you could simply go for a run along the waterfront and then back via the Exorcist stairs.

 

6) Don’t be afraid to be authentic

There is a very classic freshman facade that a lot of new students across any campus don during the first few weeks of college. I cannot stress enough how much this hurts you in the long run. Chances are that if you have to pretend to be someone you’re not in order to get into some club or group, you won’t enjoy it. It sounds cliché, but be yourself.

 

7) Utilize your RA and other resources on campus 

If you ever feel like you’re a little lost or just not feeling 100% comfortable with everything going on, reach out to someone. Your RA is a great resource and is there to make your transition to Georgetown painless. Additionally, there are other more confidential and specialized school services at your disposal. Everyone here wants to see you succeed and has provided you with as many opportunities as possible, but it is your responsibility to take advantage of them.

 

8) Take advantage of DC 

Split an Uber with your friends or hop on the bus and head into DC. It’s incredibly easy to get trapped in the “Georgetown Bubble” and forget the awesome city that we live in. Look into cool food stands or restaurants and take advantage of the free museums around the city.

 

9) Learn—about everything

The majority of students and alumni would agree that some of the most important lessons that you learn during your four years in college occur outside of the classroom.  Keep an open mind and use the experience to grow as an individual.

 

-written by James Callaway (College ’19)

New Student Guide, SigEp Blog

What Do Georgetown Faculty Really Want From You? 5 Simple Ideas from a Professor

Blog Author & SigEp Faculty Fellow – Professor Matthew Kroenig

A question I’m asked frequently, particularly from first-year students, is a straightforward but crucial one for all of us at Georgetown:

“What do my professors really want from me?”

It’s simply put but gets right to the heart of a topic I’m sure is on many of your minds. Having finally arrived and settled into this new college experience here on the Hilltop, a series of questions will undoubtedly come up that might seem dumb to you now but, I promise, most students share in thinking about: What does “success” look like here? How can I get that 4.0 GPA? Attending every lecture, doing all the reading? Can I really do this?

At the end of the day, how do I get the most out of these four years?

No, there really isn’t a silver bullet for success here, and no, there isn’t a secret golden ratio of “studying to socializing” that will guarantee your acing both Intro to International Relations and enjoying your time outside the classroom in your first semester.

But there are some traits, practices, and ideas I find myself repeating to my students often, whether they are excelling or struggling. Read on for some ideas on how to get the most out of your time here as a new Hoya:

1. Read deeply—and use it as an opportunity to challenge ideas

Reading, believe it or not, is about more than just eyeing all the words in a book or on your laptop. It’s even more than the accumulation of vast amounts of knowledge and facts. Really, it’s gaining a new perspective and engaging that new perspective critically.

I care a lot less about what my students remember from a specific passage of Kenneth Waltz’s books on international relations theory than I care about whether they grasp the major tenants of his arguments, examine where those thoughts fit into the larger picture of international relations, and articulate to me what they think about it all.

Reading is a critical aspect of doing well in college and beyond it. Don’t simply memorize – think of reading as an activity, requiring your active participation in engaging the author and the ideas in front of you. Outline its tenants and assumptions, its evidence and implications. Write questions for yourself, your peers, and your professors.

Whether you like it, love it, or can’t stand it, reading is a major component of your college experience. Embrace it, and you’ll be a better student, thinker, and person.

2. Think and plan, write and walk—repeat

It will inevitably happen—the dreaded curse of procrastinating on a paper or writing assignment. You’ll run to Lau at 10pm the night before the due date, order an “Awakening” from Midnight Mug, and prep for a night of sleep-deprived writing.

For our sake, and yours, try to avoid, or at least minimize, that style of writing. Same day drafts often have more typos, unclear arguments, and missing substantive elements than a college student should be producing.

When I write, I always give myself enough time to think about the subject and formulate a plan of attack. I go for a run, chew on the plan some more, outline, and draft. Here, though, is an important part: after you finish a draft, walk away.

Relax, have a meal, sleep on it, if you have the time. And then return to reread, revise, and edit the draft from what will be an entirely new, refreshed, and engaged perspective. Trust me, the paper will be better and you’ll appreciate it after you get your grade back.

3. Be more than a face in the crowd

All professors have office hours, a chance that, I promise, most of us actually enjoy and wish students took advantage of more often. But, alas, most students fail to come in, or if they do, only do so for limited, often grade-related reasons.

Believe it or not, professors are here to help you grow as a student and as a person. We want you to succeed, we want you to learn and mature intellectually, and we want you to ask us questions. So come in when something isn’t clear, or if you want to chat about a part of the course in greater detail, or about your career and life goals.

Bonus tip – professors love to talk about their research, so go after the opportunity to engage with a professor whose research you find interesting. It just might help build the kind of mentoring relationship that I still have with some of my professors and that I’ve developed with some of my students at Georgetown.

4. Get to the heart of the subject matter

One helpful activity to consider: when I was a PhD student, my advisor gave me a simple but powerful framework for evaluating an argument that has worked in nearly every situation since. Simply, write down the answer to these questions for every article, book, and argument you’re seeking to critically engage:

  • What’s the question or the problem being posed here?
  • Where did the question come from in the context of the scholarly literature or the wider world?
  • What’s the argument?
  • What’s the evidence provided?
  • Why should I care and what are the implications?

This is a powerful outline that has always helped me to go deeper in examining arguments—and it’s what I expect from high-performing college students. Use it to your advantage!

Finally, one idea you absolutely cannot do without:

5. Relax

You are driven, intelligent, passionate, and ambitious – these traits have gotten you far and will help you succeed. But your education here at Georgetown is about more than just test scores, well-written papers and the amount of books you will have read at the end of it all.

Taking the time to explore the amazing city in which you now live, to interact with your professors, and, yes, to engage your friends, will teach you as much, and likely more, than what you might learn from a professor like me in a lecture or seminar.

This education is designed to change you as a person, to develop you as a thinker, and to shape you as an adult. Have fun along the way, and when the end of the year rolls around (and it will come faster than you can imagine), think back to the person you were back in August and see how much you’ve grown.

Ultimately, that, and not your completed blue book exams or term papers, is what professors really want from you.

Matthew Kroenig is an Associate Professor and International Relations Field Chair in the Georgetown Department of Government at Georgetown University. He serves as a Faculty Fellow for Sigma Phi Epsilon. 

About SigEp: SigEp at Georgetown is a  social fraternity committed to the principles of virtue, diligence, and brotherly love. We take the best the Greek tradition has to offer — a sense of community through brotherhood; vibrant social life; and a wide range of career and networking opportunities — and exclude nonconstructive elements like pledging and hazing, which aren’t in line with the values here at Georgetown. “This fraternity will be different” is our founding creed.

We invite you to take a look around this site and to check out our Facebook page to get a better sense of who we are and what we do. If you’re considering rushing SigEp, sign up for email alerts about upcoming events, and take a look at our recruitment page,which features a tentative calendar of events. You can learn more about us here.