Sigma Chi - University of Nebraska

Spring 2016 Newsletter

Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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Page 3 W e seldom write about financial management in The Husker Sig, but it is an essential part of our stewardship, vitally important in making our physical facility at 1510 Vine Street a viable asset for the future and a well-run and well-maintained facility on an ongoing basis. Here, Chapter Advisor Executive Committee members Brad Staskiewicz '09 and Trey Pittinger '00 provide key metrics describing our current financial situation. The subject is particularly important since we completed a major reinvestment in the house three years ago at a cost of over $2,600,000. Happily, thanks to the stewardship of Woody Denker '74, our Greater Nebraska Area Alumni Chapter president, and Justin Kurzer '01, our House Corporation president, the house is in superb shape from a financial management standpoint. Once again, we are indebted to those whose commitment to the capital campaign has been unwavering. For perspective, in 2013-14, we reoccupied the house with formal recognition from the University. As part of our agreement, the 2014- 15 school year was the first we were allowed to have freshmen students reside in the house. We have consistently tried to make the house not only an exceptional place to live, but an exceptional value as well. To live at 1510 Vine, students pay about 75% of what it costs to live in the newer student dorms on the UNL campus. Our operating statutes require us to collect payment via house bills from residents, out of which we pay basic expenses, namely staff costs, food, utilities, Sigma Chi and University fees, and rush- and brotherhood-related events. The remaining net profit is turned over to the Sigma Chi Building Corporation in the form of rent. The Building Corporation, in turn, uses these payments to pay real estate taxes, maintain the house, and make debt payments. In recent years, these expenses have ranged from $70,000 to $95,000 annually. This school year, 2015-16, marks the first year in over a decade in which the rent from the Fraternity to the Building Corporation will cover all expenses. In fact, it will allow us to pay down $35,000 in principle to our existing loan. We are committed to reducing our overall loan amount to $750,000 by the end of this year, which will release our guarantors, mostly Sig alumni from the 1960s, from the personal guarantees made on the property when we chose to invest heavily in renovations three years ago. Critical to our long-term financial health, and retiring the debt on the house, we are required to consistently operate with competitive rents and more optimized occupancy levels in the house. Membership growth is important, but retention among those living in the house is very important, not just for revenue generation, but for the opportunities that living in a centrally located facility provides in terms of building deeper brotherhood and richer experiences for our members. Our three-year trend of percentages living in is acceptable in terms of managing a modest bottom line. However, UNL Greek average membership is 71, so we are well below average on this measure. • Despite being in the black this year, we fully intend to improve our numbers as it relates to increasing the number and percentages of those living in the house by rethinking our current requirements. • Specifically, the undergraduates have now taken the initiative to change the bylaws of the Chapter to require members to live in the house a minimum of four semesters within their first three years in college. There will be a judicial committee that will hear appeals for students who would like the requirement waived; however, those members will not be able to hold an office in the Chapter and other key benefits will be taken away. It will become a cultural expectation that a member live in for four semesters. • For upperclassmen, specifically seniors, we are looking at possible financial incentives in the form of a reduction in house dues to entice them to live in the house for their final year, which runs counter to the campus trends. This is an ideal time for them to lead and set the tone for their undergraduate brothers. • We continue to rigorously pursue these strategies until we have a full house, which was redesigned during the renovation to comfortably provide for 56 live-in members. Our undergraduates attended the Province Conference in early March and collaborated with other chapters and Province leadership to better understand national trends and strategies in this area so we can optimize our financial performance. We will report on their key findings in the next issue of The Husker Sig. Meanwhile, long live a healthy and vibrant 1510 Vine. Well-constructed, well-managed, and, thankfully, always room to improve! THIS OLD HOUSE: Stewardship Report 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 Active Members Spring Semester 38 52 64 Pledges Spring Semester 3 7 13 Live-Ins Spring Semester 22 31 36 % of Live-Ins to Members 58 60 56 Full-year Fraternity Revenue $197,000 $310,000 $362,000 Full-year Rent Paid to Building Corp. $27,000 $86,500 $113,000 Full-year Principal Reduction on Line of Credit ($49,000) ($8,000) $35,000 B rothers, it has been our recent custom to get together occasionally to celebrate our time at UNL in the '60s and try hard to forget how quickly the subsequent decades have passed. Last year, we elected to change our events from a yearly reunion to a once-every-two-years reunion. As it is 2016, we are planning a get-together on Homecoming weekend this year, which will take place on October 1. All details are not finalized yet since we don't know what time they'll schedule that pesky kick-off on Saturday against Illinois. But, as you'll read elsewhere, the undergraduate Sigs are holding a reception at 1510 Vine on Saturday irrespective of kick-off time. And the Sigs of the '60s are organizing a get-together on Friday night, September 30, the night before. First, drinks and finger food at the "N" Club from 6-8 p.m. Then we will also provide an opportunity for Sigs of the '60s to have dinner within walking distance of the "N" Club in a private dining room somewhere in downtown Lincoln. Details will be announced later via e-mail. Meanwhile, if you think you are going to be in Lincoln for Homecoming and want to participate in our Friday night soiree, please let Steve Davis '67 ( or Bob Seidell '65 ( know. We look forward to seeing you to rally on the Huskers. -The Gang of Sigs from the Sixties Sigs of the '60s Homecoming Get-Together

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