The chapel is packed shoulder-to- shoulder. Brothers in suits are in the balconies looking
down at the central podium. The lights are dimmed, and the soft glow of candles sets the
scene as we welcome our newest brother into the Fraternity.
That was the scene for Friday, November 14, 2014, at the Levere Memorial Temple as
more than 250 undergraduates traveled to Evanston, Illinois, to learn more about the
Ritual of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Many who made the journey were not sure what to
expect — some perhaps to see how to better plan a ceremony; others were interested in
seeing the actual headquarters building. What they found was much, much more than
The DeVotie Ritual Institute, in its fourth year, continued its mission to educate members
in the practice, performance and living our Ritual in daily life. Through large-group
sessions and smaller seminars, participants were challenged to push past their pre-
conceived notions of Ritual and fraternity and to find the greater, deeper value of the
organization that we strive to advance.
Brothers discussed and dissected portions of our Ritual, which may be challenging to
understand at first glance, and they analyzed the oaths we take as members and applied
what we say we do with the practice of what we actually do. Everyone was challenged to
make sure that our actions follow through on our words, and faculty and staff urged
attendees to take back to their chapters what they learned. In fact, the afternoon sessions
on Saturday, November 15, focused solely on the ways to do so.
My time at the EA Institute was a great experience, where I got to meet brothers in my role across the Realm, where we could discuss our issues and successes openly, looking to only better our chapters. We were able to brainstorm, debate and collaborate on experiences and choices our chapters can make. This opportunity gave me the kickstart I needed to get my term off on the right foot.
Diedrich Harms (North Dakota State)