Campus welcomes Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Brothers, campus community explain process and goals


Contributed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the first fraternity to be welcomed to Winona State in six years. After a nine month approval process, the fall of 2018 is the groups first official semester on campus as a recognized fraternity.

Morghan Lemmenes, Features Editor

For the first time in six years, Winona State University has welcomed a new fraternity to campus.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is a group that is passionate about helping the community and expands the fraternity life on campus.

Gabe Pesch, a sophomore pre-physical therapy major, is the president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and brought the organization to campus.

Pesch brought the fraternity to campus after he transferred here from University of Wisconsin-Stout.

“I have met men from the chapter of SAE there,” Pesch said. “I saw all the good they were doing for the community and all of their philanthropy events, all the good things they were having in general. They also had a tight brotherhood and were very organized.”

After transferring to Winona State and seeing the good in SAE, Pesch and some of his friends wanted to spread SAE’s morals and values in the Winona community. He also believes it will help spread more ideas and help out the Winona community in a different aspect that might not happen without SAE.

It took Pesch nine months to form the fraternity and have it approved by Winona State and the SAE headquarters.

“First you have to get in contact with nationals, have to see that you are well organized and have a certain amount of people, it is around ten people to start with,” Pesch said. “From there you have to establish certain officers, an executive board to make overall decisions and a vice-president and president.”

After establishing the fraternity, Pesch had to get in contact with a Greek advisor and fill out group forms through Student Senate. Once Student Senate approves of the group, then nationals have to come to Winona State to present information about SAE and what the organization will bring to campus.

Following this, Pesch and the other members had to present their ideas to Greek Council and have multiple members serve on Greek Council. From there, nationals will come again and have another forum before initiation begins.

Raquel Taylor, a junior public health-healthcare administration major, currently serves as the president of Greek Council, and commented on the addition of the new fraternity

“SAE was kind of a shock because we just added Alpha Sigma Tau [sorority], and now we are looking at amending our bylaws so that we as a community can have a say about whether or not we would like another organization to join,” Taylor said.

For new members to join, SAE offers a four-year education program through learning modules, building resumes, a general feeling of brotherhood and helping out the community and campus.

They give modules on many things. The first thing that is learned is anti-hazing and sexual assault information, anything involving campus safety and learning about their core values.

To become a new member, a person has to meet everyone in the group and go to a couple of their philanthropy events just to get to know everyone in the group. Members also ask questions to the potential new members, including “What are your ideas?” and “What do you want out of a fraternity?”

“Based on those questions, it makes us think whether or not this person will be a good pick,” Pesch said. “For example, if they respond to the question “What do you want out of a fraternity?” with partying, that is not what we are about. SAE represents leadership, scholarship and friendship, not the partying aspect.”

Taylor believes SAE has taken a lot of very strong stances on certain things. For a fraternity just starting out, they are really passionate about what they are doing and what they want to do.

However, Taylor did comment on how their new member process is a topic of discussion.

“They have done completely away with the traditional new member process. So once you are extended a bid, or them saying that they want you to be a part of the organization, you are an initiated member within 96 hours,” Taylor said. “With other Greek organizations on campus, we have a period where new members do all the new member learning, tests and all of that.”

However, SAE’s new members are accepted right away and then they receive all of the new member education.

According to Taylor, Greek Council has a zero-tolerance hazing policy and the way SAE’s new member process is set up, it gets away with anything that could happen, like hazing.

Ryan Greeney, a senior criminal justice law enforcement major and president of Tau Kappa Epsilon, explains that all new Greek organizations would have this type of discussion.

“Just like every Greek organization, there could be problems that come with it and something that they need to be careful about. We just want to make sure the new members are looked after,” Greeney said.

Even though their new member process is a topic of discussion in the Greek community, the new fraternity continues to hold events and help out the community.

“One event that is coming up is about sexual assault, and we are holding it at the Veteran’s Center,” Pesch said. “There we have an open forum where you can ask us questions about our policies on sexual assault, how we prevent it and be able to talk to Title IX office, so we can help campus prevent it in anyway.”

SAE is also in the process of holding the event “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” While the group is hosting the event, SAE members will be wearing heels the whole time while collecting donations.

“We still have to get more details on this, but that is going to be a big one,” Pesch said. “We are also looking to pair with other Greek organizations to help with their events as well. Our main philanthropy partner is Children’s Miracle Network. So, we will be doing a lot with them.”

Lindsay Marosi-Kramer, assistant director of student activities for Greek life and leadership, discusses how SAE will bring a lot to the Greek Community at Winona State.

“They have already done great work raising nearly $1500 for veterans, opened lines of communication within Greek life and brought a new energy to the community,” Marosi-Kramer said.  “It is exciting to see Greek life coming together to support this group of Winona State students in their pursuits, it is what being Greek is really all about, coming together to support great philanthropy and efforts to better our entire campus community.”

With SAE joining Greek Life, it has brought a lot of negative attention to Greek life on campus. However, it has brought the rest of the Greek community together to support the new organization.

Gavin Beacom, junior business administration major and newly-elected president of Sigma Tau Gamma, discusses how SAE will break the negative attention on Greek life and bring a positive light to the organizations.

“It is constantly an uphill battle. I think that it has a lot to do with the individuals being recruited, which has been improving,” Beacom said. “I think they are going to bring in great guys and it will be a lot of the who they are recruiting which will help the name and break the stereotypes that [Greek life] has.”

Taylor continued the discussion on how SAE will help encourage other organizations to do more in the community. She talked about how Sig Tau added 15 new members and how the fraternity community is growing because more men want to help out and make a difference.

Greeney also talked about how SAE will improve the Winona community.

“Community outreach and showing what you do with the community will impact not just the campus but the community as a whole,” Greeney said. “Since Winona is a smaller community, we don’t want any bad things about Greek life. So, if they are going out into the community and helping, then the fraternity is good.”

Pesch believes that the fraternity will go in a good direction. Everyone in the group is passionate about helping out the community and campus, as well as being in a brotherhood.

As they continue, they will be helping out the community at a quicker pace just to catch up with the other fraternities.

Both Greeney and Beacom are excited that SAE is coming to campus and look forward to working with them in the future.

“Anytime we have a new organization it will help Greek life grow and have more exposure on campus,” Beacom said. “They work hard with their various philanthropies both locally and nationally, so that will bring some good recognition as well and better the Winona community overall.”

Contributed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Sophomore Gabe Pesch (bottom left) stands with three founding fathers of the Minnesota Delta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Winona State’s newest fraternity. Pesch is a transfer student from the University of Wisconsin-Stout where he first encountered the organization and was inspired by their charity work. He was able to get the fraternity started after transferring to Winona State and now sits as the group’s first president.
Contributed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Members of the new fraternity sit for a photo over Thanksgiving break. In their first semester as an official group at Winona State, SAE have raised nearly $1,500 for veterans groups and have events planned next semester to combat sexual assault.