Barry McNamara  |   Published March 23, 2022

Sig Ep Chapter President Honored

Junior Elijah Lind receives Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity’s prestigious Ruck Leadership Award

ELIJAH LIND: Three-term Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter president receives prestigious Frank J. Ruck Le... ELIJAH LIND: Three-term Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter president receives prestigious Frank J. Ruck Leadership Award.MONMOUTH, Ill. – As a Monmouth College freshman, Elijah Lind ’23 was lukewarm on the idea of joining Greek life.

“When I first got here, I wasn’t feeling too strong either way about joining a fraternity or not,” said Lind, an economics major from Walnut, Illinois. “A lot of people join one to have a group of friends, but I already had that. But my roommate (Ryan Giroux) wanted to check it out, so I went along with him.”

In the end, it was Lind who wound up going Greek, while Giroux stayed unaffiliated.

Two years later, Lind is a multi-term president of the Gamma Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He was recently named one of 10 regional winners of the fraternity’s prestigious Frank J. Ruck Leadership Award, presented to a chapter or individual who shows outstanding campus or community leadership and makes significant positive changes on the campus/community as a whole.

‘Positive attitude’

Monmouth Co-Dean of Students Karen Ogorzalek said that during “a very difficult time for all chapters,” Lind has made keeping a “positive attitude” for the chapter a priority.

“The change he is making within his chapter focuses on the word ‘positive.’ He always has a bright vision for the chapter, his brothers and the way Sig Ep can impact the campus.” Karen Ogorzalek 

“Increased brotherhood events for chapter cohesiveness have been a staple with the Sig Ep chapter, led and supported by Elijah,” she said. “The change he is making within his chapter focuses on the word ‘positive.’ He always has a bright vision for the chapter, his brothers and the way Sig Ep can impact the campus. The always-positive attitude and enthusiasm that Elijah models for his chapter helps him keep the operations and spirit of the chapter aflame.”

Lind is in his third term as Sig Ep’s president. He began his duties mid-term in the spring of 2020, held the office for a full term in 2021 and will remain as president through the end of 2022.

“I’ve really enjoyed it and put a lot of time into it,” he said. “I also try to get involved in any Greek life activity, not just events involving Sig Ep.”

He said his fraternity brothers surprised him with the honor.

“I didn’t know about the leadership award until we had a chapter meeting, and they presented it to me there,” said Lind, who was officially recognized for the honor a few days later at the fraternity’s national Carlson Leadership Academy. He attended the event with Sig Ep brothers and junior classmates Luke Mulcrone of Chicago and Tommy Green of Champaign, Illinois.

“The academy is a place to get together with other chapters and to learn from people who have the same position as you,” said Lind. “So I met with other chapter presidents, and we also got to meet Sig Ep alumni who are involved in leadership. We learned about successes, but we also learned about what went wrong, because one of the best learning experiences you can have is failure.”

Lind also enjoys getting together with Monmouth’s Sig Ep alumni. At an event the chapter hosted last fall, he was able to chat with College Board of Trustees member Brad Nahrstadt ’89, who’s deeply involved with the fraternity, as well as others, including Roy Sye ’13 and College employees Tom Sargent ’85 and Brian Jordan ’09.

On choosing Sig Ep and Monmouth

Recalling his decision to be a part of Greek life, Lind said he was drawn to Sigma Phi Epsilon for several reasons.

“It’s not a typical fraternity. I decided that’s what I wanted,” said Lind. “For one, from the moment you join, you’re equal to the president. There’s no hazing, and we’re focused on academics. We’re also a dry fraternity, so there’s no alcohol and no drugs. It’s a diverse group of guys. When I first joined, there were several science majors. Now there’s a lot of music majors. We have athletes and guys who are involved in theatre, in music.”

“It’s not a typical fraternity. … For one, from the moment you join, you’re equal to the president. There’s no hazing, and we’re focused on academics.” Elijah Lind

Lind himself is involved with the latter two categories, and the ability to do so, while majoring in a completely different area, was a factor in his decision to choose Monmouth.

“I only applied to three schools – Monmouth, Illinois State and Eastern Illinois,” said Lind.

He’d heard of Monmouth through “a friend who came here, and two of my teachers went to Monmouth” – Brody Anderson ’18, who was a student teacher while Lind attended Bureau Valley High School, and Philip Przybyla ’15.

“I liked the really small feel of campus, and I loved how involved the professors were in their students’ lives and that they had a relationship with them,” he said.

Lind said he liked that he could be involved in music and theatre without having to major in those subjects. He’s been in seven theatre productions and will play several roles in the upcoming April 7-10 production of The Spoon River Project. One of his choral highlights was performing a solo on the Chorale’s trip to Europe in 2020, which ended just as the pandemic was beginning there and in the United States.

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