Concerted effort brings national recognition to WSU fraternity


Wichita State’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity were awarded the Buchanan Cup last month for its accomplishments the last two years.

The Buchanan Cup is a prestigious award that can be won by a Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) Fraternity.

“There is nothing that beats [the Buchanan Cup] in SigEp,” said Jaren Johnson, chapter president of the fraternity.

The night of Aug. 13 at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, members of Wichita State’s SigEp chapter sat waiting near the front, watching the announcements for Buchanan Cup award recipients. They waited through about 23 awards. Then, the announcer mentioned some of SigEp’s achievements at WSU, and the members knew they had won.

 The Buchanan Cup, better known as the “Buck Cup” by SigEp members, is an award that is only given to the best SigEp chapters in the nation.

SigEp has the fourth most chapters of any fraternity in the nation. Of those 234 chapters, only about 40 at a time will earn the Buchanan Cup.

According to the SigEp website, the Buchanan Cup awards — engraved silver bowls —are given out every two years when the largest national gathering of SigEp members get together for the grand chapter conclave.

The chapter won the award for its accomplishments in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, at the Dallas conclave, Johnson said the chapter was told in order to receive a Buchanan Cup, it needed to increase its membership size and get more members to live in the chapter house

Senior Jakob Gutierrez, SigEp vice president of membership development, said the previous chapter president pushed everyone to increase campus involvement and recruitment.

Johnson, then vice president of membership development, promoted the idea by encouraging brotherly love and friendships, Gutierrez said.

“We used to not be active in other fraternities’ philanthropies and we completely flipped that around,” Johnson said. “Instead of getting down about it and slacking, we improved in other areas.”

The WSU chapter also increased incoming donations during its philanthropy events. The chapter collected about $4,100 for Pennies for Wishes in the spring of 2014, up from only $1,000 in 2013. The improvement continued this year as SigEp raised about $7,700 to help fulfill wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions.

“When we try to be the best we can be is when we realize we have a shot to get the Buck Cup,” junior Wyatt Clark said.

SigEp improved in recruitment after the 2013 Dallas meeting of SigEp fraternities. Membership increased from 60 in early 2013 to 80 in fall of 2014. By fall of 2014, the chapter house was at maximum occupancy with 32 members.

 Gutierrez said Johnson influenced others to have the mindset of a team attempting to win a championship.

“That last year down the stretch we wanted to hammer that (mindset) home,” Gutierrez said.