What Is a Rock Chapter?

Building Rock Chapters

Sigma Nu’s expansion motto is “Building Rock Chapters.” A Rock Chapter in Sigma Nu Fraternity is, by definition, one of the finest fraternities at its host institution and one of the finest fraternity chapters across the North American continent.

Below is a description of Sigma Nu's Rock Chapter Award

Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. Rock Chapter Award


The original Rock Chapter Award concept was an innovation of Sigma Nu’s highly respected Executive Secretary, Brother Dick Fletcher. It was a long-standing dream of Brother Fletcher that an award to appropriately recognize chapter excellence would be an inspiring example for others to follow. To give the award special distinction, walnut from the hills surrounding V.M.I. would be used, implanted with a piece of the original Rock upon which the Legion of Honor was founded. Coming up with the criteria for the award, however, proved to be no easy assignment.

So, there is little or no justification for a Rock Chapter Award if it’s simply for the purpose of adding just another piece of hardware to an already overcrowded trophy cabinet. Hence, Brother Fletcher’s concept that such an award would serve as an inspiring example to challenge others, at least, lends credibility to recognizing our very best chapters, those that achieve true distinction.

Designing the perfect criteria for anything, let alone the “Rock Chapter Award”, is no simple task. Over the years, it has been found to be impractical to establish specific objective criteria that would stand the test of being not too extensive, yet comprehensive enough to do justice to both the collegiate chapters and the character of the award. It is also worth noting the criteria for the award continue to change, over time, as new programs and changes are made within the Fraternity.

Therefore, herewith is the official set of criteria for the chapter recognition program known as the Rock Chapter Award.

The Nature of the Award

The Rock Chapter Award is meant to honor collegiate chapters that have achieved excellence in all areas of chapter operations. To be granted the award, a chapter should be expected to attain the ideals, or nearly perfect state on a broad range of areas of fraternity operations. It should also be noted that risk management and behavioral issues are included in the judging process. In addition, to win the award, a chapter should be expected to maintain a state of perfection for a given period of time, not just for a semester of one school year. Furthermore, the award once granted, should not be considered recognition for future achievement (i.e., once a Rock Chapter always a Rock Chapter), but rather recognition for past achievement with an appropriate date inscribed indicating the precise year which the award represents.

Finally, the Rock Chapter award is only presented at Grand Chapters, i.e., every two years, providing there are chapters that qualify. Thus, the following parameters are in place.

  1. The Rock Chapter can be presented only to collegiate chapters of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
  2. The Rock Chapter award is presented for overall excellence in eleven areas of fraternity operations – recruitment, candidate education, alumni, finances, chapter home, social program, scholarship, chapter organization, campus leadership, interfraternity participation, and community service.
  3. A chapter must demonstrate that it has achieved excellence in all eleven categories over a period of at least three consecutive years, and only the third year is to be considered the year in which the award is earned.
  4. Once granted, the recipient will be considered a “Rock Chapter” only for that particular year in which the chapter actually earned the award (see above), not for the year forthcoming, and the plaque will be so inscribed.
  5. Rock Chapter Awards will be presented only at Grand Chapters.

Click here to learn more about Sigma Nu's Rock Chapter Award and to see the most recent Rock Chapters.