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Q&A with Holden McGinnis, Commander

Holden McGinnis, who just finished serving as Commander. He’s built strong relationships with the Property Company and has led the house very successfully for the past year.

Below, Holden shares his experience as Commander.

Q: Why did you join Sigma Nu as opposed to other fraternities on campus?

A: “I joined Sigma Nu because I found a group of men here who were interested in more than just partying. I had profound conversations with brothers who I met during the rush process and I felt myself fitting perfectly into the house culture.”

Q: What have you gained as a result of serving as Commander?

A: “A lot of gray hairs. Jokes aside, I think I gained a great understanding for organizational dynamics. Running a changing, growing organization isn’t without its challenges. I learned how to balance my role as a friend and a brother with my role as a leader. I also gained an appreciation for the work that the 120 commanders before me have done. Every day is a battle, but if you come out with a better organization than when you entered, you’ve won the war.”

Q: How do you feel your time as Commander has prepared you for success in the future?

A: “Well, I view being Commander a lot like being the CEO of a small company. We have various departments, which mostly have real world analogs, operate on a fairly large budget, maintain relations with numerous external organizations and internally strive to improve. I’m interested in starting my own company at some point in the future, and I think being Commander gave me a taste for being the thought leader and external face of an organization.”

Q: What are the biggest achievements you made or the Chapter made during your time as Commander?

A: “Externally, we’ve improved our philanthropy efforts, raising over $1,000 and 100 pounds of canned goods for Philabundance and holding a successful blood drive for the Red Cross. We’ve improved our social relationships with a number of organizations. Internally, we revamped our new member education process to better prepare candidates to be active and involved brothers. We also worked to create a clear document of expectations for brothers to encourage involvement. In general, we’ve shifted our vision towards improving the overall fraternity experience and bringing clear value to our members. It’s permeated through numerous phases of our operations.”

Q: What challenges did you overcome while serving as a leader of your peers? How did you overcome them?

A: I think the first challenge every commander faces is learning how to control the room during Chapter meetings. It’s the balance between still wanting to be everyone’s friend and needing to run a meeting effectively. I overcame it generally by knowing who I could rely on to keep a room under control and leaning on those people in discussion to keep the rowdiness under control. Generally, I think maintaining a respectful image and staying open to everyone’s input allowed for a sense of respect that helped me manage the chapter.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Sigma Nu brother?

A: “The late night conversations. Everyone tends to think that joining a fraternity is about the social and brotherhood events, but there’s a lot more than that, as you all know. For me, my favorite part has been the late night conversations, whether it’s about the fraternity, school, or just life. The fraternity has a tremendous sense of community to it, and that’s the most representative aspect.”