SigEp Penn Delta Leads the Way for Mental Wellness Support: Grand Chapter Recognizes National Partnership with The Reflect Organization
By Dan Olson, ’99,
Alumni Communications VP
Thanks to Penn Delta’s unwavering commitment to Brotherly Love, following the 58th Grand Chapter Conclave, SigEps across the nation will receive enhanced mental wellness support. Read below to find out more…
More than 10 years ago, steeped in the values and principles of SigEp, Tony Krumbhaar ‘13, former Chapter Counselor and current Pennsylvania Delta Foundation Alumni Board Member, started “Tony Talks,” a discussion group where brothers would casually meet and talk about their lives. This tradition continued with Christopher Chike’s, ‘13, “Chike Chats,” and later with Amir Javaid’s, ‘15, “Javaid Jabbers.” After experiencing the death by suicide of 11 fellow Penn students, performing research on “Penn Face,” a phenomenon at the University of Pennsylvania where students hide their internal struggles behind a metaphorical mask of effortless perfection, and, among other influences, taking part in “Javaid Jabbers,” Jared Fenton, ‘17, established The Reflect Organization (Reflect), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Reflect believes in the power of students to transform campus culture and is dedicated to empowering students to foster a culture of authenticity, self-love, and allyship on campus. Today, Reflect has grown to support the mental wellness of hundreds of thousands of students using research-based and data-proven programming. In 2020, the JED foundation for mental health named Reflect one of three best-practice programs in the country, and in 2022 an article in the Journal of American College Health recognized Reflect as one of just three recommended organizations to address anxiety and suicide risk on campus.
Aligned to SigEp’s cardinal principle of Brotherly Love – found at 4028 Walnut – Jared received the prestigious Honor of Philias from SigEp Headquarters at the 2019 Houston Conclave for his significant contributions to support undergraduate student mental wellness. SigEp Headquarters also asked Jared to serve as a mentor and develop mental wellness programming for the Tragos Quest to Greece, which offers a unique opportunity for brothers to delve into the origins of SigEp’s values and the Balanced Man ideal. Like Conrad Eberstein, ‘65, Pennsylvania Delta Foundation Board Member, who conceived what became the Tragos Quest to Greece and served as a multi-time mentor, Jared shared the Penn Delta spirit with brothers on his voyage.
Jared was invited by the then Grand President to join SigEp’s National Mental Health Committee (MHC). The MHC was tasked with developing a strategic plan to support undergraduate brothers’ mental wellness and asked Jared to draft a proposal for how Reflect programming could support this effort. After exploring numerous options, including Reflect programming, the MHC approved the proposal Jared created (with Jared abstaining from the vote) and recommended a partnership.
SigEp’s 58th Grand Chapter Conclave was held this past August in San Antonio, Texas. The legacy of “Tony Talks” and Penn Delta’s leadership culminated in the Grand Chapter naming Reflect the fraternity’s national programmatic and service-learning partner. Legislation to approve this partnership passed through both committee and floor unanimously, to which there was applause and speeches from undergrads in support of SigEp’s focus on mental wellness. SigEp’s Balanced Man Program will be augmented by Reflect’s peer-to-peer, mental wellness programming, such that chapters across the country will experience what has roots at Penn Delta.
Of course, major initiatives require funding, and Penn Delta again showed itself to be a pioneer among all SigEp chapters by leading the way to fund SigEp’s Mental Health Initiative (MHI). At the Conclave Banner Auction (a signature fundraising event), Brett Danko, ‘90, the Pennsylvania Delta Foundation President, made a leadership gift in the name of Penn Delta. Chapter Counselor Chantry Carroll, ‘17 (Murray State), Conrad Eberstein, ‘65, and Jared Fenton, ‘17 made supporting gifts, also in the name of Penn Delta. This strong show of support from Penn Delta not only won the banner auction, but more importantly, provided crucial support for the MHI and inspired others to donate. Two alums from different chapters stepped up to match Penn Delta’s contribution, and additional donations came from the MHC, more alumni, and even undergraduates. Penn Delta’s leadership drove the auction to blow past $150,000 raised, surpassing all expectations. These funds will benefit SigEp’s MHI as a whole, not just the aspects of it that regard Reflect programming.
As the influence of Penn Delta spreads across the country, lives will be changed through Reflect programming. To support Reflect’s work, scan the QR code below or visit reflecteffect.org/donate. All contributions are tax-deductible. If you have any questions, please email [email protected] or contact Jared directly at [email protected].