Thanks to Sigma Phi Epsilon’s first Balanced Man Fellowship, Josh Fram, CC ’16, has the opportunity to bring to life an idea he’s worked on for years.
Fram, who received the fraternity’s $3,500 award on Friday, plans to use the fellowship to purchase indoor rowing machines for Camp Shriver, a camp for mentally disabled athletes, located in his hometown of Lawrenceville, NJ.
Fram, who is not in a fraternity, said that the project’s focus on a sport that required both mental and physical exertion reflected the “sound mind and sound body” principles at the core of the fellowship.
“Bringing together these two aspects in the Special Olympics athletes embodies exactly what this fellowship is trying to promote,” Fram said during his speech, which received a standing ovation.
Fram has volunteered at Camp Shriver for five of the past six summers. He has discussed the creation of an indoor rowing program for Special Olympians with the camp’s director of sports development, Matt Wiley, but needed the funds to make it happen.
According to Brian Marcus, CC ’12 and former scholarship chair of SigEp, the Balanced Man Fellowship reflects a focus on the hidden experience of the fraternity—the challenges to maturity and personal growth it offers.
This year is the first that SigEp has offered the Balanced Man Fellowship. In past years, the chapter offered a Balanced Man Scholarship of a smaller amount of money to honor individual achievement. The Fellowship—which can be awarded to individuals or groups and is specifically centered on a community service project—is a new initiative.
Andrew Chapman, CC ’15 and vice president of programming for SigEp, said the fellowship received approximately 10 applications.
From there, the pool was narrowed down to Fram and the runner-up, Engineers without Borders, a group whose project involved building water treatment systems in Ghana.
Will Krasnoff, CC ’14 and fellowship chair, said that the award, which is funded by alumni donations, represents an opportunity to make a deeper impact and show that Greek life is not as insular as some people think.
Marcus said that getting the fellowship off the ground had been a challenge. In his time at Columbia, the chapter struggled to start up the fellowship, as the chapter “didn’t have the core group of guys that they do now.”
“The chapter wasn’t ready,” he added.
William Parish, CC ’15 and a brother of SigEp, said the fellowship reflects the reality that Greek life is more than just partying.
Krasnoff also said the chapter plans to continue this fellowship in future years.
“Our goal is to make this an annual fellowship,” Krasnoff said.