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Alumnus Wins International Fraternity Award

Two-time winner of Willamette Greek Man of the Year, president of the Sigma Chi fraternity and the Interfraternity Council, captain of his intramural men's indoor volleyball team, winner of multiple awards for leadership and academic talent, volunteer in campus community service programs -- it seems as though Eli Snider '07 did it all while on campus.

And that was while maintaining a 3.95 GPA and completing a double major in history and philosophy.

"My decision to serve in the Greek community felt natural because it was something that I cared about," Snider says. "I never questioned how much time I was putting into it because I found it to be so rewarding."

Snider's multiple talents got the attention of the Sigma Chi fraternity headquarters last summer when he won the International Balfour Award, the fraternity's highest undergraduate honor. He beat out 219 other young men from Sigma Chi chapters across the U.S. and Canada to win the award.

"My participation in the Greek system at Willamette was central to my personal development, and I will forever be indebted to Sigma Chi for making me the man I am today," Snider says. "Learning the importance of having good character and the role that plays in creating a successful and meaningful life is not always something explicitly talked about in the classroom."

The International Balfour Award goes to a graduating senior with excellent scholarship, character, service to the fraternity and campus leadership. As the winner, Snider receives a Life Loyal fraternity membership and the opportunity to serve on the Sigma Chi International Executive Committee for two years.

Willamette has had multiple Northwest Province Balfour winners over the years -- including Senior Director of Alumni Relations Jim Booth '64 -- and even had a top finalist a few years ago. But Snider is the first Willamette student ever to be named the international winner.

"Eli is very deserving of this award," Booth says. "His service to the chapter, and indeed to the Greek system at Willamette, was extraordinary. It is rare when someone can achieve so much outside the classroom while accomplishing so much in it."

Besides his fraternity leadership, Snider acted in a Willamette theatre production, participated in beach cleanups, did landscaping at a family shelter during a campus-wide service day, and twice hosted Willamette Bachelor Philanthropy, a date auction that benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He was helping the Salem community even before he started classes at Willamette, when he participated in a Jump Start program called New Student Orientation to Community Outreach (NSOCO), a pre-Opening Days program focused on service.

So what's in the future for this busy young man? Now he's in Chicago, working at Sigma Chi International Headquarters as the associate director of leadership programs. This makes him responsible for managing and directing resources for recruitment and leadership training for all North American Sigma Chi chapters.

It's a tough responsibility, but one that Snider is excited to take on. "If I were given the opportunity to do anything in the world right now, I would choose to do this," he says.

After his stint with Sigma Chi, Snider hopes to attend law school. "The idea of working with and assisting others and having a job that's really important to other people's lives is what attracted me to law."