Updated: Mar 28, 2018
Timothy Sirota’s first job after high school graduation was an early indication of his strong desire to travel, learn and serve.
“I joined the Marines in 2005 as an 18 year-old to gain different experiences, see the world, benefit from the GI Bill for college and of course, serve my country,” said Tim (CA-CH ‘12).
Tim was assigned to an infantry division responsible for maintaining and transporting large scale mortar systems. During the next 3 1⁄2 years, he served as a Fire Direction Control Chief and Lead Vehicle Driver and was twice deployed to Fallujah (Iraq). “Our main role was to secure the roads, protect convoys and sweep the roadsides for IEDs,” he said. It was exciting and dangerous duty. “There were a few close calls but we had good training and traveled the same roads on a regular basis, so it became easier to spot anything unusual, including the IEDs. Plus, we had developed good relationships with the Iraqi Army and police.”
Discharged in 2009,Tim was ready to get back to the classroom, first at Palomar College and then as a junior transfer to UCSD. He initially hadn’t intended to join a fraternity; but eventually decided to visit a few groups.“I met some of the members of the ΣΑΕ Colony (formed to regain the charter that was lost in 2005).They were closer to my age (24), which appealed to me because we had some of the same life experiences. I was also extremely impressed with the True Gentleman pledge, as a code of behavior to aspire to.”
Tim pledged the ΣΑΕ Colony in 2011 and didn’t waste time getting involved.“I thought I could probably help make a difference in certain areas and was elected EDA,” he explained.“We worked hard to get the ΣΑΕ charter back, which occurred in May, 2012.”
Tim also looked for ways to assist the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC). “My attitude was that assisting IFC would most likely be good for our chapter as well.” He became vice president while also serving as ΣΑΕ chapter treasurer.Then when the IFC president resigned after half his term, Tim moved into the top spot.
As an undergrad, Tim often considered the possibility of working for ΣΑΕ National Headquarters.“I had such a great experience with my chapter and the IFC, and also enjoyed good interaction with ΣΑΕ staff,” he said. “I met so many great people and wanted to give back.” He began learning more about ΣΑΕ’s policies and procedures and other internal systems. “I started reaching out and letting people know of my interest. I attended Province meetings, several leadership schools and a national convention. As graduation approached, I began seriously preparing for potential positions.”
A month after his May 2014 graduation, Tim started work as one of ΣΑΕ’s Regional Directors, serving as a fraternity liaison to chapters in nine different states. He was later named Director of Chapter Development; assisting chapters that needed counsel and other support to overcome discipline or related problems.
Last October, Tim added the title of Director of Chapter Expansion. In that role he evaluates college and university campuses to see if there is an appropriate place for an ΣΑΕ chapter. One of the challenges is addressing campus administrators’ doubts about adding a new fraternity, especially after they’ve read about problems on other campuses.“But I’ve found that once I get to meet them and have an objective conversation, we can show why ΣΑΕ will be a good partner for that school.”
Tim typically travels about two weeks every month, meeting with individual chapters, Province leaders and National staff. He’s already visited more than 100 campuses in 37 states.While the busy schedule doesn’t leave a lot of “free time,” he does enjoy hikes in San Diego and elsewhere. “My work travel also allows me a chance to meet up with many friends who have relocated throughout the country.”
Whenever he is back home in San Diego,Tim likes to volunteer for such organizations as the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, and the San Diego River Park Foundation, and also attend San Diego Alumni Association events. He has seen first-hand the benefits of fraternity membership and Alumni Association involvement and likes to share those with others. “In discussions with alumni and undergrads I always emphasize the importance of being involved—at whatever level is comfortable. Brothers are able to share their experiences, knowledge and advice, and in return enhance their professional network and gain wonderful friendships.”
Tim’s long-term plans include attending law school and ideally practicing in San Diego. Meanwhile, he’s committed to making ΣΑΕ stronger throughout the realm.
~ By David Robinson