Colony Program

In 1905, Ossian Everett Mills, Revered Founder and first Supreme President, set forth his vision for the Fraternity’s expansion:

“Conservatism is becoming the settled policy of the Fraternity, I believe, both as to the founding of new Chapters and also of the various Chapters as to the reception of new members. We have learned, in our short experience, that it is better to go slowly and carefully, thoroughly investigating all who seek admission into our Fraternity, rather than to make grievous mistakes by undue haste or careless methods.”

This eloquent statement is consistent with the perspective that has shaped today’s Colony Program. If the bond between the Fraternity and its chapters is to be strong and long-lasting, then it is of the utmost importance to ensure that Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is the right organization for the men who are seeking admission, and that they are well suited for the Fraternity.

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity is committed to expansion, both in the installation of new chapters and the reactivation of those that have become inactive. Much care has been taken in the development of the programs by which an interested group of men may install/reactivate a chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Experience has proven that when the Fraternity expends more effort in the training and education of a colony, the return on the investment manifests itself in a more dedicated, positive, and knowledgeable new chapter.

The Guide to the Colony Program serves as the documentation of all official procedures and policies of the Colony Program as defined by the Commission on Standards, the national standing committee charged with establishing program requirements and evaluating colony progress. The materials provided to the colony throughout the various phases will help to facilitate the activities of those phases, as well as reiterate certain procedures and policies as dictated by this guide, but will not subjugate the authority and importance of this document. This guide functions as a reference throughout the program and not merely as an informational explanation of the program for interest groups.


I. SHELTERING INSTITUTION REQUIREMENTS

The institution sheltering the interest group must be a four-year institution that offers at least a bachelor’s degree in any field of music. Institutions that offer only two-year degrees are not eligible to shelter a colony.

If a sheltering institution has previously housed a chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia that is currently inactive, the chapter can be reactivated through the Colony Program. If the previous chapter was expelled or had its charter revoked for any reason, colonization cannot begin for at least seven (7) years from the date of expulsion or charter revocation.

II. INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Any male student, faculty, or staff member of the sheltering institution is eligible for any class of membership, including probationary, if he is eighteen (18) years of age or older, and, through a love for music, can assist in the fulfillment of the Fraternity’s Object and ideals either by adopting music as a profession, or by working to advance the cause of music in America.

A student is eligible for membership if he meets the minimum academic performance standards for successful continuation as a student in good standing as defined by the sheltering institution. Students in their first academic term are eligible for membership. A student not majoring in music is eligible for membership.

Membership is restricted to males, as permitted under 20 U.S.C. 1681(a)(6)(A) and as evidenced by the letter of exemption from Title IX provided by the United States Department of Education received December 21, 1983.

III. COLONY INTEREST

A colony interest information packet – which will include the Guide to the Colony Program, copies of the Risk Management Policies, Statement of Position Concerning Probationary Membership and the Ritual, and National Constitution and Bylaws will be sent to any individual, Sinfonian or non-Sinfonian, who is interested in working to charter a new chapter on his campus or to reactivate an inactive chapter. In most cases, this packet will be sent to the interest group by the National Headquarters, but if it is received from any other source, the interested person(s) should still contact the National Headquarters at (812) 867-2433 to report the interest in the Colony Program and to ask any questions that may arise.

The process by which a chapter is established is identical whether it be for a new charter or the reactivation of an inactive charter. This process, known as the Colony Program, operates in a number of Phases and may extend anywhere up to two (2) or more years with its exact length varying based on the characteristics and circumstances of the individual colony.

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IV. INTEREST MEETINGS

The interested individual(s) should call a meeting for any men of the sheltering institution interested in becoming a part of the planned colony. At this meeting, the colony interest packet materials should be circulated. Any Sinfonians at the school – whether faculty, staff, alumni, or collegiate – can be invited to speak about their experiences with the Fraternity. The procedures and policies of the Colony Program should be discussed, including the requirement that only those men who have achieved an academic grade point average greater than or equal to that required for graduation from the college/university are eligible to participate.

It is advised that a second meeting time be established to complete the Application for Colony Status and to draft the Letter of Intent. Scheduling these tasks for a second meeting will give the interested men opportunity to consider their commitment to the cause before having to certify this commitment in writing.

An Advisor must be selected from the male faculty or staff of the institution. It is not required that the man selected be a Sinfonian, but rather that he be a good mentor and that he be willing to dedicate himself to supporting the group throughout the colonization process and into chapter status. If the Advisor is not already a Sinfonian, he must be initiated with the other non-Sinfonian colony members at the conclusion of Phase III.

V. APPLICATION FOR COLONY STATUS

The following materials must be included with the Application for Colony Status upon its submission to Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity National Headquarters. The Application must be completed in its entirety, and containing the signatures of at least fifteen (15) interested men. Faculty members desiring initiation and students previously initiated into the Fraternity may be included in this number, but faculty/staff Sinfonians may not. This Application is provided at the end of the Guide to the Colony Program and must be accompanied by the following items:

  1. Letter of Intent – This letter must be signed by all men listed on the Application for Colony Status and should explain their motivation for seeking colony status.
  2. Application fee – This fee, payable by check or money order to “Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia,” covers all materials that will be sent to the colony during the multiple phases of the Colony Program. The current amount of the application fee can be located in the addendum of the Guide to the Colony Program. Payment of the application fee may be made via electronic check or credit/debit card payment by contacting the National Headquarters directly. If the Application for Colony for Status is not accepted, the application fee will be returned.

If possible, the Province Governor should be invited to attend the interest meeting and approve the Application for Colony Status in person. If this is not possible, the interest group must mail the complete Application for Colony Status to the Province Governor for his approval. His address may be obtained by contacting the National Headquarters.

Province Governor Approval

Either at the interest meeting or once he receives it in the mail, the Province Governor will review the Application for Colony Status and affix his signature if he believes the interest group to be a viable candidate for colony status. The section of the Application for Colony Status for his approval is the box labeled “For completion by Province Governor.”

In addition to approving the Application, the Province Governor will assign an active chapter from within the appropriate province to serve as the colony’s Mentor Chapter. This chapter will help guide and shepherd the colony through its entire process. Once approved by the Province Governor, the complete Application for Colony Status must be mailed to the National Headquarters.

Executive Director Approval

Under authority granted by the Commission on Standards, the Executive Director may approve or deny the Application for Colony Status. The section of the Application for his approval is the box labeled “For completion by Executive Director.” Upon his approval, the Executive Director sets the official start date for the newly approved colony.


VI. PHASE I

The interest group will become a colony of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity upon approval by the Executive Director, who will also set the official start date for the colony. Materials to assist in the facilitation of the first two phases of the Colony Program will be shipped to the colony as soon as necessary after approval by the Executive Director. Included with this shipment will be a copy of the official Activity Guidelines for the Colony Program. These guidelines outline the official activity requirements that are to be completed during each phase of the Colony Program.

Phase I of the Colony Program is the time for the colony to organize its operations and become acquainted with the annual projects and tasks of a successful chapter. The Phase I activities have been specifically selected as key areas that are necessary to address for any form of meaningful and successful chapter operations. These goals are a blueprint for success not only as a colony, but as a chapter for years to come. The primary development goals and tasks outlined in Phases I and II of the Colony Program are designed to help the formation of operational stability and excellence in several key areas including but not limited to operations, membership development, musical achievement, province interaction, and fraternal tradition. For this reason, the initial phases and related activities should not be viewed as arbitrary, but rather should serve as guidelines for the annual activities of the future chapter. Once admitted into Phase I, the colony will be assigned a Mentor Chapter by the Province Governor. The Mentor Chapter will be an invaluable resource of experiences and guidance for the colony, and all efforts should be made to keep a close working relationship between the colony and the selected Mentor Chapter.

The Province Governor and Mentor Chapter bear primary responsibility for colony support and guidance. The Colony’s Province Governor will be an invaluable resource not only during Phase I, but throughout the various phases of progress during the entire Colony Program. It is their responsibility to monitor colony progress and to provide supervision and assistance where needed.

As previously mentioned, Phase I contains a list of operational and logistical items that must be completed before being admitted to proceed to Phase II. There is no minimum time frame for the completion of Phase I by the colony. Documentation of completion of each requirement (e.g. meeting minutes, treasurer’s reports, account verification, photographs, programs) should be compiled as each requirement is met.

During Phase I, the colony will be subject to all Fraternity policies as defined by the National Constitution and Bylaws, Risk Management Policies, and Guide to the Colony Program. The Commission on Standards will regularly review the status and progress of the colony, and may dissolve the colony at any time during Phase I for just cause. The colony is recognized as an official affiliate of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and as such may use the name of the Fraternity, along with the assigned colony name, as an accurate description of the name of the organization. However, colony members, other than those previously initiated, are not yet Sinfonians, and as such may not specifically wear the Greek letters ΦΜΑ or the Fraternitys Coat-of-Arms at any time prior to initiation.


As the colony establishes itself as an operating organization of Phi Mu Alpha throughout Phase I, it is important to stay in contact with the Province Governor. After due time, with successful submission of required Phase I documentation, the colony’s Province Governor, in consultation with his Commission on Standards liaison, evaluates the health and stability of the colony and determines if and when he (the Province Governor) feels that the colony is ready to enter Phase II. Phase II of the Colony Program is specifically designed to build on the foundation of operations and fraternalism established during the Phase I program. Phase II presents a significant leap forward in the viability of the colony, and is a crucial component as it is the final operationally-focused step before initiation.

During Phase II of the Colony Program, the colony will continue to observe all tasks set out in Phase I, while adding new goals designed to build on the operational foundation that has been established in due course throughout Phase I. The activities required of the colony during Phase II are specifically assigned as developmental steps intended to introduce the colony to more involved and advanced aspects of fraternity operation and function. While there are several new operational requirements included as part of the Phase II activities, there is much more focus put on ensuring that the colony is advancing the fraternal spirit of Sinfonia through brotherhood and musical advancement. Upon completion of the activities outlined in Phase II, the Commission on Standards reviews all submitted documentation and information, which is then used to inform a vote on whether or not to grant permission for the colony to move into Phase III.


VIII. PHASE III

Phase III of the Colony Program is the fraternity education period for the colony members. The Phase III activities will include lessons in preparation for the National Examination and education regarding the ideals of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Concurrently with this educational process, preparations will be made by the colony for its installation/reactivation at the end of Phase III. Phase III is a nine-week program, with the installation/reactivation occurring at the end of the eighth week. In cases where the sheltering institution mandates that the educational period last less than eight weeks, an alternate program will be provided upon request by the colony.

After the Ceremony for Pledging for Colonies is presented at the start of Phase III, no new members may join the colony until after the installation/reactivation of the chapter.

As in Phases I and II, the Province Governor and Mentor Chapter bear primary responsibility for colony support and guidance throughout the Phase III program. It is their responsibility to monitor colony progress and to provide supervision in the completion of the Phase III activities.

During Phase III, the colony will be subject to all Fraternity policies as defined in the National Constitution and Bylaws, Risk Management Policies, and Guide to the Colony Program. The Commission on Standards may dissolve the colony at any time during Phase III for just cause. The colony is recognized as an official entity of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and as such may use the name of the Fraternity, along with the assigned colony name, as an accurate description of the name of the organization. However, as throughout Phase I and Phase II, colony members, other than those previously initiated, may not specifically wear the Greek letters ΦΜΑ or the Fraternitys Coat-of-Arms at any time prior to initiation.

Installation/Reactivation

All colony members must be present at the Initiation Ritual at which the chapter is installed/reactivated. While a banquet following the Initiation Ritual is not required, it is encouraged as a celebration for the new chapter. The National President, or his designate, will attend the installation/reactivation to present the Charter or Certificate of Reactivation. If an individual is not able to attend the scheduled initiation, he should be initiated in a separate ceremony as soon as possible afterwards. If extraordinary circumstances require the complete rescheduling of the planned initiation ceremony, a new date should be set as soon as possible and communicated to the National Headquarters.

The Initiation Ritual will be presented by the colony’s Mentor Chapter or by a composite cast selected at the discretion of the Province Governor. No probationary members other than those from the colony shall be initiated in this Ritual. The Initiation Ritual will be conducted in compliance with the Initiation Ritual of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the National Constitution and Bylaws.


IX. PHASE IV

Once a colony is chartered/reactivated, it immediately passes into Phase IV of the Colony Program and is officially recognized as a full active chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, including having all of the right and responsibilities that the designation carries. As part of the Phase IV program, the new chapter will be required to attend and complete several specific member training sessions as well as continue many of the routine operations that have been established through the previous developmental phases as a colony. During Phase IV, the chapter operates as prescribed in the National Constitution and Bylaws. As a newly activated chapter, the group will begin working not only towards new member education, but also be required to participate in continuing education sessions on more specific operations and esoteric aspects of the Fraternity. As the chapter continues to operate and function throughout Phase IV, it will continue to be monitored and shepherded through its first few years of operation by its Province leaders and Mentor Chapter. The Phase IV period is one of institutionalization and realization as the very important transition is made from that of a learning colony to that of a successful chapter. To help facilitate this, the colony’s Province Governor will perform an official visit with the new chapter at least once per year during Phase IV. Phase IV is designed to last for a period of at least two years, or until the Commission on Standards, in consultation with the Province Governor, feels the chapter is ready to advance out of the Phase IV process.

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