Member Spotlight: James

James Kastner: Sigma Chi

James is a fourth year member of Sigma Chi Fraternity at UBC.

James is a fourth year member of Sigma Chi Fraternity at UBC.

While the public perception of fraternities shaped by the media primarily focuses on negative incidents, we know the positive value men gain from their fraternity experience is an often untold story. Showcasing our members provides the opportunity to bring to light the positive stories of fraternities here at UBC. Members of UBC Fraternities share personal stories about how their fraternity has provided support, engaged in them in service, helped them in their personal development, or enriched their lives in other ways.

Where are you from?

Montreal, Quebec

What year and field of study are you in? 

I’m going into my 4th year in the Faculty of Science majoring in Integrated Sciences with a focus on immunology and physiology. 


What types of jobs/positions do you hold within your fraternity, or out in the Vancouver community?

Over the course of my Sigma Chi career, I have acted as the chapter’s Sorority Relations Chairman, the Recording Secretary and the Vice President. Outside of Sigma Chi, I am currently an Outreach Volunteer for the Healthier Masculinities program of the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre, as well as the VP Operations for the AMS Turing Club, an AMS club which aims to foster an AI community on campus. Furthermore, I represent the UBC student body as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ubyssey Publications Society, the largest student newspaper in Canada.  


Why did you decide to go Greek?

On my first day of classes in first-year, I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of students on Main Mall walking between classes and was worried that at such a large university, I would quickly become just another face in the crowd. I had heard that university was the time to meet our lifelong friends, so I turned to the Greek system to find a place where I could easily meet people but also be myself. It didn’t take me long to realize that, when you look past the parties, the Greek system is a group of ambitious students looking for a sense of community, but also for personal and career development. As it turns out, this was exactly what I was looking to gain from my university experience, so the decision to go Greek was an easy one.


How has Greek Life at UBC and your fraternity impacted you?

Greek Life at UBC and its members have continuously pushed me to grow beyond what I thought myself to be capable of and it has acted as an incubator for my development. The Greek System provides the perfect opportunity for you to try new things, push the boundaries and to fail and learn from your mistakes. I have learned more about myself through the failures that I’ve experienced at university and the people that have surrounded me throughout my journey have been integral to my success by consistently challenging me to be the best version of myself. Through UBC’s Greek Life, I feel confident in graduating from university and entering the next chapter of my life with the lessons that I have learned, the friends that I have made and the person that I have become.


Any advice for potential new members during the rush process?

Rushing can be an overwhelming process, but ultimately, the decision you make needs to be YOUR decision. I would definitely take some time to check out all of the houses and see what each Fraternity has to offer because rushing can be a difficult decision for many and having as much information as possible will only help you. I also want to encourage you all to follow your gut instincts when making your decision. No organization is identical and there are many great guys throughout the entire Greek system, so you really can’t go wrong with your decision as long as you’re happy with your choice. Many of my Fraternity brothers rushed with friends that chose another Fraternity or not to rush at all, but that hasn’t affected their friendships now so please be open-minded and respect those around you for making the decision that they think is best for themselves!

To learn more about UBC Fraternities, check out our Information Session on Wednesday, September 4th, 201 from 6-10PM! More information to come.