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This blog is geared toward our Alumni membership. Check back every two weeks for a new post on what is going on currently in Phi Kappa Sigma.

 

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Last call for Feb 19 Sun State Skulls ' event

Posted By James W. Welch, Friday, February 17, 2017
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017

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Branding Yourself on Social Media

Posted By Jack Klupchak (Gamma Gamma '13), Thursday, May 5, 2016

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn: these are all things that we all use on a weekly or in many cases, daily basis. However, most people never take the time to really stop and think about how there online presence reflects on them as a person. In today's world, the way we project ourselves online plays a large role in our daily lives. Whether it’s missing out on a potential job or losing out a date because they don’t like how the only pictures you post have to do with partying. While I am not here to tell you that you need to keep all of your social media on complete lock down or use a fake name to keep people off of your pages, you do need to be smart about what you put out there. I know it has been said a thousand times and is almost cliché at this point, once something goes on the Internet it stays on the Internet. So what I am suggesting to you is this, think about what you post and be smart about how you manage you online presence. As each social media has different uses in a general sense they can be looked at in a different light.

Facebook for example, is great for keeping in touch and can be used to network on a social level. Which is why I choose to keep mine private and attempt to be selective about who I befriend. As this space for me used to share slightly more opinionated things that I might not want the whole world to have easy access to. It can be a great tool for keeping up with family and friends. As well as to find out about events and things going on within your friend group or in your area.

Instagram and Twitter to me are on a level playing field. I use both to share a look into my daily life using both images and text in a somewhat limited format. While yes, twitter is typically much more in the moment; Instagram can be used in that way as well. Both are great tools to give the world a look into you personality, interests and really paint a picture of who you are as a person. Which is why for me as a creative type, choose to keep my Instagram and Twitter open for the world to see. (@jklupchak5). With this choice, however, comes a great responsibility for maintaining my brand on social media, as I never know who might see it.

LinkedIn and other professional social networks are great tools when used effectively. On these platforms on must be selective as to whom they connect with. You want these people to be those who you trust and know won’t drag you down. So for example it’s probably not a good idea to connect with someone whom you only see as a drinking buddy. As far as content here is concerned you want to try and include things that you would have on Resume but in a more detailed format. Feel free to go into more detail here as it provides a deeper look into your professional life.

Now that have gone through a quick crash course into what each social media platform is, I would like to discuss a few rules that I like to follow across the board on social media.

1.      Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see

2.      Steer clear of political/controversial discussion on open social media

3.      Don’t over post, nobody cares that much about your life

By following, these simple rules I feel that I am able to maintain a fairly good brand for myself on social media that I feel gives a good representation as to who I am in person. That all being said, my words are just one persons opinion, but I think it gives some good food for thought on how you might be projecting yourself on social media. So I encourage you to take the time to think about how your posts may be affecting how people around you view you as a person and come up with some rules for yourself to follow going forward. 

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The Importance of Being an Active Alumni

Posted By Tony Grimaldi (BX '06) and Patrick Grimaldi (BY '79), Thursday, April 21, 2016

An abridged conversation between Tony Grimaldi (BX '06) and his father Pat Grimaldi (BY '79) on the importance of being an active alumnus:

 

Tony:  Hey, Dad.  The guys from HQ asked me to write a Phi Kap Phix piece on the importance of being an active alumnus.  Since you've been an active alum much longer than me, I was wondering if you'd want to contribute some advice?

Pat: Ha. Funny.  Seriously though, that is an important topic, and probably good to talk about.  What were you thinking of putting in?

Tony:  Well, I figured I'd start with the basic “Once a Phi Kap, always a Phi Kap,” and also talk about the promise to stay active and involved that chartering members take.  A lot of people don't really know about that one.

Pat:  That's good, but you should also mention all the people you meet and get to know when you stay active.  Like, take Wayne (Delia BY '79) – even though we were at school around the same time, we weren't close friends until the 10 or 15-year reunion when we both started getting active nationally.

Tony: That's true.  I wouldn't have been friends with Dave (Smith BH '06) or Mike (Landefeld DY '11) if we hadn't been Grand Deltas together.

Pat: Exactly.  And it's not just brothers your own age.  I'm pretty close with guys who graduated almost 20 years after me, that I never would have even met if I hadn't been active.  And we have some pretty amazing people out there.

 

Alright, that wasn't exactly what was said, but still some very good points. 

 

I've looked over a few of these posts and several discuss alumni involvement – like Dave Smith's “Alumni Committee Update” or Orion Pelausa's “Why I Volunteer”.  Both Dave and Orion make great points and I could easily take parts of either, re-label it “The Importance of Being an Active Alumnus” and call it a night.  However, that really wouldn’t be doing justice to this topic, and I’m sure they’d never ask me to write one of these again.

 

Anyway, what exactly is an active alumnus?  Most people would say “National officers/Volunteers”, “The guy who returns to his chapter for every event”, or “The guy who’s always donating money.”  While it’s important to have alumni that do these things, that’s not the only measure of an active alumnus.  I know a guy who holds a picnic – though it’s practically become a festival – at his house each summer open to all Phi Kaps who wish to attend.  I know an ever growing group of brothers who go camping together every year.   And there are numerous stories of brothers connecting in the unlikeliest of scenarios – I once met a fellow alumnus at a stoplight because he saw a Phi Kap sticker on my car.  All these, and countless more, are examples of active alumni.

 

Not everyone is going to be Grand Alpha, or Volunteer or Alumnus of the Year – most of us in fact won’t – but that’s no reason we can’t all be active alumni at some level.  So I encourage you: Go to an alumni event or help an active chapter if you can.  But remember: that’s not the only way to be active.  Simply keep a look out for the signs of another brother – like letters on a shirt or the standard rec lapel pin – and say hello when you find them.  You never know just who the next brother you meet might be 

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Maltese Cross Preview – It’s All About Food

Posted By Ron Stranix - Director of Member Services, Thursday, March 31, 2016

FOOD is such an integral part of our lives.  It is one of the few things that can be a necessity, a pleasure, and a great art form all at the same time.  When discussing the theme for this issue, we wanted to give our members the opportunity to express themselves through the culinary arts, as well as highlight a few members who are making waves in the culinary field.  Production of the Maltese Cross is complete and once you get a chance to crack it open towards the end of the month, your mouth is sure to start watering. Read on to hear about some of the more stand out articles from this food-centric issue.

Master Chefs Feature – The Maltese Cross got the opportunity to sit down with two members of the Johnson and Wales Chapter who have made a living in the culinary arts, both in their own unique ways. (Pages 10-13)

Chuggy’s Corner – So we all love eating food, but how would you feel about having a job where you get to eat, write about it, and get paid?  Brother Grant “Chuggy Bear” Shindo tells us about his experience as a food blogger in Hawaii. (Pages 15-16)

NewburyPort Brewing Soaring – In last year’s edition of the Maltese Cross, we featured Brother Chris Webb and his brewery.  This year we are following up on the successes of NewburyPort Brewing Company and asking Chris what foods pair best with his delicious beers. (Pages 17-18)

Phi Kap Cookbook – We asked, you delivered.  Phi Kaps submitted their best home cook recipes to share with our membership.  Everything featured falls into the easy or medium skill levels, so we are sure you can recreate these dishes at home. (Pages 19-21)

Foods from the Road – HQ Staff shares their favorite places to grab a bite when traveling across North America. (Page 16)

Even though food was the large overarching theme holding this magazine together, it is always important to share some of the great things our Chapters and alumni are up to…

It’s On Us – The Brothers of the Delta Rho Chapter at Ursinus College took a stand this past fall and co-sponsored a week of events supporting It’s On Us, a campaign that brings light to the growing issue of sexual assault on colleges campuses. (Pages 6-7)

From Fighter to Dancer – This article focuses on Brady Lucas, an undergraduate member from our Penn State Chapter.  Brady was diagnosed with Leukemia at a young age and has dedicated his life to giving back to THON, an event that helped him through his illness as a child. (Page 28-29)

Chapter News – Our active chapters and colonies have had a busy year.

This issue of the Maltese Cross is truly unique, and one of which I am very proud.  As I leave HQ Staff this week, I am grateful to have served as the Managing Editor for the Maltese Cross for the past four years.  This issue is by far my favorite and one that I hope our members will enjoy.

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This Isn't Your Dad's Frat

Posted By Mark Logsdon, Director of Growth and Engagement, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

When I first stepped foot onto the University of North Texas in the fall of 2008, I had no interest in joining a frat. It wasn’t because of some movie, or horrendous story that I had heard, I just simply had no motivation to join an organization similar to that of the “He Man Woman Haters Club”, or any other all male organization with no clear purpose.

 

Needless to say I did end up joining, thanks in part to Brother Craig, who reached out to me the first week of school and offered to help me move in to my dorm. After meeting the Brothers at Beta Eta, I realized how great they were, and how great the fraternity experience could be.

 

For the most part, based on my own recruiting experience, first generation college students have no feelings, one way or another, regarding fraternities until they have seen them in action. Now that I have been working as a recruiter for the National Fraternity, I can confidently say that Baby Boomers, Generation X, and some of Generation Y, has hurt the Greek movement. That’s right, they have hurt the movement.

 

Before you get upset over this statement, listen to my reasons.

 

Stories

The stories are great! Late nights on the roof, themed parties, tons of flowing alcohol in every single picture, gives us all a great laugh at reunions and on TFM. However, when these students hear the stories, whether they are funny or filled with terror of hazing, this puts a tough position in the head of a potential recruit. The potential walks on to campus with this preconceived notion of, “frats are just a bunch of drunks”, only because they have heard their family members, or their family member’s Greek relatives, discuss all the insane things they use to do. These stories, as harmless as they may seem, creates a predicament.

 

It’s because once a mind is made up, it’s nearly impossible to change it.

 

For example, while working at my most recent project at Oklahoma State University, I had a freshman student refuse to meet with me due to the stories that his own Dad had told him about his experience within his Fraternity. The insane parties, barely passing school, the multitude of hours pomping and learning choreography for a two minute song and dance, and the “awesome” hazing that he experienced that truly made him a better man, and closer with his brothers.

 

WHY?!

 

This was the type of guy each and every one of our Chapters across the country should want; an athlete, involved on campus, and had a 3.8 cumulative GPA. The ideal candidate of being a member of Phi Kappa Sigma, ruined by the harmless stories of a previous Greek member.

 

This is just one of the many examples I have collected over my time on staff for the National Headquarters. Each one ends in the same, upsetting way, a potential who refuses to meet because I’m with a Fraternity, or a person who meets and then withdraws his interest upon hearing his parents experience with Greek Life.

 

Experiences

Even if the parent of a potential wasn’t Greek, the run-ins that his parents did have with Greek Life can be just as bad. I’ll use another example that I obtained from Oklahoma State. While going to speak at an organization, filled with candidates who’d be great to be the Founding Father Class of Phi Kappa Sigma, the advisor of the organization shared a brief experience with Greek Life that immediately killed any potential of reaching recruits. Here is what he shared, after I got done explaining the chance to be a Founding Father and create a new organization, one that is tied to a strong moral code and purpose of building better men;

 

Back in my day, late 70’s, I had a buddy on the Football team. He was a big guy, squatted almost 600 and just all the way around a solid athlete. When he went to a frat party, paid his $5 to get in, he saw that there wasn’t a large turnout. So, he went up and asked for his $5 back, the guy at the door refused, so my buddy just reached his hand in there and took his money out of the jar. The guy at the door gathered about 6 of his frat bros, they had bats and bottles, and they all jumped him. He was fine, they all went to the hospital.

 

This story, even if it’s not true, paints a horrible image of Greek Life. All thanks to the experience that two non-Greek men had with a fraternity.

 

Loss of Values

Just as the word fraternity has been shortened to frat, over the course of the creation of our beloved organization, the idea of values were created, disappeared, and has been struggling its way back to life. I’m not saying that all of our chapters, nor all of our members during these years lived without values in the organization, I’m saying they weren’t at the forefront. What was the product being sold? A party.  Is it possible that “Frat” came from the synonymous loss of values in the way of recruitment? Perhaps.

 

Now, I’m not trying to hurt any feelings, it’s just the simple truth. If you read over articles, such as; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccormick/should-i-allow-my-son-to-join-a-fraternity_b_5004197.html, you’ll note the exact theme that I’m trying to explain; alumni of a fraternity, reminiscing about his experience, fearing for his son to join Greek Life.

This hurts the Greek movement. This hurts Phi Kappa Sigma.

 

This fear, by an alumni of a Fraternity for his son, is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of parent’s concerns. The same fears that I, and all of our chapters have to work with, when meeting a potential. There is something wrong when a potential is told they could qualify for $500 - $5,000 in scholarships, build their resume, and be connected to campus, and they immediately turn the opportunity down when the subject of this particular opportunity being provided by a Fraternity. 

 

Is it because these descriptions aren’t representative of what they perceive Fraternities as?

 

The older generations have done wonders during their time, holding property, keeping the organization thriving, and creating the various perks from which we all come to benefit. But, the damage is coming from the memories AND from the actions of the current chapters. Keep in mind when you are recruiting, as an undergrad, or meeting potentials, as an alumnus, you will be the person who encourages a guy to stay, or reinforces his idea to leave.

 

As a last note, don’t lose sight of what is important. Every campus has a Greek week, and/or a homecoming of sorts, and they are great! An awesome exhibit of talent and hard work, but is that what Fraternity is for? Some of the money that my own chapter would spend on homecoming, ranging from several hundred to several thousand, could have been used for something more meaningful. Just because it’s a tradition, doesn’t mean it’s valuable for the organization, or for the members.

 

Can you actually say, with confidence, that the money paid for during these events will better his experience, or improve him as a person?

 

Keep in mind, this isn’t your dad’s fraternity. Why continue to do the same events that have only been a tradition for a minor portion of time in the Fraternity’s existence? Change the traditions in to something actually meaningful, and invest in your experience. Not just follow what’s expected.

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What is the National Housing Corp. and what can they do for my chapter?

Posted By Walt Jaegar (North Texas, 1997), NHC Board President, Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The National Housing Corporation (NHC) is made up of unpaid volunteers from all over the United States.   The board of directors consists of Walter Jaeger (president), Jim Fulmer (vice president), Lou Semrad (treasurer), and Blake Peek (secretary).   There are currently three at-large members: Dennis Walter, Deepak Hadpawat, and Patrick Grimaldi.   Most are members with significant experience running housing corporations and volunteering for the fraternity.   Here's the best part, they want to help you!      

The National Housing Corporation (NHC) is an entity charged with preserving and advancing housing interests for collegiate chapters and alumni groups.    It serves as a central repository of information for the best practices regarding how local housing corporations (LHCs) should be run.   It helps form and support LHCs.  It aides LHCs in being better managed, organizationally and financially.   It supports saving by LHCs so when unexpected things happen, they are better able to deal with them from a savings or borrowing perspective. 

To properly accomplish our mission, we will be seeking to pass legislation at the upcoming Grand Chapter that will create an undergraduate assessment.    The undergraduate assessment will be used to create a savings and investment corpus for the future and funding the mission of the NHC.   We are always looking for volunteers in the industries of real estate, lending, property management, investments, law, architecture, and construction to serve on the NHC. 

If you are negotiating with an entity for the purposes of renting or purchasing a house, please contact us, we may be able to help.   There are a number of things we may be able to assist you with including, but not limited to:

* Best practices – How should I do this?

* Entity structure and creation

* Leases and legal documents

* Contract negotiation

* Market valuation

* Financing

* Investing for future housing needs

* Liability mitigation

* Insurance claims

* Non-profit status and documentation.

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How the Alpha Theta Chapter Strives to be Men of Honor

Posted By Matthew Davis, Alpha Theta (University of Wisconsin), Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The phrase “Men of Honor” is extremely important in Phi Kappa Sigma, and as Phi Kaps, we are taught to exemplify this in our personal and professional lives. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Alpha Theta Chapter), we live out this phrase both as Phi Kaps and as Badgers every day. However, at UW, Greek life is not as popular among students as it is on other campuses due to many students having a negative view of Greek life. At the Alpha Theta Chapter, we have decided to challenge this stereotype by representing our chapter, our fraternity, the Greek community, and the entire campus in a positive way, starting with recruitment. When we recruit, we start by looking for potential members who have personal connections to current members in our chapter. We have found that brotherhood in our fraternity is more intimate because of the way we recruit, and this has led to positive experiences for not only the new members but for the entire fraternity. Some of our recruiting events include going to a comedy club, where a brother has performed during open mic night, and a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game, giving us the great opportunity to get out of Madison for a day and really get to know the potential new members. We have also built brotherhood through fun social events like going to a trampoline park and going mountain biking, ice-skating and paintballing. We have also been active in philanthropy, hosting a blood drive and winning a dodgeball tournament, which benefited both St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and our own Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We also hold study sessions once a week to encourage a strong emphasis on academics and have a mentorship program in place that connects current PKS members with PKS alums from UW. Another important aspect that makes the Alpha Theta Chapter unique is The Crypt, our giant shared living room where we hold chapter meetings and events like weekly study sessions and brotherhood dinners. It includes a conference room, a kitchen, and a wall-sized projector screen.  The Alpha Theta Chapter has big aspirations and we are confident we can succeed in changing the stereotypes of Greek life at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by acting like “Men of Honor” every day. 

On, Wisconsin!

Matt Davis (Alpha Theta, Class of 2017). 

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Holiday Greetings to our Phi Kappa Sigma Brothers!

Posted By Phi Kappa Sigma International Fraternity, Monday, December 21, 2015

The holidays are in full swing and we wanted to send some holiday wishes to our members from our International Fraternity staff and a few of our national volunteers.  Check out their personal messages below!

“Merry Christmas and happy holidays all the way from Atlanta from the Grand Beta and his family!  It's so easy to get caught up in the holidays that we forget to take a moment to reflect on and celebrate the good things we have in our lives: take some time during this holiday season to think about the positive things our Fraternity gives us, and how each of us play an important role contributing to that experience!” – Mike Palladino, Grand Beta

“Happy holidays to all Phi Kaps and their loved ones!" – Dave Smith, Grand Sigma

“Best wishes during this holiday season. Enjoy some safe time off with your friends and family.” – Brendon Egan, Grand Delta

“The holidays are a time for being with family and being thankful for all the great things we have in our lives.  I want to thank my Phi Kap Brothers for being one of those great things.  Happy Holidays and have a great new year!” – Ron Stranix, Director of Member Services

“During the holiday season, it's important to reflect on the previous year in order to fully appreciate the future. I want to thank the Fraternity, Friends, and Family who have made this year full of hope and excitement. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!” – Mark Logsdon, Director of Growth and Engagement

“I would like to wish all of our members a happy holiday season and a happy new year. Enjoy the time off from classes, eat, drink, and be merry!” – Ben Fournier, Asst. Director of Member Services

“Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all our Brothers! A special thank you to all the undergraduates that work with me throughout the year. Thank you for letting me into your Chapters and making me feel welcome everywhere I go. Let’s keep the trend of making every year better than the one before it going strong!” – Ryan Cerone, Senior Educational Consultant

“I hope everyone enjoys a happy and healthy new year. Looking forward to a great 2016 with you all!” - Patrick Schlomas, Educational Consultant

“Happy holidays! Enjoy this wonderful time with friends and family!” – Johnathan Pham, Expansion Consultant

"Have a safe and enjoyable holiday and remember to pass on a good deed this season.  As Ghandi said, 'Be the change you want to see in the world.'" - Mathew Schehuber, Expansion Consultant

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Managing Personal Finances During the Holidays

Posted By Jim Fulmer (Alabama '63), Grand Delta, Wednesday, November 25, 2015

To avoid a post-holiday financial hangover, avoid loading up your credit card(s) with last minute purchases. Credit cards are a good thing if not used for long term financing.  The interest rate on most credit cards can run from around 10% to 22% and it is not tax deductible. First and second mortgage loans are deductible on your taxes, as are student loans (subject some limitations). 

It is really too late this year to think of effectively managing your Christmas spending unless you do some quick planning and are willing to act with a lot of restraint. What can you do? You should prepare a budget to see how much money you have available to spend after you pay all of your living expenses. It is really quite simple. On a spread sheet, enter your take home pay at the top. Below, enter all of your recurring expenses (monthly expenses that must be paid). That would include rent or mortgage payment, insurance, utilities, car payment and insurance, bus or subway charges, parking expenses, medical insurance and meals. Subtract this from the income and what you have left is for entertaining and presents. It is simple but it can be painful. There will be a more thorough discussion on year round budgeting in a future article.

If you really want to be prepared next year, start using a budget this January and set aside a little money each month for Christmas. There are ways to save on Christmas by shopping sales all year. My youngest son was overheard telling a friend once that the only time Mom paid full price on his gifts was at Christmas and birthdays. She later told him “I wouldn’t count on it on those two occasions”.  

Here’s wishing y’all a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Why I Volunteer

Posted By Orion Pelausa, Chapter Advisor - Virginia Commonwealth University, Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Joining Phi Kappa Sigma was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had the privilege of being a Founding Father of my Chapter, as well as serving in various officer roles. Upon graduation, I joined the International Fraternity staff as an Educational Consultant. With this position, I was able to travel throughout the U.S and Canada, sharing my experience with some amazing Brothers, and learning many new lessons for myself.

Since joining, I have volunteered at the Men of Honor Leadership Retreat, Grand Chapter, and I currently serve as the Chapter Adviser for the Delta Upsilon Chapter at Virginia Commonwealth University.

I can say without a doubt that volunteering has brought some of the most enjoyable memories I have had with this Fraternity. I have been able to build relationships with new Brothers from all walks of life, and I have been able to go to some amazing places. 

I never thought that as a young alumnus that I would one day be serving as the adviser for my home chapter, and I couldn't be happier. Along with the help of my Assistant Adviser, Khiem Tran, we have been able to provide advice and assistance where we can, as well as serve as another means of support for our Brothers. 

There are so many ways to volunteer for this Fraternity, and they are all rewarding in their own way. For those who have never done it before, I highly recommend it. Whether you are only able to attend an event every couple of years or so, or if you are looking to be more involved on a Chapter level, it is definitely worth it. You have the opportunity to facilitate small groups at Men of Honor and Grand Chapter, participate in forming alumni advisory boards, or even serving as an Assistant Chapter Adviser or Chapter Adviser. 

It is so easy for life to get in the way of staying involved with the Fraternity, especially upon graduation. That being said, volunteering gives you a great chance to reconnect and give back to the organization. As an alumnus, being able to share your own experience and wisdom with undergraduate Brothers is incredibly valuable.

Simply put, the Phi Kap experience doesn't end at graduation. 

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