Fraternity engenders leaders in business

The co-ed organization has prepared students for challenges in the business world.

by Derrick Biney

Although its name is made up of letters from the Greek alphabet, Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity isnít a traditional greek organization.

Itís a student organization with a professional focus and a Carlson School of Management connection.

Since joining Alpha Kappa Psi in fall 2002, three Carlson School students: Ashley Burlage, Matt McEwen and Steve Tobkin are making an impact on the University campus because of leadership skills they have developed in their co-ed fraternity.

The local chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, Alpha Eta was founded in 1922. The organization is called a ìfraternity,” because it was originally all-male and became co-ed in 1976.

The fraternityís focus is to develop students into business leaders who are ready to face the challenges of the business world, said Tobkin, a finance and entrepreneurship senior.

McEwen said that while all fraternities and sororities focus on advancement, Alpha Kappa Psi is career-oriented rather than socially oriented.

Members attend conferences that focus on developing leadership and communication skills, take part in résumé workshops and mock interviews, work on community service projects and help each other in classes, he said.

McEwen, finance senior and the fraternityís president, said he did not know much about business until he joined the fraternity.

Burlage, a marketing senior, said if she has learned anything through her involvement, ìitís how to work hard, play hard and how to give back to the community.”

Most people who join the fraternity have a common interest in business, Tobkin said. However, the fraternityís membership is open to all University students regardless of their major.

When new members join, fraternity members are able to offer advice to underclassmen on how to navigate the University ó from giving advice on which classes to take to how to be successful in class, Tobkin said.

Older students give back to younger students through sharing life experiences and college experiences, he said.

Chad Crowley, alumni adviser for Alpha Kappa Psi, said that by connecting with other members of the fraternity who were already in the business sector, he was instructed on how to prepare for an interview for the particular company he wanted to work for.

When going into the business world, having the ability to communicate is an important quality to have, said Crowley, who now works for Ingersoll Rand, a worldwide manufacturing company.

Before they enter the business world, members are encouraged to take on leadership roles in other organizations, Tobkin said.

This is evident with Burlage, who is the president of Carlsonís student board ó a governing body that represents all of the schoolís 23 student organizations.

Crowley said members of the fraternity have dual roles within their organization and other student groups within Carlson.

ìItís a good opportunity for them to apply the skills that they learn through Alpha Kappa Psi and also a way for them to apply what they learn in other groups as well,” Crowley said.

McEwen said members have worked within many aspects of the University, such as the Student Services Fees committee.

Greek or student organization?

The co-ed fraternity is not affiliated with the Inter-Fraternity Council at the University, McEwen said.

The fraternity aligns itself as a professional organization rather than being recognized as greek, but they do function like a greek organization in terms of rules of operation, as well as having guidelines and procedures to follow when electing students to serve on boards, Crowley said.

The fraternity also participates in Universitywide activities such as homecoming, but they are placed in the community organization category, Tobkin said.

There are also several other Carlson student-organizations with greek-lettered names, such as Beta Alpha Psi for accounting students, and Pi Sigma Epsilon for marketing and sales-management students.