In considering the core values of Alpha Kappa Psi, I am struck by how simple and practical they are. They are written to provide guidance and inspiration, while avoiding preaching at members. If the pledge class pays attention to and abides by these principles, our experience in college and beyond is likely to be a positive one.
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The first Alpha Kappa Psi value is BROTHERHOOD. This is clearly not simply the sibling relationship that many of us are familiar with from our own homes. We are not called on merely to avoid hurting each other, or to take turns, or to share nicely, as we are expected to do with our biological siblings. This is meant to be a different sort of relationship, representing the best way we treat our blood brothers and sisters, plus something more, something not necessarily found in a family.
After all, we cannot choose our siblings, but we have, ourselves, chosen, and been chosen, reciprocally, to affiliate with this Alpha Kappa Psi brotherhood. This means that we should appreciate and value each other, no matter whether we think we are likely to become buddies or close friends, rather than merely accepting each other’s right to exist grudgingly.
The words “duty” and “respect” appear in the PEP manual, and these are important. If we treat each other respectfully, as a welcome duty, the “fondness” will probably follow. We should be prepared to support each other and work for each other’s success in all things associated with our college life, and afterwards as well. We should be able to depend on each other, in the same way that blood brothers and sisters can, under the best of circumstances.
The exercise of behaving in a respectful and caring way towards another person, just because they are in the same organization, is a very useful one. I expect that it will help me immensely when I am working in any corporate setting. I will need to cooperate productively with a variety of other people, even if I might not have selected them out of a crowd to share a beer or a pizza.
The PEP manual also mentions stewardship; this means taking care of something that may benefit others whom we may not even know. In pledging Alpha Kappa Psi, we are becoming part of something that has been around for decades, and goes beyond just the members of the chapter where we pledged, or the brothers and sisters we hang out with.
We have the same responsibility to take care of members from other years, and other chapters of the fraternity as we do to our own pledge class. I look forward to depending, myself, on this national network of people who will be more likely than strangers would be to take my phone call or respond to a request for help or information.
A second value is KNOWLEDGE, and the goal of “lifelong learning”. This is a really appealing goal, and sounds like it will be fairly easy to honor. We are asked to invest effort in learning as much as we can now, when we are in college, which means concentrating on our coursework to get the most out of this experience.
This value also directs us to continue that process throughout our professional lives. This implies, to me, among other things, maintaining a flexible mental attitude that allows for absorption of new ideas. In both my subject areas of management information science and finance, this skill is critical. I hope, as a pledge, brother, and graduate, to develop and apply the ability to remain nimble mentally, so that I can keep up with developments in these swiftly changing fields.
This core value also encourages us to share our experience and expertise with our brothers and sisters. The founding members undoubtedly did not intend for this to mean sharing exam questions!
On the other hand, it would certainly include helping a brother or sister prepare for a test, or practice an oral presentation, or proof-read a resume. To fulfill this part of the fraternity’s goals as a graduate, I would expect to make myself available to talk with younger fraternity members about my company or the fields of finance or management information systems generally.
I look forward to being a mentor to new members in future years, and to helping fellow members in any way I can. I also hope to benefit from the help and advice of alumni/ae, myself, as I look for internships, summer jobs, and positions after graduation. We are also called on to share our expertise with people outside the fraternity; everyone whom we work with and interact with out in the business world.
The third value is INTEGRITY. This is a word and concept which many people may have begun to believe no longer belongs with the word “business”. My cohort of business graduates will enter the workplace just when the reputations of some major elements in the world economy (for example, the banking and mortgage sector, Toyota, adulterated Chinese food products) are worthless. This will be both a challenge and an opportunity for us, as members of Alpha Kappa Psi.
Our fraternity membership imposes on us a constant reminder of the expected Alpha Kappa Psi standard of behavior. The honesty, ethics, and fairness of our behavior can be an example to each other and to those outside Alpha Kappa Psi. How does this translate into how we act while we are in college? Several easy examples come to mind. We can refrain from cheating, and we can choose to act straightforwardly in our social relations.
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The first might translate into learning how to do honest individual research efficiently and swiftly for our papers and projects so that we are not tempted to copy and paste or take other academic shortcuts where we should not. The second might take the form of not promising to call someone we know socially when, in fact, we have no intention of doing so.
It could also take the form of not undercutting another member in an officer election contest. It certainly would include following the Alpha Kappa Psi guidelines about alcohol, drugs, hazing, and so forth. The experience of adhering to Alpha Kappa Psi standards of ethical behavior in college will prepare and inform me to face tough ethical decisions, and choose wisely once we are in the workplace fulltime.
SERVICEA is another Alpha Kappa Psi value. This value is important as a healthy balance to the profit goals that we are being taught to pursue in business. Service can mean volunteering in the community, or on campus, while we are still students. Having a service oriented mindset means that we make time routinely in our lives for charitable events, and try to support them whenever we can, especially if Alpha Kappa Psi is sponsoring them.
When we are in the business world, we can try to find ways to serve the community by making choices such as sourcing supplies locally, hiring locally, choosing to site a business where it will build up the community rather than eviscerate a downtown, ensuring that there is a career ladder for people with minimal starting qualifications, and of course the obvious option of partnering with charities to help them raise money. I look forward to finding creative ways to serve, and expect to learn new skills from the experience.
UNITY is the last core value, and it is also the least specific. I see it as calling on Alpha Kappa Psi members to be willing to help the chapter and the fraternity survive and thrive over time. This might translate into being willing to serve as officer in the chapter, train new members, take training myself, if available, and help in colonizing other campuses, if needed.
Unity also means being an active and supportive graduate. It certainly means donating generously to support the organization’s programs once I have an income stream. The value of unity might also involve volunteering to be an alumni chapter advisor, recommending incoming freshmen to the chapter, or finding some other way to use my personal gifts to serve Alpha Kappa Psi and its goals.
As I see it, one of the great benefits of a fraternity membership is the chance to become comfortable with people of a variety of ages, from freshmen to the “old guard”. Learning to work cooperatively and gracefully on fraternity business with people of many different ages cannot help but be an asset later on in the workplace.
Brotherhood, knowledge, integrity, service, unity: these are the values that pledging Alpha Kappa Psi will commit me to support and live out creatively in my college years and beyond. I look forward to growing as a person over the rest of my undergraduate years. I feel sure that this growth will be enhanced by spending time and effort in the company of Alpha Kappa Psi brothers and the values we share and try to put into practice in the course of our daily lives and work.