The Evolution of Leadership

by Nathan Dorer
RPI, ‘18

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills) speaking

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills) speaking

Brother Angel Roman (California State University - Dominguez Hills, ‘20) found his passion for leadership in the form of community advocacy.

Through his roles in the campus Peace Club and the professional society Pro World Life, Roman found himself in communities focused on bringing about social change.

However, Roman found himself questioning why so much of the leadership community was targeted towards Higher Education and working professionals.

In an effort to make the empowerment of leadership platforms available to a more general public, Roman created the conference Evolution of Leadership, with the mission of awakening motivation and inspiration within demographics that have typically not been represented in leadership conferences.

Evolution of Leadership provides attendees with skills to become managers and business owners, as well as opportunities to connect with industry leaders. Through this, Roman hopes that he can empower people to achieve their personal goals.

Roman credits Phi Kappa Theta with much of his inspiration for Evolution of Leadership; he currently serves as Vice President of his chapter, and stated that his experience in the Fraternity has challenged his leadership in a way that it had never been challenged before.

Phi Kappa Theta has been key in his development of a mindset of continuous self improvement, and he has worked to extend that mindset toward the community at the Dominguez Hills colony.

His role within the house demands that he target his leadership to allow people to achieve their highest potential, and has contributed to his personal development as a student and a professional. “I’m more organized as a person,” Roman said, “I wake up every morning and reflect on what needs to happen in the next day.”

For Roman, the Fraternity comes as an entity that allows members to achieve their best.

In the future, Roman hopes that Phi Kappa Theta will allow him the resources and opportunities to develop Evolution of Leadership into a larger entity with an even broader scope of impact.

Holy Hour at Hofstra University

Nick Castelli (center) with Hofstra Brothers Justin Usis (left) and Thomas O'Connor (right).

Nick Castelli (center) with Hofstra Brothers Justin Usis (left) and Thomas O'Connor (right).

Bringing Spiritual Development to Campus

by Nick Castelli
Hofstra University, ‘21

“Phi Kappa Theta actively develops men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, fraternity, and God.” The spiritual pillar has continued to be the corner stone of the Fraternity that gives men the ability to become those passionate leaders.

Without spiritual development, gentlemen of Phi Kappa Theta cannot become men who serve effectively in leadership.

Spiritual development opens the mind in a way that other areas of development cannot. While many college communities lie asleep in indifference, the New York Alpha Omega Chapter at Hofstra University embraces the opportunity to ponder questions and be active in their spiritual development.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “The study of truth requires a considerable effort - which is why few are willing to undertake it out of love of knowledge - despite the fact that God has implanted a natural appetite for such knowledge in the minds of men.”

The brothers of Phi Kappa Theta at Hofstra University have taken full advantage of fulfilling that natural appetite with the new spiritual development program, Beyond Belief.

Guest Speaker Father Christopher Sullivan.

Guest Speaker Father Christopher Sullivan.

Before the release of the new program, the chapter was still regularly active in their spiritual development. Former Vice President of Spiritual Development, Thomas O’Connor, regularly organized Spirit Talks. These talks were open discussions that allowed brothers to examine questions while reflecting on their relationship with the world around them.

On December 10, 2018, the chapter hosted a campus wide Holy Hour during the Advent Season, in collaboration with the Hofstra Newman Club.

The event was planned by Thomas O’Connor and Nicolas Castelli, the current Vice President of Spiritual Development. Roughly 60 college students came to pray before the Blessed Sacrament with live music provided by a joint Phi Kappa Theta-Newman Club worship band.

Currently, the chapter is continuing the Spirit Talks with the guidance of the new program. The talks have been divided into two series: Theology Talks and Spiritual Examination Talks.

So far, the chapter has held one of each. The first Theology Talk was about the philosophy of God and universal causes. With help from the school chaplain, Father Joseph Scolaro, the chapter examined excerpts from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

The brothers discussed who God is and how we can rationally come to believe in God’s existence. Using the philosophy presented in the masterpiece, brothers were able to gain an insight on God that many had not explored before.

The first Spiritual Examination Talk examined the nature of love and discussed how we can define love. This discussion also opened new doors of understanding for the brothers involved. Brothers were able to discuss their experiences with all forms of love freely, while understanding the different thoughts, experiences, and perspectives brothers had on the topic.

Future topics for theology and spiritual discussions include: the importance of scripture and tradition, morality and virtue, meaning, post-death theology and an examination of the Catholic tradition of Phi Kappa Theta.

Currently, spring and fall retreats are being planned by the chapter’s spiritual committee. The New York Alpha Omega chapter at Hofstra University has always been, and continues to, embrace the value of spiritual development.

Synagogue Receives Help From Duquesne University Phi Kaps

From left to right, Jake Nowark of Phi Kappa Theta, Greg Falvo of Sigma Nu and Nick Vottero of Phi Kappa Theta helped sell Pittsburgh Strong bracelets in the Student Union. Taylor Carr/Staff Photographer

From left to right, Jake Nowark of Phi Kappa Theta, Greg Falvo of Sigma Nu and Nick Vottero of Phi Kappa Theta helped sell Pittsburgh Strong bracelets in the Student Union. Taylor Carr/Staff Photographer

Borrowed from THE DUQUESNE DUKE
November 8th, 2018
Kellen Stepler, Staff Writer for The Duquesne Duke

It has been a little over a week since the Tree of Life shooting in Squirrel Hill, but support from the Pittsburgh community – and be- yond – has been abundant.

Groups and organizations on Duquesne’s campus are supporting the Tree of Life synagogue after the shooting in any way they can. The Mary Pappert School of Music donated proceeds from a concert to the synagogue, Duquesne sorority Alpha Sigma Tau (AST) donated leftover budget funds and Duquesne fraternities Phi Kappa Theta and Sigma Nu are selling Pittsburgh Strong bracelets to support the synagogue.

On Friday, Nov. 2, ticket sales from the concert, The Music of Billy Stray- horn, were donated to the synagogue. The concert featured the Duquesne Jazz Ensemble, directed by Mike Tomaro; Jazz Workshop, directed by Jeff Bush and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Kelley Krepin DeFade. Jane Cubbison, office manager of the school of music, and Steve Groves, manager of musical events, came up with the idea to make the concert a benefit for the synagogue. Billy Strayhorn, one of “Pitts- burgh’s greatest musical icons” according to Tomaro, was raised in Braddock and then Homewood from the age of five.

Seth Beckman, dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music, thought making the previously-scheduled concert a benefit for the synagogue was “a wonderful idea, especially considering that Billy Strayhorn – an internationally prominent musician who had a tremendous impact on his (and future) generations – was a native Pittsburgher known for bringing people together through his artistry.”

Beckman hoped that the concert could be a place for our community to come together and celebrate life through music.

Music is considered a universal language that, regardless of one’s own background, has the power to convey what words alone cannot do in any language.

“We hope that our musical offerings lift the spirits of those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy,” Beckman said.

The Duquesne Jazz Ensemble performed during the concert, The Music of Billy Stray- horn, on Friday, Nov. 2, which donated its proceeds to the Tree of Life synagogue. Olivia Higgins/Staff Photographer

The Duquesne Jazz Ensemble performed during the concert, The Music of Billy Stray- horn, on Friday, Nov. 2, which donated its proceeds to the Tree of Life synagogue. Olivia Higgins/Staff Photographer

“It is a proven fact the music has healing powers and so our concert seemed to be a great way to assist in this process,” Tomaro said.

Additionally, Duquesne Greek Life took action to support the Tree of Life synagogue and those affected by the shooting.

AST announced its efforts to help during its annual Miss Duquesne Pageant on Saturday, Nov. 3, which benefits the Make- A-Wish Foundation.

“Even though our philanthropy is Make-A-Wish, we did not feel right ignoring a cause that was so close to home. Many girls thought that we should contribute in some way to the Tree of Life synagogue to help this community,” said Kacie Flannigan, AST director of philanthropy and co-chair of the Miss Duquesne Pageant. “Bringing light to these victims is very important because this is our city, and we wanted to help in any way we could.”

Fraternities Phi Kappa Theta and Sigma Nu began selling black-and- yellow Pittsburgh Strong bracelets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, and will continue to do so through Friday, Nov. 9 on the third floor of the Union. The bracelets cost two dollars.

In addition to these dates, the bracelets will be sold on Nov. 10, during the men’s football and basketball game and on Nov. 12 at the men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader.

Jake Nowark, philanthropy chair of Phi Kappa Theta, and his roommate, Zach Laros of Sigma Nu, came together with the idea to create a joint effort between the two fraternities.

Nicolas Jozefczyk, president of Phi Kappa Theta and A&E writer for The Duke, said, “The idea to raise money after this tragedy seemed only natural.”

Nowark said that the goal of the fundraiser is “to raise money and awareness for this tragedy among Duquesne’s campus, and it has turned into something more than we ever thought it would.”

“We hope to raise over $300 as a tangible goal, but more than that we hope to aid in creating a culture of brother and sisterhood to the point where people know that there is always someone to help them in their time of need,” Alex Burns, president of Sigma Nu, said.

A larger event is in the works for the future. David DeFelice, president of Duquesne’s Jewish Student Organization (JSO), is currently planning an event tentatively set for March 18, 2019, that will tackle the issue of anti-Semitism and the First Amendment.

“We will ask questions like, what is hate speech? What can be censored? And what can we do to stop anti-Semitism, while maintaining free speech?” DeFelice said. “We will have representatives from the ADL, Jewish Federation and a few academics on constitutional law.”

DeFelice adds that while the Jewish community in Pittsburgh is already rather close-knit, he thinks that this event will bring them even closer.

“Our Duquesne community will continue to rely on one another and help the larger community heal in any way we can,” DeFelice said.

The Jewish Law Students Associa- tion and the JSO co-hosted a candle- light vigil in remembrance of the victims on Wednesday, Nov. 7, on A-Walk, followed by a dinner in the campus ministry.

Supporting others through events like this is just another part of Duquesne’s mission.

“Our institution and Spiritan Fathers have always valued community and community engagement. This is as true today as it was when our institution was founded,” Beckman said. “Our new university strategic plan reinforces this fact as well, detailing an imperative that stresses the significance of deepening authentic alliances throughout our community — including other faith-based entities.”

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Why Conferences Are NOT Worth It

Are Conferences Really Worth the Cost?

by Nicholas Reid
University of Iowa, ‘21

From left to right: Nic Reid, Dr. Michael Brown, and Isaac Kracht at the Naperville BBLA.

From left to right: Nic Reid, Dr. Michael Brown, and Isaac Kracht at the Naperville BBLA.

Usually people see conferences as a waste of a weekend. Time spent away from their normal, fun weekends. In all honesty, who wants to sit in a meeting all weekend?

Many members of a fraternity would rather stay home, spend the weekend with their friends and have a good time. What people don’t understand is actually how enjoyable Phi Kappa Theta conferences are.

By having the opportunity to attend our weekend meetings, whether regional or National, I have learned more about myself and have been able to change my life for the better.

The first time I went to a Phi Kappa Theta conference was last August in Orlando. I had recently finished my freshman year, was working full time, taking summer classes and having to finish writing our petition to charter.

My first thought was, “I am the only one who can go to this meeting and how in the world am I going to find the time and money?” The answer of time was helped by my boss, who allowed me to take two days off (when I really wasn’t suppose to have any days off) to go to Orlando. The money aspect was funded by our alumni, who I am so thankful to this day that they did. It seemed as if there was a reason, an outside force that wanted me to go to Orlando, and I am so grateful I got the opportunity.

Travel became a hassle to arrive at Orlando (I had a total of 7 hours of delay), so I unfortunately missed the opening on Friday. The next day, I entered the room with no idea of who anyone was, as I was the only representative from the University of Iowa there (which is the best school in Iowa, but that’s another article).

The first man I met at breakfast was an alumni named Ross Walters (University of Louisiana, ‘02). As he offered me the top-secret, highly classified, shall not be named handshake of Phi Kappa Theta, he did not realize that I was from Iowa and had not yet been initiated.

As I did not know the handshake, he reached back in shock as if he had just touched a leper and started questioning if I was a Phi Kap. I explained that I was from Iowa and we were currently rechartering, and he laughed and joked with me the rest of the weekend.

Over the weekend, I made connections that have carried on throughout my life since. I met BRUCEEEE, legally known as Bryce Frey (Iowa State University, ‘20), the Iowa State representative. We have gone on to continue communicating and planning Iowa vs. Iowa State events.

Another important person I met, who I recently saw again at the Naperville BBLA, was Dr. Michael Brown. If you have not met Dr. Brown, I recommend that you make every effort to. Not only is he the only man I know that puts peanut butter on cheez-its, but he is extremely intelligent and a great brain to pick.

He is also one of the most caring people you will ever meet and always ready to have a conversation. I also was able to meet all the National Staff and several Alumni who I had never met in person, including Johnny Hohenstein, Robert Riggs, Doug Dilling, Adrian Gonzalez, Sarah Everhart and so many more.

The most impactful part of the trip were the meetings, but the most memorable part were the nights. Brothers from all over the country would gather at the pool or in the lounge, telling stories of their own chapters and talking about solving theirs and others chapters problems.

Of course, at the same time joking with each other and becoming close friends. I can honestly attest to that being one of the best weekends of my life, and I am still in contact with many people who I met at IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL.

The reason that I brought up Orlando was that recently my brother, Isaac Kracht from the University of Iowa, and I attended the Naperville BBLA.

I’m sure when I told him to go with me he thought the same thing as me: “oh great a weekend away from Iowa city, why in the world would I want to leave here for Naperville?” But being the kind guy he is, he accepted to come with.

I knew from talking to Johnny Hohenstein, that Dr. Brown was going to be there, and Isaac was going to love talking to him.

The weekend went very much the same way as Orlando, a great experience with a large impact on my life and good times with other chapters. Talking throughout and after the weekend with Isaac, I could see it had a resounding impact on him too.

We talked about deeper things that we had never talked about before, and he seemed energized and excited to start a new approach to life.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend making a trip to a regional or national conference. If your chapter can, implement it into dues so that everyone can go! Or, you could plan to have Dr. Brown come for a weekend and speak to your chapter.

Regarding my clickbait story title? Phi Kap conferences are indeed worth it. Whether you desiring to become a better version of yourself, or interested in meeting other brothers from around the country, I promise it will have a lasting impact on your life.


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Brother Reid is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering with a focus in Business Management. He is the current Vice President of Fraternal, Recharter Head and Social Media Chair for Phi Kappa Theta Iowa Delta. Nicholas grew up in Peoria, Illinois, attending St. Vincent de Paul grade school and Peoria Notre Dame High School. He was involved and active in many things, including scholastic bowl, numerous sports with his primary being soccer, key club and French Club. Nic also received the Presidental Award, National Honors Society, Old Gold Scholarship and an Illinois State Scholar. He is the first person of his family to move out for college, attend a big 10 school and join Greek life. Knowing nothing of what Greek life is about graduating, Nic has since taken a strong passion towards Phi Kappa Theta and bettering himself, along with his brothers. Nic is also involved in Dance Marathon and Intramural Sports, along with numerous service projects through the Fraternity. In his freetime, he loves to workout, play sports, hunt, fish, play video games and hang out with friends.