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Get to know AU’s professional fraternities

AU is home to eight of these student groups

Get to know AU’s professional fraternities

As the school year picks up again and rush season comes to a close, professional greek organizations on campus will begin their philanthropy events for the semester. AU hosts nine professional greek organizations on campus, covering a variety of interests and development areas for students to get involved in and advance their current skill sets. The Eagle talked with each organization to get a better idea of what they do and what students should look out for throughout the semester if they are interested in rushing in the spring.

Alpha Phi Omega: service fraternity

Senior Katlyn Hirokawa, the secretary of APO, said the fraternity focuses on three main values to advance their principles of meaningful service, leadership, friendship and service.

“We call it LFS, and those are the three values that we hold highly and dear to and we look for those qualities in people who are interested in leadership opportunities and who are natural born leaders,” Hirokawa said. “People who are passionate about community service and volunteering. And then people who are very friendly and open and are looking to make some lifelong friendships.”

With almost 100 members in the fraternity, Hirokawa said AU’s chapter is one of the largest in the region and offers multiple opportunities throughout the year for students to participate in its events.

“Every fall we have an event that we host called ‘Do Your Service Day’ or we like to call it DYSD and that’s basically a way for us to really connect with the Washington, D.C. community and get back into our values of community service,” Hirokawa said. “We invite non-APO members to come join us for service opportunities, so whether it’s a professor or other students who aren’t in APO, anyone is allowed on that day to come with us on our service projects and do community service with us. And then in the spring we do SYSD, so it’s like spring Your Service Day.”

Through these service projects, Hirokawa said members are exposed to different parts of Washington, D.C. that they may not experience otherwise.

“I’ve explored different parts of D.C. that I wouldn’t have seen or wouldn’t have known about because of these service projects,” Hirokawa said. “It really forces you to get out and make a change in the Washington, D.C. community, which is great.”

Alpha Kappa Psi: professional business

With the motto “Work hard. Pay Hard,” senior Ajay Shah, the vice president of professional development for Alpha Kappa Psi, said the fraternity focuses largely on professional skills and development.

“We’re not just business. We’ve had students from all schools at AU join AkPsi,” Shah said. “Our goal is professional development, which is necessary in any field.”

Alpha Kappa Psi hosts a variety of events for brothers ranging from chances for social bonding to opportunities for business networking.

“We hold events for our members such as pumpkin picking in the fall as well as hikes for our Brothers,” Shah said in an email. “Professional events include panels, last year we brought in a Major General from the U.S. Army who spoke to students and faculty about leadership.”

Shah encouraged anyone interested to contact any of the brothers to learn more and find out how to get involved.

“Come out to rush in the spring,” he said. “But if you’d like to speak with us before then reach out to us on social media or find one of our brothers in Kogod where we typically like to hang out.”

Delta Kappa Alpha: cinematic arts

“The mission of Delta Kappa Alpha is to foster life-long collaboration by and between aspiring members of the film industry as well as those who thoroughly enjoy film through productive business practices, philanthropic action, and creative storytelling,” junior Vincenzo Dama, president of Delta Kappa Alpha, said in an email.

Last year, DKA held events such as an Oscars party, and co-hosted other events and fundraisers primarily with the School of Communication.

“Numerous people think that an organization that is dedicated to the cinematic arts must not be that professional,” Dama said. “DKA offers strategic business practices as well as career-building paths for its members. The film industry is an industry nonetheless and must be operated at the highest of professionalism. Delta Kappa Alpha is proud to be one of the most inclusive, diverse, and professional organizations on campus.”

Students don’t need to be a film major to be in DKA, the fraternity welcomes a variety of different people and majors to participate, Dama said.

Delta Phi Epsilon: foreign service sorority

Promoting a strong sense of sisterhood while encouraging professional growth, AU's Professional Foreign Service Sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon hosts a group of over 60 women interested in foreign service according to President, senior Maha Kamel.

“Delta Phi Epsilon is a tightly-knit organization of young women who are proud American University students, interested in careers in international affairs, and pursuing degrees in a variety of topics,” Kamel said.

Welcoming female students of different religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations and political ideologies, DPE sponsors both internal and external events throughout the year to extend the professional outreach and development of its members.

“Most notably we host a range of career chats that bring in professionals across various fields including foreign service, security and defense, non-profits, business and more to talk to our sister about the particulars related to their various fields and we attempt to bring female professionals who can enlighten us on their experience as a women in their respective fields,” Kamel said.

In addition to the knowledge and learning opportunities, Kamel said her favorite part of DPE is the sense of female empowerment that comes from the group.

“I have gained a new family made up of strong and successful females who inspire me everyday to continue breaking the glass ceiling,” Kamel said. “My favorite part about DPE is the wealth of information, knowledge and passion I have at my disposal with my sisters. During every conversation with a sister I learn a little more about a different region, idea or skill that I can then carry with me.”

Delta Phi Epsilon: foreign service fraternity

Delta Phi Epsilon, AU’s foreign service fraternity, provides members opportunities to meet with foreign affairs professionals and gain professional experience in the field, senior President Garrett Finn said in an email.

“Our motto is ‘I Serve’,” Finn said. “We are the nation's only fraternity that focuses on foreign affairs while valuing professionalism, self determination and service. We are an organization where both the intellect and actions of members are integral in defining what DPE actually is as an organization.”

Throughout the year, DPE holds network events for members, bringing in professionals and leaders in the field from all over the world.

“We provide professional networking events that help members access leading experts in their fields of study,” Finn said. “For instance, we will be hosting a professor from a Welsh university later this month in a round table discussion on the implications of democracy building in the Global South.”

Finn said joining DPE helped him branch out to learn more about foreign service outside of AU and introduced him to a different cohort of people with shared interests.

“DPE gave me a vast professional network in foreign affairs at AU as well as other chartered institutions like Georgetown and UC Berkeley,” Finn said. “The organization has been integral to my college experience, giving me some of the most talented, intelligent and motivated friends anyone could ask for.”

Mu Beta Psi: music fraternity

Junior and president of Mu Beta Psi Alain Xiong-Calmes said the fraternity emphasizes using music as a means of enhancing spirituality and relieving stress.

“I think in a lot of ways, all of us kind of share the common belief that music is like the soul of life,” Xiong-Calmes said. “There’s this quote that Plato had where he’s like, ‘Music is one of the few ways in which you can connect to God or connect to your spirit or your soul,’ and I’m not really religious, but something about that really resonates with me and with all of us.”

Throughout the semester, Mu Beta Psi does a variety of fundraising and service projects such as caroling for U.S. troops, planning events with different organizations in D.C. such as the Sitar Arts Center and helping out AU’s music department.

Mu Beta Psi also acts as a way to get more involved in culture amidst the hectic lives many AU students lead in D.C., Xiong-Calmes said.

“I think that a lot of times at AU, being in D.C. we always think that the big pillars of society are economics and politics. And those are obviously really important but I think a third pillar of society that’s just as important is the pillar of culture,” Xiong-Calmes said. “I think there are lots of ways that you see that pillar, but for me, music is one of the primary ways that I connect with that pillar and it’s nice to have those people around me as a way to connect to that third pillar that we all can forget about.”

Phi Alpha Delta: pre-law fraternity

As the pre-law fraternity at the University, junior and president of Phi Alpha Delta, Willow Karfiol, said while members emphasize professionalism and preparing for law school, they also place a large emphasis on bonding and creating a tight knit community.

“We have several highlights that we want to encourage for our new members,” Karfiol said. “Basically we are a fraternity, so we do want to foster a community, brotherhood, but in a more professional setting, obviously.”

By working with the Career Center and a pre-law advisor, Karfiol said members participate in a wide array of events ranging from meeting with law school recruiters in order to learn more about the application process, to hearing different perspectives on people and their careers within law so far.

Karfiol also said those who are unsure about going down a path in law can still get involved, as many skills that Phi Alpha Delta focuses on are applicable to other career fields.

“Phi Alpha Delta is going to be a community in which you can be yourself, but you can also advance your professional networking skills,” Karfiol said. “So even if you decide you don’t want to go to law school or you’re not sure, there are still many other aspects of the fraternity such as brotherhood, social events and learning how to be professional that you’ll need in other areas of study.”

Phi Delta Epsilon: medical fraternity

For students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, Phi Delta Epsilon helps members achieve these goals while upholding high moral standards, according to senior Cassidy Hart, president of the fraternity.

“Our mission statement itself is actually being citizens of integrity,” Hart said. “That’s really what we try to focus on is helping pre-med students get into medical school, but also making sure that they uphold by the values of integrity that are important to foster.”

To aid in the process of preparing for medical school and medical careers, the fraternity facilitates clinics related to different aspect of the medical field and volunteer work and helps members find positions to gain experience, Hart said.

Hart added that joining Phi Delta Epsilon has given her both a broader friend group and support system to help each other through classes.

“My favorite part has definitely been knowing people in all of my classes,” Hart said. “I have the same people in my classes and a lot of them are in PhiDE, so we’ll all get together afterwards to study together. Sometimes older brothers will tutor students if they’ve already taken the class, so it’s really nice just to have a group of people that you can work with who kind of know what you’re going through and everything.”

Phi Sigma Pi: academic fraternity

As the academic honor fraternity at AU, President Frankie Francavilla said members focus on three main values that guide their service and work.

“Our ideals are a tripod of fellowship, leadership and scholarship,” Francavilla said in an email. “Through those key components we embody friendship and camaraderie, service and professional skills and learning beyond the classroom.”

These three values are also prominent in Phi Sigma Pi’s philanthropy throughout the year, featuring events including “Bros teaching Bros,” “How to Adult Week” and other service events within the D.C. community.

Francavilla said her favorite part of Phi Sigma Pi has been the support system that other members provide amongst one another.

“I love all my brothers for the way they think, express themselves, and are so engaged in their communities,” Francavilla said. “I always feel like I have support in whatever I do because we are able to connect so efficiently.”

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