Zeta Phi Eta reinstalls Alpha Mu chapter at AU
SOC student leaders bring back communication arts and sciences professional fraternity
Editor’s Note: Adriana Doria, a life staff writer, and Gabe Ferris, an assistant copy editor, were not involved in the writing, reporting or editing of this story.
Two juniors from the School of Communication recently reactivated Zeta Phi Eta, a communication arts and sciences professional fraternity at American University.
The Alpha Mu chapter of ZPE was first established at the University in 1959, and served as an organization for communication-oriented students to make professional connections within the field. It is unknown when the club paused operations. Last year, ZPE president and founder Adriana Doria, a junior in the SOC, had the idea to create a space for students interested in communication.
“I’m in charge of delegating roles, delegating tasks,” Doria said. “I’m here to promote [ZPE’s] mission, and see it come to fruition hopefully.”
Doria approached Sarah Menke-Fish, the SOC’s assistant dean of experiential learning, with her plan. Menke-Fish is now ZPE’s advisor.
“Its mission is to band together individuals committed to high standards in the communication arts and sciences and to provide professional development opportunities, networking opportunities, all surrounding the communications industry and build a community of like-minded individuals who are all interested in the same field,” Doria said.
In addition to forming a society of journalists and communicators, Doria said she hopes to incorporate career-building opportunities by bringing in guest speakers, growing an alumni network and creating a space where students can talk about their professional experiences.
“It’s word of mouth too, so if you’re in the organization, you can talk to someone about an internship they did, and maybe they can help you write your resume or share internship opportunities that they see,” Doria said. “That would be the overall goal, to have those types of events so that people can gain those skills and be able to apply them after they graduate when they enter the communication industry.”
ZPE advisor Menke-Fish said she wants to be a resource for communication-oriented students to advance in the field.
“We oftentimes as professors get information about internships and other opportunities, … I’d like to be able to share those things with Adriana and the leadership of the chapter so they can share that with everyone else,” Menke-Fish said.
Although ZPE is designed with SOC students in mind, Doria and Vice President Gabe Ferris, a junior double majoring in journalism and CLEG, recommend the fraternity for anyone whose major is applicable to the communication field.
“ZPE wants any student [who] has a commitment to the communications industry, any student [who’s] a hard and diligent worker, any student who’s majoring in something in the communications field or related to the communications field and any student [who] is really committed to serving their community no matter where that is or no matter who is in that community,” Ferris said.
ZPE treasurer Dan Costello, a junior double majoring in political science and public relations, said he looks forward to getting the organization started.
“As an underclassman, I wasn’t really super involved on campus, so now being physically on campus, hopefully that gets me better involved within the student body,” Costello said.
ZPE currently has ten members who have worked to reinstall the organization at AU, according to Doria. Once ZPE is active this semester, the executive board leaders plan to focus on recruitment and volunteer work in the greater D.C. community.
“We want to help organizations that are related to the communications industry, so whether that’s a summer camp for students who are trusted in film or journalism or whether that’s a local theater that needs some philanthropic help, … we definitely want to make sure we’re working to address the needs of area non-profit organizations that are related and committed to the communication industry just like ZPE is,” Ferris said.