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Alpha Kappa Psi’s Guidance on Coronavirus

As an organization, our brothers’ safety, health, and well-being remain our highest priority.

With the international concerns regarding COVID-19, it is natural to experience high stress and anxiety, especially with the rapidly changing information on public health, social distancing, on-line classes, and work from home policies.

Further, the larger impact of the virus, regarding travel restrictions and other precautions are significant–noting we are all working through the challenges of daily updates on the status of COVID-19 and the subsequent changes we are all facing over the next few months.

All US-based campuses where AKPsi operates chapters have moved to on-line classes and/or closed their campuses.

This is unchartered territory for universities and organizations like Alpha Kappa Psi and the intention of this webpage is to provide a clearinghouse for resources that are helpful to all brothers, chapter officers, and volunteers.

Chapter Related Items

We are working on the assumption universities will continue their on-line courses for the remainder of the semester. As each chapter accommodates and adapts to these ongoing changes, we would like to provide additional guidance in chapter operations, pledging, and rituals: 

Chapter Operations: 

As it relates to your chapter activities and meetings, please follow the instructions and advice offered by your university. This may require canceling chapter meetings, activities, and events. For chapter operations: 

  1. Chapter minimum standards and due dates: The Fraternity is ready to accommodate each chapter accordingly.  Rather than approach minimum standards as a list of requirements that are ‘enforced,’ the goal will be to determine what each chapter needs to do to provide continuity and engagement, given the circumstances. 
  2. Per the Constitution, the chapter is required to host 2 chapter meetings per month. This policy has been suspended, however, we recommend doing virtual meetings if the chapter is able to and if the resources are available. If video conferencing tools are not available from the university, please contact your Regional Director or CERC (CERC@akpsi.org) to get information on using AKPsi’s Zoom licensing. 
  3. For recruitment (specifically for quarter schools). Per the Constitution, the chapter is required to hold 2 initiations. This policy has been suspended since recruitment cannot be done at this time. 
  4. Update on deadlines for the Chapter Success Plan, Bridge Syllabus, and Reflection Report: 
    • The Chapter Success Plan (May 15) and Reflection Report (May 1 for semester schools and June 1 for quarter schools) will remain the same.  NOTE:  chapters will not be penalized for not meeting the May 15 target date, although we will want to understand what we can assist with and the date the chapter can complete it.
    • Questions within the Chapter Success Plan have been modified/adjusted to ask chapters to think about virtual and on-campus operations (these are highlighted on the form).
    • The Fall 2020 Bridge Syllabus will now have an open deadline to accommodate this period of unknown and the details that go into this plan.  The extended deadline will allow chapters to learn if they will be on-campus or remain virtual for the Fall 2020 semester and then plan accordingly. The Bridge Syllabus form has been modified to include a recruitment planning section for both on-campus and virtual in order to be ready for both scenarios.
    • If your chapter doesn’t meet the May 15 deadline, please work with your RD/RMT for a completion date and to plan for the evaluation/review of the plan. The RD/RMT will inform their CERC of the revised date(s).
    • Student Services team will be tracking information on universities as they decide on the fall 2020 semester (in-person/virtual) and will communicate with you frequently to assist in getting these key documents completed and submitted.  If you have questions, please reach out to CERC@akpsi.org.

Pledging:

The Fraternity’s guidance is to initiate pledges early (see the next section), with the expectation you can finish the educational portion of the process at a later date. We ask the officers to adapt accordingly, based on the following guidance:  

Can the chapter postpone their pledging process until the Fall?

If the pledging process is less than half way completed, anything before the Mid-term interview, and online meetings cannot be done, then we would recommend postponing until the Fall. To defer the current pledge class to the Fall, please keep their status as pledge in ChapterSpot. 

If the majority of the pledging process is completed, anything after the Mid-term interview, we would recommend initiating the pledges early. See the next section. 

Our Midterm interviews are scheduled during this period of virtual classes only, how should we conduct them?

Many chapters may have the Midterm interview during this time. Look into video conference options—your school/university, Skype, Google calls, etc. If no other options are available, please reach out to the Heritage Center for Zoom options.  

The Bridge to Brotherhood program only requires a panel of brothers so the entire chapter is not required to participate. 

There is no requirement that all the interviews are to be done at one time, it’s up to the chapter to define the schedule. 

Every member of the chapter is already in the chapter “community” on MyAKPsi; chapter officers can update everyone (including alumni) on chapter progress and operations. 

How should we proctor the fraternal exam with we can’t gather in-person?

The pledge educator may send the exam link and password to the pledges to take the exam. The pledges will then report scores to the pledge educator. 

To conduct the oral component of the exam (the fraternal oath and anthem), this can be done virtually. An option could be doing this oral component as part of the Mid-term interview as there is no requirement that this has to be done at a certain time. 

How would these adjustments impact pledge improvement plans?

This may fall on the Pledge Educator or VP-Membership to review and modify the plan to accommodate since the chapter is virtual. 

 

Court of Honor and Initiation Ritual: 

The Court of Honor presentations and initiation ceremony are two separate activities, here is our guidance: 

Would the Fraternity allow pledges to complete the virtual process for Court of Honor?

Yes, the Court of Honor presentations can be virtual. Utilize the video conference options for the group presentations and schedule them accordingly. Presentations are not required to be done at the same day/time and the entire chapter is not required to be present. 

Can we do pledge voting online?

Yes, the chapter can utilize surveys / online tools to do pledge voting. This can also be done online during your virtual chapter meeting. 

How do we initiate our pledges early?

To initiate your pledges early, please collect their initiation fees first. After collection, please change their status in ChapterSpot. Report them this semester so that they can receive their membership certificate and pin. 

If you need assistance in collecting dues, please let the Fraternity know as they can make payment online through a link provided by the Heritage Center. 

If we are initiating our pledges early, how can they complete the remaining education modules?

The education modules can be done virtually after Initiation by the Pledge Educators. 

If virtual meetings are not an option, it is recommended that the chapter invite those new members to participate in the educational module meetings with the Fall pledge class. 

What if we can’t wait until Fall 2020 to initiate our pledges for the survival of the chapter or we have pledge(s) who are graduating this Spring 2020?

Collect the initiation fee and change their status in ChapterSpot. The Initiation ceremony is a formal process and we do not require the member to go through it as this time. If a Spring initiation is required, you can initiate the pledge without going through the ceremony. Initiation payment needs to be completed prior to changing their status in ChapterSpot. Please let your CERC know if you are going through this process. 

Can we hold a virtual initiation during this timeframe?

We have created a “public” version of the initiation ritual. If you decide to hold a virtual initiation, please contact your CERC for the revised Ritual to use during ceremony. Below are the changes:

  • We removed the handshake, password, motto from it.
    • The call to action in Fall 2020 is to do a “brotherhood reaffirmation” by going through the confidential information with everyone and linking up to do the anthem, ideally at the first chapter meeting.
  • We reduced the number of people involved in the ritual to 3 members.
  • We also removed the processional and any movement.
  • No ritual gear or robes are needed.

How do we collect the initiation fee ($84.00) from each pledge prior to the initiation?

The chapter should send a list of the pledges to be initiated, the initiation date and point of contact to your CERC@akpsi.org. The CERC will reach back out to point of contact on how many pledges paid their initiation fees when the initiation date gets closer. The chapter will inform each pledge the process of logging into the AKPsi website to the Member Payment Center to submit their individual payment.  The chapter should let the pledges know in advance how to submit their payment and give a deadline of when the payment needs to be made.

How do we vote the pledges into membership?

You can do online voting during your virtual chapter meeting and/or use an online tool (like a Google form) to collect your members’ votes.

Installation of Officers and Graduating Seniors Rituals: 

These ceremonies can be done virtually, here is our guidance: 

Can we do the Installation of Officers ritual online?

This is a PUBLIC ritual and can be done virtually with the current and new e-board members. Chapter attendance should be optional. 

This ritual can be pushed to the beginning of the Fall if you are looking to do this in-person. 

Please DO NOT wear your ritual robes. 

Can we do the Graduating Senior ritual online?

This is a PUBLIC ritual and can be done virtually with the current seniors. Chapter attendance should be optional. 

If the ritual cannot be done online, this is not a required to be done. Please update the member status to alumnus in ChapterSpot. 

Please DO NOT wear your ritual robes. 

The Fraternity is considering conducting a fraternity-wide on-line ceremony for graduating seniors later in the Spring. 

Chapter Finances:

Clarifying information surrounding chapter finances, here is our guidance. 

Can dues be refunded for the spring 2020 term?

The fraternity in general is still operating and will continue to offer programs, resources, and activities for chapter officers and all members.  These include expenses for ongoing activities including chapter planning, event planning and programming, educational program design and development, on-line resources and programs, and the MyAKPsi platform.  To support continuity in these operational areas, the base individual $60 dues are not refundable.

Depending upon the individual chapter’s expenses during the first part of the term, chapters may choose to refund (or provide a credit for the next term) for the portion of dues paid by members at the local level.  Even though nearly all chapters had to cancel events or programs, it’s possible that chapters may not be able to refund all local dues because of lost deposits or other out-of-pocket expenses the chapter incurred planning for the term.

What do we do if outstanding invoices cannot be paid because our account is through the university?

Has your chapter reached out to the university accounting office to inquire if you can access your account online/remotely?  If not, can you get a statement from the university showing the account balance for our records.  Those funds shall be earmarked for the outstanding invoices and paid to clear off balances first thing upon your return to campus.

Our chapter has chosen to delay the pledge process until the fall, can we be refunded for the pledge fees we have been invoiced?

The $48 pledge fee paid to the Heritage Center is non-refundable.  If your chapter has postponed the pledge process until the fall, please keep their status as pledge in ChapterSpot.  We encourage you to engage with them during the virtual period and over the summer to keep them engaged with AKPsi.  You may reimburse what you charged at the chapter level, although you will want to recharge this amount in the Fall.

Why allow a chapter to shorten the pledging process and initiate early?

We need to limit attrition in every way that is available.  We expect chapter sizes to decrease (and some chapters will struggle to sustain) and the intention is to increase engagement currently and into the fall term. Allowing chapters to initiate new members now provides a tool to help cushion attrition.  Some chapters are pushing the pledge process to the Fall, which is ok, but we must consider that not all pledges will return. This also will hurt the chapter. Regardless of what direction a chapter takes, we are here to accommodate them. 

Will chapters incur penalties or late fees if dues/fees to the fraternity are not paid on time?

No.  The chapter’s balance will carry over to the fall without penalty.  For those chapters who have accounts with college/university accounts, please contact your school’s accounting office for instructions on accessing your account remotely.  It’s likely they have established a process for student organizations to pay vendors in light of the current circumstances.  If accessing payments from your school’s account is not available, please request a statement and forward it to deana@akpsi.org.

myAKPsi Community

The myAKPsi Community is the member portal that serves as a hub for members. Below are instructions for logging into the myAKPsi Community’s Collaboration groups to ensure you see the most up-to-date information.

  1. Log into the Community using this link:   https://akpsi.force.com/myAKPsi/s/
    • Username: Your email plus “.myakpsi”
      • Ex. john_doe@university.edu.myakpsi
    • If you require password assistance: Email CERC@akpsi.org for a reset email
  2. Choose “Collaboration” at the top of the page.
  3. Choose “My Groups” from the Groups drop-down
    • You should see a collaboration group for all AKPsi members, “AKPsi Group”.
    • If you are a core 7 officer, you will also see a collaboration group for your position.
  4. Click on the “AKPsi Group” or your officer group to see the latest posts about COVID-19 adjustments.

Please continue to stay informed by logging into myAKPsiCommunity—> Collaboration Section for ongoing and up-to-date information. We ask you to continue to send an email to CERC@akpsi.org of any changes/updates so we can inform all volunteers and staff as needed.

Additional Information

We encourage you to consult the following resources to stay up-to-date on developments and best health practices:

Who do I contact if I have more questions?