Chapter COVID-19 Response Plans 

Our fraternity chapters across the US experience different crises, and each exists in a different campus environment. But in the current COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has similar questions, fears, and concerns. Here are specific instructions for our chapters at this time, as well as direction for how to continue to receive updates as the situation changes. 

First, Follow Campus Instructions 

Many universities have already cancelled in-person classes and group activities. All chapters should comply with the directives of the school first and foremost, as the university will know what is appropriate for your state and locality. All of the Alpha Kappa Psi headquarters staff, as well as our network of volunteers, are available to help chapter leaders brainstorm and organize their compliance with those instructions. Chapter meetings and events are important, but not more important than health and public safety. 

Fraternity Events During Online-Only Classes 

If and when your campus makes the decision to switch to online classes or take other public safety measures, the first step for an Alpha Kappa Psi chapter is to email CERC@akpsi.org for support. From hurricanes, to earthquakes, to forest fires and beyond, we have supported each other through it all and will continue to do so. 

Chapter meetings and chapter continuing education through our bridge program can all be joined virtually. Pledge meetings and pledge education can also be conducted online if this is accessible to all who need to attend. We even trust our pledges and pledge educators to report the results of fraternal exams that may need to happen during this virtual time. After all, if we can’t rely on the honor system, what would be the strength of our brotherhood? Lastly, any midterm or end-of-semester meetings that need to occur between the Chapter and Nationals can easily be conducted via Zoom. 

Any electives scheduled for your chapter during this period should be cancelled, NOT postponed. First, it is unclear when your campus will resume activities, so you don’t want to have to conduct a whole semester worth of pledge activities in a few weeks. This will be especially true if the rest of the academic workload is ramping up, too. Chapter education electives can be completed next semester after the new members have been initiated. 

Alpha Kappa Psi Initiation During COVID-19 

At this time, we are providing chapters with the flexibility to suspend the 5-week pledge period and move up initiation to a date they deem appropriate. This is permitted with the expectation that the educational portion of the pledge period will be completed at a later time. We highly recommend that all chapters move up initiation to allow the opportunity for new members to join during the current semester. 

We advise making revisions to the initiation process that are in line with the current best practices from the Center for Disease Control. These may include, but should not be limited to: 

            Demonstrate the Fraternity grip without shaking hands 

            Limit attendance to only the Ritual team and new initiates 

            Conduct multiple ceremonies for smaller groups to control group size 

Please use your best judgment and discretion in ensuring the ceremony is safe for everyone involved. This applies to all other chapter activities as well. Our Board of Directors is in close communication with each other and our peer organizations to collaborate and apply the best practices in this evolving situation.  

For frequent updates, please continue to log in to the MyAKPsi Community. Our top priority during this time is the safety and health of our members, pledges, and the greater campus communities that sustain their development. The Management Team and HC Staff are prepared to support collegiate chapter leaders in whatever ways needed to mitigate the mental, emotional, and physical strains caused by the COVID-19 issue.  

Entrepreneurship: I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein

Anyone out there looking to start a podcast? Today’s episode is for you! Lindsey Hein turned a small hobby into a huge podcast with more than 2.5 million downloads, and then expanded her business into a production company. Tune in for her secrets to success.

Lindsey Hein is the mother of four boys ages 1, 3, 5 and 7. She is the host of one of the top running podcasts “I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein” and the founder of the podcast network Sandyboy Productions. A distance runner herself, Lindsey has completed 16 marathons and coaches athletes to complete the distance both in person and virtually. 

External Links:

Lindsey Hein portfolio

I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein

The Illuminate Podcast

Why You Might Need a Personal Website (& How to Start One)

If you don’t have a personal website already, part of the reason might be that you haven’t considered it necessary. In industries like marketing, visual design, writing, or software/web design, creating an online portfolio is part of the industry standards for showing your work. But websites serve a function for people in business, science, education, customer service—and the many other industries out there, too.

For any professional, creating a personal website is a smart way to establish your identity, own your own content, and speak to your audiences. Here’s more about the benefits of a personal website, and strategies for building one.

What are the Benefits of a Personal Website?

The first benefit of a personal website is that it establishes your identity on the web in a way you fully control. Even a single page of content with your name and details of your experience says more to hiring managers than no site at all. Since you know employers will be searching for you online, it’s good to get your own perspective on the web.

You might consider your social media presence and other web hits about awards or volunteer projects to be enough to impress a potential employer, but that content isn’t in your control and could disappear any time. Plus, in the best-case scenario, you are requiring the employer to do more work to learn about you than an applicant who does have a professional site.

The benefit of being able to speak to your audiences as a professional—including hiring managers and prospective employers—is a key benefit of a personal website. By writing a blog, making videos, or curating a library of your content like white papers and articles, your professional purpose can find a home on the web.

How Do I Create a Personal Website and Brand?

Creating a personal website starts with purchasing the domain name and web hosting services. Some website building services like Wix, GoDaddy, and Squarespace offer domain, hosting, and content management in one platform for a monthly subscription fee. Or, you can purchase the domain and set up hosting through another vendor. Many people turn to WordPress for a free content management system that can be used to set up the website. This allows you to install custom themes and plugins that give your site features like a real-time social media stream, polls, or a carousel of images.

It’s important to know that wordpress.org is different from wordpress.com. At wordpress.com, you can set up a personal or hobby blog without paying for a domain and hosting, but the URL will have the word “wordpress” in it. Plus, visitors will see ads that you can’t control or change, and the site can be deleted at any time. For all these reasons, it’s recommended to purchase a domain name and use wordpress.org, or one of the other CMS services we mentioned.

How to Market Yourself on a Personal Website

Once the website is up and running, then you face the question of what to include as content. The most important strategy is to be authentic. When people land on your website, make sure they know right away what you do and what you stand for. This might come through as a powerful statement you came up with as a headline, or something more narrative to introduce yourself. Everyone’s style is different and your personality should also come through. However, don’t get too detailed. Visitors want to get to know you a little on the homepage, not scroll past your entire life story.

Outside of introducing yourself and what you want in a career, the site should feature your best work. This could be through testimonials from customers, a blog describing your projects and processes, your reactions to news and industry trends, or checklists and other guides to professional success. There’s a way to feature and share every kind of experience, so think outside the box. One caveat—if you choose to add a blog, make sure you commit to update it at least once a month for the sake of consistency.

Creating a personal website is an important way to get your presence on the web, the way you want it. Though there might not be negative news about you online, that isn’t the same as having something good. Use a personal website to share who you are and what makes you an asset to the industry.

Freelancing 101

Our cultural approach to and view of work has been changing rapidly over the past decade. Along with ideas like four-day weeks and remote work that have transformed internal company cultures, the opportunity for freelancing has become more and more prominent. According to Forbes, 56.7 million Americans do freelance work, which can extend to nearly any profession or area of work. This could include programming, writing, videography, website design, financial consulting, and more. How can freelancers stay productive and deliver the same quality of work that companies would find from internal employees? Let’s look at some basic needs in our Freelancer 101 guide.

Workflow for Freelancers

 One of the hallmarks of a freelancer’s career is often a busy workload. The more clients or contracts you have, the more you’re able to earn. However, without a robust and reliable workflow in place, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. There won’t be an established system in place like an existing agency would have, so you’ll need to create your own. Not only will a project workflow help you accomplish tasks, but it will also allow you to provide documentation and file sharing services for clients.

There are many online tools that can help you track projects. Google’s suite of cloud-based resources like Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Calendar is trusted and free to use. It’s easy to set up shared folders for your work or a calendar that reminds everyone of established deadlines. These can all be detailed with unique permissions to prevent one contracted business from seeing the work of another. There are also paid options such as Podio, Asana, Trello, and Bonsai which can aid in project management. Whatever option you choose, make sure it’s something that your clients can access and use easily.

 Collaboration for Freelancers

 Another big part of any freelancer’s life is the need to engage and collaborate with stakeholders during a contract. This could include content editors, subject matter experts, customers of your client, and even other freelancers. This process is extremely important, as figures published by Bit.AI Blog found 86 percent of employees and executives feel workplace failures were caused by a lack of collaboration and communication. If that’s true for colleagues in the same office, you can imagine how much more difficult it is for freelancers working independently and remotely.

One of the most important elements of collaboration for freelancers is an ability to handle feedback. It’s not uncommon for people to recoil in anxiety and fear when critical conversations and critiques come down the pipeline. However, it’s vital that this kind of insight is viewed from a place of positivity. Whether it’s regarding creative work, like writing and video editing, or something more tangible, like how someone is handling business analytics, hearing opinions from the client will most often strengthen your work. Welcome these opinions with open arms and an open mind. Be ready to actively listen while building a strategy for revisions and changes.

 Invoicing as a Freelancer

 Freelancers have the unique opportunity of varied projects, the chance to work from home, and the ability to call themselves their own boss. But, at the end of the day, we all still need to get paid. You’ll need to be responsible for creating invoices that are easy to understand and enforce during your work. Though it might seem daunting, there are some basic components that go into invoices to ensure they’re properly executed.

  • Write accurate service descriptions that outline everything that was done
  • Make it easy for customers to pay, such as with PayPal or Venmo
  • Emphasize due dates for payments and any relevant penalties for late payment
  • Find out who handles freelancer payment and send it to them only
  • Don’t be afraid to be assertive in collecting owed payments

Establishing Work/Life Balance for Freelancers 

There is an image of freelancers as people who work from their bed or watch TV while responding to client emails. However, the best independent contractors treat the remote workstyle the same as someone in an office. It’s important for freelancers to establish a concrete schedule, not only to stay productive but also to ensure there’s a healthy work-life balance. Without it, there’s a strong chance you’ll find yourself working late hours or erasing those all-important boundaries between personal and professional time.

First and foremost, create a work schedule. True, freelance workers often are more flexible than 9-to-5 jobs, but without designated worktimes, it’s easy to put in way more than 40 hours in a week. This schedule can really be your own; if you’re a night owl, establish those evening hours as your time to get work done. If you prefer rising with the sun, follow that instinct and knock out projects early in the AM. What’s important here, though, is the ability to unplug once the day’s work is done.

The freelance life is alluring but making your own way in business takes a lot of hard work. Not only are you untethered from traditional work environments, but there’s no supporting staff to handle things like project management, payment, or relationship management and collaboration. However, by following some simple guidelines and self-advocating, freelancing can be much less intimidating and become a fulfilling career in the long run.

Traveling for a Cause

Psi Upsilon members Jack Harmon and Kolemann Lutz went from brothers to business partners when they co-founded Journey Foundation in 2018. In today’s episode, Jack and Kole walk us through their once-in-a-lifetime motorbike trips through South America and Southeast Asia. As they tried to navigate the roads and find a place to sleep, they also documented their experience online to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

After graduating early with a bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Mary Washington, Kolemann Lutz embarked on an 8,000 km Journey across 10 countries in Southeast Asia to support nonprofits empowering local youth education. Jack Harmon also graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in economics. In 2015, Jack voyaged through South America while fundraising for depression awareness through the Josh Anderson Foundation.

In transforming a life passion into a life commitment, Kole, Jack and the team at Journey Foundation strive to empower others to begin a volunteer mission that exceeds one’s physical, mental, and philanthropic goals.


External links: 

Journey Foundation – LinkedIn

Journey Foundation – Facebook

Jack’s Journey – Trailer

Jack’s Journey – Full Video