The AKPsi Operations Plan

Dear Brothers,

Re: Academic year 20-21 plans and programs

Introduction

First, we’d like to express our well wishes to you and your families as we all continue to collectively navigate the Covid-19 outbreak.

For the AKPsi volunteer leadership and the professional staff, our challenge has been to determine a path ahead for our fraternity in this uncertainty.  Although this letter is somewhat lengthy, it sets a course for the fall academic term, provides transparency on several aspects, and outlines the resources available to achieve the plan. Several perspectives have been heard throughout the process, including those who represent the management team, the fraternity professional staff, current students, and the fraternity board of directors.

The main concern is our members health and well-being. With the coronavirus situation, there are many campuses being closed, or partially closed, and there will be a significant number of students who decide to forego the semester and wait until the situation starts to normalize.

Related to our focus for this semester, and perhaps the entire school year, AKPsi experience for most students will be virtual.  This will make it difficult for many chapters to keep brothers engaged and potentially impacts many chapters ability to survive.

Especially in times of uncertainly and crisis, it’s an opportunity for local chapters to rely more on the “AKPsi” to provide more resources and programs – to provide local brothers with reasons to stay engaged and to provide local chapter officers with tools for operational continuity. (“AKPsi” in this context is what many may sometimes call “international” or “national.”  “AKPsi” is the whole organization, including the vast network of volunteers and the professional staff.)

In order to better assist local chapters and student brothers, there are several items being rolled out or adjusted for this semester (and perhaps the entire school year):

  1. Brotherhood Unbounded – several programs and events to assist you in getting the most of your AKPsi membership through unique opportunities you can only access through AKPsi.
  2. Chapter Operations Resources
  3. Policy and Procedure Adjustments

The sections below will explain each item in more detail:

  1. Brotherhood Unbounded

AKPsi will be providing several new offerings to students for this academic year, thus reducing the burden on the local student chapter officers to deliver professional development opportunities in an ever-changing environment.

Many of these programs will be focused on the current challenges students are facing — stress management, career planning, time management, and include the following:

  • The Birkman Survey – access to the comprehensive tool utilized by many executive search firms to identify work styles, preferences, team dynamics, and stress behaviors. You will gain insight into the ways you process information, solve problems, manage stress, and work with others.
  • Birkman Small Groups – AKPsi will have dozens of volunteers and staff trained to lead small groups (groups will be based upon your ‘profile.’ (e.g., are you a second-year student looking for an internship, are you a 4th year student soon to be graduated, etc.). Groups will meet virtually but can also meet in-person if permitted.
  • Institute of Business Leadership – a virtual leadership development conference with speakers and panelists. Because the in-person PBLI will not be planned for this year, we will hold two virtual conferences.  The registration fee for these events will be free for dues-paying members.
  • Fraternity-wide virtual keynotes – one-hour Q&A with executives and leaders in business and other professions – the current plan is for these to be monthly events. The registration fee for these events will be free for dues-paying members.
  • The MyAKPsi app — available in the Apple and Google Play stores – provides access to the functions above through any handheld device. (More information on MyAKPsi is below.)
  • Principled Business Leadership Certificates – to be rolled out in MyAKPsi later this year, the certificates will be awarded to members as they achieve milestones along their principled business leadership journey through our Brotherhood Unbounded programs.
  1. Chapter Operations Resources

The Management Team and the professional staff have been working on many tools and resources to assist chapter officers:

  • Virtual Chapter Operations Guide – A comprehensive guide providing student officers with the tools to plan for virtual operations. This guide can be found in the Knowledge Base in MyAKPsi
  • MyAKPsi Groups – Do you want to grow your network? In MyAKPsi, each chapter has a “group” for all members, including alumni and students. This gives generations of AKPsi brothers the opportunity to connect for mentorship, job-related opportunities, etc.
  • Groups also give you the opportunity to contact any AKPsi member (as long as they have registered in MyAKPsi) in any industry in any location in the world.
  • Knowledge Base – A library of professional development and chapter management resources.
  • Volunteer Central – Chapters can find volunteers who are willing to serve as speakers, panelists, judges, etc. Volunteers can sign up to serve in a variety of roles to advise students or other alumni.
  • Events – Local chapter events can now be organized and managed via MyAKPsi, including local chapter meetings (virtual or otherwise).
  • New MyAKPsi app – as mentioned above, this will give additional access to resources and opportunities for networking
  1. Policy, Procedure, and Operational Adjustments

This semester will be a challenge for student brothers and student chapters overall.  In addition to the items mentioned above, a comprehensive review of policies, procedures, and operations has been conducted.  There will be several changes for this term (and perhaps the year):

  • Chapter Minimum Expectations have been changed to reflect the current campus environment and the challenges of coronavirus – the expectations are designed to assist chapters in creating their goals for engagement and sustainability. Resources are provided for the chapters to achieve these goals (see sections above – Virtual Chapter Operations Guide).
  • Flexible payment plans – AKPsi will not charge late fees for chapters for billing through Nov. 30, 2020. This gives the chapters the flexibility to spread out member dues payments over 4 months (Aug-Nov, ~$15-20/month for insurance, dues, fees)
  • LOA-Extreme Hardship – many brothers are struggling financially, so even with the program opportunities coming this fall, there will be those who do not have the time or money to participate. Update your rosters as soon as you can in order to ensure billing is accurate. Please note your RD ask that any requests for LOA-Extreme Hardship include if it is due to Covid-19.
  • The professional fraternity staff costs have been reduced by 20-25% compared to last year, temporarily reducing expenses
  • In-person events and meetings will be substantially decreased, temporarily reducing cost for planning, facility, meal, and travel. This includes PBLI.  We will not plan PBLI for this year.  Instead, the Institute for Business Leadership will provide opportunities for brothers to connect with speakers and panelists in a virtual format.
  • The registration cost for the Institute for Business Leadership and the Virtual keynotes will be free for dues-paying members. Although ‘going virtual’ may imply the events can be conducted without costs, it is still necessary to budget for speaker, staffing, curriculum, & technology costs for these events; therefore, there will be a registration fee for any non-dues paying member.
  • Insurance and related expenses – The HC staff manages several insurance policies for the organization, including policies that protect chapters from embezzlement, provide liability coverage for student chapter officers and volunteers if an incident occurs outside of their control, and several other polices for events, governance, the HC building, and the Member Accident Protection Plan. These coverages must be maintained and managed. The current insurance charge is $30/student (annual), which is paid in the fall. For this year, we have negotiated a reduction of $3/student, which will temporarily lower the cost to $27.
  • Student member dues are currently $60 per semester per person. For the fall semester, member dues will be reduced by 10%, to $54 per person. 
  • The Convention Savings Plan was to be increased to $350 this term. That increase will be suspended for the fall semester. The Plan will remain $250 for fall term.  If the Convention currently planned for August 2021 is postponed, the pool will be suspended entirely for the 2021 winter/spring term.

Overall Fraternity Impact & Outlook

The reduction in dues and fees and the subsequent offering of additional programs and resources represent an investment in you and your chapters. The changes above will result in an overall budget shortfall for the organization of $700,000 for this fiscal year.

This budget also includes a budgeted reduction in pledges of 20% compared to last year.  The overall pledge goal for this year is 6,100 compared to 7,500 in FY20, which heightens the importance of every chapter making a good faith effort to attempt virtual recruitment.

Because local chapter activities will be limited, it’s even more critical for AKPsi to provide the activities and experiences at the fraternity-wide level to provide brothers with the opportunities to continue their principled business leadership journey.

It would help decrease overall budget deficit for the organization if each chapter would make a good faith effort to utilize the Virtual Chapter Operations guide in order to keep AKPsi active on campus and to recruit potential members. 

From a programming and networking perspective, the vast opportunities in AKPsi are not replicated by any other student business organization in the US or beyond.

We are brothers because of our long line of commitment others have shown throughout the years. The challenges of Covid-19 are real, but we will remain the oldest and largest fraternal business network in the world for generations to come. Being part of something bigger than ourselves is what has drawn many of us to AKPsi from the beginning.

Finally, please see below a break-down (in a ‘typical’ year) of dues and fees.  Although the table below accounts for specific items, there are many other general activities dues and fees enable AKPsi to do:

  • To continue developing and delivering new business leadership development opportunities for AKPsi members.
  • To more broadly, through programs and communication, further the tenets of principled business leadership.
  • To maintain the organization as a professional entity with 501c7 non-profit status – legal, fiscal, regulatory.
  • To provide the infrastructure for chapters to be rejuvenated or restarted when circumstances cause a temporary ceasing of operations on a specific campus.
  • To actively manage the AKPsi brand as a symbol of integrity, longevity, and continuity.

Membership Dues and Fees- contributed to AKPsi by members – Cost Breakdown of Dues (student member dues and insurance) in a ‘Typical Year’ (from official audit documents)

The information below provides the percent breakdown of costs and a summary of the cost items in each category.  The categories and costs are examined and validated by an independent auditor, in compliance with the oversight set up by the AKPsi Board of Directions.

(The audit for 2020 (fiscal year) will not be completed until later this year; however, for FY19, the functional expenses were distributed within the following categories.)

Member Dues  $            60
Insurance (only charged in the fall semester)  $            30
Convention Savings Plan*  $              5
Total Dues & Fee per Student Member  $            95
* Convention Savings Plan = $350/semester, Avg Chap Size of 71
Fraternity Expenses Breakdown FY 19 Dues
Member Services
(ex: awards, certificates, membership database and technology – Salesforce, etc)
32.2%  $       30.57
PBLI, PAFAC, and Other Meetings
(ex: meeting space rental, meals, travel, material, A/V, technology-related costs, the Diary, insurance, etc)
32.1%  $       30.47
Volunteer Services
(ex: meeting space rental, meals, travel, material, A/V, curriculum design, technology-related costs, insurance, etc)
10.2%  $         9.68
Education
(ex: training for students, volunteers, & staff, incl. materials, curriculum design, dev., delivery, and assessment, partner fees, etc)
11.1%  $       10.63
Management and General
(ex: accounting, audit, legal, insurance, facilities, technology infrastructure, consultants, agents, CPAs, attorney, etc)
14.4%  $       13.67
Total $3.7M  $       95.02

Overall budget shortfall for the organization of $700,000 for this fiscal year (FY21).

Please feel free to send questions & clarifications for the items above (Brotherhood Unbounded, Chapter Operations, Policy & Procedure Adjustment, or the Fraternity Outlook) to communication@akpsi.org.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read the information above. With Covid-19, we hope you and your families are staying healthy and have been adjusting as well as can be expected at this time. We also hope you will continue to utilize the tools and resources AKPsi provides as a critical part of your personal life and your academic and professional careers.

 

In U – and I –,

 

Steve Hartman

CEO

Thomas Tran

Fraternity President

 

Anxiety and Depression Wellness Checklist

How are you?

 

Living with anxiety or depression isn’t easy. It’s about self-awareness, self-management, and knowing when to ask for help. Advocating for your mental health is hugely important. But even those with a long-time diagnosis will tell you that things have a way of sneaking up on you. That’s why daily check-ins with yourself are vital, because when negative thoughts or feelings start to pile up, the way back can seem like too difficult a feat.

 

The following is an unofficial mental health checklist for your daily routine. While this is a great way to actualize your feelings and spot trends or concerns, this is not a substitute for seeking help from mental health professionals. Use this short survey whenever you find time, but when in doubt, always consult with a doctor.

 

Part 1: Charting Your Anxiety and Depression Symptoms

 

The feelings caused by anxiety and depression come in many forms and differ greatly between individuals. They can rise and fall over the course of days or weeks, making it difficult for the person suffering through those feelings to keep track of their progress. The following two checklists are questionnaires for some of the most common symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. There are entries for today, the past week, and the past two weeks, so you can identify trends.

 

 

 

Depression Symptom Checklist

 

Mark from 1-5, with 1 being no symptoms at all.

 

 

 

                                                                        Today             The Last Week          Last 2 Weeks

 

I feel sad or pessimistic

 

I’m not sleeping enough

I’m sleeping more than usual.

 

I feel irritable and frustrated.

 

I am having trouble concentrating or focusing.

 

I have little to no appetite.

 

I am uninterested in my usual hobbies or friends

 

I have new physical pain, like headaches, back pain, or nausea.

 

I have feelings of self-harm or suicide

 

Anxiety Symptom Checklist

 

Mark from 1-5, with 1 being no symptoms at all.

 

 

 

                                                                        Today             The Last Week          Last 2 Weeks

 

I feel nervous or anxious.

 

I feel worried about more than one thing at a time.

 

I have new things I am worrying about today.

 

Feelings of anxiety and worry are always with me.

 

I am unable to relax or sit still without feeling worse.

 

I’m feeling on edge or irritable.

 

I have physical symptoms like

 

Palpitations,

Shortness of breath,

Sweating,

Tingling in extremities,

Panic attacks

 

 

I feel consumed by the feeling that something bad is about to happen.

 

Part 2: Continuing Mentally Healthy Activities

 

Now that you’ve established baseline trends of anxiety and depression, it’s time to be proactive and practice self-care. Before panicking or letting negative thoughts overwhelm you, try to complete a few of these items. It might feel like a chore, but you’ll be busy distracting yourself while learning to feel comfortable, healthy, and happy.

 

Healthy Activities for Anxiety and Depression

 

 

Exercise for 1 hour.

Eat something, healthy if possible.

Drink a full glass of water.

Practice deep breathing.

Take a bath or long shower.

Make sure to wear comfortable and clean clothes.

Take out trash or recycling.

 

Clean up messes and do dishes.

Read a book for 30 minutes.

Go for a walk outside.

Play with a pet at home.

Watch a show or movie I love, even if I’ve already seen it.

Call a family member.

Call a friend or partner.

Journal my feelings or draw pictures of them.

 

 

How to Use the Anxiety and Depression Checklist

 

Tracking your feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as your daily activities, is a good first step toward understanding your mental health. If you have already received a diagnosis from a doctor, this can be used in conjunction with your existing treatment plan. If not, the information you fill out can be used to provide a snapshot of your ongoing mental health, as well as provide detailed information to a doctor should you ever choose to see one. Take care of yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The Art of Coaching

Do you need a life or business coach? How do you select the best coach for you? What type of mindset is the most beneficial for a successful coaching relationship? Associate Certified Coach Halle Simpson is here to tell us all that and more as she dives deep into the art of coaching.

Halle is a globally recognized Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation, keynote speaker, trainer and author of the forthcoming Know Thyself Journal. Her passion for speaking and coaching stems from both, growing up in a household with a parent battling depression and the grit gained from a 20 year career in sales and leadership development.  In her work with executives, business owners and self-starters, Halle masterfully creates conversations that grow leaders and their businesses that they’re not getting anywhere else.  When she isn’t coaching clients or speaking on stage, Halle enjoys yoga, journaling, cooking shows, attending the Indy 500, visiting Traverse City, Michigan and walks with her Boston Terrier, Marco. 

External Links:

Connect with Halle Simpson

Halle Simpson website

International Coaching Federation

Stay Active, Stay Positive

Around the world, rates of depression and anxiety are at an all-time high. According to the World Health Organization, over 264 million people worldwide are affected by depression.  Between the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and economic instability, it seems like once we’ve reassured ourselves on one front, another issue comes up. Plus, over 80 percent of low- and middle-income people do not receive treatment for their depression.

While exercise is no substitute for the help of a clinical professional in severe cases, there is also evidence that a regular exercise regimen can benefit mental health. This is because exercise directly affects our brain! Here’s the science you need to know to telegraph your mind some feel-good messages, plus our favorite exercises to perform during social distancing.

How Exercise Affects the Brain

Exercise helps our brain in several ways. Psychology Today reports that even a short walk causes the production of feel-good hormones called endorphins, as well as enkephalins. These help our short-term problems seem more manageable. “The simple act of focusing on exercise can give us a break from current concerns and damaging self-talk,” writes psychologist Sarah Gingell.

In addition, observation of mice has shown researchers that exercise might cause new neurons to form in the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that regulates emotion and supports our memory. Antidepressant medications used over time also stimulate the growth of the hippocampus. That means a habit of exercising might have a similar effect on parts of the brain as taking medicines.

Exercises that Help Depression

Aerobic exercise has been proven in studies to help with depression and mental health. Aerobics increase blood flow to the brain and stimulate the adrenal system, among other effects on the body. The Official Journal of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry shared a literature review of many studies researching the effect of exercise on depression symptoms. One group of clinically depressed patients walked 20-40 minutes three times per week for six weeks and experienced an improvement in symptoms compared to other groups. Another study focused on cycling which significantly improved symptoms. Overall, studies support that aerobic exercise alleviates depression. Popular forms of aerobics include:

o   Walking

o   Jogging

o   Swimming

o   Cycling

o   Gardening

o   Dancing

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) shares that walking is the most popular form of exercise and it has grown more popular in recent years. Sixty percent of people attain their recommended aerobic exercise by walking for fun, or to reach a necessary destination, like work. Forty to fifty percent of people will walk to a shop, school, or church if the location is within a mile of their home.

Best Exercises During Social Distancing

What effect does social distancing have on the need for exercise? Bloomberg shared graphs of data collected by Apple, monitoring peoples’ physical activity through their devices. This data showed anywhere from a 50-80 percent decrease in the amount people walked worldwide during the first wave of the pandemic.

However, outdoor exercise isn’t only possible but encouraged during social distancing. Sunlight has major positive effects on mood and gives you necessary Vitamin D. You can still walk, jog, or ride a bike outdoors as long as you maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. Essentially, try to find an isolated place to exercise.

If you will be near others or don’t know if distancing is possible, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends a face covering. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen! Broad-spectrum sunscreen is important to protect against skin cancer, which affects five million Americans a year. It’s no good to fix one problem while causing another, right?

If you live in an urban area or don’t otherwise want to exercise outdoors, another popular exercise alternative in these times is online workout classes. Whether using YouTube to watch a free video or downloading a subscription app with daily streaming, you can still feel connected to others and get expert coaching on your fitness journey. Even household chores or a private dance party to your favorite tunes can get your heart rate up and help you feel better.

Get a Mix of Physical Activity for Healthy Mind and Body

Sources like the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Health, and Popular Science all agree that 30 minutes of moderate activity or 15 minutes of vigorous activity are needed five days a week to achieve health results. That means 150 minutes on the moderate side, or 75 on the vigorous side. It’s also important to mix aerobics with strength training to improve muscle mass.

Of course, that is just the recommended minimum. As your attitude and mindset adjust with these new habits, you might want to go even further, and that’s great. Just make sure to align your diet and rest periods with your new workouts, and you will be doing the work to banish the blues every day.

Online Events and Conferences 2020

Right now, there are nearly 22,000 online events being published daily, according to Eventbrite. Business and professional online events specifically have increased by over 1,100 percent. With so many options to connect, learn, and gather through our devices, it can be difficult to decide which are the most valuable. While every person’s schedule and interests are different, we collected a list of online events and conferences for late summer and fall 2020.

Online Conferences for Startups & Entrepreneurs 2020

Trying to start or sustain a business during the current pandemic is certainly a challenge. Luckily, the increase in online events means a significant increase in curated resources for entrepreneurs.

VentureSummit Virtual Connect (August 4-6): This event highlights different VCs and venture funds.

Disrupt 2020 (September 14-18): Five days of non-stop programming coupled with a focus on providing insights to entrepreneurs.

Founder Institute Online Webinars (ongoing): The Founder Institute is scheduling recurring programming for founders and business leaders.

StartupDevKit (ongoing): A 3-month online incubator and accelerator for startups at any stage.

Online Business Conferences 2020

Whether you’re looking to improve existing skills, learn new ones, or expand your network, online conferences and events can be just as useful as in-person ones. These offerings will grow your skills and help you meet new people, or promote your business:

Digital Marketing World Forum (September 16-17): Learn the latest ambitious trends and strategies in digital marketing.

Elevate Main Stage (September 21-24): Hear from experts at the intersections of technology, sustainability, and innovation about what’s next for many industries.

Online Personal Development Resources 2020

Plenty of online events are focused on business, but there are also conferences and webinars for personal development. Here are a few resources to help you choose an event that’s ideal for you:

Eventbrite lists events from all over the world, from art appreciation to live music to interpersonal skills training.

Coursera allows you to audit online courses from over 200 colleges and universities for free, or pay a subscription to work toward earning a certificate.

YouTube has a specific angle on the home fitness market, with many popular channels to help you start yoga, strength training, kickboxing, or more from your own home.  Plus, you can search for just about any other topic, too.

MasterClass lets you watch instruction on everything from skateboarding to cooking to leadership from some of the world’s best minds.

Attend Online Events to Maximize Opportunity

These are just some of the online events and conferences scheduled for summer and fall 2020. We encourage everyone to find something that appeals to them and keep engaging in lifelong learning, even when that can’t happen in person. Take advantage of this new normal to access online events that might otherwise require you to travel across the world. This could be the start of something great!