Boris Tsang/Sun File Photo

Many of Cornell's Pre-Professional Fraternities are looking forward to holding in-person events in the new semester.

September 19, 2021

Pre-Professional Organizations Hopeful For a Semester of In-Person Events

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With recruitment underway for many pre-professional organizations, members have expressed their excitement about new goals and the opportunity to meet a diverse group of students with various interests. Many pre-professional organizations said they are relieved to shift away from Zoom and meet in-person for events after a year confined to computers. 

“One of the biggest goals that we are trying to accomplish as an organization is both to grow in terms of diverse interest and diverse background, but also try to invest in our younger generation of underclassmen in helping them reach their career goals,” Elena Zeng ’22, president of the Phi Chi Theta business fraternity, said. 

Zeng said her organization is planning on doing all events in person, such as information sessions, resume workshops and networking sessions. However, Phi Chi Theta is also staying flexible and offering Zoom options for students who feel uncomfortable meeting in person. 

“Especially coming out of a virtual world of COVID and Zoom, definitely we want to be there supporting [potential members] as they go through more in-person recruitment events and [exploring] those career options going into the summer, and trying to to secure those summer internships,” Zeng told The Sun. 

Everett Sanderson ’22, president of business fraternity Phi Gamma Nu, said that one aspect they want to work on this semester is reaching more students with diverse interests. Sanderson ran recruitment for two semesters before becoming president. 

“Cornell is not a very diverse place and the business community is an even less diverse place and the business fraternities are even less diverse than that,” Sanderson said. 

To improve diversity, inclusion and equity within Phi Gamma Nu, Sanderson discussed the importance of transparency and sharing their resources, including by running workshops and information sessions for students. 

“Saying, ‘This how you get into these organizations, this is what you can expect to get, these are the costs of being in an organization, you know, we have dues.’ I think it’s a very opaque process for a lot of people, definitely was for me,” Sanderson said. 

Another goal that Sanderson is hoping to work on is how Phi Gamma Nu markets their organization, noting that much of who joins has to do with what you hear from others and who you know. 

“It’s kind of a self-perpetuating cycle where you don’t have people who have diverse identities in whichever way,” Sanderson said, “and as a result, you are just continuing to bring in the same white and Asian, cisgender, wealthy people into the organization semester after semester.” 

According to Sanderson, last year’s Zoom recruitment made it even more challenging to reach out to people of different backgrounds and interests. 

“The last two semesters, which were fully online, these are great classes but it’s also very heavily weighted towards AEM and hotel majors,” Sanderson said. “We’ve definitely had better attendance and better community already, just from the start of the semester.” 

Sachin Shah ’22, a member of Kappa Alpha Pi, a pre-law fraternity, is also counting on more in-person events, such as their info sessions and recruitment rounds. 

“I think what I’m looking forward to most is in-person coffee chats, because last year they were all individual Zoom meetings of 30 minutes to an hour, but now we can meet up in person and get to know each other, face-to-face,” Shah said. 

Kiki Lo ’22, a member of Theta Tau, an engineering fraternity on campus, said she hopes her organization is able to hold in-person philanthropy events — saying that the Theta Tau pledge class holds a philanthropy event and donates the money that they raise to an organization of its choice. 

In the past, Lo has gone to a local preschool to help clean toys and rake leaves with Theta Tau and previously volunteered at the local Science Center.

Megan Fan ’22, Vice President of Membership of Alpha Kappa Psi, another business fraternity on campus, also said she hopes that her organization will be able to hold in-person philanthropy events.

“Last semester it was just very difficult to hold these [philanthropy events],” Fan said. “Since COVID was affecting so many people in the world, a lot of organizations didn’t want to partner with college clubs.” 

Last year, Alpha Kappa Psi partnered with Phi Gamma Nu and Delta Sigma Pi to raise funds for the GirlNow Foundation through a headshot fundraiser. Alpha Kappa Psi also participated in online volunteering by holding a jeopardy fundraiser to raise money to make packages of food and other necessities for local homeless shelters. 

Fan said that this semester, it is easier to spread the word about Alpha Kappa Psi, as members can table at multiple locations in person, such as on West Campus, Statler Hall and Duffield Hall. 

“All of [the] face-to-face interactions helped a lot to facilitate a more equitable recruitment because people knew about our events more,” Fan said, “being able to hold recruitment workshops in person and be able to hand out quarter cards so people can know that they can get their resumes reviewed or have interview prep.”

Fan said Alpha Kappa Psi is working on making resources more accessible to prospective members, regardless of how much experience they have in business. 

​​“We provided consulting deck examples, lists of behavioral questions you cannot only use for AKPsi-specific recruiting but also for internship recruiting in general,” Fan said. She also mentioned providing coffee chat forms “to break down the barrier of cold emailing a brother.” 

Samantha Puzzi ’22, co-president of Pi Lambda Sigma, Cornell’s pre-professional government fraternity, expressed her excitement about in-person networking opportunities. 

“In-person, you can usually get some one-on-one time with [guest speakers], which is really hard to do over Zoom, so I feel like our guest speaker events will be a lot more useful in terms of networking,” Puzzi said. “We’re also having some alumni come back to campus this year, which couldn’t happen in the past.”