Friday, April 22, 2011

UCSD NAK AA Executive Board Openings

As many of you guys know, for the last three years our Alumni Association has been run by the same four individuals. These four guys, Miguel Angel as President, Stephen Bak as Vice-President, Jose Alcala as Treasurer, and Edgar Melendrez as Secretary, deserve more than just praise.  These guys, as well as several others active alumni members, have gone to great lengths to accomplish the mission and goals set forth by our Alumni Association core foundation.  They have provided our UCSD Chapter with a priceless vehicle of support for both alumni and undergrads, a team for community involvement and an opportunity to maintain and strengthen our cohesive NAK familia beyond school. Now they are passing the torch down to individuals who are interested in taking these leadership roles to further our Alumni Association views and ambitions.  These new individuals will have some big shoes to fill but with some dedication and a little passion, qualities our current members clearly posses, the work can be done.  Thank you MA, Stephen, Jose and Edgar.  We hope our new members reflect the same level of commitment you all have provided.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Alumni Association's 3rd Annual Workshops

Another year, another great event!  This year's workshops event was organized and hosted by Marco Salazar De Leon.  Marco, a recently new alumnus, stepped up to the plate and took on the leading role to organize our 3rd annual Alumni workshops event. This event was well planned and well organized with several new and intriguing topics we all benefited from.

This year, one of our workshops included an outside speaker Marco coordinated to come in and present for our Resume/Networking workshop. Kat Hammelman, our resume workshop presenter, brought first hand knowledge on what recruiters, HR and companies look for in resumes and potential new employees.  She went over important points to improve resumes and even used some of our brothers' submitted resumes to display some common mistakes.  This workshop was very informative for our undergrad brothers looking to find their first job, those graduating  and entering the "real" world and even alumni who are always looking to further improve their careers.

Another great presentation very helpful in managing our economic life, especially during a turbulent economic state, was presented by Benjamin Rodriguez, a three year alumnus who has plenty of financial experience in the real world. Ben went over a variety of financial topics including debt, the power (or lack there of) that comes from credit, and budgeting.  His presentation provided a quick overview on how to manage our money, budget our finances, and financial changes we can make when times are tough.

Our second to last workshop was a panel of speakers hosted by Marco Salazar de Leon executed to perfection.  Marco provided several questions to a diverse panel of individuals composed of Abel, Juan, Erick F., Mario and Miguel Angel.  Each of them provided several perspectives to several post-collegiate life questions many of our young brothers might be curious about. It was very interesting to hear different answers from a variety of brothers in different life stages.

Out last presentation was our NAK History 101 presentation.  Michael, Jose, Abel and Saul, four out of our five Founding Fathers for the first time ever in Lambda Chapter history gathered together to share some of their most primitive stories as a group prior to pledging for NAK at UCSD, the issues they went through at UCSD while pledging and the establishment of and goals set for this Chapter.  It was gripping to hear some of these stories that our Founding Fathers experienced; stories that make NAK who NAK is today.

written by Octavio Ochoa

Strong Foundation, Bright Future

There are many people not involved in collegiate Greek Life that don't accurately capture or understand the true motives and missions of some of the Fraternities out there. The general consensus of people not involved in collegiate Greek Life is that fraternities only come together to distract their members with parties, excessive drinking and social events. This stems not only from the realities of several active Fraternities but also our media's portrayal of your typical Fraternity. At our recent Alumni Association workshops, during the Founding Fathers panel discussion, Michael Sanchez brought up a good point that distinguishes our Fraternity from your typical social Fraternities: “we did not need a fraternity to party.” Some of the stories they shared with us about their undergraduate life before Nu Alpha Kappa described just how fun college-life can be with the people you care about.

But Nu Alpha Kappa at the University of California, San Diego does not just attract freshmen looking to make friends.  We have a history of active members joining our fraternity well into their undergraduate careers as 3rd, 4th, or even 5th years.  I can list a couple of bros that joined the frat in their last year as a UCSD undergraduate, and then went to on to contribute to the growth of the chapter, well after they left San Diego.

Nu Alpha Kappa’s benefits go beyond offering a social experience for younger students.  To agree with Founding Father Michael, any student can find parties, or even brotherhood, anywhere.  What the Lambda Chapter of Nu Alpha Kappa at UCSD offers is something more profound.  Founding Father Abel Gutierrez stated that the fraternity’s original statement of purpose for a UCSD chapter was to produce leaders that would give back to their cultural origins, their community and be role models for future individuals.  NAK was built on a foundation of offering opportunities and growth for our Latino community and anyone else interested in our values and goals. 

When we look at the structure of the Lambda Chapter and scrutinize how we recruit new members and how we retain active bros, we can see hints of our Chapter's original mission statement in their operations.  Pledging encourages the little bros to start their own organization and host their own events; the active body has bi-laws and positions of leadership within the chapter to promote a sense of status and responsibility; and even the alumni association offers programs to aid the undergraduates in developing skills that will help them succeed at leading and giving back.  The founding fathers’ vision is still existent at UCSD, just not at a level we can settle for.

But that’s not to say that tradition is the most important thing in maintaining a strong organization that specializes in offering more than your average Fraternity.  Founding Father Abel commented on how “tradition only serves to stop creativity.”  It’s a controversial statement because of the different ways people can interpret its words, but whether or not we believe that creativity is greater than tradition, or vice versa, there is some virtue to adapting or changing and the Lambda Chapter is always looking for ways to take risks with what has been established to continue moving forward.

Before the Alumni Workshops, a panel of bros met to discuss the future of pledging and just how we can change the pledging process to improve not only the quality of bros recruited, but also solve some long-standing Chapter problems that stem from our traditional pledging structure.  Ultimately, making some crucial changes to our core foundation, our pledging process, is essential in our effort to continue improving Lambda Chapter as a whole.

Slowly but surely, our newly crossed brothers, almost all first years, are giving the Lambda Chapter new faces to put forth.  Amongst collegiate, leadership developers across the nation, the belief that the members of an organization sell a brand more than the name of the group is a cornerstone of many popular presentations.  With new brothers that carry new hobbies, new ideals, new perspectives, and new values, Nu Alpha Kappa is not the same Lambda Chapter it was 5 years ago, 2 years ago, or even 1 year ago.  So with this fresh perspective, how can we build on our momentum?  What can we do to keep moving forward?

Ironically, the answer to my last previous questions on how to continue moving forward is by staying true to our roots and living up to the mission statement set forth by our founders.  Developing leaders is more than just giving our new brothers letters and expecting them to live up to a mantra, but rather, empowering them to take their own personal strengths and passions and sharing who they are with us to make our group stronger.  At a previous job that focused on developing leadership amongst its employees, I learned that leadership is not a process or a tool used to make others do things for you, but rather, it’s a sort of self-love and open-minded compassion towards like-minded individuals that motivates everyone to get things done – from a simple taco sale to state-wide bone marrow drive.

While it’s important to use the past as a way of affirming to ourselves that anything is possible with the right attitude, the lessons of the alumni were not meant to place pressure on the chapter to change for the sake of escaping tradition, but rather to encourage us to grow as a group, and not just in terms of number, but rather by influence and personal strength .

Written by Marco Salazar de Leon

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Alumni Association wants to wish everyone a happy merry Christmas to everyone and their families.  We hope everyone enjoys their time with their loved ones.  Throughout the year our own busy lives and conflicting schedules (aside from our constant procracination) come in our way of our loved ones and Christmas gives us an opportunity to dedicate and enjoy with our family.    In addition, Christmas, the second best holiday to feast on, is filled with traditional dishes we all enjoy, from tamales to champurrado and pozole. There's nothing better than enjoying great food than with those we care for and love.  We wish everyone a wonderful time and a happy new year! Happy Holidays!

best wishes from the Alumni Association

Monday, December 13, 2010

FIT & LIG Investment Groups

About a year ago, our Alumni Association hosted our second annual Alumni Association Workshops.  Though all the presentations were very informative, one seems to continue to echo today.  Abel and Miguel Angel were kind enough to put up a very informative presentation on the benefits of saving and investing our money in the stock market.  Today, FIT and LIG, two new investment groups join TIG, the formally known Triton Investment Group that has been active for several years now, as formal groups investing in their futures.  As a member of LIG, I would like to thank Abel and Miguel Angel for their support and encouragement on this opportunity.  The results clearly convey the positive outcomes of these informative and educational presentations.

a special thanks from LIG

A Word from the President

This year's fall quarter has been long for us. We began our quarter with only 5 actives but luckily we managed to encourage five inactive brothers to join our active chapter. When rush came around, we managed to get over 80 interests to sign up! Twenty-six bids were given out and our Xi Pledge Class was initiated. So far we've hosted two blood and marrow drives, beating expectations on both, a cultural Dia de los Muertos event, and two brotherhood events, including a day at Boomer's and our white elephant gift exchange. We've faced several challenges along the way, but through hard work we've managed to keep our chapter moving forward. Today 16 little bros remain. So far they've done very well. Through two fundraisers, a raffle and a carne asada taco sale our little bros have been able to raise over 900 dollars! In addition, they also won 1st place in their Halloween contest, our third one in a row for our Chapter! Our little brothers have shown nothing but eagerness to join our great familia. They have grown a lot and I have no doubt they'll live up to carry on our Lambda Chapter (if and when).

A word from Gerardo Jaimes, Lambda Chapter President

Jobs & Networking

As most of you guys know, NAK and our Alumni Association have many perks beyond college.  Yes, more than just buddies to chug a beer with or friends to pick you up when you're stranded in downtown.  Our chapter as well as our alumni association are great assets and resources whom to reach out to when looking for a job or information regarding a job position or even a career.  While some brothers have already taken advantage our this great asset those looking to enter the "real" world should know these helpful and valuable resources are available, if needed.  Our diverse backgrounds and fields of study as well as our cohesive group, even beyond college, makes us an outstanding tool to reach out to when it comes to job hunting or career development.  Our strong network amongst our local brothers and ties with other brothers from other chapters gives us that great opportunity to be able to share and provide back to those brothers in need.  So, if you're an undergrad looking for a part-time job, a senior (finally) graduating, or an alumni stuck with no job, always know that you're very likely to have a NAK brother who might just hook you up. Don't be a tool, use the tools!

a word from the Alumni Association