Starting a New Chapter of Life: What the CFR Position Has Taught Me
by Alaina Peters | Beta Omicron (Alumni) – ΚΚΨ, Arizona State University
ΚΚΨ National Chapter Field Representative
As the countdown to triple-digit visits increases in intensity, brothers start asking about CFR applications and interviews, and my graduate school admissions decisions roll in, it is crazy to think that I was a chapter president and senior music education major two whole years ago. The time has truly flown by, and I am so thankful for the skills and values the National Chapter Field Representative position has instilled in me.
When I first learned about the CFR position, I was amazed at how well it matched the values I’ve always held dear. I first developed a passion for music education as a high school freshman, when I noticed how much I learned about leadership and working with other people through being a band member. As I progressed through high school and college, I honed my clarinet skills and fell in love with music-making and performing. However, my primary interests always focused on helping my band and KKPsi chapter through administrative support, personal encouragement, and leadership development. Of course, band directors do all of these things on a regular basis, but being a CFR allowed me to talk about what brothers were learning about these ideas in a more direct way. I love having those “lightbulb” moments with brothers, in which a conversation we have inspires someone with a new idea about how to lead more effectively.
The CFR position also taught me how to have difficult conversations. I’ve had to address hazing, alcohol abuse, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and constitution violations with several chapters. These are never easy to handle. Even outside of direct policy violations, I often encounter chapters impacted by interpersonal issues, and these are often messy as well. In the training I received before embarking on chapter visits, I learned that the best way to address these issues is by having conversations that make people think through how to change their own situation. While these conversations are sometimes uncomfortable, it is rewarding to help empower brothers to make changes that protect their brothers, their chapter, and their band program long-term.
There’s also something about driving all over the country alone that gives you an incredible sense of confidence. I know that I can always contact a National Officer or a Headquarters Staff Member if I need help, but I’m still by myself, wherever I am. I’ve dealt with travel mishaps like getting a flat tire or being stuck in an elevator. I’ve handled family and personal life issues. And, of course, I’ve stayed on top of CFR work such as answering chapters’ questions, checking in about upcoming visits, completing chapter visit reports, and other fraternity work, all from a car or hotel room. I have always been a fairly independent person, but the CFR position took that to an entirely new level!
Last, but certainly not least: I’ve met so many wonderful people through this position. National Headquarters is a diverse and dysfunctional family, and I’ve come to look forward to my breaks in between trips when I can reconnect with them. Many members of the National Leadership Team have become great friends, leadership role models, and professional mentors to me. However, the people that inspire me the most are active members. Our chapters serve diverse band programs in various ways, but 99.9% of active brothers share the intense passion for band service and love for each other that drive our organization to greatness.
So what’s next for me? I’m currently in the process of interviewing for graduate assistantships for higher education/student affairs masters programs. I am pursuing positions that involve promoting student leadership, student organizations, or service learning at a university, to continue helping students hone their leadership skills. I would not have even known that careers like this existed unless I had worked as a CFR! I am forever grateful to have been given this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to find ways to give back to the fraternity that has taught me so much. Truly, it is an honor to be selected to serve.