Navigating Brotherhood in a Pandemic

We all know 2020 is a year worthy of its own history book, despite it still having a few more weeks to go. Whether you describe these times as difficult, confusing, or unprecedented, Kappa Kappa Psi is still holding on strong. In the spring, we thought we would be back on campus like normal in the fall. Although some students have returned to their respective campuses, it’s still far from what we knew as normal. That being said, brothers all over the country are finding ways to uphold the values of Kappa Kappa Psi and offer recruitment opportunities for prospective members.{

North Carolina A&T State University is offering both online and on-campus options for students this semester, and Jordan Halliday of the Iota Zeta chapter said, “Iota Zeta has been innovative with recruitment during this time as we put together a ‘Meet the Greeks’ video informing our campus community of our fraternity and chapter history. We have also continued our Boyz II Men mentoring program as we pair brothers in our chapter with members of the university band.”

Meanwhile, Edinboro University is all online this semester. Mia Harvey of the Nu Zeta chapter said, “We are continually striving for the highest even from our couches! We are still aiding the bands at our university in any capacity possible and still learn about our brothers! We started a new activity called ‘Chapter and Committee Challenges,’ where each week I give brothers a task they can accomplish individually (it could be take a walk and show a picture or find a song that reminds you of the brotherhood), and another task where they would work together as a committee to complete (such as, think of an event your committee could host digitally or assist your committee chair in one additional way).”

Many brothers have aimed to maintain a strong sense of brotherhood in their chapters, whether online or on campus. In these difficult times, maintaining that brotherhood brings a sense of comfort to many people, reminding them that they’re not alone.

Patrick Caraveo of the Alpha Chi chapter at the University of Texas at El Paso said, “We as a chapter have focused to improve our value of brotherhood through more creative virtual socials to grow a better bond. For musicianship, we are participating in the SWD Fraternity Song Project and will be submitting recordings of all of our bros. Service has been a struggle but we are available to our band and music department when needed most. Our bros have been leaders as they each have a role in the band program by leading with positivity through the unknown.”

Seferina Baca of the Gamma Iota chapter at the University of New Mexico said, “It has been a lot of brainstorming to figure out how we can do things safely. New Mexico has restrictions that, if broken, result in a hefty fine. For now, we’re looking to supply small items to chamber groups since they rehearse outside. We are doing a Musical Showcase during our meetings; brothers prepare to perform or share something that they are working on, it can be from their recital music to even a pep tune arrangement. Leadership and Brotherhood have been the two hardest to accomplish. Rising during times of hardships is not easy for everyone, but we allow each other to take on what we can.”

Striving for the highest is something we as brothers aim to do every day. Despite our determination, this pandemic has still brought on many challenges for chapters. Brother Baca continued and said, “One of the biggest challenges personally is not being around other musicians. As a theory and composition major it is difficult not hearing new sounds and ideas. Just as a person, I miss being around friends and family. I have a few set of people I have seen, but the vast majority of them I haven’t seen since March. I cannot wait till I get to be around people and make connections in person.”

Despite this pandemic, a few surprises have come along the way. Brother Harvey said, “Even though we are far apart we still feel so close! I was afraid with the pandemic brothers would drift apart but we have gotten so much closer! We have more brotherhoods and people wanting to do Zoom calls. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of so many group messages!”

Brother Halliday said, “It’s been a bit surprising how, not only the band, but how the world has adjusted to Covid. In just a matter of months, life as we know it has changed drastically. When Covid first took effect in the earlier part of the year, I and many others were certain we’d lose the marching season. Thankfully the university band program has created a safer environment that allows us to rehearse, dance, and play our musical hearts out. It’s truly refreshing to be a part of such an innovative program that consistently challenges the status quo.”

Brothers have been trying to look for the positive things in these trying times. Brother Caraveo said, “Navigating Covid and being a leader during a time like this can be challenging, but knowing I’m in a position to help people now more than ever I know that we’re all in this together and will be okay.”

Kappa Kappa Psi has provided guidelines for chapters to follow as a way to help guide their feet, and many district leaders have really stepped up to help chapters and brothers alike. Brother Halliday said, “We appreciate the Covid guidelines nationals have sent out and I would like to give a shout out to the Southeast District council and President Tar-Shae’ Odom for their help with chapters during this hard time.”

The bond of brotherhood involves supporting each other and lifting each other up, so we can all continue to strive for the highest. Brother Harvey shared some words of encouragement to chapters that might be struggling right now. She said, “Don’t feel like the pandemic is ruining your year or your chapter. Take this as an opportunity to work on your weaknesses and build a stronger chapter.”

The cancellation of conventions took a toll on many brothers earlier this year, but the virtual conventions proved to be successful and inspiring for chapters all over the country. Now that we’re in the month of October, navigating this pandemic has become more second nature. Making it work is something many chapters have successfully done. They continue to find ways to serve their bands. They have stepped up as leaders to help one another amidst this pandemic. Their passion for music has only grown stronger. The bond of brotherhood has been challenged, but not diminished.

“By far Brotherhood in the time of Covid is challenging. You see chapters, brothers, active and
alumni, being forced to be apart but finding new ways to come together,” said Brother Baca. “The biggest thing is that we all share love for each other. Love doesn’t stop just because you physically have to be away from one another. Love stops the moment we stop trying.”


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