This semester, Beta Chi chose New York City as the inspiration for our rush week. To reflect on our roots as an organization, we looked to where it all began – with walks across the Brooklyn Bridge. The founding fathers of Alpha Kappa Psi had a vision of a brotherhood that would end up becoming the premier developer of principled business leaders and the oldest and largest professional fraternity in the world.
In recent years, many Beta Chi brothers have visited or even gotten the chance to work and live in The Big Apple. We asked them to share their experiences and what it meant to them as brothers to be where it all began…
Michael J. Cusanza
For Spring Break 2015, I took a trip with my family to New York City. I was especially excited about this vacation because of the rich history New York has to offer, especially the history of my business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. While there, I kept telling my family that we HAD to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge because it is such an integral part of my business fraternity. Finally after days of nagging, we journeyed to Brooklyn for a stroll across the bridge.
As I took my first step across the bridge, I began to dwell on the founders of Alpha Kappa Psi. They were ordinary men just like you and me. They had dreams, plans, and visions for the future. They had an idea for a group of individuals with the same passion for business to join together to change what it means to be a professional businessman. While walking across the bridge, I was inspired! What opportunities are before me to change the business world? What do I have to offer? Can I do as the founders before me had done?
After completing the walk across the bridge, I felt that I had taken a mental journey as well. I figured that opportunities like the one placed before the founders are all around me. I made it a resolve to seek out and utilize those opportunities, and in the end, who knows what I can accomplish.
I was in New York City over the summer doing an 8 week internship in Internal Audit. I got this internship through the Center for Internal Auditing program, which I went into partially because of the encouragement and advice of one of my AKPsi brothers.
Living in New York City has been my dream for several years, and it was just as amazing as I expected it to be! I saw musicals, did a lot of shopping, saw the Statue of Liberty, met up with a few of my AKPsi brothers from LSU, and even met a couple AKPsi brothers interning with me who went to school in NY. Alpha Kappa Psi really helped to prepare me for my internship by teaching me about professionalism, how to push my career forward, what to wear in an office environment, and even how to have fun outside of work with co-workers and others who you have a professional relationship with. I can definitely see why the Brooklyn Four thought that a city like NYC needed an organization to teach students these skills. I didn’t get a chance to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge like the founders of our fraternity did, but that is one of the first things on my list for after I move back to NYC!
The very first suit I ever owned was a brown hound tooth, made by Nicole Miller. At fourteen years old, I entered my very first cross examination debate and won. In that suit, I wasn’t a freshman in high school; I was a woman ready to take on the world.
A few years later, I was a design intern for Nicole Miller, working on Seventh Avenue of Manhattan, better known as Fashion Avenue. Everyday I would say good morning to CEO Bud Konheim, and then get to work with THE Nicole and her brilliant design team. Everyday was an adventure. Manhattan expanded my definition of friendship and brotherhood. In a city that big, it’s easy to get swallowed whole in the vast vacuum it seems to be. Thankfully, the friends you make in New York ground you. While there may seem to be few in such a crowded place, those bonds never break. I still talk to them as much as I can. I became a better person, touched by the beauty of art and the still more beautiful people who created it. Each one of them embodied the magic of New York, which was the most valuable thing I learned. You see, the island isn’t just a city or a place. It is a union. It’s music and struggling artists. It’s businessmen, packing lunches in their briefcases; drivers, shop keepers, real estate agents, all those who walk in the night, going to a play that they’ve already seen. New York is an organism, a soul, of game changers and rain dancers.
For the first time, I understood why Alpha Kappa Psi could be as welcoming as it has been for little over a century: Its roots are in New York. Its roots are in the hearts of people who strive for the advancement of human kind, and human kindness.
I had an internship with Burlington Coat Factory in NJ, but part of my job was going to NY twice a week to meet with different clients. However the first time I went to NY was for my interview with Burlington. I had just been initiated into AKPsi and was using everything they taught me to get this internship. While I was there I went to the Brooklyn Bridge and it was so amazing to think that I was walking on the same bridge as AKPsi’s founding fathers did 111 years ago! I know full heartedly that without AKPsi’s guidance and teachings that I would have never acquired to skills to obtain my summer internship with such an amazing company.