Becoming Lifelong Learners

By HQ Staff


“He actually just texted me!” Justin Natalizio DePaul ’13 said, holding up his phone to show the notification from senior Michael Tamir Syracuse ’21. The Phi Psis met at our inaugural Explore externship when in-person programming returned in 2023. The pandemic limited face-to-face connections, forever changing so much, and Phi Psi’s programming is no exception. 

It is a new day for Phi Psi programming; at its core, learning is essential. And the takeaway we all gained from the pandemic: We can find innovative ways to do so! We learned that online education works not only when in-person events are not feasible but also when we need to meet our constituents where they are. 

Two new in-person programs materialized from that knowledge: Explore and Campfire. Additionally, existing programs were reimagined with a virtual twist — namely the hybrid new member education process, Embark, and officer and committee chairmen onboarding courses, Ascend.

The first iteration of Explore convened in New York City in January 2023. Eighteen students from 14 chapters attended three days of exposure and immersion into commercial real estate, architecture, and construction.

Explore’s driving force, John Pierce Lafayette College ’78, along with alumni volunteers such as Natalizio, presented undergrads with professional insights and facilitated meetings with host company leaders. The supporting curriculum contains tracks that concentrate on specific niches in the industry, allowing participants to engage with the leaders and businesses of their future fields. 

Natalizio, a real estate professional, presented to the brothers about brokerage. This appealed to Tamir and the two began exchanging emails following the trip to New York. Their interaction resulted in an internship for Tamir with Natalizio’s company, Marcus and Millichap, who hosted the event.

Reflecting on his career path, Natalizio said, “I’ve worked really hard, but I’ve gotten a lot of help. You can never forget that.” Volunteering at Explore was his way of paying it forward. 

Tamir shared that no matter where his career leads, Natalizio “will always be a brother and a friend.” 

The North American Interfraternity Conference recognized Explore with its Laurel Wreath Award for ingenuity and impact in June of 2023. This success prompted us to plan three future programs:

November 6-8, 2023 / Minneapolis, Minnesota / Finance, Banking, Investment

January 7-10, 2024 / New York City / Corporate Real Estate

Spring 2024 / Washington, D.C. / Law and Public Policy

By teaching our members the Phi Kappa Psi values at a chapter level, mentoring them and helping them emerge as leaders, we are equipping them for life. Not only in their field of interest but also in their desire to keep learning and to maintain the bonds of brotherhood.

Sparked to life by the Executive Council, HQ staff hosted Campfire in July 2023 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. The conference-inspired experience of Campfire allowed each chapter representative to discuss topics like facilitation skills, new member education, brotherhood development, fall semester recruitment and Ritual reviews.

Eighty-four students from 69 chapters attended, and six facilitators volunteered their time and expertise for three days. 

One of the facilitators, Patrick Griffith Wabash ’07, shared, “What a treat to spend a few days with undergraduate brothers from across the nation. We talked about hyper individualism, lack of connection within community, and how to create a culture of belonging. After one day, I was invigorated to keep pouring into these young men.”

Guest speakers Sara Lowery and Dr. Louis Profeta enlightened attendees on the importance of belonging and substance abuse education. And Brother Troy Jaster Tennessee ‘00 advised on the topic of time management.

“I found Campfire to be an extraordinarily valuable experience. Troy helped me become more productive in my everyday life,” Nathan Subrahmanian Brandeis ’22 said.

Dylan Conyers Tennessee ‘21 said that he felt bad for (and maybe a little frustrated by) the chapters who were unable to send someone. “They really missed out!”

Focused on Mind, Heart and Soul — the whole person — programming will continue to grow and adapt to the changing needs of our young men, helping them build their networks and maintain strong relationships. 

We are still learning. It is a lifelong commitment — sometimes a challenge but always a privilege — just like being a Phi Psi.