Show and Tell
West Virginia Alpha Puts its History on Display
By Luke Robinson, (West Virginia ’17)
When I initially took over as Chapter Historian at West Virginia Alpha, I felt completely overwhelmed. I was tasked with learning and teaching the history of a chapter that dates back to 1890 as well as telling the story that we write every day. After we recently relinquished our charter, there was a three-year gap where the chapter’s history seemed to have been lost. However, there is a new, innovative way to record your chapter’s history. Fortunately, former Chapter Historian Steve McBride (West Virginia’86) contacted me with a visual storytelling platform he created that ensured the proud tradition of West Virginia Alpha was never lost. The platform called onechronicle.com made my job as historian both simpler and more efficient. It allows actives and alumni to collaboratively post photos with captions that when put together, tell our chapter’s unique history in a simple, intuitive timeline structure.
As with most chapters, the history of West Virginia Alpha is stressed during the new member education process. As Chapter Historian, I have utilized our chronicle heavily during our new member program to fully immerse our brothers in the culture and history of our chapter from its founding in 1890, to its re-chartering in 2017 and now today. There is no better way to appreciate the tradition of the chapter than learning from the first-hand accounts of its brothers. Our chronicle has even been useful to the chapter during recruiting efforts, by displaying the built-in slide show feature on a TV during rush. This has given me the opportunity to field questions about Phi Kappa Psi’s history, traditions, and values during rush. It has truly been a valuable tool in ensuring we initiate brothers who respect the history and teachings of our brotherhood.
Since brother McBride reached out to me with the idea of chronicling West Virginia Alpha’s history and ongoing story, the chapter and I have seen an exponential increase in knowledge and understanding of our own history. We have been able to re-engage alumni all over the country, and it has given them a medium to reconnect with the place they made lifelong memories and brothers. As Chapter Historian, this initiative has afforded me the opportunity to share my passion for our Fraternity’s history with a like-minded audience, and it has given me the ability to pass on a simple means for future Chapter Historians to record, document, and teach our chapter’s extensive history to future generations of West Virginia Alphans. To help or if you have questions about starting your own chapter’s chronicle, please contact me at LukeRobinson2365@gmail.com.