When senior year rolls around, comparing your own resume to several different job descriptions can be nerve-wracking. Do you have the skills they’re looking for? Did you do everything you could to set yourself up for a full-time position? To provide students with marketable skills that employers are looking for, Beta Alpha Psi, Whitman’s Accounting Honor’s Fraternity focuses on professional development and networking.
We talked to leaders within Beta Alpha Psi to understand how the organization is preparing its members for success through networking and community engagement.
“We inspire students to pursue their goals and be the best in what they do while developing themselves as professionals and learning about themselves along the way,” said Joan Li, a senior accounting major and the membership coordinator for Beta Alpha Psi.
Rosalie Chmiel, the fraternity president, is leading members to achieve these goals while taking on the challenge of bringing more diverse accounting firms to Beta Alpha Psi networking events.
“Year in and year out we have many of the same firms. This year we are trying our best to include a variety of firms so students can see many more options and find the best opportunity to meet their needs,” said Chmiel. “I strongly encourage the firms to make their presentations interactive, break the members into teams, and have a discussion. This will not only allow them to get to know the company but also each other.”
For Chmiel, building relationships is key to the mission of Beta Alpha Psi. Relationships with other members, alumni and the community are all equally important. The fraternity’s community service coordinator, Brett Aston is charged with fostering connections among the community, and he does so through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
“Our members are able to prepare tax returns for low-income individuals who qualify for what is called an Earned Income Tax Credit. This tax credit can provide over $6,000 in tax refunds for qualifying individuals,” explained Aston. Beginning next year, the initiative is planning to grow and have its own location in Whitman where students can meet with local residents and provide free tax preparation services. “This initiative not only gives us hands on experience in filing tax returns and working with clients, but it provides life changing income to residents of Syracuse,” said Aston.
As with most organizations on campus, implementing initiatives and making changes not only takes time, but also money. Michelle Aronson has served as the Beta Alpha Psi fundraising chair for the last two years and has organized numerous events such as the Annual Tracy Halpin Walk and a Silent Auction. For Aronson, her involvement in Beta Alpha Psi has helped her learn how to make long-term connections with people in the industry.
“I have learned the importance of professional mannerisms and how to network with my peers and recruiters,” said Aronson.
Currently at nearly 90 members, Beta Alpha Psi continues to expand its membership as well as its influence in the community.
“I have been so honored to be a part of the Whitman Beta Alpha Psi organization this past year,” said John Petosa, faculty adviser for the organization. “The commitment of these students to making a difference in our world with their community service projects and their dedication to improving themselves professionally has been inspirational.”
Chmiel encourages community-oriented, motivated and outgoing individuals to apply to be members. There is an application and pledging process at the beginning of each semester, and any interested student can learn more through the organization’s Twitter (@SyracuseBAP), Facebook (Beta Alpha Psi Syracuse University) or by contacting Rosalie Chmiel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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