Wilkes Kappa Kappa Psi Chapter Earns Multiple Awards at District Conference

by Kelly Clisham
Kappa Kappa Psi members holding their awards

“Strive for the Highest.” That’s the official motto of Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Band Fraternity, and a statement that Wilkes Kappa Kappa Psi members live by.

Wilkes is home to the Nu Chi Chapter, which was installed in 2019. Currently, the organization has 14 active brothers and three honorary brothers, all members of the Wilkes Pep Band, Jazz Ensemble or Civic Band. Joel Graham, assistant professor of music bands, serves as the chapter advisor and sponsor.

“My favorite part of becoming a member of Kappa Kappa Psi has been forming friendships that will outlast my college years,” said Molly Rodino, sophomore elementary education major who serves as the chapter’s vice president of service. “Being a commuter, membership drew me into campus life and provided me with opportunities to become more involved within the music department and campus as a whole.”

As one of the over 200 Kappa Kappa Psi chapters at colleges across the United States, the Wilkes Nu Chi Chapter is not just built on a love for music, but also on a mission to serve the local community.

Over the past year, the chapter has completed a wide range of service projects including helping local high school marching bands at football games, volunteering at Northeastern PA Chamber Music Society concerts and holding a non-perishable food drive for Keystone Mission. In addition, the organization serves our campus bands by helping hang posters for performances around campus, moving equipment and setting up for dress rehearsals and performances.

“Being a service fraternity, my participation in Kappa Kappa Psi has connected me with many members of our community including but not limited to Keystone Mission, Tournament of Bands, and the various high school music organizations,” said chapter president John Hannaway, a P3 pharmacy and Spanish double major. “It has allowed me to give back to a community who has supported me to achieve for the highest.”

Over spring break, 12 Wilkes Nu Chi members attended the Northeast District Convention at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. During the convention, members got the chance to network with brothers from across the district, attend workshops and meet with the national leadership team.

John Hannaway and Erin Dietrich served as delegates for the convention, while Morganne Seitz served on the Membership Committee, which assisted in the planning and execution of the ritual that was performed during the convention.

“[Attending the conference] was a very eye-opening experience because I was not only able to meet people who are from schools with huge music programs, but also people who are from smaller music programs like us that still thrive, and it was nice to see that,” said Jonathan DeSpirito, sophomore history major who serves as the chapter’s historian.

In addition to leaving the conference with multiple ideas on how they can improve their chapter, Nu Chi members also came out of the conference toting multiple awards.

The Wilkes Nu Chi Chapter was the first-ever recipient of the Building Brotherhood Award, which recognizes the chapter’s commitment to improve the brotherhood and create bonds within the chapter. They received the NEDAA Ritual Grant, a $100 award that the chapter can use towards items needed to perform their ritual. They also earned the Chapter Academic Achievement Award for having an overall GPA of 3.60, which placed them in the top five chapters. Finally, the group received the John P. Ross Memorial Governors’ Cup for Most Improved Chapter, which is awarded to the chapter which has shown the most improvement within service, leadership, musicianship and brotherhood.

In addition to these collective awards, individual academic awards were presented to Ben Carro, Cameran Costello, Erin Dietrich, Bryce Greco, John Hannaway, Andrew Murawski and Molly Rodino for achieving a GPA of 3.5 or greater over the past academic year.

To cap off Nu Chi’s success, Morganne Seitz, senior pharmacy major, was elected and installed as the 2024-25 Northeast District vice president of membership. Some of Seitz’s responsibilities in this role include heading the District Membership Committee, aiding chapters with ritual and membership procedures, and working with other district council members on tasks such as planning the Northeast District Convention.

“I have never been so proud to be a brother of the Nu Chi chapter and it is such an honor to be selected to serve the Northeast District,” said Seitz. “I owe all of my accomplishments to my fellow brothers. I couldn’t have done this without them and they drive me to strive for the highest.”

Members of Kappa Kappa Psy at District Conference

Despite their current success, the Wilkes Nu Chi chapter had to overcome many obstacles to build itself into what it is today. Since the chapter was installed shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the chapter did not have much time to establish itself and grow. COVID halted recruitment, which caused membership numbers to dwindle. When Seitz was inducted in spring of 2022, the chapter was made up of just a few members, including seniors who would soon graduate and leave the chapter. However, Seitz and Hannaway, who was the only seasoned member left, were determined to recruit new members and keep their chapter alive.

“Starting the 2022-23 year, we had $0 in our bank account, five brothers, and we had to do a complete reset. That year, I recruited and inducted three brothers and we began holding fundraisers. We began building back up and then this year we doubled the size of our chapter from seven to 14 brothers, held five fundraisers, held more than 10 service events in fall 2023 alone, and created an environment filled with brotherhood,” Seitz remarked.

“It makes me so happy that our organization continues to thrive,” said Hannaway. “It gives me so much honor knowing that just a few years ago, our program was teetering on being disbanded … to now having received four awards at a district level.”

Looking forward, Nu Chi hopes to continue to grow and plans to begin hosting events for the campus community.

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