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My fraternity taught me the secret to surviving a pandemic

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Spencer Wright writes that if there's one skill you need to survive a global pandemic, it's the ability to adapt -- and quickly.

Two and a half years as a member and then president of Delta Kappa Alpha (DKA) positioned me to take on this challenge.

DKA, a national, gender-inclusive organization for the cinematic arts, demands its members not shy away from adversity -- but rather be malleable and adapt to changing circumstances.

I pledged for DKA my sophomore year and went through a rigorous process of weekly meetings and projects, each designed to build fraternal bonds and to teach values such as honesty, reliability and generosity.

After six weeks of this, I was accepted as a new member of the chapter and happy to finally take on the full responsibilities that accompany active membership.

Then the other shoe dropped: the need to take an official exam, which measured how prepared new members were to become nationally recognized, active members.

I studied hard, took the exam and eventually celebrated my formal entry into the fraternity, as DKA celebrated its new national status.

But the real test of my adaptability came senior year, when I became chapter president of DKA.

We had several major events scheduled for the second half of the semester: our spring retreat weekend, usually on the outskirts of Boston; our annual White Carnation formal dance; and the bi-annual DKA production weekend, during which we would shoot a short film or narrative project in 48 hours.

Our new vice president managed to organize virtual elections for the fall semester through a combination of Zoom, Google forms and a heroic amount of patience.

When we weren't tending to the business of DKA, we worked on organizing fun virtual events, like Netflix Party viewings, using software that allows multiple people to watch the same Netflix program and comment in real-time.

And, most impressively, with the help and guidance from our national offices, we arranged a remote version of the national exam that our new member class would take to become official members.

My only hope is that I can carry the lessons of adaptability into the next phase of life this fall, as I move to New York with three of my fraternity siblings in search of employment opportunities in the entertainment industry.

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