Volume XVI - Issue II - Winter 2021
With more daylight and warm sunshine ahead, I want to wish you all a very happy spring! Our Chapter has had an exciting winter quarter, which I hope you'll read more about in the below articles. Speaking of "exciting" happenings: You may have followed our men's basketball team as they wrapped up a historic season with an insanely close game against Gonzaga in the Final Four. I can't miss the opportunity to give a shoutout to our Bruin athletes, who fought tooth and nail in a wide variety of sports this winter. Makes me proud to be a part of our UCLA community!
Many of you know that we have also spent this quarter welcoming Beta Omega, the newest class of candidates. Huge thank you to all of you who have come to degrees, interviewed with candidates, or made an effort to meet the new members of your Psi family. Your involvement has not gone unnoticed. If you want to catch the final degree ceremony, join us in celebrating the end of this candidate season at Third Degree on Sun. April 11th at 5pm PST over Zoom.
This quarter has also marked a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a year that has changed all of our lives for good. For current Bruins and recent graduates, it also marks a year since we began online learning. Despite the challenges and insurmountable tragedy we have collectively faced, Psi has continued to serve and connect with our communities in ways both big and small. Over the last 10 weeks, Brothers put on wonderful events like service through a recycling fundraiser, band banquet (during winter quarter!) to wrap up marching season, virtual State Days hosted by our Bruin Brothers and Sisters, and more! This edition of the Encore goes into detail about these events, highlighting the creativity and resilience of our Psi community during this time.
Hopefully -- with vaccines on the rise, and COVID cases on the decline -- we can help each other foster and rediscover a sense of hope that we will return to (some) normalcy soon.
Happy reading, everyone, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
Carrie Appel, BX
Alumni Relations Officer 2020-21
We are almost finished welcoming our newest class of candidates, who are completing all their requirements virtually! If you want to get more involved for the end of the candidate process, here are some ways you can:
Want to participate in our upcoming spring events?
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time with questions, ideas, or concerns. And, be on the lookout for upcoming event announcements and other emails from me in the coming weeks.
Happy spring to you all, and I hope you enjoy 2021's first edition of the Encore!
By Kevin Reidy, ΒΧ
Often in this pandemic, the best events remind us that internet isn’t the only important connection.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon in late winter quarter, the Psi Chapter welcomed back a panel of alumni with experience working in the arts, media, and entertainment industries. Calling in from around the U.S., they included Josh Epport, Dr. Thomas Gamboa, Belinda Sumali, Amy Poliner, and Christina Martin, each of whom has built an impressive career and whose combined work has spanned all across the country in different sectors of the arts, from live performance to advertising to music licensing.
With such a diversity of experiences from the panelists, PsiEK attendees to the event with different backgrounds and interests were welcomed with a wide range of ideas about how to enter different parts of the arts industry, how to learn, and how to succeed. Alumni Relations Officer Carrie Appel asked the panel questions on behalf of students who submitted questions. A question submission form before the event allowed actives a chance to bring up any points of interest or inquiries they wanted to be addressed by the panelists. In addition, breakout sessions later in the event encouraged students to connect with the alumni more directly, to talk about any of those inquiries or interests.
Overall, the event was a heartwarming success. Many students stayed on for a few minutes after the scheduled end of the event just to thank the alumni for coming and sharing their thoughts, stories, and hard-earned wisdom. The smiles shared by the group signified lasting connections, made possible by the generosity and openness of the panelists, the willingness of the students to learn and meet new people, and—admittedly—the internet.
Maybe the internet can ensure other important connections, after all.
To help stay connected to actives on a professional basis, join the Psi Chapter LinkedIn page here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13502910/
By Adam Pingatore, ΒΧ
Alternate Title: Thank you for coming to our TED talk
Close your eyes. Picture yourself in a dimly lit auditorium. There’s a stage in front of you, with a big screen displaying a slideshow, a big circular red carpet, somebody dressed rather smartly holding a microphone, and big red block letters spelling out “T - E - D”. But...wait...what’s that...after the “TED”...does that say what I think it says?...no...couldn’t be...wait...it is...IT SAYS “P-S-I”!!!! No way! Psi is holding a TED talk event?! Sweet!
On March 3, Brothers gathered not in a dimly lit auditorium, but on Zoom (come on, just use your imagination) for the first ever TEDxPsi event, organized by Brotherhood Relations Officer Ryan Lee! For those who haven’t seen a TED talk before (I strongly recommend you search for some online if you have not, they’re incredible), they are brief fifteen minute presentations from experts on a broad variety of topics, typically given at huge symposiums with thousands of people all around the world. Now, I wonder where I could find a group of around 50 really talented, passionate, intelligent individuals all in the same place that might be interested in organizing and attending one of these kinds of events….hmmm….oh yeah! That’s us!
We had four incredible talks from Sydney Meyers, Ariel Fernandez, Erica Vellanoweth, and Adam Pingatore. Sydney gave an incredibly well researched and presented talk about ideas explored in the book The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, including how we can find happiness and meaning in various aspects of our daily lives, how adversity affects our brain, and how being aware of various aspects of our mental health can aid us in braving the extreme psychological challenge currently being imposed on us by the ongoing pandemic. Erica then came in with a crash course on Astrology, with information about its history, what it looks like today, and how brothers, using their celestial signs, can shoot for the stars. Adam shifted the tone toward environmentalism, with a presentation on the Ecology of California, talking about the incredible diversity of plants and animals that call California their home, the recent uptick in wildfires in our state, and how we can help conserve what we have left. Ariel closed out the event with an extremely interdisciplinary talk about the interconnectedness of gratitude, kindness, our well-being, and our brain chemistry, and how being mindful of these dynamics can help us improve as leaders and as people.
A big thank you to Matthew Espinoza for creating graphics for the event, and to all the Sisters of Tau Beta Sigma - Epsilon Kappa and Brothers of Psi that were able to attend! The event was one of the most unique, successful, and inspiring that we’ve had in recent memory, and hopefully will come back and continue to grow as a staple of Psi’s event repertoire for years to come.
By Emma Boone, ΒΦ
Hello, Alumni! My name is Emma Boone and I am the Vice President of Membership this year for Psi. I have had my hands full recruiting and putting an entire class through our candidate process -- all virtually! And, I could not be enjoying it more.
We have a candidate class full of 21 amazingly talented, hardworking, diverse, and passionate candidates that I know some of you have been able to meet through our degrees and interviews. We have nine California natives, two out-of-staters from Ohio and Massachusetts, and one candidate zooming from Canada! We meet once a week on Mondays for our weekly candidate lessons, every week with a fun theme. Sometimes we even meet before our lessons to hang out, bond, and play games!
We have been doing all of our degrees virtually, and it has been an interesting experience to say the least. (Our last degree is on April 11th at 5pm PST, if you would like to join us!) Kappa Kappa Psi Nationals hosts the rituals, and then we or both Psi and TBS put on the degree ceremony for our candidates. My favorite part has been the Big/Little reveals, where Bigs and families go to their assigned room, change their backgrounds, and surprise the candidate once we put them in their room! Most interviews have been done via Zoom, although some candidates who live in the SoCal area have been able to safely meet with brothers and sisters in person on occasion.
We have just two weeks left of the candidate process, and I cannot wait to welcome this outstanding class into active hood soon!
By Adam Pingatore, ΒΧ
Alternate title: A CAN-do Attitude
Hey alumni, CAN you believe it’s already Spring?! We Brothers over here at the Psi Chapter sure CAN’t! Why, you may ask, the emphasis on “CAN”? Well, allow me to explain. Sometime in December as rainy days, statewide lockdowns, and 12 hour-long “naps” kept Brothers inside twiddling their thumbs and browsing the boundless World Wide Web, Adam Pingatore (hereafter referred to as “I”, since I’m writing this!) had a brief thought while drinking his third CAN of sparkling water for the day.
In California, whenever we purchase an aluminum CAN, plastic bottle, or glass bottle, we pay a 5-cent fee. This all started back in 1986, when the state passed the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act to incentivise, well, recycling containers and reducing litter! The system, which many of you are likely familiar with, works like this: 1) Pay a 5 cent deposit when purchasing a beverage of choice, 2) drink said beverage of choice, and 3) bring that empty container to one of 1,217 recycling centers across the state to get your money back!
A simple task, it seems; however, when I realized that the closest recycling center to UCLA is around 5 miles from campus and that many brothers don’t have cars, an idea struck me. As a chapter, we could combine all of our CANs and bottles that were going to go into the normal (non-money-making) recycling, and redeem them all at the end of the quarter for a (hopefully) large sum. We would then vote, as a chapter, on a charity or organization in the LA area to which we could donate the proceeds. When I pitched this idea at weekly meeting, I fully expected it to be met with a lukewarm reception at best. What happened was quite the opposite!
Throughout Winter quarter, 19 Brothers living in the Westwood area and 2 living outside the area pitched in and contributed to the ever-growing mountain of recyclables that accumulated on my porch (possibly to the dismay of my non-band-member roommates). The effort was phenomenal, and it was incredible to see brothers so get so excited and impassioned about such a simple concept on a weekly basis when I met with them to pick up and drop off CANs and bottles. In addition to the social and charitable aspects of the project, there’s also a large environmental benefit to redirecting all this recycling, since these recycling centers have, overall, better reputations for correctly processing recyclables than the conventional recycling pick up trucks that come to residences on a weekly basis
Now the moment that everyone who managed to make it this far in the article has been waiting for: the NUMBERS! Overall, we raised $68.05 in a 10 week timeframe, which is not too shabby for our first time if I do say so myself! That money came from around 7.5 lbs of plastic, 7.5 lbs of glass, and 20 whole pounds of aluminum (for those of you really into the numbers, that works out to be around 660 cans). Chapter will have a poll in the coming weeks about where to donate all the funds. For the foreseeable future, we’ll be focusing on causes related to COVID, such as buying masks for communities that have less access to them, funding healthcare efforts, and the like. Lastly, a huge thank you to our Director of Service Gina Talcott, Treasurer Kylie Williams, and President Erica Vellanoweth for the tons of support this quarter for the project’s logistics. I hope all alumni reading this CAN see how awesome of an effort this was from all brothers involved, and I'm excited to continue this project for many quarters to come!
By Natalie Wang, ΒΩ
There is only one time every year that a band kid looks half good — although the Downfall of Troy Show probably comes in a close second — and that time is none other than Band Banquet! Obviously, this year, Band Banquet was virtual, but that did not stop everyone from having fun. Our very cool Directors of Band Activities, Brianna Becerra (Psi) and Liz Gulli (EK), organized the event, boasting an exciting itinerary: Senior Slideshow, Senior Notes, Section Awards, Senior Roasts, and the Section Picture Contest.
The Senior Slideshow was fantastic as it showcased pictures of seniors from their childhood. It gave off the same feeling as watching a child fall and break all of their teeth. Simultaneously endearing and embarrassing. While the seniors had to suffer through pictures dug out from their past, they were offered some relief through Senior Notes. People could send kind messages to seniors through Google Forms. Wholesome! But we couldn’t make the seniors feel too comfortable, because after that, we had Senior Roasts. Sections were placed in their own breakout rooms and given free reign to (appropriately) tease their seniors. Hopefully, this tradition will be cut when I’m a senior because I do not need people leveraging 4 years of my regretful life actions against me.
Then, we moved onto Section Awards. Because this season had been especially tough with coronavirus, a lot of section leaders took the time to recognize all of the hardworking first years in the band. It is not easy being part of the marching band in a virtual setting, but they made it work. Go baby bruins! We also had the Section Picture Contest. Each section photoshopped a funny photo of themselves, and we voted on which picture was the best. The drumline made my favorite, deciding to take a more risque approach, and they drew each member of their section as stick figures. It was fascinating how they were able to capture the essence of each member through simple lines, circles, and hairstyles. Definitely the best section photoshopped picture I had ever seen. However, if you were to ask me to identify each stick figure’s real identity, I would probably fail.
All in all, Band Banquet was 10/10. I also got to wear pajama pants the whole time without anyone noticing, which is always a plus during these Zoom times. Of course, if anyone asks, I was formally dressed head to toe.
By Erica Vellanoweth, ΒΦ
This year, the Psi Chapter and Epsilon Kappa Chapter hosted the Western District’s annual State Days for the first time in over 5 years! The State Days Committee, chaired by the wonderful Ariel Fernandez (Psi) and Cecilia Porras (EK) worked tirelessly this quarter to put on an amazing event for KKPsi and TBS Chapters in California and Nevada. About 50 brothers and sisters from 7 different chapters were able to attend our Zoom celebration.
The event started with a general welcome and introductions. All attendees were then placed into small groups to do an icebreaker and come up with a team name (based on the mood of the group and an office supply, ex. Pooped Post-Its) and a banner or anthem. We then shared all these with the group!
The groups then participated in a Self-Care/Resilience Discussion - a subject that we all needed to reflect on, especially after this past year. We talked about ways that we care for ourselves and take time to nurture ourselves, how we find comfort in our chapter, and how we’ve kept ourselves motivated during the toughest times. After, we shared with the whole group some tools, tips, and videos that have brightened our spirits when we needed it most!
Following a short break, a Yoga session was conducted by the lovely Emma Boone (Psi), Shruti Indiresan (EK), and Justin Cole (EK)! The groups then finally met up one last time in breakout rooms to play games - their choice of Skribbl.io, Among Us, Codenames, Buzzfeed Quiz Party, or any other games they’ve liked to play in quarantine.
The groups met up in the main room for one last time to say a final farewell, exchange contact information, and deliver congratulations to the people who helped organize! We hope to see many of those same brothers and sisters at next year’s State Days.
By Sara Acosta, ΒΦ
The Lion Line is a proud, dignified fixture within Psi composed of members that love deeply and drink only the freshest milk. The active members of the Lion Line are listed here, from oldest of the old, to youngest of the young:
A few clarifying points:
Where did the line name come from?
Like many humans, our line has a tendency to over-personify objects. We have collectively fallen in love with a small plush lion named King Kerfuffle, pictured here:
We pass this lovely beast down our line as new brothers join, adding small personal tokens to him. So far, King Kerfuffle wears a cape made by Sophia Inaba, holds a duct tape baton from Jade McVay, shows off a woven bruin bracelet from Sara Acosta, and wears a crown from Gus Billing.
What is with the line’s milk obsession?
We find it judgemental and rude for you to inquire about our milk habits.
Now that the details are more or less covered, I present to you the Lion Line!
Sara Acosta: ΒΦ, 4th year, Chemical Engineering, Alto Sax
As the matriarch of the Lion Line, Sara looks over her growing family and is proud of the terrible but wonderful children she has raised. Her big is Jade McVay, who taught her how to 8-clap like no other. Her littles are Gus Billing and Kylie Williams, the most terrible children of them all. After graduation, Sara is going to grad school for a Master’s degree in Bioprocess Engineering. Though her time at UCLA comes to an end, her relationship with 2% milk from Costco Wholesale carries on. She looks forward to drinking an ice-cold glass of lactose-free Fairlife chocolate milk on a humid summer day.
Gus Billing: ΒΧ, 3rd year, Aerospace Engineering, Horn
Gus is tall, enough so that you’d better think twice about challenging him to a friendly footrace. His big is Sara Acosta and his little is Matt Van de Mheen. He’s an aerospace engineering major and definitely knows how to build an entire plane using just popsicle sticks and marshmallow fluff. Gus is a wonderful brother who prioritizes service, but also enjoys the brotherhood and meeting new people. His milk of choice is 2%, lukewarm, and straight from the cow. You can’t get any more Americana than that!
Matt Van de Mheen: ΒΨ, 2nd year, Electrical Engineering, Alto Sax
Matt is often called “VDM”, which he begrudgingly responds to (though he prefers Matt). His big is Gus Billing and his little is Brian Acevedo. He chose to major in electrical engineering partly because he heard of a Twitch streamer who majored in EE. He plans to “do something” with his EE degree, which sounds ominous...but I choose to believe he’ll do something positively amazing like design energy grids for suburbs that conveniently blackout when you’re JUST GETTING YOUR JELL-O LAYER CAKE IN THE FRIDGE. Anyway, Matt loves hanging out with the alto section due to the sense of community he feels with them. He legally obtains his 2% milk from Ralph’s but waits for it to settle to lukewarm temperature before gulping it down. He would like our dear readers to know: buffalo milks contain 25% more protein than cow milks.
Kylie Williams: ΒΨ, 2nd year, Biochemistry, Tenor Sax
Kylie has a wonderfully radiant smile, which serves as either a beacon of joy to her loved ones or a threat to her enemies (which she has none of because she is amazing). Her big is Sara Acosta, her little is Lauren Sanchez, and she prides herself on Lion Line supremacy because “we’re so quirky”. Her favorite thing about band and Psi is the people! Kylie likes biology and chemistry and “really chose both” when picking a major. Maybe she will design a new type of extra viscous milk! After she visits the nearest cow farm (where the milk is freshest), she devours her chocolate almond milk frozen.
Brian Acevedo: ΒΩ, 2nd year, Physiological Science, BOOT
Brian is 6’4” (due to the online situation I cannot verify nor deny this information) and lives by the mantra: “Red school bad”. And honestly, reader, we agree that the red school is bad and if we spend too much time thinking about the red school we have to go take a calming milk bath. His big is Matt Van de Mheen. He is a physiological science major and is pre-optometry -- you don’t SEE someone like him every day! His favorite thing about the UCLA marching band and Psi is the super chill vibe and how friendly everyone is to each other. Brian is a man of prestige who drinks ORGANIC 2% milk. He travels far and wide to the milk stand at the LA county fair to obtain his milk, which he enjoys ice cold at home.
Lauren Sanchez: ΒΩ, 2nd year, Physiological Science, Flute
Lauren is a magnificently kind human being, though perhaps a few years hanging out with the Lion Line will change that (half joking!!). Her big is Kylie Williams. Lauren is studying physiological sciences because she wants to go into medicine and healthcare. Next time Petrissage decides to play broomball, it’s a good thing we’ll have Lauren around to identify the bones related to the various unavoidable injuries. Lauren enjoys the company of all the amazing people she has met in band and Psi. She gets her 2% milk from Target and enjoys it ice cold, maybe even right there in the Target aisle. P.S. I could not find an individual band photo of Lauren so enjoy her flawless eyeliner please!
Thus concludes the introduction of the Lion Line. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any questions at all please direct them to Gus Billing.