Mark Spotanski (Nebraska, Gamma Beta ’99) was recognized as the International Fraternity’s 2019 Chapter Advisor of the Year for his work with Gamma Beta Chapter. Spotanski has served the chapter since he graduated in 2002 and served as the chapter’s advisor for 14 years.
Life After Advising: Your Impact Continues
On January 13, 2020, I had the honor of watching my successor, Micah Lindblad (Nebraska, Gamma Beta ’11) be installed as Gamma Beta’s Chapter Advisor. Thinking back to that evening, I still remember the whole event being odd. The chapter meeting almost went too fast – and now what – I’ve been volunteering for Gamma Beta Chapter in various capacities since I graduated in May 2002. I knew I was continuing my role as housing corporation president for the chapter, but that wasn’t the same. As the chapter advisor, I was a first call for so many of our brothers for basically 15 years, so now what?
This is a feeling many, if not all of us, have had when we depart our undergraduate years and head into alumni status. Yet, the oath we take when we depart is that if presented an opportunity to serve in the future we should ‘do it’. Yet that service doesn’t have to always be formal. Being a positive light and sounding board for the chapter, or even a beacon of success who continues to talk about how our Fraternity impacted our lives and helped us get to where we are, these are all ways we can give back informally.
In the weeks following, I continued to reflect on the fact that my 14-year stint as chapter advisor ended. However, it has allowed me to continue to engage with PIKE in a few new ways, while reminding me of the impact we as volunteers have on the chapter members – whether communicated to us or not.
- Interaction with Undergraduates and Alumni at Events - My “surprise chapter advisor retirement party”, an Alumni Husker basketball game, and passing along a few recruitment recommendations to the recruitment chair. Many of us as alumni ask how we can be involved or help. Making recruitment recommendations is possibly one of the best ways. Just like we were taught as undergraduates and in our careers everyday – it’s about who you know and the connections you make.
- President of Gamma Beta Housing Corporation - I’m continuing this role and have been able to bring more awareness to it these past few months, interacting with the corporation board and through updates with the chapter president. We are always evaluating opportunities for the chapter to obtain a property. Our board and I hope there will be exciting times ahead on this front, and that we can find the right opportunity to make this 20+ year dream a reality.
- Educational Technology Task Force - One of the most exciting new areas where I’ve been able to assist most recently is by serving the International Fraternity on a new Educational Technology Task Force. The task force is made up of technology and learning management system experts from across industries engaged to provide guidance on the right technology to roll out to continue to enhance the True PIKE Experience membership development program. Initiatives such as this one continue to prove why Pi Kappa Alpha is the best and why PIKE University is North America’s premier fraternal leadership training program.
Overall, whether it is volunteering for the Fraternity in a traditional sense such as serving in an official role or just keeping your connection to PIKE alive in your conversations and connections, all are relevant and appreciated. Upon my “retirement” from advising, I received an incredible amount of notes from both undergraduates and alumni. Our work as volunteers is appreciated and recognized even if it isn’t always verbalized.
In closing, I’d be remise if I didn’t touch on the current environment that our undergraduate brothers faced this spring semester. In my newfound role as chapter advisor emeritus, I was able to converse with and watch Brother Lindblad navigate these past few months with Gamma Beta Chapter. Who would have guessed that this semester would have taken on such a drastic new look. One major item that could and should set the path for the future was a new member program that lasted less than 4 weeks. When Nebraska announced students would not return to traditional classroom experiences following Spring Break, the men of Gamma Beta rallied voting the spring new members in to candidacy and initiating all 15 of them 24 hours later. Amazing how perspectives can change when faced with adversity. Maybe a 4-week new member program (or less) can work vs. our historical timeline. Is this the time to adjust to a new norm?
I know I will continue to find ways to serve. My challenge to my fellow brothers is how will you serve? Whether it be in a formal or informal way, we all can continue to live the virtues of The True Pike.