Beta WPI A20 Newsletter

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Greetings Brothers and Friends of Beta, This A-term has certainly been a strange one for the Eta Tau chapter and WPI as a whole. Our brothers have faced new challenges both academically and socially on campus, relying on each other for support through uncertain or new times. In an effort to provide brothers with a sense of normalcy and much needed outlets for social interaction, the chapter has been hard at work organizing COVID-safe in-person and virtual events. Our hybrid style chapter meetings have been great ways to bring the entire chapter together during such uncertain times. Furthermore, quad hangouts have been another highlight allowing brothers to get outside, socialize, and play cornhole on our new set. Meanwhile, a virtual retreat and video games like “Among Us” and “Jackbox” have allowed brothers on campus and off the ability to connect as well. While most of the house has remained closed to a majority of the chapter it has been great to have a house for the Eta Tau chapter. The porch, which is open to all brothers, has served as a focal point for some in-person hangouts and events. Furthermore, the house has been able to attend events, like retreat, all together, allowing for more fun and interaction. I’m excited to see what the house will become moving into the future. Despite all the uncertainty, the state of the brotherhood is united, strong, and resilient.

Yours in __kai__, Matthew Karns #117

Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s life in numerous ways. For the Eta Tau chapter, the brotherhood has been working to deliver the Beta Theta Pi experience, while ensuring the safety of all members. For individual members, each brother has had to cope with class and work using the new formats, while maintaining a healthy physical and mental health. Below are letters from two members of the chapter, expressing their thoughts living with the pandemic.

Brothers - as you know, our administration has decided to make drastic changes to our final quarter this year. I would imagine most of us have complicated feelings about this decision perhaps some understandable frustration and anger about losing the rest of our semester together, as well as fear about what lies ahead of us as the virus continues to spread in our communities. Our administration will never make perfect judgments, but we must understand that they're trying to do their best to mitigate the spread of the virus and to protect the institutions that they serve - the school, staff, faculty, and the student body. We do not get to choose the troubles we face, we only get to decide how we deal with them. It is truly unfortunate it is our generation of students that must bear the burden of these difficult times. In these times I often think of Sam's speech in the Lord of the Rings where he says that many of the best stories are: Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Generations before have faced greater peril, and so will generations after. I ask each of you to meet the challenges of our times with composure and understanding. We must understand that our administration is trying to do their best to protect our institution. In turn, I must ask you all to uphold our institution and our brotherhood. To be steadfast and serious in times of need, and to be joyous when it permits. We will not survive this pandemic solely in fear and spite. We will weather this challenge with the same spirit and perseverance as ever. Be your best selves. Yours in __ kai __.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has thrown all aspects of our lives for a loop - our jobs, education, living quarters, and relationships. For me, constant sources of sanity during this tumultuous time of change is personal and professional development. My professional development came about through the sheer need to adapt how I work. As an engineer responsible for physical product- and project-work, I had to transition from an onsite office/lab to a home office, with several trips back to do said work in the lab. The best way I can describe the adaptation is I transposed or inverted my tactical strategies to accomplish projects. This was necessary from a workload standpoint, as well as for limiting the number of visits I would have to make onsite to limit exposure. My visits were thereby most useful and impactful for several projects at once and in varying stages. While this transposition worked in theory and still allowed me to get work done, in practice my going onsite was influenced by my personal progress and motivation on projects as well as input from my manager and team. This led to having to construct a more routine schedule for myself to keep up the pace of my new work format, as well as setting some ground rules with my team for the foreseeable future. The schedule allowed for a sense of normalcy lost from not having normal workplace interactions and routine. The ground rules personally allowed for me to go back and forth between home and work spaces - both of which were flex/shared spaces because workspace constraints - with relative ease considering I’d have to bring my computer and physical product and files back and forth each time. While this was just one ground rule, it mentally allowed me to divide up and conquer my week to make working from home more bearable (by, in effect, having an at-home first part of the week, and at-work second half) and allowed me to take control over my actions which the coronavirus still had a heavy hand at steering.. Personal development has become a mainstay for my well-being in the ever-evolving pandemic -plagued world. By focusing on me, my goals, and my future (yes, all those still can exist, just adapted or delayed which isn't that bad) I have been able to remain positive, accomplished, and hopeful for coming out of the pandemic better than when I came into it. Obviously everyone’s situations are different, but I have found great joy in going through old memorabilia, selling/donating excess items, learning how to be a more responsible resident of the Earth, exploring new activities (especially off-screen) and charting my own future.

Delving into these or any other form of self-betterment has been talked about alot during the pandemic, and I am just here to say that it is truly beneficial to maintain reality while in the Pandemic Paradox™. This is all not to say that providing oneself with outdoor activity, inperson conversations, and the occasional get-together are not important - still do those! Going forward through (and eventually out of) this pandemic, I look forward to the challenges ahead; instead of outright cancelling the idea of normal things, I will adapt to still do those things because the coronavirus cannot win - we are better and smarter than it. While focusing on my personal and professional development, I feel as though I have been almost unaffected by the pandemic. To be sure, I still take it all very seriously and have even had loved ones come down with the visus and my own scare, but I am convinced that the battle for escaping the Pandemic Paradox™ will be won not only from scientific and social advancement, but from mental fortitude and the will of everyone to persevere. Yours in __kai__.

Public health emergencies are stressful times for people and communities. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma and other negative behaviors. As we strive to be supportive and inclusive, we encourage you to check in with each other and reach out for help when needed. For fellow WPI students, support is available through the Student Development & Counseling Center at (508) 831-5540. For others, assistance may be available through your workplace. Information to counter stigma related to COVID-19 is available through the CDC.

Congratulations to the recently initiated members of Eta Tau’s Omicron class! On October 11th, our chapter welcomed Jason Davis (#140), Geoffrey Garsson (#141), and Brian Zawacki (#142) into our band of brothers with socially-distant arms! Though COVID-19 guidelines restricted some parts of the initiation ceremony, the Beta spirit was still with us. This initiation was surely a memorable one for all those present. This has been a long time coming for the members of Omicron class, with Geoff and Brian waiting eight months since their induction in February. Many brotherhood activities were held online to help introduce Omicron class to Beta, including New Member Education. NME was taught by Education Chairman Gus Teran over the course of five weeks. The three new members learned more about what it means to be a brother of Beta Theta Pi and how brotherhood affects the various aspects of their lives. Welcome, Jason, Geoff, and Brian!

by Jason Davis

The Engineer Our Year campaign, which ran through the summer, was met with resounding success. Our goal was $2,500, and we raised $3,101! We received donations from current brothers, alumni, and friends of Beta. We are immensely grateful for our supporters, with huge thanks to alumnus Tim Winters who donated $1,000 to set up the Beta in-house server! The purpose of this year campaign is to furnish the Beta house, purchase cleaning supplies, and help fund chapter operations to improve the Beta experience for the brothers of Eta Tau. Up to date, the chapter has already purchased a television and a new couch set for the living room, curtains for the bedrooms, several stools for the kitchen, and a few other items. Recently, the recruitment committee and the residents of the house created a 360° tour of the Beta house at tourbeta. Some of the newly acquired furniture, such as the television and couches, can be seen on the tour. Thank you all for helping us reach our goal!

$10 or more

$100 or more

$500 or more

Mr. Hoang Do

Mr. Benjamin Child

Mr. Randy Perez

Mr. Daniel Duff

Mr. Timothy Winters

Mr. Kyle Hanlon $25 or more

Mr. Andy Iovanna

Ms. Alexandra de Heer

Mr. Alexander Klose Mr. Michael McConnell Ms. Maeve Perry Mr. William van Rensselaer Ms. Corinne Rywalt

Dr. Steven Tougas

by Augustus Teran

This summer I undertook my first solo backpack- While leading other people could be stressful, I ing trip. It was an adventure that I will not easily found that preparing to go alone was more terrifyforget. ing. The stress of having to ensure that my friends were adequately equipped and ready to go, as well I have always loved backpacking. From a young as that our route was doable and fun, would keep age, I cherished the camping trips my family me up late the night before a trip. However, the would go on. I enjoyed the fresh air and freedom social nature of the trip always put me at ease. of hiking, and I was not as intimidated by carrying Planning to go alone meant that I had to undera full pack as perhaps I should have been. I had stand that it was only me out there and that there my first experiences backpacking on summer would be no one to help me up if I took a fall, or camps in middle and early high school. Despite to cook dinner with. This was especially true bethe rugged conditions we lived in, I always found cause my phone had been completely bricked and myself content as long as I was out in the woods. did not function at all during this trip. It took a Those summer backpacking trips turned longer lot of convincing myself, but on August 13th I set and I took more and more of a leadership role as I out. reached my junior and senior years of high school. After all of this training, I felt comfortable leading Continued next page ‌ some friends on short backpacking trips through the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

I quickly remembered why being alone is troublesome from the outset of my hike. I was cruising and having a blast flying uphill, but I was not diligent enough with my water reserves and ended up empty at the top of a New Hampshire Four Thousand Footer, far above any flowing streams. I had to climb down the steep descent feeling woozy and uncomfortable. I learned my lesson that day and made sure to always carry more than enough water for the rest of the trip. Cooking dinner by myself could once again be lonesome, but I found some peace and happiness watching the sunset with some of the other hikers at the Ethan Pond campground that night. In chatting with them I discovered that just because I was out here alone, does not mean I cannot be social. One benefit of doing this trip by myself was that I could go at my own pace, and that opened mileage that I had never done before. My legs have never been quite as exhausted as they were after the massive 16+ mile second day; in the last half mile to the campground, they started spasming uncontrollably. The grueling hiking and beautiful views helped me settle into the wilderness and come to appreciate the simple things like a hot meal at the end of the day. My third day was designed to be much shorter to give myself a rest. It took me across the magnificent Franconia Ridge. A popular day hike is a loop of this ridge and I happened to be there on a weekend, so that stretch was the most crowded the trail ever was. A few day-hikers even got me confused for an Appalachian

Trail Thru-Hiker. It was fantastic to have such a beautiful day and to get to camp early. I met an old computer scientist at the campsite, and it was interesting to talk to someone who has loved working as a Software Engineer for decades. By my fourth day, I was dreaming of Popeyes. I carefully planned my order for the next day. I later realized that this was an early sign of my caloric deficit for I had packed a normal three thousand calories but was actually burning double that. That day could also be a bit demoralizing when I went 12 miles without a view, and with only two trail markers along the way to tell me my progress. Yet that made it even sweeter when I finally reached the ridge above the treeline. That night after dinner, despite having done another 16 mile and 50k steps day, I went a mile from my campsite to Mt West Bond. It was absolutely magnificent. The whipping winds and strong sunlight-filled me with joy. I rested easy that night knowing I was going home tomorrow. On my last day, I set out with a purpose, lead on by my aching hunger. I ate the last of my food: an apple, a breakfast bar, and half a chocolate bar to push through those 10 miles. This section was the most I was concerned about bears, as it was the first time all trip that I was taking a less used trail.

However, I was lucky, and did not run into any wildlife all trip. My legs were worn out, and I felt the adrenaline of starvation. I almost cried out in joy when I saw my car and the extra snacks I left in it. I felt shivers of joy as I devoured a McChicken and finally got to listen to music again on my way back South. All in all, it was a fantastic backpacking trip. I tagged the summit of 15 Four Thousand Footers and hiked 60 miles across those 5 days. Going alone was an interesting experiment, and COVID was probably a good time to test it. I found that I still love backpacking, but the people I go with make it a special experience. I could get accustomed to hiking alone, but it was the quiet times such as meals that really made me miss the companionship. Most of all though, I am glad to have got such a great trip in between long stretches at my desk for my internship and then for my IQP. The chance to relax, reset, and be out in nature for days on end is a wonderful thing.

by Taylor Cox This term, we created a new event called the Beta Olympics! Each week of the Olympics was based around one of our fraternity's values (Mutual Assistance, Intellectual Growth, Trust, Responsible Conduct, and Integrity), and participants earned points for their team by completing tasks assigned based around the values. There were 4 teams, each with 6 members who worked together to attempt to win Beta "swag" up to 100 dollars. For the first week themed around Mutual Assistance, members could earn points by going to New Member Education meetings. Intellectual Growth week concentrated on expanding the Beta Wiki, where brothers could earn points for their team by finding out more about their Beta family. Points were given based on how many contributions were made. During Trust week, participants earned points for their team by running! The more brothers ran, the more points they earned. Week 4 was themed around Respon-

sible Conduct, and brothers earned points by submitting pictures taken of them wearing masks, socially distancing, and acting in accordance with our values. The final week, participants earned points by doing community service. Especially during these times, it was difficult; however, our brothers rose to the task, and we would like to thank them here. Here are the results: Team 1 (325pt): Gus, Andy VM, Matt Karns, Dan, Syzygy, Jason Team 2 (262pt): Taylor, Chris, John, Hunter, Arnold, Brian Team 3 (345.6pt): Jesus, Luke, Cam, Ryan, Charlie Team 4 (273.6pt): Matt Iandoli, Austin, Mike, Ben, Ivan, Geoffrey Congratulations Team 3, and thank you to all those who participated!

by Andy Iovanna The goal of the advisory group is to help the chapter maintain its current stature, identify and strive for excellence, and coach the Exec board as they tackle their roles. In a normal year, this likely involves weekly meetings with each Exec to check in on progress and provide guidance where needed, in addition to twice-yearly meetings with all advisors and execs to set goals and create action plans. Luckily, the majority of this work has easily shifted remote to suit distancing guidelines, and the fact that committee and chapter meetings are done on Zoom has made it easier for advisors to observe and provide input. Major credit goes to all advisors and execs in working through technical and scheduling bumps in this new model! Our number one goal this year is to provide whatever support necessary to the chapter and individual brothers adjusting to “the new normal”. Having gone through the remote-work transition myself, I can testify how isolating it can feel - no amount of webcams with wacky backgrounds on Zoom can replace in-person interaction, and Gold With Friends (on Steam) just isn’t as good as golf with friends. If you want to talk to any of us about how the transition is going for you, or if you have any ideas on replicating #brothership in a socially distant manner, please reach out.

The remainder of our focus as a group centers on answering three questions:

Identifying the specific benefits that our chapter provides its brothers will help guide the chapter as it refines and establishes new activities, and as it recruits new brothers.

Anecdotally I’m blown away (and quite impressed!) by the amount of work the exec board is currently responsible for doing. Finding ways to improve how we identify, communicate, and reach our goals will help us achieve more and free up time for brothers to be brothers.

We already do a lot (in a normal year)! Beta Theta Fries, Beta Clue, quad hangouts, letter shirts, etc. Are these approaches effective? What else can we do? What do we need to do differently during COVID? If you have any ideas on any of the above, feel free to reach out to us or an executive! Having observed the chapter for the last few months as I transition into my role, I want to highlight how impressed I am with the dedication of the current exec board. They’ve helped guide the entire chapter in moving remote last D term during slightly uncertain times, and have already set up a new operating model for the chapter that puts brother safety first.

Myself and the other advisors are excited to help the chapter navigate one of the weirdest in its history, and we look forward to longer-term goal setting as 2021 comes around! We’re also delighted to have brother Peter Darrow (Miami (Fla.) ’09 ) joining as a Recruitment coach! Peter is a Director of the Beta Theta Pi foundation, and has worked in an advisory role with multiple chapters previously. Please reach out to us with any ideas, concerns, or questions at! You can reach out to me directly at:

- Andy Iovanna - <Vacant>

- Garret Zastoupil (UMN ‘15) (978) 888-1843 Andy Iovanna Anaaspet#4196

- Christian Walck - Kirk Grimsley - Kyle Hanlon - Travis Norris - Eric Solorzano - Ethan Farner (Creighton ‘20)

As you may know, our previous Alumni Board president, Ben Pulver, has stepped down from his position. As Ben said in the alumni slack channel, "I will be stepping down as the head of the Alumni Board and will be passing the torch to Matthew Hagan. I've enjoyed serving in this position for the past 2+ years, but life moves on and I think it is best for me and the fraternity to have someone new take over and breathe some fresh air in to alumni relations. I'm excited for Matt to take over and am looking forward to seeing what he'll accomplish!" Our chapter would like to thank Ben for his time and effort spent on the Alumni Board in the past years, and wish him the best in his future endeavors!

Hey Brothers, I just wanted to let y’all know that I will be taking over the role of head of the alumni board. Over the course of the next year, I am going to be working with the board and the advisors in an attempt to further formalize the volunteering process for the chapter. Now that our alumni base is more prevalent and geographically diverse, additionally, we are going to be working on ways to keep brothers both near and far involved utilizing a hybrid virtual/in-person model that will hopefully continue beyond our time of COVID inconvenience. The goal of both of these initiatives is to increase transparency and engagement of our brotherhood’s alumni. A lot of the specifics are still in the works and if any of y’all have ideas or would like to be involved in the process, please feel free to reach out. Stay safe and stay healthy! Yours in __kai__, Matt Hagan, HT #98

In the past year, the Communications Committee has been working on the two websites for our chapter and At, you can find information about rush, information on how to contact us, all our recent newsletter publications, and other key info which can help you keep in touch with our chapter! We are also creating a new page called "Testimonials" and we would appreciate your contributions of your Beta stories to be featured on that page. The second site,, is a one-stop-shop for almost all your Beta needs. There, we have links to all of our currently used websites, social media, applications and more! Under AWS Apps specifically, we have our Wiki page for brothers to add to their profiles, see current family trees and more! Feel free to contact us at if you would like to help us improve our websites!

Brothers Taylor Cox and Ryan Tougas, alongside with other brothers played cornhole and had a barbeque at the Beta house in A Term 2020.

Brother Justin Cheng enjoying playing boardgames with the brothers during retreat in A Term 2019!

Alumni and undergraduate brothers hanging out and playing games in C Term 2020

Brothers Kellen Randall and Drew Wethern in a sepia photo for Beta Clue in 2016!

Retreat of the Founding Fathers class in 2013 at Camp Harrington!

This is Salt and Pepper, the two latest additions to the Fox family! These two are inseparable which is why Brandon's sister couldn't just take one. They’re hoping to get yet another family member soon!

Brian Zawacki and his cat, Ty Ty. She’s an older cat, but still acts like a scrappy, young princess!

Nickel and Gus Teran. Nickel is a sweet, social cat who likes to act like a human, sitting at the dinner table with the rest of his family.

Erik Langberg and his few months old kitten Emmett. They also call him Plop, because of his habit of following people around and falling onto his back at their feet.

Gus and his second cat, Nala. She’s a lovable goofball who always greets her family at the door.

Contact Benjamin Pulver, ( to learn more about Alumni Board involvement.

Contact Taylor Cox ( about general alumni matters.

Contact Andy Iovanna (, the Chapter Counselor, about becoming an advisor.

Contact Matthew Karns ( about chapter operations.

Contact for access to the Beta Wiki and Sharepoint.

• • • •

Why is brother Ben Dorr nicknamed Houlihan? What is the smallest Beta family that still has undergraduate members? How many brothers are living in the Beta house? What is the Beta song that brother Kellen Randall wrote?

Newsletter Editors: Taylor Cox, Jason Davis, Hoang “John” Do

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