Beta WPI C21 Newsletter

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C TERM ISSUE MARCH 2021

Hello Brothers and Friends of Beta,

It is hard to believe that a year ago, we were just starting to quarantine in our houses as spring break was extended and the future was uncertain. While the future still is unknown, we have adapted to the virtual setting as never before. With an extended stay in place in order to limit spread as we returned to campus in C term, the chapter turned to discord and virtual hangouts to get through the dark Worcester winter. This term has proved that members of all sorts: new members, brothers, and alumni share the passion and drive for this organization, and an eagerness to spend time together however we could. This term was capped off with a fantastic ritual conducted in Minecraft which brought smiles to our faces and excitement in the new brothers' hearts. The Pi class initiation on Pi day was a wonderful conclusion to a challenging term. It is with sorrow that I inform you all that we have suspended Luke Trujillo for a year and revoked his alumni privileges for two years following his graduation. Luke was a good brother who put an intense amount of energy, effort, and enthusiasm into the chapter; however, all brothers must be held accountable for their actions. Luke pled guilty to hosting new members to drink. All involved members have taken their punishments with regret and understanding of the peril this put our chapter in. The new members did not know the magnitude of the misstep that they were committing, but I have no doubt that they will carry this lesson with them through all their undergraduate years. Continued next page ...


We take this time to reaffirm that we come to this chapter for the people we share our time with, the relationships we build, and the growth we wish to see in ourselves. We have found success this term and have wonderful new brothers and mentors. We are proud to introduce our new faculty advisor, Rame Hanna, a fellow Beta who is also WPI’s Director for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. We have been excited to bring Pi class into our roll book. They have brought energy and enthusiasm and I look forward to their presence in the Beta house next year. We have secured the lease for the full house at 52 Fruit St. thanks to our hardworking Housing Corporation. I believe that no undergraduate member has seen a fully operational Beta house, and I look forward to being able to openly invite the entire brotherhood next year. I would keep an eye out for the Engineer Our Year fundraiser that will help us furnish the second half of the house. This brings us to our future. As spring begins to allow for comfortable outdoor events, the possibilities for our chapter grows. Additionally, we have been eager to begin in-person events once again as WPI has returned to alert level green. WPI has expressed the desire to return to old-normal in the fall, and all of us hope that that can be true. Time will only tell, but a return to normalcy will bring great relaxation as we return to hanging out on the quad and enjoying each other's company, optimistically talking about the opportunities the future holds. We wish to strengthen our relationships and build a positive campus presence. We hope to be able to raise money for ACE as we have in the past and continue that wonderful relationship to help their organization grow. The chapter has been tired as if each member has been hibernating in their own cave for the winter. With weary eyes, we eagerly look towards the bright, warmer, and more optimistic future that lies ahead. Yours in __kai__, President Gus Teran #130.


by Joshua Barney


That is the percent of all men in the United States that hold the rank of Eagle Scout. It is a rare feat, and one of the highest honors in the scouting system. In the college system, you might expect a slightly higher percentage of eagle scouts in any organization as these individuals typically exemplify the qualities colleges look for. A full 25% of the active brothers of the Eta Tau Chapter of Beta Theta Pi have earned that prestigious title. This cannot be explained by random chance. There must be some factors that draw these young men into both of these groups. Some parallels between these two organizations can be seen in their values. Beta shares its core values as such: cultivation of intellect, responsible conduct, mutual assistance, integrity and trust. Most of these have a parallel in the boy scout law. The law states that: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. While there is no direct parallel for the cultivation of intellect, responsible conduct relates to both obedient and trustworthy. Mutual assistance parallels helpful, friendly, and cheerful. Integrity parallels brave as integrity is nothing if not sticking to your morals in the face of opposition. Finally, trust is clearly seen in “A scout is trustworthy”, the first law. The young adults who decided to work hard to attain the rank of eagle must deeply believe in the values held in the scout law. It speaks volumes that they decided that our chapter embodied those values. We should continue to work to em-

body those values held in mutual high regard by both the Eagle Scouts of the world as well as Beta itself. As a young adult, Boy Scouts was an organization I knew to be reputable. My father, uncle, and grandfather had become Eagle Scouts and I knew the Boy Scouts to embody the same values I loved to see in those people I looked up to. It was basically a given that I would join, and possibly get Eagle as well. As well, Eagle meant a lot to me because I achieved it on my own terms. During the middle of high school, I became a less active member due to the mountain of other activities that were piling up, and the fact that I was feeling pressured by my parents and others to get it. I felt like I was getting it for them and not me. This changed in my senior year when I reengaged with the troop. I ran for and was elected Senior Patrol Leader, the leader of the troop. I am proud of the fact that I am an Eagle, as it shows my own hard work and desire to get there. I joined Beta because I saw people similar to myself. All around the rush events were people who seemed to hold in high regard to the same things I did. I did not assume that they were Eagles as well, but simply that they were good people. After joining, I learned how many Eagles there were and it started to add up. The values shown in Beta and in the Eagle Scout rank both represent goals to strive for. As an Eagle Scout myself, I could not be more proud of the fraternity I decided to join. I find all of my brothers to be people of merit, who I am happy to be in the company of.

Send us your stories at communications@betawpi.org


This past C term, we were excited to induct Ethan Miller as a member of Rho Class.

Newly initiated brother Kepei Lei and his big, brother Charlie Snow, went on a hike to Cascades Park in Worcester to unwind.

Brother-Roommates John Do (left), Brandon Fox (center), and Gus Teran (right) went on a short walk to Bancroft Tower to play in the snow.

Thanks to the Brotherhood committee, brothers John Do and Brandon Fox, Worcester-based brothers received some delicious treats for chapter!

It was quite exciting to reconnect with many alumni while we compete in Team Fortress 2 matches, as part of the monthly Alumni Arcade Series.


After a successful recruitment, some new questions rose: how do we make the new member education a fun and meaningful experience for the new members; and more importantly, how can we help this new class bond? Fortunately, the later question is answered by the Pi class themselves. During the first new member education session, they already seemed to know each other well and the session became a blast! And now, we want to deal with the first question. Though the sessions were held virtually, Elder Karns, as casually named by Pi Class, introduced many great activities, from randomly guessing a year number correct in Jeopardy, to destroying the Google Sheets for Four Corners. The then new members, now most recently initiated brothers, surely had a lot of fun. On top of the fun, Pi class also learned quite a bit. They have a better understanding of Beta values, how the chapter operates, and the proud history of Beta Theta Pi. Kepei, for instance, was thrown away when he heard that Stephen Sondheim is a Beta. We all look forward to seeing them live the values through their actions, become true Men of Principles, and continue writing the stories of this long-lasting organization. After the education process, we reached the final milestone: initiation. Fun fact: Pi class initiation happened on Pi day! Though we had to do initiation online, it was a difficulty to conquer but also a chance to embrace new possibilities. As Gus mentioned, we decided to have our virtual initiation on Minecraft, where many brothers built a chapter hall within a day for Pi class’s initiation. We are glad that Pi class loved the virtual initiation, and now they are officially brothers of Beta Theta Pi! Welcome to the brotherhood and we are eager to see what great things you will accomplish in the future!

Family: Brown-Weaver-Bensal

Family: Aleles-Buxton

Family: Aleles-Buxton


Family: Renganathan

Family: Faust-Iovanna

Family: Faust-Iovanna

Family: Aleles-Buxton

Family: Friedman

Family: Howard-Bukowski


by Kepei Lei As the cameras in our pocket, smart phones, become more and more powerful, people keep asking me one question: as an enthusiast photographer, what sets you apart from the rest of us? For a long time, I was thinking about how to answer this problem. We all take photos for the same purposes: to record a moment. The difference is that my cameras have a potential to produce better works, and Fortunately, a trip helped me find my own answer. that I always sit down in front of my computer to During the C-term break of my sophomore year, I post-process them. These two were my responses to went to Germany and Czech Republic with the WPI the question at first. Choir. On this trip, we visited Theresienstadt GhetYou are probably thinking that these answers seem to, one of the concentration camps in Czech Repubway too simple. And you are right! We all can do pret- lic. At the camp, thousands of thoughts ran through ty much the same nowadays with a phone as well. my mind and I caught one of them: There are great software available for everyone to enThe time when this camp was functioning is no joy photography without the struggle to learn the scidoubt some of the darkest days in the history. Howence behind the camera. Such doubts got me at the ever, the sun was the same sun that gives us lights end of freshmen year. Because of that, all the photogtoday. If we are making any direct connection to the raphy I did in the first half of my sophomore year was days of despair, it has to be, ironically, the sun. The covering different events just to get a paycheck. sun shined upon those who had no hope of life, and us who are always looking for tomorrow.


This understanding set me up well for the next trip. I was contacted by a tourist agency in 2019. They were looking for a photographer as a guide for a trip in the U.S. mid-west in 2020. They would like me to be the guide and offered me a free trip to scout the national parks beforehand. During this trip, some of my best landscape works were born.

From that thought, I crafted a photography series called The Sun Still Rises to express my feelings and thoughts: the best way we can remember the victims of this tragedy is to live our lives, day by day. From this production, I understood that we photographers are storytellers as well. We look for things that we pass by but fit in our thoughts and emotions. We capture them, modify them to the point that they tell a story in our hearts, and hope that they will resonate with others viewing these works.

For more times than I can count, I got yelled at because I brought my 15-pound backpack wherever I go, including Angel Landing, one of the hardest hiking trails in the U.S. When I got to the top, I only used about 4 pounds of the gear. Was it extra tiring? Yes. Was it worth it? You might say no but my answer is yes. I never know what I would encounter next and I always want to be prepared to take the best shots I can. Because of this, photography eventually becomes a lifestyle, where I simply go on cycles of heavy duty backpack trips, sit in front of the computer to process the photos, and plan the next ones.


by Gabe Buziba and Antonio Varela Westside Steak and BBQ has been getting pretty popular within the Eta Tau Chapter. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Westside has been catering for our bid dinners, making those nights unforgettable memories. And here are just a few more reasons for why we love this place!

some cornbread for just $18.99?! That’s a steal! Comparing that to The Fix, you have to pay $15 for a single burger (we still love The Fix regardless). Mouthwatering food for a great price, what’s not to love?

And if the food has not already caught your attention, one of the biggest reasons to visit Westside, socially Now the food is obviously the main attraction, but it distanced of course, is to meet the owner of the resis very difficult in words to describe just how good it taurant, Elaine. Whenever we stop by, she always is. Our biggest advocate for this restaurant, brother heartwarmingly welcome us and check-in about our Antonio Varela, often says “If you order something studies. Her service is spectacular too, offering the on the menu, then it’s going to be life-changing.” The best advice on what to get on the menu, as well as exrestaurant features a large menu with a wide variety of perimental dishes and sauces. BBQ dishes to have, with additional specials. There Westside Steak and BBQ is a great restaurant that are the classic ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken offers amazing service with a great atmosphere. wings, tacos, burritos, sandwiches, burgers, and steak Check it out when you have the chance! (and Antonio has proudly had all these items). There To Elaine: Thank you so much for all the delicious is likely a thing for everyone on this menu, and even that is without the amazing appetizers and sides. The meals for our bid dinners and hangouts and your lovmenu is also good for those college students that are ing words of encouragement on our studies! We’ll see on a budget. Half a slab of ribs, two huge sides, and you soon!


by Antonio Varela Brother Travis Norris graduated WPI with a robotic engineering and professional writing major in 2018. He currently works as a software engineer at Cognex. He was the only member of the Iota class and he had a great time in Beta Theta Pi. Looking back on his time as an active brother, one of his favorite memories was going to a Beta retreat as a new member. The chapter held his induction ceremony by campfire and it was a great experience. But many of his favorite memories are also the small gettogethers that would happen throughout the years, from grabbing coffee at the Bean Counter to grabbing dinner after chapter meetings. Recently, Travis has been doing a lot of work coaching a high school FIRST team, since it is the middle of the season. He is helping students online with their code and sometimes with their robot person. One piece of advice Travis has to any undergraduate

students at WPI is to make sure to find the balance between academics and social time. Looking back on his time at WPI, he wishes he would have taken more graduate classes or joined more honors societies, though he was able to get a good job without those things. Moreover, to Travis, college is also about growing as a person along with growing intellectually. “It will be ok if you don’t join every honors society that you can or get a master in four years. But make sure you are still pushing yourself academically.” Travis is looking forward to the months to come. With his work as a robotics coach, he will be able to get the vaccine earlier. Travis and his girlfriend have also been looking for their own place to live. He is excited to meet up with his friends again, as things will hopefully become normal soon.


Contact Matthew Hagan (matt@doublediamond.io) to learn more about Alumni Board involvement.

Contact Antonio Varela (avarela@wpi.edu) about general alumni matters.

Contact Andy Iovanna (and.iovanna@gmail.com), the Chapter Counselor, about becoming an advisor.

Contact Gus Teran (president@betawpi.org) about chapter operations.

Contact communications@betawpi.org for access to the Beta Wiki, Sharepoint, and other matters.

• • • •

Who's the oldest active brother of our chapter? Who has the smallest roll number in our chapter? Where did Travis Norris travel to for his IQP? How much does the Beta in-house server weigh?

Newsletter Editors: JOHN HOANG DO, Amitai Erfanian, Kepei Lei, Antonio Varela