Kappa-So-Proud

Kappa-So-Proud

The Tau-Gamma chapter of Kappa Sigma has a lot to be proud of.
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The Tau-Gamma chapter of Kappa Sigma at the University of Nevada, Reno entered campus in the Fall of 2013. They were chartered one semester later on April 26, 2014, and the members have achieved beyond what they believed was possible in the two years they’ve been on campus.

Billy Fox, a Founding Father, knew Kappa Sigma had a lot to offer once he became a member. “When people look at all the work we've done here on campus and with our national organization, we've achieved a lot. I think that speaks for Kappa Sig's love for the university and the local community we take part in. I hope that we can continue to be an exceptional, well-liked group of guys for years to come,” said Fox.

Chris Tovar is a Founding Father and will be entering his final year of college this coming school year. Out of his two years of being a member of Kappa Sigma, he has found that there is nothing more important than brotherhood. “Brotherhood means to never quit or give up on each other. One brother struggles we all struggle. One brother succeeds, we all succeed,” said Tovar. “We define what brotherhood means. Being there for your brother at anytime of the day…either early in the morning, late at night, traveling to different towns just to clear your minds…or even having 15 brothers stay overnight in a hospital just to make sure your brother is fine. We're stronger then friendship. We're part of a brotherhood, we're a family.”

Scott Sawamura, a founding father and a recent alumnus, knows Tau-Gamma will strive for the highest of goals possible. “It has been amazing to see how far our chapter has come. From starting with only three guys to growing to over 70 members while winning some of the highest awards Kappa Sigma has to offer in a little less than two years is incredible,” said Sawamura.

“Seeing this chapter grow so quickly has been my greatest source of accomplishment and wonder. To see something move this quickly yet not fall down has been a constant reassurance that we're doing something right,” said Mitchell Martinez, another Founding Father of Tau-Gamma.

Kappa Sigma Conclave 2015 was held at the end of July in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the Grand Master’s (current President) words, Daniel Leonardini, “it can be described as one of the best learning and fun experiences of being a Kappa Sigma.” During Conclave, members get the opportunity to learn how to solve problems that their chapter may be having and learn about great ideas that have done well in other chapters. “It is an opportunity to meet brothers from across the country and to get to know them and hang out with them,” said Leonardini.

Six individuals won awards with one person being awarded two. The chapter as a whole won five awards, two of those awards being the biggest honor that could be awarded to a chapter as new as Tau-Gamma.

Individual Awards

Outstanding Grand Master (President) Award for Jonathan Kenerson

Outstanding Grand Procurator (Vice President) Award for Kenneth Laverty

Outstanding Grand Master of Ceremonies (Second Vice President) Award for Ernest Landrito

Outstanding Grand Scribe (Secretary) Award for Zach Thompson

Outstanding Grand Treasurer Award for Mitchell Reyes

Outstanding Alumnus Advisor Award for Chuck Kenerson

Distinguished Service Commendation Award for Chuck Kenerson

Chapter Awards

Chapter Academic Excellence Award

Champion Chapter Award

“Awarded to chapters reaching the standard of at least 60 members or largest fraternity on campus (minimum 35 members).” –Daniel Leonardini

Founders’ Award of Chapter Excellence (FACE)

“The Founders’ Award of Chapter Excellence (“FACE”) is the benchmark award in Kappa Sigma. The FACE award recognizes outstanding Chapter management, achievement, and program development in all areas of operation.” –Daniel Leonardini

Founders’ Circle Award

“The Kappa Sigma Founders’ Circle Award is the highest award given to Chapters. The Founders’ Circle Award recognizes the Order’s “best of the best” at the undergraduate Chapter level. Founders’ Circle designees succeed in all areas of Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship, and Service and set a shining example to which all Chapters should aspire.” –Daniel Leonardini

District of the Year Award

“Presented to the district which by undergraduate and alumni activity has distinguished itself in strength, reputation and Fraternity relations.” –Daniel Leonardini

“These awards are important to us for many reasons. It shows all of the hard work we put into our new chapter and trying to make it the best it can be. Part of the FACE and Founders’ Circle awards has to do with community involvement. Knowing that a lot of the hard work affected peoples’ lives in a positive way makes all of this meaningful,” said Leonardini.

Past Grand Master (past President), Jonathan Kenerson knows the future is looking bright for his beloved chapter and can’t wait to see what values their chapter can add to their university and community to grow. “One of our most historically influential brothers once said, "let us not rest until the Star and Crescent is the pride of every university". Some Kappa Sigma chapters take that to mean beating the competition,” said Kenerson. “In my mind, it means we should be a chapter of men that the Reno community and the University and its organizations are proud to affiliate with. My hope is that our name can be connected to strong character and involvement in the communities we're a part of.”

The Tau Gamma chapter of Kappa Sigma has shown significant growth from the day they first entered campus. The chapter’s participation on campus is fully recognized. Their members are valued. Their values are held the same amongst their members.

To see what Kappa Sigma will be doing on the University of Nevada, Reno is an exciting endeavor. Their goals and successes will leave lasting footprints on the campus.

Cover Image Credit: Serphos Photography; Daniel Leonardini

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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Why Challenge is Good for Personal Growth

Challenging oneself more can increase performance and motivation towards a goal.

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Poet Ted Hughes, commenting on what happens when a person puts pen to paper, wrote, "you meet the terrible resistance of what happened your first year at it when you couldn't write at all." For years in the '80s, Hughes would judge poem contests and noted that the poems had gotten strangely boring as time progressed, although the poems were beautifully written with nary a grammatical error with many reaching seventy pages. This was around the time where home computers had penetrated into the household.

This is unsurprising, however, as many recent neurological studies have added strength to Hughes hypothesis, saying that the mere act of hand-writing activates part of the brain involving memory and thinking more than typing on the keyboard. But why is that? Typing on the keyboard makes it easier, more efficient to write, which is good but not necessarily best. This principle applies to many everyday things.

Walk into any gym and they will be packed to the brim with fancy machines to aid in working out. These machines work, there is no doubt about that, but they don't produce the same kind of functional strength as pure weightlifting would with dumbbells and barbells. Likewise, these machines produce a solid physique, just as the poems possess a strong understanding of the English language, but they lack the strength or creativity to back it up.

It is perhaps our human desire to develop ways to make life easier for ourselves, because why would we voluntarily want to have a difficult or challenging life? We wouldn't. However, it is this challenge, it is the difficulties that we face that make us grow as people. When we encounter difficulty we are forced to step back, figure out what we want and then devote resources to attain that goal. A rather personal example is my new weightlifting regime.

I was insecure about my squat and my legs because I had always struggled to do them with a knee injury I had as a child. After a session at the gym where I struggled to even do the bare minimum, I knew that I couldn't stop fooling myself anymore. I developed a schedule around improving my legs and my squat and it has worked wonders. Whenever I face a weight I'm struggling with, I keep trying until I get it perfect for multiple repetitions.

In a study done by scientists at the University of Amsterdam, they conducted several trials to learn how external obstacles affect our thought process. One experiment had two groups of people solving an anagram puzzle, one group was the control, while the other had random numbers read off while they were trying to solve the puzzle. Those in the experimental group actually demonstrated better cognitive ability. This was because they were likely to make mental associations and connections. The researches concluded that when people are faced with unexpected barriers they are more likely to widen their range of perception to look at the larger picture.

Take, for example, the creation of the first airplane. Wilbur and Orville had essentially nothing, not even a college degree. They ran a small bike shop in a small town in North Carolina. They had an idea, and seemingly infinite obstacles to achieve their goal: limited funding, lack of education, a small crew, and the biggest one was probably that they had a limited understanding of engineering. However, they weren't the only person that tried to build the flying machine. Samual Langley was a well known and respected engineer.

Educated at Harvard and friends with many bigwigs, he was sponsored and given millions of dollars to try and create a functional flying machine. He had all the resources he could ask for at the tip of his fingertips and failed to create this machine. However, a small crew headed by two bike repairmen was able to. It was precisely these difficulties that allowed their passion to thrive because they had to actually work for it, they had to apply everything they had to this project. Langley, on the other hand, not so much.

There are infinite examples, stories, personal anecdotes that could be presented to prove this point, and that's because it is nearly universal. Having obstacles pushes us to try harder, it motivates us to achieve, to create, to innovate. Without difficulty, we lose what makes us truly human, our drive to make more. We have the world at our fingertips in the world of technology, which is good in many respects, but sometimes write out that essay for English or work with the free weight section over the machines at the gym.

These difficulties don't have to be big, but when presented they can allow for greater cognitive ability producing products that can really make an impact. Hughes wisdom about the simple act of putting pen to paper, a trivial obstacle, will only become increasingly more important as technology continues to dominate more and more of our everyday lives and take away the traditional obstacles that have allowed us to remain uniquely human. So challenge yourself every now, look at it as a way to motivate, to improve, not as a pesky annoyance.

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