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Bert King - 2023 National Convention

Bert King was initiated into the Gamma Nu Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi in the Spring 1970. Bert has shared his experience attending the 2023 National Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Q: Why did you decide to attend the 2023 National Convention?

A: I had attended the 2017 National Convention in Orlando and commuted from home. It was my first convention and I had been away from the Fraternity for over 25 years. I wanted to see what all the convention hype was about. What I found were sessions aimed at helping brothers become better brothers and better professionals. What I found was the feeling of brotherhood, regardless of chapter, or year initiated. When I heard National was returning to Orlando in 2023, I knew I would be attending again. This time, my wife (TBS alum) decided to join me. We stayed at the hotel which was much better for the experience than commuting. It allowed us to meet up with brothers and sisters, from all over the country, in the halls, restaurants, pool, and all over the complex. We each were able to choose what sessions we wanted, without worrying about the time constraints of driving home.

Q: Why is it important for alumni to attend National Convention?

A: I discovered there are good reasons for Alumni to attend National Convention. As an active, we learned about how to be a better active brother. As alumni, our relationships have changed. There are sessions meant specifically for alumni where we learn how to be a better alum to our home chapter, and to other chapters. They help teach us how to accept our new role as an advisor, not a participant. Other sessions give advice on growth: professionally and fraternally.

Q: What is your favorite memory from National Convention?

A: With the advent of social media, I had become friends with brothers from around the country on Facebook. I loved when I was able to finally meet them face-to-face, to embrace them, and to have real conversations. Another great memory was meeting up with the attendees from my home chapter, Gamma Nu, because I cannot get to Tallahassee very often. But I think my favorite came as a surprise to me. I had been asked to participate in a panel on ‘The Fraternity Over The Generations’. I enjoyed being able to share how our Fraternity has changed in the 53 years since I pledged in 1970. Most of those in the room were fairly new alumni who were active within the last 10 years. I believe it is important to know where we came from, and where we are, so that we can accept where KKPsi will be.

Q: If you could tell something to active brother you, what would that be and why?

A: I would tell 1970 me to "Hang on. As good as KKPsi is now, the best is yet to come!" I would tell 2023 active brother me to attend as many district and national conventions, and conferences, as possible. Meet brothers from other chapters from all over the country. (Yes, even your school’s rival, because at heart we are all bandsmen.) As individuals and as chapters, we all have struggles from time to time. We can help each other work on solutions. The same goes for meeting the National Office staff. Nationals wants to help and they have resources and ideas to share.

Q: What points of advice do you have for our readers?

A: We all joined KKPsi to serve our university bands. As students, we really didn’t consider the distant future. In reality, we are an alum for many more years than we were an active. After we graduate and are building our career, it is okay to step back. You can always return to the Fraternity. In my case, I was not involved for over 25 years, not until my daughter became a brother. I was welcomed at her chapter and others where I began visiting. So my advice is: be an active alum if you choose and are able. We need young active alumni. Or, if career or family obligations don’t allow it, remember that you can always, always become an active alum later when life allows.

Thank you for sharing your experience and advice with us, Bert!

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