Alpha Kappa Psi. Beta Alpha Psi. Epsilon Alpha Pi. Kappa Psi. Phi Alpha Delta. Theta Tau.
You’re unlikely to find these Greek letters in McComas Village. Members probably won’t be embarrassing themselves in Songfest. Outside of their spheres of influence, you’ll probably never see these organizations. They are the professional fraternities of UT.
Although professional fraternities may seem like an oxymoron, these organizations are often co-ed and focus on brotherhood and helping to develop their members professionally. The co-ed aspect is one of the major differences between social and professional fraternities. Just like in the real world, professional fraternities often allow female members. The mixture of perspectives is a major strength to their organizations.
Phi Alpha Delta, the professional law fraternity, states that the main difference between them and the social fraternities is their focus on immersing students with activities and mentors who will be helpful in the profession. They try to provide individuals with a connection to the legal community that will directly benefit them in their profession. However, they do also engage in social and service activities. Giving back to the community and the school is a fundamental principle of the fraternity. Their motto is service to the student, the school, the community and the profession. Phi Alpha Delta has the largest network of members for any law fraternity in the world, with more than 200,000 members worldwide. This large network allows members of Phi Alpha Delta to find connections in almost any city or state they want. Such strong national support is something unique only to Phi Alpha Delta members.
Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity, says it provides its members with flexibility. If you have an idea, you can run with it. For example, a member recently wanted Alpha Kappa Psi to really build community outreach and give back. They took a trip to Pass Christian Mississippi for Katrina Relief for our fall break. This service trip was unlike anything the chapter had experienced before. Everything from planning transportation to raising support financially to actually putting roofs on houses was an incredible experience. Another successful event the fraternity planned was Last Rocket Standing. Alpha Kappa Psi also helps out with many College of Business Administration events, such as open houses, Fall Picnic, Student Appreciation and the Job Fair. They provide their members with resume workshops, mock interviews and professional speakers come in to bring awareness about the business professional workforce, but they also know when to have fun.
The professional engineers of Theta Tau state their purpose is to develop a high standard of professional development among them and to unite their members in a strong bond of fraternal fellowship. These two goals are shared by most of the professional fraternities. With huge events such as the Rube Goldberg machine contest (try building a hamburger in 20 steps or more) and Teetering for Tots, Theta Tau tries to provide engineering experiences one cannot gain from other organizations. With social, philanthropic and professional development committees, Theta Tau provides a balanced organization to fulfill the needs of its members.
Professional fraternities are not simple professional societies. They are selective. Most of these organizations go through the same rush and pledging periods of their social cousins. A student cannot just pay $10 and never attend a meeting. Theta Tau spends an entire semester getting to know prospective members. This assures that the organization is right for the student and the student is right for the organization. Professional fraternities are uniquely positioned between offering the brotherhood of a social fraternity and professionalism to better their members.
To be fair, social fraternities and sororities offer much of the same leadership development, service and social events. There is much overlap in the contributions of the organizations. But in the end, a professional fraternity provides someone with colleagues as well as brothers. They give individuals an opportunity to learn and experience their profession while in school. A professional fraternity has a totally different flavor and focus to provide balanced individuals.