New York Metropolitan Area Alumni Chapter

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NYMAAC on our 15th anniversary of founding

New York Metro Area Alumni Chapter (NYMAAC) (Founded 12 May 2001) is located in New York City. The Chapter was founded by Alexandra Spirer (Beta Epsilon), Dana Cabral (Alpha Iota), Keri Dinan D’Esposito (Alpha Iota), and Leonardo Zoppa (Alpha Psi). Before the removal of regions from the National Constitution, NYMAAC was a member of the East Region.

History

Colony Status to Charter

Although chartered in 2001, NYMAAC's story begins in the summer of 1999 when Alexandra Spirer (Beta Epsilon), Dana Cabral (Alpha Iota), Keri Dinan D’Esposito (Alpha Iota), and Leonardo Zoppa (Alpha Psi) came together to form a Phi Sigma Pi alumni group in New York City. An alumni colony was formed, and a year later on 12 May 2001 it became the chapter now known as NYMAAC. The colony phase for alumni chapters was replaced by the advent of Alumni Associations a few years later. As such, NYMAAC is the only alumni chapter to go through the colony process. Alexandra Spirer received our chapter charter at the 2001 National Convention in St. Louis.

First Executive Board and Grand Chapter Delegate

Alexandra Spirer also served as our Grand Chapter Delegate for the first several years of our existence.

2004-2006 Member Influx

NYMAAC's 5th anniversary dinner

Shortly after our first year, the three NJ-based founders drifted away from the chapter, leaving NY-based Alexandra Spirer as the sole executive board member. In 2004-2005, NYMAAC experienced an influx of members from the Beta Epsilon chapter, including Allison Park, Jeremy Chin-Shepard (né Shepard), Andrew Berman, Kimberly Smith (née Van Dyke), and Lindsay Becker (née Famula). All of these new members joined the executive board in turn, and in 2008 we held executive board elections for the first time since 2001. Then Vice President of Alumni Development Jonah Goodman was also living in New York at this time, and acted as an adviser to the executive board. This period of rejuvenation culminated in NYMAAC winning a Most Successful Recruitment award at the 2006 Alumni Convention in San Juan.

2007-2008 Creation of Annual Events

Juli McLaurin and Fresh at Atlantic City in 2007

In 2007, NYMAAC was involved in the creation of an inter-chapter alumni event in Atlantic City which would ultimately evolve to become NEATO. Alexandra Spirer of NYMAAC, Ayana Wood and John Finnegan of DVAC, and Jeff Lawton of Capital Alumni Chapter wanted to fill the void left by National Convention, which had been held in the fall but in 2007 was combined with the Grand Chapter Conference, held in the summer. Since then, representatives from each of the northeastern alumni chapters have planned the annual fall event, which was held in Atlantic City every year until 2013 when it was hosted by NYMAAC in New York, and then took on the name Tri-Chapter Alumni Weekend (for it had previously just been called "Atlantic City"). After that it rotated between Atlantic City and the home cities of the alumni chapters, which grew to include Baltimore in 2015 when BMAAC was chartered, and the name of the event changed to NEATO.

NYMAAC followed up that first in 2008 with our first-ever Scavenger Hunt. This event became an annual recruitment event and inter-chapter weekend for NYMAAC. Our first one was managed by then board member Juli McLaurin. It began in Union Square and took participants to various points of interest in Midtown before ending with celebratory cupcakes at the Magnolia on the UWS. Juli also planned our second Scavenger Hunt, also starting at 14th Street but taking us down as far as the bull on Wall Street. The Scavenger Hunt continued to be our landmark recruitment event of the year through 2013, by which point our Ice Cream Social had also become an annual recruitment favorite. Being the busy New Yorkers we are, the NYMAAC e-board jumped at the chance to outsource the planning of a complex event such a scavenger hunt, and in 2014 it was replaced (on our calendars but not in our hearts) by our now annual Brrr Crawl.

2009-2010 The Year of Four Presidents

After eight years of leading NYMAAC as president, Alexandra Spirer stepped down from the role and Andrew Berman was elected in 2009. Three months into his term, Andrew took a position on the National Staff and had to step down, triggering an emergency election in which Stella Maher became our third president. At the end of her term, Stella resumed her role as Recruitment Coordinator (which she'd been serving concurrently with president), and Kate McConnell was elected president. This effectively completed a year-long changing of the guard, as Kate continued in the role of president for five of the next six years (Jonathan Chin-Shepard served 2013-2014). In 2016, Kate was elected to National Council as Vice President of Alumni Development, and Sarah Viviani was elected NYMAAC's seventh president.

2010-2012 A Return to New Jersey

Alpha Theta Chapter alumnae and NYMAAC members past and present Sue Yousif, Chelsea Julius, Kelsey Maxwell, and Hillary Nicoll at BROwling in September 2015

Beginning around 2010, New Jersey-based alumni began taking an interest in NYMAAC. After reactivating in 2006, Alpha Theta Chapter at Rutgers University had begun producing alumni, and those alumni wanted to get involved. NYMAAC attended Alpha Theta chapter's Capture the Flag event in 2009/2010, where we met future NYMAAC e-board member and Grand Chapter Alternate Hillary Nicoll. Alpha Theta alumni Elizabeth Walsh (who would also go on to join e-board and represent us as Grand Chapter Alternate, and also join the National Staff, before moving to Philly and becoming DVAC's president) and Michael Covin (also a future NYMAAC e-board member and National Staff member) also became involved at this time. Unable to ignore New Jersey any longer (JUST KIDDING) we began holding New Jersey Happy Hours several times a year in various locations throughout northern New Jersey. Our first few took place in nearby Hudson County (Hoboken, Jersey City), but then expanded deeper into the state. NJ Happy Hours have become one of our most reliable sources of new members.

2012-present Activity on a National Scale

In recent years, NYMAAC has amped up our involvement on local, regional, and national levels. As far back as 2011, NYMAAC has consistently attended the East Region Conference and planned and participated in its Alumni Panel. In addition to sending a Regional Delegate to ERC planning meetings, our chapter also has many members who have served as Regional Volunteers, helping to coach and guide conference planning committees. Of course, several of our members have also served on Council through the years. At a chapter level, NYMAAC has spearheaded two nationwide programs for collegiate Brothers: the Undergraduate Video Contest and our Video Bro-Downs. These and other programs have contributed to NYMAAC winning the first ever Outstanding Alumni Chapter award in 2012. NYMAAC has maintained this level of achievement and continued our "Pursuit of Awesome" up through today, winning the award every year since its inception with the exception of 2015, when the award went to the Capital Alumni Chapter.

Current Chapter

As of August 2016, 134 Brothers are currently signed up for our listserv and 377 Brothers are members of our Facebook group. 55 individual members attended NYMAAC events in the 2015-2016 membership year.

Leadership

Executive Board 2017-2018

Past Executive Board Members

  • Alexandra Spirer, President (2001-2009), Social Coordinator (2009-2010, 2011-2013), Service Coordinator (2010-2011), Historian (2015-2017)
  • Kimberly Van Dyke, Member-at-Large (2005-2007)
  • Allison Park, Communications Coordinator (2005-2008)
  • Jeremy Chin-Shepard, Service Coordinator (2005-2008, 2013-2014), Communications Coordinator (2012-2013)
  • Andrew Berman, Secretary/Recruitment Coordinator (2006-2008), Communications Coordinator (2008-2009, 2012, 2017-2018), President (2009), Recruitment Coordinator (2012-2016)
  • Juli McLaurin, Social Coordinator (2007-2008)
  • Lindsay Famula, Communications Coordinator (2007-2008), Secretary (2008-2009)
  • Helen Lee, Social Coordinator (2008-2009)
  • Jessica P'an, Service Coordinator (2008-2010)
  • Stella Maher, Recruitment Coordinator (2008-2009, 2010-2011), President (2009-2010)
  • Kate McConnell, Communications Coordinator (2009-2010), President (2010-2013,2014-2016)
  • Andy Strassler, Communications Coordinator (2010-2011)
  • Becca Visgaitis, Social Coordinator (2010-2011)
  • Ally Hirschkowitz, Secretary (2010-2012)
  • Elizabeth Walsh, Communications Coordinator (2011-2012)
  • Rebecca Torres, Recruitment Coordinator (2011-2012)
  • Marissa Gernett, Service Coordinator (2012-2013, 2015-2016), Social Coordinator (2014-2015)
  • Hillary Nicoll, Secretary (2012-2013, 2015-2016), Social Coordinator (2013-2014, 2017-2018), ICR Coordinator (2016-2017)
  • Gretchen Mengeringhausen, Secretary (2013-2014)
  • Jonathan Chin-Shepard, President (2013-2014), Secretary (2014-2015), Social Coordinator (2016-2017)
  • Sue Hall, Communications Coordinator (2013-2015)
  • Courtney Pike, Service Coordinator (2014-2015, 2017-2018)
  • Michael Covin, ICR Coordinator (2014-2015), Social Coordinator (2015-2016), Recruitment Coordinator (2016-2017)
  • Chelsea Julius, Secretary (2016-2018)
  • Sarah Viviani, Communications Coordinator (2015-2016), President (2016-2018)
  • Kathryn Lieber, Recruitment Coordinator (2017-2018)
NYMAAC Executive Board
Office 2001-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
President Alex Spirer Andrew Berman/

Stella Maher

Kate McConnell Jonathan Chin-Shepard Kate McConnell Sarah Viviani Kathryn Lieber
Secretary Andrew Berman Lindsay Famula Ally Hirschkowitz Hillary Nicoll Gretchen Mengeringhausen Jonathan Chin-Shepard Hillary Nicoll Chelsea Julius Shari Spaeth
Communications Coordinator Allison Park Allison Park,

Lindsay Famula

Andrew Berman Kate McConnell Andy Strassler Elizabeth Walsh/

Andrew Berman

Jeremy Chin-Shepard Sue Hall Sarah Viviani Andrew Berman
Recruitment Coordinator Andrew Berman Stella Maher Rebecca Torres Andrew Berman Michael Covin Kathryn Lieber Hillary Nicoll
Service Coordinator Jeremy Chin-Shepard Jessica P'an Alex Spirer Marissa Gernett Jeremy Chin-Shepard Courtney Pike Marissa Gernett Courtney Pike
Social Coordinator Kimberly Van Dyke Lindsay Famula Juli McLaurin Helen Lee Alex Spirer Becca Visgaitis Alex Spirer Hillary Nicoll Marissa Gernett Michael Covin Jonathan Chin-Shepard Hillary Nicoll Jeremy Chin-Shepard
ICR Coordinator Michael Covin Sue Yousif Hillary Nicoll
Historian Alex Spirer

Chapter Events & Activities

Happy Hour

NYMAAC hosts a happy hour once a month at various bars, pubs, and clubs in Manhattan (usually the 'Third Thursday' of the month, unless otherwise specified).

Brothers Who Brunch

May 2016 Brothers Who Brunch

Here's to the Brothers who Brunch! (first Sunday of every month, usually at noon)

New Jersey Happy Hour

January 2015 NJ Happy Hour in New Brunswick

In an effort to reach out to the New Jersey Brothers, NYMAAC also hosts Happy Hours located in NJ every 3-6 months depending on interest.

  • May 2016: Garden State Ale House in New Brunswick, Middlesex County
    • In celebration of Alpha Theta Chapter's graduating class of 2016
  • January 2016: Kilkenny House in Cranford, Union County
  • July 2015: The Office in Ridgewood, Bergen County
  • March 2015: Cuban Pete's in Montclair, Essex County
  • January 2015: World of Beer in New Brunswick, Middlesex County
  • March 2014: LITM in Jersey City, Hudson County
  • August 2013: East of Elm in Morristown, Morris County
  • April 2013: Biggie's Clam Bar in Hoboken, Hudson County
  • February 2012: Dubliners in Hoboken, Hudson County

The Page and Popcorn

Gretchen Mengeringhausen does penance for not reading our January 2015 selection, The Giver

The Page and Popcorn is our popular book and movie club (read the book then see the movie) that typically meets every other month.

Past selections have been:

  • October 2018: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (pub. 2010, movie 2017)
  • May 2018: The Martian, by Andy Weir (pub. 2014, movie 2015)
  • April 2018: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (pub. 2011, movie 2018)
    • Unofficial P&P selection (three NYMAAC members who'd all read the book already just decided to go see the movie together)
  • March 2018: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle (pub. 1962, movie 2018)
  • March 2017: The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan (pub. 1989, movie 1993)
  • October 2016: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs (pub. 2011, movie 2016)
    • Canceled due to we just had brunch instead
  • July 2016: American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis (pub. 1991, movie 2000)
  • January 2016: Kill the Messenger, by Nick Schou (pub. 2006, movie 2014)
    • Canceled due to low interest
  • August 2015: The Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl (pub. 1968, movie 2009)
    • Canceled due to low interest, inspired by Riverside Park outdoor movie series
  • May 2015: Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy (pub. 1874, movie 2015)
    • Canceled due to low interest
  • March 2015: Children of Men, by P.D. James (pub. 1992, movie 2006)
  • January 2015: The Giver, by Lois Lowry (pub. 1993, movie 2014)
  • July 2014: The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (pub. 1973, movie 1987)
    • Inspired by the Movies Under the Stars series on the Riverside Park piers which chose it for one of their summer screenings.
  • March 2014: The Human Stain, by Philip Roth (pub. 2000, movie 2003)
    • Event canceled due to scheduling conflicts and not rescheduled due to low interest
  • November 2013: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, play by Tom Stoppard (first performed 1966, movie 1990)
  • July 2013: Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy (pub. 1873, movie 2012)
  • May 2013: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (pub. 1925, movie 2013)
  • April 2013: A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (pub. 1989, movie "Simon Birch" 1998)
  • November 2012: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (pub. 1999, movie 2012)
    • Movie had left theaters by our scheduled meet-up date, rescheduled for January
  • March 2012: The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde (pub. 1890, movie 2009)
  • January 2012: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer (pub. 2005, movie 2011)
    • Canceled due to low interest
  • November 2011: Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (pub. 2005, movie 2009)
  • September 2011: The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (pub. 1985, movie 1990)
  • May 2011: Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen (pub. 2006, movie 2011)
  • March 2011: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan (pub. 2005, movie 2010)
  • January 2011: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson (pub. 2005, movie 2009)
    • The Hollywood movie starring Daniel Craig wasn't out yet, so we watched the Swedish film
  • August 2010: Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert (pub. 2006, movie 2010)
  • April 2010: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (pub. 1865, movies 1985 and 2010)
    • From the many adaptations, we chose two: a 1985 star-studded made-for-TV production which we watched at a Brother's apartment, and the then current Tim Burton version in the theater.
  • February 2010: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (pub. 1960, movie 1962)
  • January 2010: The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold (pub. 2002, movie 2009)
  • November 2009: Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak (pub. 1963, movie 2009)
    • We all read this book together a la a children's storytime, and then went together to the theater to see the movie.
  • August 2009: The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (pub. 2003, movie 2009)
  • August 2009: Julie & Julia, by Julie Powell (pub. 2005, movie 2009)
  • June 2009: Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez (pub. 1985, movie 2007)
  • September 2008: Blindness, by José Saramago (pub. 1995, movie 2008)
    • The movie had left theaters by our scheduled meet-up date, so we saw "W" instead and rescheduled the event for March.
  • May 2008: Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich (pub. 2002, movie "21" 2008)
    • Canceled due to low interest.
  • March 2008: The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory (pub. 2001, movie 2008)
  • January 2008: The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (pub. 2003, movie 2008)
  • December 2007: The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman (pub. 1995, movie 2007)
  • September 2007: Stardust, by Neil Gaiman (pub. 1998, movie 2007)
  • September 2007: Atonement, by Ian McEwan (pub. 2001, movie 2007)
    • In a Page & Popcorn GOTCHA! moment, we changed our minds and went with Stardust instead. One Brother didn't get the memo and read Atonement, and holds a grudge to this day.
  • July 2007: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling (pub. 2003, movie 2007)
    • Not an official selection, since we assumed most people had already read it, we just set a date to all go see the movie together.
  • June 2007: Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote (pub. 1956, movie 1961)
  • March 2007: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt (pub. 1994, movie 1997)
  • January 2007: The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon (pub. 1959, movies 1962 and 2004)
    • We watched both the original with Angela Lansbury and the recent adaptation with Liev Schreiber. P&P double feature.
  • November 2006: Running with Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs (pub. 2002, movie 2006)
    • Our first official selection
  • June 2006: Thank You For Smoking, by Christopher Buckley (pub. 1994, movie 2006)
    • This was the book that inspired the book club. Two Brothers read the book and saw the movie together, and thus P&P was born.

If you have any future book/movie suggestions or are interested in joining us, please contact us (nymaac-owner@yahoogroups.com).

Brrr Crawl

We hold a New York City historical walking tour/bar crawl each winter. NYMAAC's favorite tour guide Jeff Johnson (no, not that Jeff Johnson) creates a custom walking tour for a particular neighborhood in NYC, sprinkled with bars so we can warm up and get a drink. Our 2016 Brrr Crawl was Founder-themed in honor of our centennial (it was also Hamilton themed because obvi).

Annual Scavenger Hunt

Starting around 2007, NYMAAC held a scavenger hunt in a different neighborhood of NYC each year. This had the dual purpose of introducing new members to the city and also getting us to work together in groups and get to know each other. The Brrr Crawl ultimately replaced the Scavenger Hunt as the latter's popularity waned.

E-board Meetings

The NYMAAC E-Board meets monthly at our members' offices to discuss upcoming events, development and recruitment. Have some ideas? Share them! Everyone is welcome to attend, or shoot us an email and let us know your thoughts.

Birthday Dinner

Each May, we celebrate the anniversary of NYMAAC's founding, usually with a festive dinner. In recent years, this event has also been a forum for member recognition. Brothers Alex Spirer and Patrick Herron received their Chapter Service Keys at our 2012 and 2016 Birthday Dinners respectively. We also inducted our first honorary member, Jonah Nigh, at our 2016 dinner. Lastly, we often give out fun awards like "Most Spirited Member" aka non-eboard member who attended the most events in a given year.

Holiday Dinner

NYMAAC hosts a holiday dinner for its members in the month of December. In the early years this took place at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem, but our current favorite is the Amsterdam Ale House. Members can choose to participate in a white elephant gift exchange and a Toys for Tots donation drive.

Undergraduate Involvement

As part of the Region Formerly Known as East, NYMAAC stays as involved as possible in local undergraduate chapters. We attend the East Region Conference every year, usually planning and serving on the alumni panel. We also attend chapter events, Inductions, and formals at our nearby collegiate chapters as often as we can. In 2016, when NYMAAC hosted its first-ever Induction ceremony to bring an honorary Brother into the Fraternity, Alpha Theta and Gamma Xi chapters and DVAC chipped in by loaning us their Ritual materials.

Elections

In accordance with the National Constitution, NYMAAC holds annual elections for all Executive Board positions. Elections are held over the summer and electees take office on September 1st.

Collegiate Outreach and Support

Undergraduate Music Video Contest

Since 2013, NYMAAC has held a music video contest in which collegiate chapters create and submit a music video for the chance to win a full quad registration to National Convention. The winner is announced each year at Convention and the prize is redeemed at the following Convention. The prize is financed by an alumni donation drive targeted specifically for the contest. The contest was the brainchild of Patrick Herron and was initially spearheaded by then NYMAAC President Kate McConnell.

Video Bro-Down

Also spearheaded by Kate McConnell, the Video Bro-Down is an attempt to start a video conversation between undergrads and alumni on topics of interest to undergrads where alumni can offer advice. Undergrads submit topics via comments on our YouTube videos, FB, Twitter, or however they want, and NYMAAC sets up a video chat with an alumni panel consisting of Brothers from around the country.

Notable Members

Current Members

founding member, NYMAAC president (2001-2009), recipient of NYMAAC's first ever Chapter Service Key (2012), Phi Sigma Pi Foundation Board Member (2009-2011)
Producer of official Phi Sigma Pi Fraternity Songs recording (2002), NYMAAC president (2013-2014)
Vice President of Membership Development (2004-2010), Vice President of Philanthropy Development (2014-2018), 2012 Rolla F. Wood Graduate Scholarship recipient, 2012 Distinguished Service Key recipient, 2016 NYMAAC CSK
Director of Publications and Alumni Relations (2009-2011), NYMAAC president (2009), NYMAAC CSK
Region Consultant (2012-2013)
Vice President of Alumni Development (2016-2018), Vice President of Development (2018-2020), NYMAAC president 2010-2016 (minus a year in there), founded Pursuit of Awesome (2012-present), Regional Volunteer (2014-2015, PMRC), NYMAAC CSK
NYMAAC's first honorary member, Board Member of the Phi Sigma Pi Foundation (2017-2020)
Vice President of Development (2018-2020), NYMAAC president 2016-2018

Past Members

National President (2007-2014); Vice President of Alumni Development (2004-2007)
Senior Vice President (2000-2002), Vice President of Alumni Development (1996-1998); Distinguished Service Key Recipient (1999)
Vice President of Finance (2004-2010); National President (2000-2002), National Secretary (1998-2000); Distinguished Service Key Recipient (2002); Phi Sigma Pi Foundation board member
Vice President of Alumni Development (2010-2014), Vice President of Finance (2014-2018)
Phi Sigma Pi Foundation Board Member (2011-2014, President 2012-2014), NYMAAC president (2009-2010)
Region Consultant (2012-2014), Phi Sigma Pi Foundation Board Member (2014-2017)

Grand Chapter Delegates

NYMAAC at National Convention 2016 in Kansas City

Chapter Service Keys

Honorary Member

On May 22nd, 2016, NYMAAC inducted its first honorary member, Jonah Nigh. Jonah is the husband of NYMAAC member Patrick Herron, and had previously demonstrated (and continues to demonstrate) his dedication to Phi Sigma Pi by attending and hosting events, providing support, and going out of his way to meet new members and make them feel welcome. Jonah lives the tripod on a daily basis, and we are thrilled to call him Brother. NYMAAC welcomed Jonah into the Fraternity and into our chapter in the first-ever induction ceremony held by NYMAAC, borrowing Ritual materials from undergraduate chapters in the East Region and Philadelphia Metropolitan Region. The induction ceremony was held on the same day as NYMAAC's 15th Founders Day celebration, during which we also awarded Patrick our chapter's 4th Chapter Service Key.

Chapter Honors and Awards

NYMAAC Brothers receive the Outstanding Alumni Chapter Award at the 2013 National Convention Banquet

Further Resources