Holiday Fun with NYMAAC

Happy New Year, Brothers! Now that the rush of the holidays has come to a close and we have turned over a new leaf to begin 2016, let’s take the time to recap all of the awesome things NYMAAC did to celebrate the holiday season. On December 8th, we held our holiday dinner at The Parlour on the Upper West Side. We celebrated each other’s company over dinner, drinks, and conversation. As per tradition, we held our annual White Elephant gift exchange. This year’s gifts included a Mensch on a Bench, a selfie stick, Baconopoly, and other fun items. Our exchange was friendly overall, but that doesn’t mean that we completely neglected the art of stealing this year.

In addition to gift-giving amongst ourselves, we gave the gift of play to the children of Northern New Jersey through our annual donation to Toys for Tots. This year, we were able to collect an awesome 23 toys! Way to go, NYMAAC! Our donations took a trip on a  collection train that made several stops throughout Northern New Jersey on December 12th.

Finally, we celebrated this past holiday season with a new event. On December 17th, we saw the production of ELF the Musical at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Thanks to everyone who came out to spend time with us over the holidays and Happy New Year to all! 2016 will be a great one!

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NYMAAC: The New Class

NYMAAC has had an impressive influx of new members this academic year. Some graduated last May and came to us straight from their collegiate chapters. Others graduated years ago and just recently moved to the NY metro area. Yet others have been in NYC for a while and have now come into the fold. Whatever the circumstances, we’re happy they’ve found NYMAAC! Here’s a few of them!

Sarah VivianiSarah Viviani, Gamma Tau (Towson University) ’14, moved back home to Bergen County, NJ last May where she is now a special education teacher.  She attended her first NYMAAC event in October and has been a mainstay since. Sarah says, “Even though I grew up here, NYMAAC has made me fall in love with the New York metro area all over again because I get to experience it with Brothers!

Rebecca HoRebecca Ho, Beta Lambda (American University) ’12, works in criminal justice investigating allegations of misconduct against the NYPD, and lives in Great Kills, Staten Island, where she grew up. She first joined us at the Shake Shack last June and has this to say about our happy hours: “Continuing to be a part of PSP, joining NYMAAC, and attending happy hour events ensures I won’t be the nerdiest person in the bar!

Abigail PurcellAbigail Purcell, Delta Alpha (Rochester Institute of Technology) ’03, moved to Astoria, Queens last August and just joined us for her first event, a Page & Popcorn discussion and viewing of Children of Men, last month. She’s a full-time graduate student at Pratt Institute studying information and library science. Abby says, “One thing I love about living in New York is all the FOOD. One thing I hate is all the garbage on the ground, EVERYWHERE.

Sarah CoxSarah Cox, Gamma Tau (Tulane University) ’14, is a masters student at NYU studying statistics, and lives in the East Village. She moved here in August, and then joined us for her first event in September, a trip to Smorgasburg in Central Park (which turned into a trip to Dallas BBQ when the event was full to capacity). She says NYMAAC eased her transition to a new place: “Moving to New York was tough, and I’m so thankful for NYMAAC for giving me an immediate group of people to reach out to when I first got here!

Jasmine BriggsJasmine Briggs, Beta Mu (The George Washington University) ’04, is a native New Yorker and returned here after college in 2005,  now living in Washington Heights. Jasmine is a freelance career coach and a career counselor at a business college in NYC, and she also develops and facilitates workshops on related topics.  She came to her first event in August, and says, “Making NYC feel like home is all about finding a community, and I am very happy to have found the NYMAAC tribe.

Dave ChesnickDave Chesnick, Delta Chi (Lehigh University) ’07, is one of our newest transplants, having just moved here in February. His face may look familiar as he’s lived in the NY metro area in the past and attended NYMAAC events before. His first event since returning was our monumental March happy hour at Pioneers Bar. Dave lives in Murray Hill and works in the energy industry.

Sue YousifSue Yousif, Alpha Theta (Rutgers University) ’07, joined us in January for our NJ happy hour in New Brunswick and has attended almost every event since. She lives in Hoboken and is a self-described “Tea and Herbal Ninja” for a company that sells teas, botanicals, and extracts. “There are few people that I, a strict vegetarian for nearly 10 years, would truly enjoy going to Texas BBQ with,” she says, “and my beloved NYMAAC Brothers are those people.

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The Page & Popcorn: A Retrospective

Next June, the Page & Popcorn Book & Movie Club will turn ten years old. That makes it 8.5 years old right now, which is not quite as big a milestone, but I (Andrew, BE ’02) am in the mood to reminisce (and analyze data).

P&P was born when NYMAAC Brothers and Beta Epsilon (Syracuse University) alumni Lindsay (’04) and I both read Christopher Buckley’s Thank You For Smoking and then watched the movie together. Lindsay thought, this is awesome, and we decided to start a book club where we choose only books that have been made into movies, and then gather to watch the movie and discuss both. For our second selection, we chose Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors, and opened membership up to members of NYMAAC and their friends and partners.

Over the past 8.5 years, P&P has read and discussed 31 books and watched 33 movies (two adaptations each of The Manchurian Candidate and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Surprisingly, we have never repeated an author. Although we’ve read a rich variety of genres, we most often return to the realms of fantasy (8), science fiction (6), and historical fiction (4). Half of the books we’ve read were published in the last 20 years, but we do go as far back as 1865 (Alice). As for movies, we significantly favor those produced after 1990 (26), some exceptions being Breakfast at Tiffany’s and To Kill a Mockingbird.

The nature of our book & movie club allows us to choose dinner and a movie out, or a night in with the DVD and usually board games at someone’s apartment. Although it’s exciting to choose movies out in theaters with current celebrities and all that present cinematography and effects have to offer, we more often opt for the latter where we can gather and stretch out and relax in the comfort of a Brother’s home (13 out vs. 20 in). These numbers would actually be closer if not for the complicated reality of scheduling a trip to the movie theater. On two occasions (Blindness and The Perks of Being a Wallflower), a movie night out turned into a movie night in (plus a delay of a few months) when the movie left theaters before our scheduled event.

Our most frequent host was the erstwhile home of Lindsay and myself (and for a few months Kate), affectionately known as Puddhaven. From 2007 to 2013, 11 P&P gatherings were held there. Our other gracious hosts have included Sue (BE ’00), Kate (GPhi at OU ’07), Jon & Jeremy (BPi at UConn ’00 & BE ’04), and Stella (DChi at Lehigh ’04). All but one of our movie nights out have taken place in theaters (usually Union Square or Lincoln Square), the exception being the Movies Under the Stars series on the Riverside Park piers (The Princess Bride).

Although P&P discussions can be described as scholarship events, like everything we do, they are primarily social. Folks are always welcome to come whether or not they’ve read the book, because what we’re really after is a good time. Besides, reading a book is a big commitment, and if you’re like me, your to-read list is already as long as your life will be. Plus, sometimes the movie actually is better than the book (almost never, actually).

For more information on what we’ve read, check out the PSP wiki and the Goodreads group. And if you want to join us for the next discussion/viewing, pick up a copy of P.D. James’ The Children of Men, and stay tuned for the date announcement in the NYMAAC Facebook group.


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We went to #pspnc14 awesome and we came back awesomer

Hello Brothers,

A little over a month ago, several of your NYMAAC Brothers (Andrew, Hillary, Kate, Patrick, Jeff, and Covin) attended PSP National Convention 2014 in Atlanta, GA (#pspnc14).  Here are the highlights.

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Kate, Hillary, and Andrew being #awesome

Triple Awesome
NYMAAC is three for three on Outstanding Alumni Chapter awards.  We won the inaugural Outstanding Alumni Chapter award in 2012, we won it again in 2013, and this year we took the award home for the third year in a row.  Although our frenemies in the Middle Tennessee Alumni Chapter (MTAC) are plotting our demise as we speak, NYMAAC fully intends to continue our Pursuit of Awesome.

Minding Our Own Business
Some notable things happened during Grand Chapter business.  We adopted A Resolution to Embrace Gender Inclusion.  We discussed options for a new National Philanthropy and decided to review three proposals at the next Grand Chapter business meeting in 2015.  We elected new National Officers, among them our own Patrick Herron (Vice President of Philanthropy Development).  Lastly, we amended the National Constitution within an inch of its life, as usual.


NYMAAC and video contest winner Epsilon Alpha Chapter

What the Heck is a NYMAAC?
We were able to recognize the video-making talents of the Epsilon Alpha Chapter at Kutztown University, this year’s winner of the “Show Us Your Awesome” Undergraduate Music Video Contest.  Their video was entitled “Show NYMAAC Our Awesome,” thus demonstrating the understanding that we totally NOUNED the word “Awesome” and therefore used the right spelling of “Your,” (we meant it to be possessive, grammar nerds!), so how could we not love it.  The Epsilon Alpha Chapter won one free quad registration to next year’s National Convention (paid for by alumni donations). You can view their award-winning video here (after which the title of this paragraph will make sense) and also check out the awesome submissions from Delta Tau Chapter (Mississippi State) and Beta Delta Chapter (NC State).

There’s plenty more to say, but I’m through saying it!  After all, the National Office did a great job with their recap post, so go read more about #pspnc14 there.  I hope you’ll join us next year!

Fratastically yours,
Andrew Berman
Your Once and Possibly Future Recruitment Coordinator

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NYMAAC Welcomes New President and Secretary

Hey Bros!

I’m pleased to announce the election of our 2013-2014 NYMAAC Executive Board!  A longtime member but first time board member, Jonathan Chin (Beta Pi ’00) joins us as our new President.  NYMAAC also welcomes recent NYC transplant Gretchen Mengeringhausen (Epsilon Alpha ’12) as our Secretary.

We also congratulate new member Kathryn Lieber (Delta Chi ’08) for winning her election for Communications Coordinator.  Sadly, she must step down as she is off to Boston to pursue a career opportunity there.  We’ll miss you and we wish you the best of luck, Kathryn!

I, Andrew Berman (Beta Epsilon ’02) am resuming my role as Recruitment Coordinator, and two other familiar faces are taking on new roles on the e-board: Hillary Nicoll (Alpha Theta ’10), who joined the board last year as our Secretary, is moving over to Social Coordinator; and Jeremy Shepard (Beta Epsilon ’04), most recently our Communications Coordinator, will now serve as our Service Coordinator.

NYMAAC owes a debt of gratitude to our three outgoing board members.  Marissa Gernett (Alpha Pi ’08) joined NYMAAC two years ago and became our Service Coordinator right off the bat, serving for two years.  Alex Spirer (Beta Epsilon ’99) has served on the e-board non-stop since NYMAAC’s founding (she is a founder herself) serving as the chapter’s President, Social Coordinator, and Service Coordinator.  Finally, Kate McConnell (Gamma Phi ’07) joined the board in 2009 as our Communications Coordinator, and then served three consecutive years as our President, two of which culminated in receiving the Outstanding Alumni Chapter award at National Convention.  Please join me in thanking these dedicated Brothers for their years of service to NYMAAC and Phi Sigma Pi.

Great things are ahead for NYMAAC in 2013-2014!  Come join us at an event soon!  For example, at our Ice Cream Social tomorrow.

Brothers for life,
Andrew Berman

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NYMAAC Helps PS 59 during New York Cares Day 2012

Contributed by NYMAAC brother Gretchen Mengeringhausen

On Saturday, October 13, 2012, I met some of the loveliest individuals New York City has to offer.  Having been in the city for only two months, I was excited to meet some of my fellow alumni here in this chapter.  So when someone dropped out at the last minute, I was more than happy to take his place at this year’s New York Cares Day.  This year’s location was at a school in Brooklyn, PS 59.

Upon arrival, we were treated to a very nice breakfast by the overwhelmingly thankful staff of the school.  They explained to us their school had not performed to standards, and the top floor of the school was to be turned into a charter school.  All of the stuff- books, desks, and teaching materials- had to be sifted through in order to make room for the charter school.  Also, a mural was to be painted along the outside of the building.  After we finished our meal and made our introductions to the other wonderful volunteers, we headed upstairs to begin the long and tedious process of combing through the rooms.  We were very blessed to have a few of the teachers who gave up their Saturday to help us determine what was important and what could be tossed.  So after being serenaded by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (thanks to Kate’s iPhone) to keep our spirits going, we were sufficiently tired and covered in dust and dirt; we were anxiously awaiting the news lunch had arrived.

Following a graciously provided meal, the groups switched and we were sent out to finish work on the mural.  Thanks goodness, at least in my case, the mural was basically set up as a paint-by-number situation.  Since the other groups had pretty much finished the painting, all we were tasked to do was to go over the outline.  Then it was time for the cleanup.

All in all, I would have to say that this experience was pretty great.  I got to help out a school that was in dire need of assistance and I got to meet some of the awesomest people, I don’t care if that is not a word-it is the only way to describe the members of NYMAAC.  Hopefully I will be able to participate in other activities like this one with the friendliest and most welcoming people in NYC.

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(Part of the fearless NYMAAC crew)

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NYMAAC’s Annual Holiday Party

Contributed by Nick Christy, Member Services Coordinator, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity

I am so glad I had the opportunity to attend NYMAAC’s Annual Holiday Party.  It was so much fun to meet so many wonderful Brothers who make up the award winning Alumni Chapter we all know and love today.   My first Dino-BBQ experience was phenomenal, but what made it even better was being able to connect and catch up with Brothers from all over the city.   The white elephant gift exchange was also a highlight, as I was delighted to receive a Whinny the Pooh coffee mug that will go to great use while I review Form 110s.  The one thing that also made the night special was seeing that the Chapter not only came together to enjoy the company of great Brothers, but gave back by collecting donations for Toys for Tots.  All around this was an amazing tripod themed experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better way bring in the holiday season and kick off my Alumni Chapter visits!

Cow Popper

(A popular white elephant gift this year was the “Ellen Cow Popper”)

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