Eight students from the University of Richmond Alpha Kappa Psi chapter traveled to Philadelphia this month for the Principled Business Leadership Institute (PBLI), an annual conference for fraternity members to meet students from other chapters and hone their professional skills.

“It exposes you to what other chapters are doing, and you get to meet a lot of people from other schools,” said former Alpha Kappa Psi president, Emily Foo, ’17. “You learn what it means to be a leader, what our roles are as students, and how to take advantage of all the resources at your fingertips.”

Alpha Kappa Psi is the largest and oldest co-ed professional business fraternity in the nation. The University of Richmond's Delta Zeta chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi was originally founded in 1955 and left campus in 2004. It was re-chartered in 2010, and is currently run by a dedicated executive board comprised of student members. 

Foo, who recently ended her term as president, has attended the Principled Business Leadership Institute multiple times along with Professor Phil Rohrbach, retired senior partner with EY and visiting professor in accounting at the Robins School of Business. Rohrbach is the faculty advisor to AKPsi. He and his wife, Camila, have accompanied the students AKPsi conferences for the past five years.

“It’s an opportunity to get to know the students a little bit better,” Rohrbach said.

He and his wife took eight students by Amtrak to Philadelphia for the one day conference on February 4, and Camila made snacks for the entire crew.

“Her lunches are something we always look forward to,” Foo said. 

Though Camila’s sandwiches are normally on the menu, since they took an afternoon train this year, students got Hostess cupcakes, brownies, potato chips, and bottles of water instead.

“In addition to the leadership opportunity, it’s a chance for the members of AKPsi to have some time away from the University,” Rohrbach said. “Philadelphia is a fun city, and it’s nice for students to get off campus from time to time.”

“It’s a good bonding experience for the chapter,” Foo said. “You are able to travel with the brothers and get to know another side of people that you might not have known as well.”

AKPsi is a co-ed fraternity, but all members are still referred to as “brothers.”

One of them is Gardner Nash, ’19, who attended the Institute this year.

“We met with chapters from across the country to learn new strategies to strengthen our own chapter,” Nash said. “This included group sessions to discuss innovative professional development programs and keynote speakers to address leadership development.”

The Institute offers multiple tracks for students to participate in over the course of the day, including opportunities for students to learn skills that will help them succeed in the workplace.

“One of the key parts was being able to work with other chapters to creatively solve problems,” Nash said. 

But most of all, students enjoyed the opportunity to make new friends and develop professional relationships with other chapters.

"Going to this conference is just a reminder of the bigger picture of why you join AKPsi," Foo said. "You join for the values of service, excellence, and striving for success. And PBLI just reinforces that bigger picture and makes you more appreciative when you come back."