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"Perseverance" - Alvin Chen - Spring 1998

Alvin Y. Chen

Even though the CA Alpha Chapter has been increasing in strength every semester, there are bound to be problems that arise to test the very foundation of the society. During Alvin's semester,many "bumps in the road" appeared without warning, and because of the strong foundation that the previous presidents built, TBP came through each of them unscathed. With his contribution, became even stronger and was ready to take on the 2000 Convention. The following account was written and edited during Fall 1998.

When I spoke at the Spring '98 initiation banquet, I described the theme of the semester as perseverance. Though the TBP chapter was riding on a large wave of enthusiasm,a number of unforeseen circumstances made the semester more difficult. Various obstacles required the officers to put in extra time at a moment's notice, but we were able to pull off many successful events, regardless of the personal difficulty. As I mentioned, TBP had a very energetic officer corps and a motivated group of candidates. We began a Bent polishing event that semester, building up a sense of community within the Cal Tau Bates and working on a sense of pride in TBP membership. The event lasted all day, and we had officers, members, and candidates staying around for long hours to help out and to simply congregate. That they were proud to see TBP's symbol gleaming surprised a number of them.

Events like Bent polishing were the key to TBP's growth. We could have members and candidates feeling a part of some larger organization, whether they dropped by our table at E-Week or flipped burgers for us all day long. I really tried to build on Tai Ping's drive for community, and we managed to pull it off, despite unexpected personal problems, event cancellations, and other strange circumstances.

Finally, seeing the large group of energetic initiates at elections prompted me to push for a major changeover in the officer corps. Many of us had been involved with TBP for years, and it would have been easy to stay on as officers Knowing that the 2000 convention was approaching, I wanted to fight additional stagnation, so I asked continuing officers to consider stepping down from their positions while staying involved as members in the next semester. The new officer corps saw a great number of new faces, as well as the return of initiates from semesters past. This semester, various members managed to attend random TBP events, though some of my suggestions for getting members more involved were not fully implemented. Hopefully, as we build a greater sense of community within the membership, being an officer will no longer be seen as the only way to stay involved with Tau Beta Pi. I think that we're already moving toward this situation, but it would be good to keep this momentum going through the 2000 convention and beyond.

--Alvin Chen, alchemy@po.eecs.berkeley.edu

Important Contributions and New Traditions

  • Bent Polishing
  • Injected "new blood" into the officer corps
  • Brought TBP thru hard times unscathed
  • Strenghtened community service
  • Improved camaraderie between members and candidates
  • Had one of the largest candidate classes
  • Brought the notion "active members does not necessarily have to mean officers"
  • Won "Secretary's Commendation" for 1996-97 school year