by Tyler Boisvert, Nu Sigma ’10
I write to you today, humbled, that I have been named the Executive Director of Zeta Psi Fraternity. Having dedicated the last 10+ years of my life to trying to better our organization, our active and elder chapters and our members, I look forward to continuing that work with our amazing staff.
Today is also probably one of the most trying times that Zeta Psi has faced in the modern era. First, an international pandemic is affecting our college students educational setting and our shared housing. Zeta Psi is working with all active chapters, elder chapters and volunteers to help create safe and healthy environments for our students, guests and recruitment. We’re doing this by monitoring each federal and local regulations as well as University policies. Early groups and sports teams that are getting back together currently, are being tested and showing signs of high rates of getting Covid-19.
My first ask is for every active chapter and alumni association to work with the International Headquarters to make sure that our housing option and chapter operations follow the guidelines to keep all of our members safe.
Secondly, after the death of George Floyd, the racial tensions in the United States and around the world have been brought to the forefront of our society once again. I will not try to hide Zeta Psi’s past but attempt to educate our members on it so that we can be part of the solution and move forward. My first job is to listen and educate myself so that we can do better as an organization, recognizing that sometimes to lead, you must listen to the membership about their experiences within the brotherhood.
My second ask is for our Black members and our BIPOC members, if you feel comfortable, to let me know about your experiences. If you do not feel comfortable doing that, please let me know in what format might it be easier. We, as a staff, would like to know who from the IHQ, the board or any member that you would feel comfortable helping to facilitate the conversation. Our goal is to engage. Zeta Psi is only as strong as when we understand our history and have our members help guide us forward.
Finally, I recognize that this may be a sensitive time while we navigate these difficult conversations. If there are any brothers that you would feel would make this experience more conducive to your healing and our betterment, please do not hesitate to get them involved. We’re here when you are ready. You can reach out in our online form or feel free to email me to set up a phone call or video conference (firstname.lastname@example.org). If there is another medium that would work best, let me know and I’ll try my hardest to make myself available.
Although these are difficult times, I truly believe that you get out of this organization what you put into it. I encourage you all to reach out, get involved and continue to help make our brotherhood as strong as it can be going into our 175thAnniversary.
Tyler’s Zeta Psi Story
While the times may be difficult, let me tell you a little bit about why I am engaged and involved:
I got involved for a very simple reason; I enjoyed the members that I joined at the Nu Sigma Chapter of Zeta Psi at Seton Hall University. My pledge brothers are still some of the closest friends I have, and I look forward to every communication with them and the other men at SHU.
I first met my chapter consultant, Anthony Abbate, at an LTI at Rutgers University and we quickly became friends. Our Chapters at NYU and Seton Hall became very close and had a couple of events per year with each other. When I was elected President the next year, I’m pretty sure I became the most annoying chapter President he had, asking him questions on a daily basis on how to better the chapter and the men I was leading. Then, I was selected for the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program, an internship program that had a profound impact on my life. It introduced me to many great Zetes like former Phi Alpha, The Rear Admiral James J. Carey, and the individual who led the program, Chris Bond. That summer was one of the best of my life and I continue to keep in touch with many of the individuals from that time period.
All the hard work as President and at my internship paid off as I was asked to become the Undergraduate Board Representative to Zeta Psi, a position that introduced me to many International Zetes and opened me up to the larger picture. I was elected in 2009 at the Cleveland Convention and served until the 2010 Convention in New Orleans. It opened me up to great Zetes that were on staff and on the board like Dave Busacca who nominated me to the board as Phi Alpha and Dave Hunter who was the Executive Director at the time. It also opened me up to the true nature of Zeta Psi Fraternity’s International Brotherhood.
At the Mid-Winter board meeting in January of 2010, two wives of past board members, Hilda-Marie Ladouceur and Heather Smith-Nunez talked me through a job opportunity to work at Zeta Psi as a Regional Education Consultant. I was nervous about going to work for Zeta Psi in a full-time capacity as I was also looking at Teach for America and the American Cancer Society of which I had applications out. Needless to say, they were very convincing, and within the next 30 days, I went on my first trip to Dartmouth College in my home state of New Hampshire with Anthony Abbate. I moved into Headquarters in May 2010 and enjoyed 8 years of living at the International Headquarters.
There are a number of key moments over my 10+ years of working at Zeta Psi that truly keep me motivated to help all of Zeta Psi be the premier men’s fraternal organization. Helping charter both the Sigma Omicron Chapter at St. Andrews and the Theta Omicron Chapter at Trinity College, Dublin early on in my career definitely helped but the true catalyst for me staying on longer than two years, was a house fire in Tulane.
I know it has been made into a joke for many years but that October night in 2011 was a difficult one for me. Being woken up at 4:30AM because I was asleep in the Presidents room and being asked to put out a fire in the kitchen is something I will never forget. However, in the aftermath, the power of this organization coming together to help support our own is something I will truly never forget. Although I had some minor lung damage from smoke inhalation, everyone was able to get out safely. Thank you to Jack Bathke, Beta Tau, for housing me in the aftermath and the now Dr. Taylor Conrad for monitoring me in the aftermath. I wouldn’t be here at Zeta Psi if it wasn’t for the two of you.
From there, the actives and the alumni association worked with our wonderful partners at Tulane who relocated the students on campus and helped get the students the necessities to continue their education. They also helped a poor Regional Education Consultant, whose wallet didn’t make it, get the necessity of the items as well. They also made sure that counseling was available to our students. Overall, I’m thankful for our partnership with Liz Schafer, the director of Fraternity and Sorority Life and our partnership with Tulane University. When we have positive relationships with the University, our brotherhood is stronger.
The Alumni Association started what we do after any major crisis, rebuilding. They fundraised and help provide money to the students who lost a lot of their daily lives. The house has been rebuilt and the brothers operate out of it once more. The Chapter looks forward to hosting you all in one of our favorite convention spots, New Orleans, for the 174th Annual Convention in August of 2021.
Zeta Psi does not need to wait for a crisis to hit to see the best of our brotherhood. We need to be proactive and build positive and meaningful relationships between all entities that Zeta Psi is connected with. I look forward further serving our brotherhood. I look forward to serving you all. Thank you for this opportunity.
Yours in Tau Kappa Phi,
Executive Director, Zeta Psi Fraternity