Notes from Carmel

An abbreviated version of this column appears in the Summer 21 issue of The Link

by Chris Pockette ΒΥ896
ΛΧΑ Director of Expansion
Carmel, IN

As we at the Office of Administration (AKA Nationals or IHQ)
have reconnected with Sigma-Lambda alumni to consider
restarting our chapter at Virginia Tech, we’ve reflected on what
we’ve learned over the past four years. In 2017, our chapter
had strayed away from Lambda Chi Alpha’s core values and
principles. Our team lacked an interpersonal connection with
the chapter and local alumni advisors. We’ve realized that the
Office of Administration must work hand-in-hand with our
alumni brothers to provide frequent support and assistance
to our undergraduate brothers if we are to sustain our
brotherhood through the next generation of college students.
Over the past several months, we were impressed and
honored when the alumni board contacted us to build a
partnership and consider returning to Virginia Tech’s campus.

Our research proves that restarted chapters are far more
successful with active alumni engagement. The Office of
Administration is in full support of the opportunity to restart
our chapter at Virginia Tech with the alumni board because
of our high likelihood for success. If we are invited back to
campus, the Office of Administration commits to providing our
physical, tactical, and financial investments to the chapter’s
restart, which we hope will position the chapter for a long and
prosperous future.

While the core values and principles of Lambda Chi Alpha
have not changed through the years, the experience will look
different from years prior. The newest generation of college
students, Generation Z (or Gen Z, for short) are entering the
collegiate landscape as we speak. Studies of Gen Z show that
they are pragmatic, intentional in their decision making,
and highly interested in their return on investment. If Gen
Z is going to college, these men and women want to clearly
understand, “What’s in it for me?” Knowing this generation
holds our future brothers, the fraternity must shift its value
proposition to incoming potential members. We have much
to offer this generation, but we must focus on adding value to
their lives and intentionally position them to be prepared for
life after college through skills and leadership development.

Lambda Chi has reinvented the fraternal experience for
today and tomorrow’s brothers. Over the past 18 months, we
have invested $2.5 million in reshaping our undergraduate
programming and developing value-added partnerships to
the fraternity experience. Our fraternity education process is
undergoing a revolutionary redesign that will provide a four-
year development program to all undergraduate members
to prepare them for the Lambda Chi Alpha experience and
life beyond the fraternity. Additionally, we’ve partnered
with Kaplan to build our new Leadership Skills Certification
Academy, which is a premiere training program that will
deliver professional development resources, training, and tools
that will enable fraternity members to turn relevant aspects
of their college and fraternity experience into practical,
marketable skills that will appeal to prospective employers.
These programs are targeted to add more value to the fraternity
experience and encourage Gen Z men to pursue Lambda Chi
while in college.

Our hope is, with the approval of the university, that this
revolutionized Lambda Chi experience will be available to men
across Virginia Tech’s campus for years to come. We’ve begun
building plans for the future chapter once we are given formal
approval to return. Our partnership with Dyad Strategies has
produced data that suggests the optimal Lambda Chi chapter
size is 65 to 85 men. At Virginia Tech, our goal will be to build
a sustainable chapter around the optimal chapter size, but not
immediately at the time of return. The restart process will
develop over the course of three to six years: from the startup
phase, through chartering, to long-term stability. Through the
initial startup phase, the Office of Administration will send
two team members who serve as recruiters and find around 30
men to restart the chapter. After the recruiting phase, we will
send an additional team member to educate and train through
health and wellness, operations, and fraternity education
programming. We will continue working directly with the
new chapter over several semesters, helping the chapter
recruit its own members each semester to grow to the optimal
chapter size. By investing in teaching the new members how
to properly recruit and manage chapter operations at the very
beginning, we will position the chapter to operate at high-
performing levels for years to come.

With proper investment in a successful restart, we will focus
on the principles, values, and opportunities that Lambda Chi
offers our young brothers. It is our hope we avoid any culture
of hazing or alcohol misuse through our intentional focused
efforts. Fortunately, with the investment of both the Office
of Administration and the local chapter alumni, we are well
positioned to support a restarting chapter at Virginia Tech.

If you are interested in being involved in this process, we
are looking for 10 to 12 alumni brothers to serve as advisors
to the new members. Additionally, we will need an alumni
liaison, also known as the High Pi, to serve as the direct
liaison between the chapter, university, alumni, and Office of
Administration. Please contact Barry Buschow at fcbarry@
gmail. com or me to express your interest, and we will connect
with you about opportunities to be involved in the chapter’s

Thank you, Brothers, for your commitment and investment
in Sigma-Lambda and Lambda Chi Alpha. We value your
tremendous involvement, especially those with the legacy
of Sigma Omega Tau who founded the chapter at Tech. We
are eager to support your work to involve greater numbers
of younger alumni. We look forward to our partnership and
establishing a strong, prosperous chapter at Virginia Tech in
the years to come.

James E. Carlton – Omega

James E. Carlton ’67 ΣΩΤ of West Point, passed away October 3, 2017.
Jim was a proud father and grandfather, who deeply loved his family and his church. He greatly enjoyed fishing, cruising around with his dog in his pick-up, and watching his alma mater, the Virginia Tech Hokies, play football.
Jim was a gentle and kind man, who always had a listening ear. He loved his hometown and enjoyed being able to serve in the West Point Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, just as his father, Charlie Carlton, had done for so many years. He also enjoyed serving as a coach for youth basketball and baseball.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Ann Carlton.
He is survived by his wife, Lorrie; his children, Mike Carlton (Lisa), Blair Carlton (Tracey), and Melanie Jones (Chris); and his grandchildren, Katie, Charlie, Hunter and Sierra.
Condolences to the family may be posted online by clicking on the following URL:!/TributeWall

Ryan Barkan – Omega

Ryan Mitchell Barkan ’00 ΣΛ443, 39, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, July23, 2017 in New York City. He was a Music Supervisor for Droga5 in New York City. Born in Norfolk, VA, he is the son of Michael and Sandra Merritt Barkan of Virginia Beach.

Ryan was a graduate of Kempsville High School and Virginia Tech.

Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Angela Salomon Barkan and daughter Sunny Barkan; Angela’s Mother, Carole Salomon; his parents; 3 brothers and their wives, Louis and Lisa Barkan, Andrew and Jen Barkan, and Alex and Lauren Barkan; his grandmother, Elizabeth Bray; and a number of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Ryan’s name may be made to Vh1 Save the Music,, one of Ryan’s charitable passions. Save the Music is dedicated to restoring music programs in America’s public schools and raising awareness about the importance of music in children’s education. Donations may also be made to Congregation Beth El and the American Heart Association. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Norfolk Chapel is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be offered to the family through