Grateful Alum Gives Back and Stays Connected

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With this past winter’s downturn in the state of the furnace at the Alpha Zeta house, alumni have been making generous donations in an effort to help replace it. Shawn Beam ’11 is one such alum. He recalls how cold the house could get when the furnace would go out for a few hours and can’t imagine how bad it is when the furnace stops altogether.

When he was an undergraduate, Beam joined Alpha Zeta in his junior year. Beam was attracted to the “outstanding reputation” of the fraternity, and he saw the members as people he genuinely wanted to be around.

“It was pretty clear to me that the type of people who joined Alpha Zeta were the same ones who would be the future managers of those who associated with other Greek cultures,” Beam said.

He added that his experience with the fraternity was “condensed,” but it “helped put the final touches on [his] Penn State experience.”

After graduation, Beam became a sales representative for Syngenta in the Finger Lake region of New York, where he still lives. Through his connections with Alpha Zeta, he became acquainted with Gil Strader at the Penn State Career Fair. Strader is a UNC Alpha Zeta alum and originally hired Beam as an intern for Syngenta.

“That was the foot in the door that resulted in the full-time positon that I have now,” Beam said.

To Beam, meeting Strader was a preview of what the connections being part of Alpha Zeta provide. Beam still feels connected to the fraternity because he meets countless Alpha Zeta alumni in his industry. He even explains that, on some level, he feels that he has a strong connection with anyone who has participated in Greek life.

“Before you know it, you’re exchanging stories and acting like you’ve known each other for years.”

Beam still stays in contact with other alumni, some even on a daily basis. He plans weekend “experiences” with the brothers he spent the most time with as a student. These “experiences” can be as simple as meeting up at the brewery or as elaborate as renting a boathouse. Regardless, they always find a way to meet up with each other.

“One thing I find with this group of guys is no matter how many days have passed since your last conversation, you can always pick right back up where you left off like it was nothing,” Beam explained.