New Englander Jon Albert on why he chose Penn State, and how Alpha Zeta made a great big school feel like home

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Alpha Zeta’s active president Jon Albert was far from campus when he dialed in for the interview with The Morrill Messenger. His car had broken down, forcing him to stay home in Farmington, Connecticut for one more day, missing his Entrepreneurial Leadership class (along with an unseasonably late snowstorm). But it gave him some time to weigh on his time at Alpha Zeta and tell us what’s next on his horizon. Read on. 

What made you decide to pledge to Alpha Zeta? 

JA: I started my college career as a summer session student at Penn State. Alpha Zeta hosted a ‘get to know you’ event and it was very family oriented, and felt like it had very personal connections. I myself have an ag background, so I really liked that it was an ag house. The people I met were humble, came from good families and had good connections. 

On top of that, since I’m from out of state, I didn’t know very many people. This tight knit community at Alpha Zeta made a giant school feel a little smaller on campus. 

What stands out as a key memory of your time as an active? 

JA: Honestly, the stuff that stands out might seem small… Fall intramural sports is a lot of fun. We’re a co-ed chapter and we’re very supportive of each other in athletics. We had a blast with soft pitch softball and then moved on to flag football. We’re either participating or cheering on. 

Something else that stands out: Every year our chapter is involved with the Dairy Science Club. Many of the members are officers. During the Fall Classic, there is a dairy showing. Brothers and sisters volunteer. Some take night shift, and we would bring in crock pots of meatballs and have a great dinner in there all together, just making sure that things go smoothly. 

Snider Ag Arena, incidentally, was named after the grandfather of AZ sister Allie Snider who recently left Penn State to open up her own Subway franchise in Bedford. 

How are you involved with chapter leadership? What has it taught you? 

JA: I knew that I wanted to get involved right away. I shadowed the recruitment chair and risk management chair, and the next semester — Spring 2021, I became risk chair. I was later the recruitment chair and the next year I became president.  

As a recruitment chair, I learned to market the house as more than a fraternity — I was able to show that it was convenient and one of the best places to live on campus. I mean, you are 25 steps from Rec Hall! It’s the lowest cost housing, all around. I get to tell the Alpha Zeta story to potential members. 

As risk manager, I learned how to work with the university and align with policies to ensure safe parties and socials. That helped me to grow a lot professionally. It set me up well to become president. As president, I’m big into the guidance of the chapter.

What's next for you? 

JA: I still have one year left. This summer, I’ll be working with an ag startup called Table Rock Markets. I’ll be doing an ‘entern’ program, working as an entrepreneur and opening new accounts for them in the Northeast. I’ll see what we can do to boost profits. 

Do you think that being in Alpha Zeta has prepared you for life after graduation? 

JA: Yes. I definitely have to be proficient in many different things. Last week, my vice president and I went to a professional dinner with first responders in the State College area. We were able to ask constructive, effective questions about helping the chapter. I’ve learned a lot about how to correspond with people. It’s helped to prepare me for life after graduating from Penn State.