Interview: Joe Unkel

1.What made you decide to come to Rutgers?

Rutgers was actually my 9th choice to start, but as I progressed through junior and senior year of high school and visited other schools, I realized how amazing Rutgers was in comparison to the other schools. By the time a decision needed to come, I was stuck between Rutgers and another small private school in Pennsylvania. A large reason I choose these two schools was their marching bands. I wanted to continue to play throughout college. A Brother actually put me in a group chat with other Brothers, and they all sold me on Rutgers as an academic institution but also a musical one. At the time I did not know they were all Brothers, but I credit my coming to Rutgers to these Brothers, and I am ever grateful.

2. What has your Rutgers experience been like so far (extra curriculars, favorite classes, etc.)?

My Rutgers experience can basically be described as school, band, Fraternity, repeat. I joined things I wanted to be involved with, and I stuck with them. I focused a lot academically on my history (my major) and psychology (one of my minors) courses to start, but now that graduation is coming closer, all my classes are education-based since I am part of the Rutgers 5 year Education program through the Graduate School of Education.

3. What made you choose your instrument?

I started playing alto saxophone in 4th grade. And the reason is rather funny. When I was in elementary school, The Simpsons was my favorite show. I would always tune in on FOX at 7 pm every day to watch it after dinner. I was always drawn to Lisa Simpson and her musical abilities. So, when my school had an assembly on musical instruments, my only thought was, “this is my chance to be just like Lisa.” So, in short, Lisa Simpson is the reason I chose the saxophone.

4. What made you decide to join Mu Beta Psi?

I joined because I had many Brothers surrounding me in my daily life. Two Brothers were in my section within the marching band, and another was a friend from my hometown. Having such positive experiences with them and learning what Psi was about made me want to become part of it. I would have never expected to join Greek Life because of everything I learned and saw on media. Psi proved that Greek Life is not like the negative depictions. After I went to some Rush events and interacted with more Brothers, I decided this organization is definitely for me.

5. What has being in Mu Beta Psi been like for you?

It has been the time of my life. I’ve gotten to experience many things and meet so many people. I’ve gotten involved within the organization by taking on leadership roles, which have taught me valuable skills I can use in the future. I also made some of my closest friends through the organization.

6. Do you have a favorite memory in Mu Beta Psi?

I have many favorite memories from Mu Beta Psi, but the top one probably comes from during the Education process. Part of the Education process is to have a day-long retreat with your Education class in which you are supposed to bond, learn about each other, and just have a fun time. Our Member Educator at the time gave us a list of suggested but not required activities to do with each other. We loved this list and we wanted to do them all. However, as hours progressed, many in my Member-in-Training class went to bed, except for me and two other Member-in-Training Brothers. We just kept talking throughout the night and next thing we knew the sun was rising. Watching the sunrise with your Member-in-Training Brothers is an unforgettable memory. Another favorite memory is filming our convention pitch. Many funny things occurred during filming and the script was super funny. Definitely give it a look. You can find it on the website homepage on the sidebar.

7. What do you like to do in your free time?

The real question is what free time do I have? During breaks (like summer and winter), I always make it a point to read at least two books. During the school year, all my readings are required, and it makes reading not as enjoyable. But when you get to choose what you read, pleasure returns. So, in my free time reading is what I do. I also like to hang with my friends. Whether we have a plan, like going out somewhere, or just doing random stuff, like walk around Walmart endlessly, as long as you have friends it’s time well spent.

8. Do you have any advice for anyone interested in joining Mu Beta Psi or looking to get more involved?

My advice is to just do it. Whether it is Psi or any other activity, just do it. Often people hold themselves back from getting involved because they worry their academics will suffer. In fact, it is typically the less involved one is, the worse they perform academically. For just Psi specific, I would say ask Brothers questions about their experiences. Everyone experiences Brotherhood differently, and asking around could help you understand what we are all about better.