Colliers Engineering firm offers employees the option to use payroll deduction on a regular basis to support each other’s charity affiliations. Each month, one or two employees are asked to submit a short paragraph about why they support their respective charity. After waiting over a year, it was finally time for Pi Kappa Phi alumnus Justin Andersen, Beta Alpha (NJIT), to take his turn.
When asked to write why he supported his charity, he wrote of The Ability Experience, “Our brothers run numerous fundraising events to support The Ability Experience nationally, including our signature 24-hour bike-a-thon, Pie a Pi Kapp and the Halloween carnival. Additionally, we look to contribute to volunteer opportunities with organizations in our community to give back to Newark and the surrounding areas. We participate in several events nationally with The Ability Experience, this past summer four of our brothers biked across the State of Florida as part of Gear Up Florida, raising money and awareness for The Ability Experience.”
The result of his submission was the support of his coworkers at the firm as well as a $1,500 grant to The Ability Experience.
Recently, a colleague asked Andersen why he was still involved with Pi Kappa Phi, seemingly surprised at his dedication to what they believed was an extracurricular activity, starting and ending in college. His response was, “Beta Alpha is not a chapter you leave when you finish school, you get more involved! It’s lifelong.”
As archon of the Beta Alpha Chapter in 2021-22, Andersen developed a strong sense of loyalty to The Ability Experience and its mission. Aside from his membership in Pi Kappa Phi, he has a brother with severe cerebral palsy, which has made him all the more passionate about this cause.
Andersen joined his chapter in the year immediately following the pandemic, a time when many active members were not passed on institutional knowledge about The Ability Experience and had not seen philanthropic events happen at all, much less in person. Alongside the chapter’s philanthropy chairman, David Schettino, he helped the Beta Alpha Chapter return not just to their pre-pandemic level of involvement, but well beyond that. With the leadership of Andersen and Schettino, over the course of one year, the chapter was able to bring the War of the Roses event to campus, complete a collective 300 hours of community service, foster a relationship with their local Best Buddies organization and raise more than $5,000 for The Ability Experience. As a testament to their success, the chapter was awarded an Outstanding Alumni Involvement Award, a Founders’ Award and was recognized as a Champion Master Chapter by Pi Kappa Phi. In addition, on campus, the chapter won their Greek week event, the Excellence in Chapter Development and Leadership Award, had several members win awards such as the Standout Senior Award, the Fraternity Member of the Year Award and the Rising Star Award, and was ultimately named Chapter of the Year.
When asked what his greatest achievement was as archon, Andersen said that it was opening doors for the younger chapter members. He introduced a shadow program for future leaders to show them the various roles of officers, rotating members through on a regular basis and fostering a solid next generation of chapter leadership. Following his graduation, Andersen joined his chapter’s alumni board and has been working with undergraduate members to document chapter activities, ensuring that no future members will have to rebuild the chapter’s institutional knowledge the way he did.