Steve Parks '81, recalls his days in TKE

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“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” –William James-

Steven Parks ’81 recalls his days in TKE and why he gives back to the brotherhood

Having not been a student in Happy Valley for nearly 35 years, one might wonder what motivates a man to give back to his former fraternity.

Brother Parks recently submitted to a brief Q&A, which sheds light on his chapter days as well as why he continues to make sure the brotherhood is alive and well.

Q: Why did you make the decision to go Greek at PSU?
Parks: “My dad was a Beta Theta Pi and was president in ’59 and my brother was a Pi Kappa Phi there too. I used to visit him when I was in high school and always liked the fraternities. The guys were great and the parties were always a lot of fun.”

Q: Could you share one of your fondest memories from your time in TKE?
Parks: “I think our pledge trip to UVA in the spring of ’78 was a really great time. We had to paint a bridge there that said PSU TKE #1 in blue and white and a few other tasks including me having to have a picture of me kissing the ugliest girl on campus. We also played a few tackle football games in pads out at Rockview State Penitentiary which was pretty cool. We still talk about it.”

Q: In your time at TKE and PSU, where was the best hangout on campus?
Parks: “The TKE house or the Lion’s Den”

Q: How often do you revisit the chapter house or campus?
Parks: “I was at the house two or three years ago, I really should visit more though. I usually go to about three football games a year.”

Q: If your pledge class reunited today, what would it look like? Set the scene, would things still be very much the same?
Parks: “Yes- I think because we did so much together, we all got to know one another very well. The pledging process of “unity,” required and encouraged you all to be together so I think we’d all know what each guy was all about. People don’t change that much. It’d be in a bar, probably the Rathskeller or the Lion’s Den in State College.”

Q: How did you benefit then from the fraternity versus how do you benefit now from what the fraternity taught you?
Parks: “I think it gave us a home away from home. The brotherhood was strong and we were all taking care of one another and the house itself. We did some charity work with the dance marathon. I danced in it for us in 1981 when we did it with Alpha Sigma Alpa ASA sorority. We danced 48 hours straight and raised a lot of money. All the guys came and cheered us on and I could have done it without the support. I think now you instill a lot of that bond and support on your news friends and family. You’re there for one another giving rides, helping out, etc. you pass it along.”

Q: What is your best advice for current TKE brothers?
Parks: “Leave it a better place. Recruit good guys that you would be proud to call your brothers and friends and convince them to join. Encourage them to be gentlemen and good students so you can be proud of all of them once you leave. And also keep in touch. If they’re close they’ll be closer later in life. Our golf trip each spring, our Christmas party every December, getting together for football games and in the summer at the Jersey Shore- I count a lot of these guys as my best friends even to this day, 35 years later!”

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