Phi Gamma Nu: a budding organization on the USC campus

A laptop with the PGN website showing a photo of Tommy trojan

A laptop with the PGN website showing a photo of Tommy trojan
Despite the challenges of launching in an online semester, Phi Gamma Nu has continued with virtual recruitment and online planning and is hopeful about its future at USC. (Vincent Leo | Daily Trojan)

Phi Gamma Nu, a nationally recognized professional development organization, officially launched its USC chapter this fall. Although it’s still in its early stages of development on campus, PGN seeks to develop a network to abate unemployment and support students on their journey to success. 

Since then, PGN has grown to be an organization that focuses on three pillars of success: philanthropy, social development and professional development. According to Reyes, these qualities catalyze not only a professional network but also a community that supports each other and those in need.

Domenic Reyes, a senior majoring in business administration, initiated the chapter at USC. While interning at an accounting firm during Summer 2019, a peer informed Reyes that PGN at her own university played a pivotal role in her preparation for an internship she acquired and recommended Reyes start a chapter. 

Although there are various professional development organizations on campus, Reyes said that PGN is unique in its focus on community, compounded with professional development. PGN provides its members a support system and companions that Reyes said he hopes will persist beyond the bounds of one’s time as an undergraduate student at USC.

“Expect a very tight knit organization that really focuses on each other and helping each other out in every way possible,” Reyes said. “Being a member is being dedicated to each other, whether that be hearing about a job, whether that be staying up late at night and helping one of your fellow members prep for an interview, whether that be studying late at night.”

In addition, those who join are privy to the alumni and active member network, opening the doors to nationwide opportunities, jobs and connections. Those within PGN also gain access to an online portal, similar to LinkedIn, that provides them easy access to the network and “everyone is a phone call away or an email away,” Reyes said. 

Domenic’s younger brother and the current vice president of membership, Noah Reyes, a junior studying real estate development, discovered PGN through Domenic. 

“Going into it, we knew it wouldn’t be an easy task, but we still had our vision and we knew we could bring something to the table for a lot of USC students,” Noah said. 

Noah expressed that PGN is an organization that values “diversity, integrity and entrepreneurial spirit.” Furthermore, during this confusing time in college when students are trying to discover their passions, Noah said PGN can be of great service because members are able to assess whether or not they are interested in a particular industry through actual experience. 

“For this campus and any campus in general, a lot of students have trouble knowing what they’re going to do when they get out of college, and they’re kind of just lost in the real world,” Noah said. “But providing the opportunity for students to meet … and getting a chance to be exposed to many different jobs and opportunities, they get some insight, or a preview, as to whether or not they’re passionate about something.”

Moreover, PGN hopes to develop a community that is inviting to all by welcoming students with varying backgrounds, perspectives, experiences and areas of study, according to Jaymie Pelayo, the chapter’s vice president of external operations. 

“We really want to be more inclusive and have a diverse pool of students,” said Pelayo, a senior studying business administration. 

Pelayo said that most professional organizations have a “specified major target.” PGN, on the other hand, is open to “anyone who is interested in developing their skills.” 

However, promotion and advertising of a new student organization on campus is quite difficult. PGN currently is a Recognized Student Organization of USC but will not be able to become a Marshall Recognized Student Organization until this coming January. Being an MRSO will provide greater publicity and credibility, allowing PGN to further expand on campus. 

These circumstances have forced PGN to independently promote itself and resort purely to online forms of media to broadcast recruitment and events. In addition, planning philanthropic and social events does pose a challenge due to the restrictions imposed on account of the coronavirus. As a group that is centered around in-person philanthropic events and social networking and bonding, PGN has been working to adapt to the best of its ability. Currently, leadership is brainstorming ways to maintain social and philanthropic events. 

Despite the challenges that obviously have arisen for many clubs and organizations in light of the online format, PGN has done its best to persist with virtual recruitment and event planning. The leadership team is developing professional events that will possibly include groups such as JPMorgan and the accounting firm KPMG “that are open to all USC students,” Reyes said. The organization also has aspirations to include resume and interview workshops as well as “speed networking events” next semester, Pelayo said. 

Although still fresh on the USC campus, Domenic expressed his high hopes for the future of PGN at USC. 

“I really want PGN to be the business organization at USC, being recognized as the end all, be all for professional development for students interested in any type of industry,” Domenic said.