Phi Kappa Psi - University of Iowa

Fall 2022 Newsletter

Iowa Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at the University of Iowa

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The hawkeye Iowa alpha Chapter of phI Kappa psI • fall 2022 INSIDE: advanCIng Iowa alpha pg 2 Men of exCeptIonal QualIty pg 3 stayIng aCtIve as aluMnI pg 4 J oining a rebuilding Fraternity Chapter is an exciting yet challenging opportunity for a young man in college. When Eric Bridges '97 learned that Iowa Alpha had a new house a couple years after the devastating fire, he found a welcoming group of Brothers who were determined to restore the Chapter to its former glory. "I was excited about that opportunity to sort of get in on the ground floor alongside those talented men already there," Eric said. "There was a brand-new house but not a lot of guys in it. They were wanting to recruit individuals who wanted to help reimagine the Chapter and, literally and figuratively, rebuild the house for the future of Iowa Alpha." TAKING RESPONSIBILITY Eric served Iowa Alpha as corresponding secretary and social chairman, and he became vice president during junior year. As a young leader, he learned how to have tough conversations with people his age regarding behavior inside and outside the Chapter House. After graduating, Eric fell in love with the politics of Washington, D.C., and he pursued a career in public policy. Eric worked on Capitol Hill with Congressman John Klein. In 2007, Eric began leading advocacy and governmental affairs for the American Council of the Blind (ACB). By November 2015, he was appointed as ACB's executive director, managing day-to- day operations of the council. "I've had the opportunity to do a lot of really cool things and engage with a lot of fascinating business and political leaders in my career. I'm very fortunate in what I've been able to work with folks on." ACCESSIBILITY FOR EVERYONE As a blind man, Eric is especially proud of his organization's work. He spoke on a panel at Netflix's Paris Theater in Manhattan, discussing the need for companies to consider accessibility of their content. ACB has worked with Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+, and more streaming services on implementing audio description, a voice track that describes non-verbal actions taking place, in visual media. In October 2010, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act was signed to ensure more accessible interfaces for blind and visually impaired individuals on commercial technology. Eric enjoyed the president's signing ceremony for the act in the White House, which featured Stevie Wonder as a guest. "If you have a passion and an opportunity to work on a project, even if it doesn't pay and even if you don't get ultimate credit for it but you're going to get experience, you need to take it." Eric recently consulted with producers on the Apple TV+ series, See. "All the characters on the show are blind; it's this dystopian future with a virus that blinded everyone in the world. We had a great relationship with Apple, and they invited us to consult on the show because they wanted to ensure that, while not all their actors were blind, their movement and everything would be appropriate." GROWTH THROUGH PHI PSI While Eric's personal path has been unique, he urges undergraduates to follow their passions like he did. Eric has been with the same organization for 15 years, yet his career evolved in ways he never expected. "In my experience, the things you learn the most from are the challenging projects and initiatives where there's not a clear outcome from the beginning. If you're an undergraduate, it's about figuring out what you want to do by trying different things. The University of Iowa is a great place, and the Phi Psi alumni network is a great way to reach out to folks with a broad set of backgrounds." Though Eric's career keeps him plenty busy, he enjoys keeping up with alumni Brothers through social media and spending time with his family. Eric has been married to his wife, Rebecca, for 15 years. They have two sons, Tyler (8) and Noah (2, but he'd tell you he's 2 and a half!). Connect with Eric at and learn more about ACB at Avenues for Accessibility How Eric Bridges '97 Makes the Most of Unique Circumstances Eric Bridges '97 at the Netflix Accessibility Screening. Eric with his wife, Rebecca. Eric and his son, Noah.

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