December 7, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: A Reflection on Alpha Phi

Today, I finished my final fall semester as a collegian. I cannot help but reflect on what the past four years have brought me. With a grateful heart, I take it all in.

Flashback to my freshman year:
There I stood with a bid in my hand, excited girls standing everywhere around me, my #1 choice just accepted me, but what does this really mean?

Initiation is over; I am finally an active member of Alpha Phi. I understand our ritual, I am so proud to be here, but how can I help?

I received my first pair of letters today, and it is an honor. People around us do not understand how important they are, but that’s okay, that’s the beauty of it.

Elections are around the corner; and the women on our executive board are my role models. The way they carry themselves and uphold our values brings me inspiration and motivation to succeed.

With high expectations, I took my first step onto the executive board as Vice President of Programming and Education. Taking a position is tough. It takes courage to go for it. At times you get a position and it takes a lot out of you. You have to learn to put others before yourself. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made for the health of your chapter. But there is no better feeling than seeing your hard work and ideas come to life. There is no better feeling than seeing your sisters happy and watching your chapter thrive. In fact, it is so rewarding that I stuck around, and became Vice President of Risk Management.

This organization has taught me the beauty of a challenge, taught me to be proud of something that many people do not understand. It has held me accountable for upholding my morals and showed me how important it is to be aware of the brand you are creating for yourself.

Through Alpha Phi, I gained sisters and people to support me. I learned to be responsible, I know how to manage my time and balance my priorities.

I learned that doing the right thing, is not always the easiest. I understand integrity.

I learned that people will talk, I recognize that the only option is to brush it off, and prove them wrong. Stereotypes do not define us.

I gained confidence.

I gained myself and I am proud of who I have become.

The advice I want to leave future sisters with is that the best thing that you can do during your four years with Alpha Phi is to take on a leadership position. Invest yourself in a new environment. Any position, big or small, will give you a different perspective of the world. It teaches you so much about yourself and the way you work. When you are exposed to tough situations you experience a wide range of emotions that prepare you to interact with different types people.

Being involved will connect you to the chapter, get you out of your comfort zone, and build your leadership skills.
Go for it. 

Yasmin Quintana is a collegiate member at the Epsilon Upsilon chapter at California State University Northridge. To learn more about Yasmin, click here.

November 30, 2016

Small Chapters Can Have a Big Impact

When I tell people that I’m a member of Alpha Phi, they almost immediately follow it with a small laugh or smile and the question, “Oh, do you live in the house?” I know what they’re thinking, that I’m part of a huge group of women who chant on Bid Day and have gigantic parties all the time.

Setting the stereotypes of sorority life aside, many of those same people often have a hard time understanding when I tell them that there aren’t hundreds of women in my sorority, that we don’t live in a house and that we only make up a small population of our university. Despite this, I’d argue that we are one of the most close-knit and motivated groups on campus. When a potential new member accepts a bid from us, it’s our number one priority to make sure that she feels wanted and loved by her sisters, and that she knows she has an amazing reputation of leadership to uphold.

When I’m questioned about why I decided to join a sorority at a relatively small school, I always think about the things that I’ve gained from my chapter. I think about my first recruitment event my freshman year and getting inspired by the then-chapter president of Alpha Phi. I remember accepting my bid from women I’d actually gotten to know personally, and immediately posting an excited selfie on Instagram. I recall standing in front of a room filled with my sisters, delivering a speech about why I should be considered as a member of the new executive team and knowing the name of every single girl that I was talking to.

Being a part of a smaller chapter means that I have had some kind of personal relationship with every single woman that’s been a part of the chapter at the same time as me. I can list off their names and tell you who their big, grandbig, maybe even their great grandbig is. I’ve spent a lot of time with my 11 pledge class sisters and I consider them some of my closest and best friends. My family is pretty small right now and I only have one little, but I am so close with her and I don’t know what I would do without her in my life. This is what a small chapter has given me.

A small chapter also means that when one of our members is struggling, whether within or outside of the chapter, we have the ability to come together as a group to support her and give her the attention and help she needs. This is an incredible comfort that I cherish about my chapter and sisters. This was especially true when one of our recent alumna members passed away after struggling with a lifelong health condition. She was particularly close to a couple of older members and many of them had an extremely hard time coping, but as a chapter, we were able to unite and look back on good memories with her as well as donate money to a foundation that researched a cure for her condition. It was a rough time, but we pulled through, together.

The experiences and memories that I’ve gained in Alpha Phi are in part because I know everyone. I feel comfortable with all of my sisters and that if something were to happen me, good or bad, they would be there, cheering me on or standing by my side, no matter what.

The Delta Kappa chapter is small, but it’s growing. We have 60 women, but we are mighty. We’ve been through some hard times, but we’ve always made it through. The good times that we’ve had are amazing and there’s never a shortage of smiles or laughter at our meetings. I’m confident that when I graduate in one short month that I’ll still be welcomed by the chapter and that girls will know who I am, because that’s just who we are.

Ellie Brown is a collegiate member at the Delta Kappa chapter at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. To learn more about Ellie, click here.

November 16, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: The Tightrope Called Life

The life of a college student today is like walking on a tightrope. We are constantly trying to balance a heavy course load, jobs or internships, extracurricular activities and our social calendar. However, there are only 24 hours in a day, and sometimes managing our busy lives seem impossible. I know I do not always have my busy life figured out, but I have gathered tips and tricks that help me stay afloat and enjoy each day.

1.      Get a Planner or Organizer and Write Down Everything
This is by far the most helpful tactic to managing a busy life. I prefer to have a planner and write everything down, from important assignments to lunch plans. It may seem like a lot, but it truly works. Writing it all down and seeing what my day or week will look like helps me better manage my time. There are many alternatives too. Many apps are specifically designed to help keep your life stress free by sending you alerts and reminders. Whichever method you choose, stick to it, because it will make a difference!

       2.      Prioritize
Once you’re able to see all the things that need to get done or places you need to be, the next step is prioritizing. Your priorities may look different depending on the day and that’s okay, you just need to decide what needs to get done first and then move on from there.

3.      Get Rest
Another vital tip is rest. We all have heard our professors say how all-nighters will not benefit you. Having personally only pulled one all-nighter in my college career, I would have to agree. Rest is key to being able to put your best foot forward in every aspect of life.

4.      Say No
The majority of us could probably agree that we are over-committed. We always have good intentions but sometimes that is not enough. Once you plan out all your work and activities, then prioritize what needs to get done first, you still might not be able to do everything. That’s not a bad thing, it just indicates there’s probably too much on your plate. I have always believed it’s better to be great at something than to be average at everything. Learning to say no will also help prepare you in the long run for not settling on an average job or other opportunity, because you know there are better ones out there.

5.      Treat Yourself
As I have said, as students we are constantly working and going so it is important to take a step back and treat yourself. This can simply be buying yourself a pick-me-up latte in the middle of the day or watching an extra episode on Netflix to let your mind rest. It can even be something like going on a jog or to a fun exercise class. Whatever you enjoy, do it, and remember that you earned it and then keep moving forward.

6.      Let Your Best be Enough
There are times when you just won’t be able to make that “A”, or get that amazing job or even be able to go to the super cool event everyone has been talking about, and that’s okay. These will never be the end of the world and the sooner we learn the best is all we can do and give, the better we will all be for it!

7.      Encourage Your Sisters
Be there for one another! We are all struggling to balance along this tightrope together so call up your sister when things get hard and encourage each other! As a sisterhood we were created for exactly this, so utilize the wonderful women you have around you who only want to see you succeed.

Mikayla Tencer is a collegiate member at the Kappa Alpha chapter at UNC Chapel Hill. To learn more about Mikayla, click here.

November 9, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: It's Someone's Somebody

As an Alpha Phi, I have always been honored to raise awareness and money for women’s cardiac research. A hundred times over I have explained to friends and family the dangers of heart disease, that heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, and that the Alpha Phi Foundation strives to help women with heart disease across the board every single day.

But I will be the first to admit that I never fully understood what I was raising money for, and I never really knew the severity of what I was telling people, until the moment I watched my sister fight for her life. That sister is Ali Macedo.

Ali was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia, or SVT, at the age of 8. Since then Ali has had 7 heart ablations surgeries. She tells me that with each surgery she has had, the technology that has become available is astounding and possible thanks to the hard work of people like the ladies of Alpha Phi.

One night during chapter meeting, I noticed that Ali looked in pain and uncomfortable, I calmly mouthed to her “are you okay?” she nodded and I dismissed the situation. Minutes later Ali experienced a seizure, and my life changed forever.

This was the first time I witnessed anything like that. I felt helpless; I did not know the proper way to react. There was nothing more that I wanted than to find a way to take the weight off her shoulders.

But this is not about me. It is about Ali, it is about the hundreds of women out there that have to walk through their life fighting, waiting and hoping for a cure. We cannot let them walk alone. Ali has put her trust in us, and we have promised to become her support system.

“I found my home in Alpha Phi. I fell in love with this organization because it was women helping women like me that are affected by heart disease. I am proud to talk about my fight with heart disease because I no longer let my condition define me.” said Macedo.
So hand in hand, we walk with determination, we walk with our heads held high, and we are certain that together we will reach new heights.

Now is the time to for all our sisters to join us in this cause. It is the time to raise awareness, raise money and create pillars of support for the women that need us.

It could be your mom, your sister, your aunt or your best friend, either way, it is someone’s somebody. That is why we strive to help our heart warriors through the power of philanthropy.

Yasmin Quintana is a collegiate member at the Epsilon Upsilon chapter at California State University Northridge. To learn more about Yasmin, click here.

October 26, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: Always Wearing our Letters

As fall sets in and the cold, Wisconsin weather starts to turn frigid, the girls of the Delta Kappa chapter know temperature isn’t any reason to sacrifice fashion! In addition to always looking our best, something that’s important to our chapter is representation. We realize that we’re always wearing our letters, whether they’re clearly visible or not. It’s something we teach our new members as soon as they’re initiated. This is important since Alpha Phis are such a small (but growing!) percentage of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus, and we know it’s vital to give the best impression we can.

A little cold weather never stopped any true Midwesterner from dressing their best. In fact, Chapter President Bre Vey often prescribes to the motto, “Dress good, feel good, do good,” especially since achieving her position last spring. In fact, she actually accredits a lot of her daily confidence to being a member of Alpha Phi. Bre shared with me how she’s developed as a person because of Alpha Phi and how it’s allowed to have experiences that helped her character development that she would never have had before joining during her freshman year.
“Just being in my position, knowing that I’m leading my entire chapter, I’ve been able to open up and be confident. I love going up to new people and sharing my experience in Alpha Phi and I want them to feel as passionate about Greek Life as I do. When I first started, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.” Vey said. She also talked about how before she became President, clothing wasn’t always the first thing she thought of, especially on an exam day. But now, Bre wants to showcase herself as a campus leader, someone who is always put together and looking her best, even when things get tough.

While a large part of most of our chapter’s fall and winter wardrobe consists of leggings, scarves and other comfy clothing, we definitely loves to shine during any formal event. From gorgeous, glittery floor length dresses at formal to adorable flowered rompers during meetings, our girls know what to wear. ”A good outfit can really make your day. I feel like everyone just notices you more and you suddenly have way more confidence in yourself,” says Jade, an Alpha Phi junior at LaCrosse.  

Not only does a great outfit give you more confidence, but it’s also one way that many members bond. A quick compliment from an older member as they walk past each other on campus can make their day and a borrowed red dress, feather boa or red white and blue top from a new pledge class sister can create the beginning of a friendship that lasts for years.

All of these ways in which we express ourselves as Alpha Phis make up a part of who we are. We dress for success and wear our letters constantly because it expresses how proud we are to be a member of this organization. We’re always showing the world that we’re more than just a group of women who meet a couple of times a week and hangs out together all the time. We’re strong, intelligent, beautiful, unique, outgoing, innovative, passionate, caring and a thousand other adjectives, and we are trying to make a positive difference in the world. When I asked senior and Panhellenic President Dana Hungness what about Alpha Phi makes her feel most confident, she said that “being surrounded by people who I know support me. I feel like I can do anything, conquer anything, when I’m surrounded by the right group of people, Alpha Phis. And a good outfit never hurts.” 

Whether we throw on a hoodie with our letters splashed across the back, or carefully choose the perfect dress and heels ensemble, UW-L Alpha Phis wear more than just their clothing. We wear the expectations that we constantly strive to live up to, the letters that have given us a family away from home, and the confidence that shows that with our sisters, we are supported, loved and an amazing group of women.

Ellie Brown is a collegiate member at the Delta Kappa chapter at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. To learn more about Ellie, click here.

October 20, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: Creating Tradition with Red Dress Gala

Excitement surrounds the Kappa Alpha chapter as we prepare for our very first Red Dress Gala. On November 4, members will gather with parents, friends and alumnae for a night of celebration to raise awareness and funds for women’s heart health.

Chapters across the nation hold Red Dress Galas in hopes of educating the public on women’s heart health and raising funds for Alpha Phi Foundation. Our chapter is only two years old, and we are thrilled to already be hosting a Gala to establish our own traditions for our beloved fraternity. This event is unique to the UNC Chapel Hill Greek life community, and it is a great source of pride for our chapter.

Our gala planning began last February, and since then our chapter has worked diligently to ensure a magical evening for all attendees. Event Director Jenny Baker, has collaborated with our wonderful alumnae, advisors and consultants, receiving both their guidance and inspiration. The night will begin with a cocktail hour where members can meet each other’s families and alumni from all around. Then guests will be guided to walk along a hallway where baskets and other auction items will be displayed.

All members created baskets with their families within the chapter. The baskets all have special themes and are the event’s main way of raising funds for the night. My family’s theme was jewelry, and we received donations from Kendra Scott and other designers. We are excited to see the total funds our first gala will garner for our beloved philanthropy. The night will continue after the silent auction with live music, a three course meal and a speaker, Juliann Gardner. Juliann is a heart attack survivor and works closely with the American Heart Association. Juliann was invited to speak at the event after we heard her moving speech at a similar heart health event. We are excited for our chapter and guests to hear her speak about her life-altering experience and the importance of heart health.

The details of the night seem to be in perfect order, but Events Director Jenny Baker says it hasn’t all been easy. The biggest challenge she has had to face was getting people motivated and on board for the chapter’s first Red Dress Gala. “I’ve had to explain in great detail how this will have such a great impact on our philanthropy and that each member’s efforts are critical to the success of the evening,” Baker said. It might have taken a bit of motivating, but with the whole chapter on board, we hope the night will run seamlessly and our goals will be met.

One of the most exciting things members are looking forward to is their families getting the chance at seeing what a sorority really is all about: sisters rallying around a great cause and supporting one another in our efforts to benefit our fraternity as a whole. I know I am itching to see the night come together. I can’t wait to kick off what I know will be one of my favorite traditions here at Carolina.

If you or someone you know are interested in attending please contact

Mikayla Tencer is a collegiate member at the Kappa Alpha chapter at UNC Chapel Hill. To learn more about Mikayla, click here.

October 11, 2016

Inside the EO: Kathy Gerlach

What is your name?
Kathy Gerlach

Where are you originally from?
Bridgeview, IL

Where did you attend college and what chapter were you a part of there?
Purdue University – Delta Mu

What was your major in college?
Business major with a minor in Computer Science

What was your plan post-graduation? 
My plan was to work in the IT field. I started my career at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, MI, as a programmer/analyst. I received my MBA in Finance from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity?
I had been at home raising my 2 daughters for the last 10 years. As I thought about what the next phase of life would look like for me, I considered going back to work or looking for a volunteer opportunity I could be passionate about. 

What is your job title? 
Coordinator of Alumnae Chapter Development

How long have you been working for Alpha Phi?
I have been working for Alpha Phi for 3 weeks.

What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi—as a collegian, alumna, or staff member?
My favorite memories are of the late nights hanging out with my sisters in the Delta Mu house.

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office?
I like working at the Executive Office because I am learning so much about Alpha Phi. I also love that every day we are making a difference in young women’s lives.

What are some of your goals for the next few years?
My goals are to transition back into the working world, and continue with my volunteer positions in my Alpha Phi alumnae group as well as the Panhellenic alumnae group. 

Do you have any advice for current collegiate members?
Have goals for post graduation, not just “get a job." If there is a graduate degree you want to pursue, a place you want to live or a company you want to work for - set goals for achieving those things.