December 22, 2016

You Are Meant to Be an Alpha Phi

I will be the first person to tell anyone that I don't always fit the stereotype of a sorority girl. Some nights, I would prefer to stay in and read a good book instead of going out. I like to do my own thing and in general, I'm a pretty introverted person with a small set of very close friends. I'm happy with who I am and all the things I've accomplished, but sometimes I feel like I'm little bit outside of the world everyone else is in.  

However, this has never stopped me from being myself. In fact, as I've gotten older, I've learned to embrace my differences because that's what makes me unique and interesting. But more importantly, I've realized that these qualities are what makes me happy and specifically, make me a valuable member of the Delta Kappa chapter at University of Wisconsin La Crosse.  

As a result of my personal experiences, I've been able to recognize that at some point everyone has felt the same way that I have. The difference is that I have grown to use this as a way to connect with my sisters and take advantage of potential opportunities to help others. When I see that one of my sisters is feeling like this, I make an effort to ask her if they want to get together and talk, or I'll try to compliment her and make sure that she knows that she's truly appreciated for who she is. It's important to remember that we're all human and we have our moments of vulnerability, but helping each other through these moments are what makes us such a strong sisterhood.   

Personally, I try to model my experiences in a way that is influential to my sisters, especially newer members. I also know that when I'm feeling down, it's important to surround myself with people who will believe in me and love me no matter what. That's one of the biggest reasons why I joined Alpha Phi.  

So when I look back on my time in Alpha Phi, I still remember one of the last questions I was asked as I went through recruitment my freshman year. As our round was coming to a close, a junior member at the time asked me "What is something that you want us to remember you by?"  

I paused, thinking about my answer. I wasn't sure if I should have said what was on my mind, but I went for it anyways. I told her that I wasn't afraid to be myself. That answer benefited me in the long run because I have been a proud member for the past three years.  

 I am a member who is unafraid to be myself and I have always felt supported by my chapter.  

I want my other Alpha Phi sisters around the world to know that no matter who you are, you are loved and accepted by your sisters. You are appreciated for who you are. You are a part of Alpha Phi for a very important purpose. You received your bid because your sisters saw something in you that shined bright and reflected your personality. Whether you fit the stereotypical mold or not, whether you've felt exactly what I've explained or not, you are making a positive difference in the world and you belong in Alpha Phi. 

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

December 19, 2016

Inside the EO: Elisa Drake

What is your name: Elisa Drake

Where are you originally from? I grew up in Highland Park, Illinois. 

Where did you attend college? I attended Brandeis University near Boston. 

What was your major in college? American Studies, which was an interesting major for people not sure what they wanted to do and included classes like Sports in America, History of the Cold War and American Conspiracy Theories. I also took the only Journalism course offered.

What was your plan post-graduation? I planned to be a teacher, and my first job out of college was as a preschool teacher. I did that for only about a year and a half before applying for graduate journalism programs.

Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity? The job as Editor-in-Chief of the Alpha Phi Quarterly combines so many things I have done and enjoy doing, so when I saw the posting, I applied immediately.  

What is your job title? Editor-in-Chief of the Quarterly

How long have you been working for Alpha Phi? Since the end of November

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office? So far, I’d say the best thing about working here for me is seeing how Alpha Phi impacts its collegiate members and alumnae in so many positive ways. The (mostly) women in the Executive Office clearly embody this enthusiasm for Alpha Phi and its principles. I’m looking forward to contributing to that positive impact through the pages of the Quarterly.

What are some of your goals for the next few years? Continue to bring the Quarterly to higher levels of form and function and add to the communications awards it’s received already!

Do you have any advice for current collegiate members? Build your friendships, try new things, get out of your comfort zone sometimes, speak up in class, get involved, call your mom and tell her you’re OK, have fun and be safe.

December 16, 2016

Spring 2017 Collegiate Perspective Blogger Application

Are you....  
An avid writer?
Social media savvy?
Passionate about Alpha Phi? 

Then consider applying to be a guest writer for the Collegiate Perspective section of the Alpha Phi International blog.

Our blog features topics ranging from alumnae perspective articles to crafting to general women's awareness pieces. And we'd love to throw your viewpoint into the mix! Document a semester in the life: snap photos, tell about events happening within your chapter or write about topics concerning women and sisters of Alpha Phi. The possibilities are endless, and we want to hear your ideas!

In order to be eligible, you must:
  • Be a collegiate member
  • Be able to write blog posts up to two times a month
  • Be available to write through the end of this semester (Spring 2017)

Interested? Fill out the Alpha Phi Collegiate Blogger Application. Please be thoughtful and thorough with your responses. You can view past collegiate perspective pieces by clicking here. We'll be in touch following the deadline regarding the status of your application.

Contact with any questions!

The application deadline is due by January 11th, 2017, by 11:59 PM CST.

December 14, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: The Excitement of Being a Founding Member

Alpha Phi is an international fraternity with an impeccable sisterhood of women who support and push one another on in academics, philanthropy, personal development and more. In the fall of 2015 I had the exciting opportunity to become a founding member of the first Alpha Phi chapter at the University of North Carolina. When I made the decision to join this sisterhood I had no idea what to expect, but looking back now I know that was the best decision I could have made!

As a founding member I was thrown into a pledge class of 130 women and that only continued to grow throughout the year as our chapter participated in continuous open bidding. While at the time I only entered knowing a handful of women I have developed some incredible friendships with women I never would have known had it not been for Alpha Phi.

One of my favorite parts of being a part of a newly formed chapter was the opportunity to work closely with Alpha Phi’s Educational Leadership Consultants. Our two consultants soon became our blonde and brunette moms. Always being there for us whether it was teaching us what it truly meant to be a member of Alpha Phi or supporting us when things didn’t always go as planned. Along with their guidance we have a wonderful team of advisors and volunteers made up of alumnae who wanted to see our chapter succeed at UNC. Their support and guidance through the process of initiation and all of our “firsts” have helped the transitions be a breeze.

Another aspect of being a newly formed chapter that I think was so vital in attracting all the founding members, was the opportunity to form what Alpha Phi would be like at UNC. We are the twelfth sorority on campus and we were extremely grateful to have been warmly welcomed by our entire Greek system. Each sorority here at UNC is unique and the new ones having the ability to form its own reputation and brand has been exciting. Our chapter is made up of intelligent, passionate and fun-loving women and while we are still solidifying our “brand” we are looking forward to building upon it.

In the last year our newly formed chapter has also experienced many “firsts” and with each we have celebrated and been grateful for their success. In the beginning stages of our chapter each member was split up into committees that were eventually replaced with elected and appointed positions. These committees gave each member the opportunity to understand what goes into the different aspects of a sorority. As a member of the philanthropy committee I was able to help plan and organize our first Heart Health Week and Alpha Phifa.

While it took hard work to pull these events off they were overwhelmingly rewarding to see in action. Alpha Phifa was the first soccer tournament hosted by a Greek organization and in our first year we had almost all the fraternities and sororities on campus participating. This tournament was not only a successful philanthropy event, but also brought together each member and was a blast to coach.

Over all it’s not always easiest being a brand new chapter on campus, but for myself and I think all of my sisters, we wouldn’t trade this experience for the world!  

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

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.