March 29, 2017

The Power of Legacy

It is crowded on the main staircase and all of my sisters are wearing blue dresses that range from carolina to cobalt. I am squeezing the waist of the sister beside me and the tip of my heel is resting on the calf of the sister directly in front of me. We are all getting ready to smile and preparing to walk down the stair as one like a cascading waterfall and not like a rippled wave. There is a knock at the door and the recruitment chair opens it just enough for a recruitment counselor to slide a hand decorated clipboard through. The clipboard contains a hundred names of potential new members who are waiting in the Florida summer heat on the front steps of 123 N. Copeland, eager to come inside.
            “Jones, Siedman, Colella, out of line,” our recruitment chair calls up the stairs after looking over the all of the names on the clipboard. “Joura, Putnam, Stelter, legacies!”
            As our recruitment chair calls my name, my heart begins to pound in my chest and the smile on my face becomes real, no longer rehearsed. Because she is an Alpha Phi legacy, the young woman that I am about to meet has more in common with me than she knows.
A few years ago, I was late into my terrible teens and dying to run off to college at Florida State, a thousand miles away from home. I craved the independence that comes with being a collegiate. Unlike most parents, my mom wasn’t worried about me, especially because she had already signed me up for formal recruitment. She knew that I would soon belong to a chapter, a sisterhood of more than two hundred women who would have my best interest in mind. They would take care of me the way her Alpha Phi sisters took care of her at Penn State.
            I am definitely my mother’s daughter, but I was eager to be my own person. The power of legacy didn’t quite click in my head until I went to Alpha Phi on skit day of recruitment. On stage, four sisters met for brunch; the youngest sister was about to go to college and her biological sisters were trying to persuade her to go through recruitment. Each of the three multi-talented older sisters—a singing southern belle, a brainiac dancer, and an all-star fashionista—had been a member of Alpha Phi. Despite their differences, they all found a home there and thrived, becoming the best versions of themselves. This skit alleviated any qualms I was having about joining the same sorority as my mom.
            All of that week, my mom stayed unbiased. We’d talked every night about the amazing women I was meeting, about the involvement opportunities I was learning about, and about how excited I was not only for bid day, but my first day of college. I kept it a secret until bid day that I knew I wanted to be my mom’s sorority sister because I knew I could still be my own independent self, creating my own experiences and also strengthen our bond. On bid day, my mom could barely hold in her excitement on the receiving end of the phone call as I told her that I was a new member at the Gamma Phi chapter of Alpha Phi. We have always been close, but becoming sorority sisters has brought us so much closer. My mom has always been my mother first, but she was also my first role model and my first friend. Now, she is my sister. My mom has walked the same walk as me and it is an absolute honor to follow her footsteps!

            The multi-generational legacies in Alpha Phi are ones to truly treasure. At the Gamma Phi chapter, there are many sets of biological sisters sharing incredible experiences. Many women, like me have Alpha Phi mothers and others also have Alpha Phi grandmothers. In Alpha Phi, legacy isn’t just tradition, it is an extended family. For this reason, chapters even initiate the unaffiliated mothers of Alpha Phi sisters so they can experience the incredible bond between Alpha Phi sisters and grow together. The power of the Alpha Phi legacy is in the celebration of sisterhood. Each generation of women contributing to this legacy is what makes Alpha Phi so timeless!

Sydney Stelter is a member of the Gamma Phi chapter at Florida State University. To read more about her, click here.

March 2, 2017

Being Greek: Breaking Down Stereotypes


From the singing and clapping by the massive front door as a welcome ritual to last minute formal dress shopping frenzies to bursting over the news that you got a Little, being in a sorority is full of unique—and to the outsider, eyebrow raising experiences.

When I first joined Alpha Phi as a freshman in college, I was asked multiple times by old friends from my high school days if I was sure what I had got myself into. They asked questions about what the process was like to join a sorority; they commented with rolled eyes about the stereotypes and challenged me to explain my choices to them. They were curious if it was a party culture and demanded to know if it was “like the movies.” 

Now, after being an active-member in Alpha Phi for four years, I can openly laugh at the ignorance of these conversations, because being Greek is nothing like that. Being Greek isn’t partying every single night of the week, although it is being willing to drop everything and get to your sister’s side any minute of the day with a warm hug and a Diet Coke when emergencies come up. Being Greek is more than a perfectly organized Lilly Pulitzer planner, color coded by function. It’s having a sister there you can call for help when your math homework is confusing. Being Greek doesn’t mean using daddy’s credit card to pay for a third Starbucks of the day; it means raising money—thousands and thousands of dollars—for the Alpha Phi Foundation and for women who suffer from heart disease. 

Being Greek is a chance to meet people—people who want you to succeed on campus and in life. When I joined Alpha Phi, I was involved on campus at a very minor level. I met women in my own chapter who urged and pushed me to join organizations that fit my talents, my passions and my dream-career. They encouraged me because they were already involved; they brought me to meetings for different organizations and eagerly welcomed me into more than just Alpha Phi. I finally felt like I had a place on my college campus and I had room to grow. And, more than my campus, I’ve formed a sisterhood with more than just Alpha Phi. At an airport, it’s not uncommon to casually strike up a conversation with another woman waiting to catch her flight proudly wearing Greek letters. I know in the future that I will proudly meet others who were members of the Greek system in my work environment, and see that they are lawyers and doctors, and watch them on television.
 
As a member of the Greek community, I’ve heard it all. The good, the bad, and the mean. I’ve responded with boldness towards opinions from others. Being Greek is more than a club or an organization that is only four years, it’s for life. 

Julianne is a member of the Beta Sigma chapter at the University of Utah.To read more about her, click here.

February 20, 2017

Alpha Phi Overseas Photo Contest 2017


To celebrate our flourishing Alpha Phi Overseas Facebook group, Alpha Phi is holding its fifth overseas photo contest. The contest will showcase creative and unique photography taken by Alpha Phis around the world.

To enter, submit your favorite photo from anywhere outside the United States and Canada. You or Alpha Phi sisters must be in the photo, submit anything imaginative, creative or interesting – from buildings, to landscapes, to urban settings. Please include a brief description of the photo, names, schools and chapters. You can send submissions to photosubmission@alphaphi.org.

Selected photos will be posted on Alpha Phi International’s official Facebook page. Sisters will then “vote” by liking their favorites. As an added bonus, submissions may be featured in the 2017 Summer Quarterly!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

Contest opens for submissions on Monday, February 20th.
Contest ends Sunday, March 26 at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Photo album will be posted on Facebook for voting to take place from March 27-30 (at 4:00 p.m. CT).
Winner announced on Friday, March 31!

RULES OF ENTRY:
  1. The Alpha Phi Overseas Photo Contest is limited to entries received February 20-March 26, 2017.
  2. A maximum of 2 submissions may be entered per person.
  3. The entrant must be the sole creator of the images being submitted.
  4. Photo collages are not accepted.
  5. "Ivy” is the only hand-symbol that will be accepted.
  6. Not every photo submitted will be displayed on our Facebook account.
  7. The entrant will not receive payment for the images selected or used.
  8. By entering the contest, each entrant agrees that may also be used in other Alpha Phi International communications.
  9. Entries must be submitted as either:
    • Digital photos must be submitted as attachment as .tif or .jpg files; photos will only be considered for the Quarterly if they are high resolution images (at least 3 in. x 5 in. at 300 dpi).
    • Hard copy photos should be mailed separately (including your name, contact information and photo caption identifying those pictured) to:

Alpha Phi International Executive Office
Attn: Alpha Phi Overseas Photo Contest
1930 Sherman Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201

February 15, 2017

Manifestations of Alpha Phi's Values


The formal recruitment process at Florida State University is, as it should be, values based. At recruitment parties, it is common for potential Panhellenic women to ask the question: “What are your values?” Because of this question, and with the mnemonic device “S3L2C” I can respond with the answer “sisterhood, scholarship, service, leadership, loyalty, and character” as if it were a reflex.

This list of core values is empowering and holds each Alpha Phi to a higher standard while shaping an identity that connects all Alpha Phi sisters universally. It is one thing to tell someone what you value and it is quite another to show them. Fortunately, Alpha Phi’s values manifest themselves in events, outside-the-box activities and the individual role models in every single chapter across the United States and Canada.

Joining a sorority means joining a sisterhood—a true union between diverse women that is deeper than friendship. Some women who join Alpha Phi have never had a sister, while others have never had hundreds of them. Either way, Alpha Phi women treasure the value of sisterhood and honor it with acts of kindness, dependability, love and support. As all sisters are loyal to what Alpha Phi stands for, they are each loyal to one another.

During the recruitment process, I found my first role model in Alpha Phi. Then I found another on the soccer field, and another during my morning routine as I got ready for Spanish each day. Role models inspire you to be better for yourself and one another. At Alpha Phi, there are strong women taking the time to empower others and foster character development in every single member.

Alpha Phi offers the opportunity to take on many leadership positions internally. Each woman can be a committee member, chair, delegate, vice president or even president. Additionally, sisters are seen leading externally on campus and in the community because they are working on being the best versions of themselves, giving back and being mentors to like-minded women.

Sometimes college may seem like fun and games because of date functions and socials, but each Alpha Phi attends college to achieve higher education and prepare for success. This is why scholarship is so vital. We hold each other accountable for academics—in my chapter alone there are future doctors and engineers that the world desperately needs. We all need to help them succeed. You will often find sisters on coffee runs, studying together in the common rooms and testing each other with flashcards right before chapter meetings.

Service is a value Alpha Phi women hold close to their hearts. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. The women in every chapter dedicate themselves to funding education, research, outreach and technological advancement for heart disease through Alpha Phi Foundation and American Heart Association. We practice on global and local scales—Alpha Phi at Florida State University has close ties with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital which has an entire wing to honor that relationship. I am proud to say that each sister in my chapter has taken a class for hands only CPR, so whether they have already been personally affected by heart complications in their lives or not, the
y will be able to act quickly and with confidence to save a life.


Sisterhood, scholarship, service, leadership, loyalty and character are universal values that each Alpha Phi has the opportunity to understand more fully. What is so incredible is that we get to know and understand these values by looking into the hearts, minds and faces of sisters. For example, when I look at my little, I see a natural-born leader seizing every opportunity that comes her way and when I look at my  roommate, I see true sisterhood as she drops everything just to help a sister in need. Collectively, the sisters in Alpha Phi manifest all of the values. Together, we can inspire others to hold themselves to higher standards and make a difference in this world. 

Sydney Stelter is a member of the Gamma Phi chapter at Florida State University. To read more about her, click here.

February 2, 2017

Choosing a Little


We all know that feeling when the new pledge class comes bursting through the door on bid day. The pure joy of seeing all the beautiful faces that will carry on the legacy of your chapter. And for me last year, like many Alpha Phis, the joy of knowing that one of these beautiful new faces would be my future little!

But choosing a little is often a complex process. There are so many great girls that make up each Alpha Phi pledge class, so how do you know who is right for you? How do you know who will “click” with your pham in a genuine way? Every big-little bond can be something truly special with just a few simple steps.

First off, with such a large group of girls, there is no need to go on a girl date with every single one of the new members. Personally, I am not big on all the girl talk and coffee dates, so I quickly narrowed down the number of girls I communicated with based on their hobbies, interests and the activities they were involved in on and off campus.

I was also able to narrow this list down further based on similar personalities, and whether this would mesh with my personality as well as the general vibe of my family. As for my pham and I, we are a group of girls with a wide range of interests ranging from athletes to artists who all share common values.

I started meeting some of the girls I thought would fit into the pham. For me coffee dates were too generic, so I thought of different ways to bond with the new members and find my little. I took my group of new members to a fun lunch in the inner harbor of Baltimore.

With the other new members I would go out to lunch or dinners on and off campus. I would attend their shows or sporting events. I would even go to lacrosse games or baseball games with them, along with brunch or just hanging out watching a movie. I think it’s important to hang out with the new members in different environments rather than just a coffee date because you get a better sense of the type of person they are and whether their vibe fits with you and your pham.

Now I am not exactly sure the point where you realize “Wow, I would like this amazing new Alpha Phi to be my little”, but for me it was early on in the process of looking for a little. Obviously I still met with all the girls I was interested in and all those who reached out to me, but it was clear as day she was the perfect match for my pham. Once you narrow down the one or two girls you believe would fit best it’s important to have a pham gathering with this new Alpha Phi; it’s kind of like bringing home the new boyfriend to meet your family.

It’s not only a great opportunity for the new member to realize all the support and love there is in Alpha Phi, but also a chance for them to meet some of the older members in the chapter. Through these simple steps the big-little connection starts and each pham continues to grow this special bond with the new member experience and every day after.

Princess Sutherland is a member of the Zeta Omicron chapter at Johns Hopkins University. To read more about her, click here.

January 31, 2017

Meet the Spring 2017 Collegiate Perspective Bloggers!





Julianne is a member of the Beta Sigma chapter at the University of Utah. She is a senior working on a double major in Communications and Film & Media Arts. She has served Alpha Phi in a variety of roles such as Vice President of Chapter Operations, Director of Philanthropy, and Director of Campus Activities and Hospitality Chairman. For the 2017 year, she has taken on a Panhellenic role serving the University of Utah Greek community as the Vice President of Judicial and Risk Reduction. Julianne works on the Student Advisory Committee with the It's On Us campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses; in January, she was honored to give the opening remarks for Vice President Joe Biden at the It's On Us Summit! On campus, Julianne is the President of Her Campus and serves as a voting member on the Student Media Council. In her free time, Julianne loves to attend yoga classes and eat as much Thai food as possible!

Princess Sutherland is a member of the Zeta Omicron chapter at Johns Hopkins University. She is a junior on the pre-med track, majoring in Public Health Studies and minoring in Spanish for the Professions. She is also a forward on the Field Hockey team and participates in child psychiatry research at the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus. She is serving as the Director of External Events for her chapter this spring semester. Princess’s family is originally from Jamaica, but she grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. She loves to travel, try new cuisines, and watch and participate in a variety of sports. The best word to describe Princess would be “vivacious”, and she is excited to be one of Alpha Phi’s Collegiate Perspective bloggers this spring.

Sydney is a member of the Gamma Phi chapter at Florida State University. She is a senior studying English with a concentration in editing, writing, and media. She has served the Gamma Phi chapter as the guard and chaplain, assisting with ceremonies. Sydney is proud to do communications work with The Children’s Campaign, a non-profit in Tallahassee, Florida. When she isn’t writing, editing, or scrolling through her social media feeds, you can find her supervising at Starbucks, taking HIIT (high- intensity interval training) classes with her sisters, or sending GroupMe messages to her creative writing students.

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.