February 25, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Always Alpha Phi

You’re in your last semester of undergrad, and you’re finally about to graduate. You’ve come a long way and worked really hard to get to this point. You still have a fun filled calendar full of Alpha Phi events and activities. However, you no longer have a position, and are beginning to feel that because of this, you are losing touch with the chapter. You may also begin to feel that it’s hard to relate with some of your younger sisters, as you are older and approaching a different phase in your life. If this sounds a little bit familiar, you are not alone. Luckily, there are many ways you can still be involved! 

  1. Be a mentor: You most likely already have your fair share of younger members of your Phi Family, which means you most likely won’t be getting any more. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and spend time with younger members. As a senior member, you have experienced a lot through your time as a collegian. Offering advice and guidance will help members discover their true leadership potential.
  2. Join a committee (or two): You may not have an official position, but if you’d like to still contribute in a more concrete way, you can join a committee. It can be for your chapter’s Red Dress Gala, or a fraternity’s charity event. This also gives you another way to spend time with your sisters, whether they’re in your graduating class or have just joined! 
  3. Apply for other opportunities within Alpha Phi: There is an incredible opportunity that has recently emerged for upper year collegians that I have been lucky enough to be a part of. Along with being a Collegiate Perspective Blogger for this semester (which is open to all years), I have nothing but incredible things to say about Alpha Phi’s Leadership Fellow Program! I had the chance to meet empowering women, improve my professional skills, and further strengthen my relationship with Alpha Phi.
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On the flip side, you may be an executive member of your chapter and are experiencing challenges keeping your seniors engaged in chapter activities. This is not uncommon, but does need attention. It is true that seniors do need some space to figure out what their plans are for after graduation, but it is important to maintain contact and encourage continued participation. You could introduce an award recognizing a senior for their contribution to the chapter over the years. Or maybe initiate an event that will soften the transition from senior to alumnae life such as an alumnae brunch or a professional women’s panel (both events all members can benefit from, regardless of their grade). You may reach out to upperclassmen members themselves and ask them what they think will help them continue to feel involved in Alpha Phi!

I myself have had a hard time adapting to being a “general member,” but it has helped me grow and appreciate Alpha Phi even MORE – for what the organization is, and what it stands for. I’ve chosen to become an Alpha Phi whole-heartedly, and that doesn’t mean just for the first few years. It means all the way through my collegiate years, and far into my years as an alumnae. 

Cassie Caranci is a collegiate member at Western University (Theta Eta). Learn more about Cassie by clicking here.

February 23, 2015

On the Road: I’ll Be There For You

As my journey as an ELC comes to an end, it feels similar to the series finale of your favorite TV show. One of the best things about the finale is when they include a “look back” at the journey the characters have been on to get to the end point. Here is the brief “highlight reel” of my 2014-2015 ELC journey.


Training: Walking into the Executive Office with each of our names on a bed in the bunk room. I remember giving each of the other consultants a hug as everyone arrived. Sitting in the conference room with our name tents, pens posed to jot notes about everything from BillHighway to Social Media Contracts. Seeing all of our faces photoshopped on a BeyoncĂ© picture for “phi-erce” ambassador training, and struggling to get our emails set up on our computers.

On the road: I remember the first time I was at a chapter on my own with collegians packed in a room listening to a polish week presentation. Looking out at the crowd and telling myself “you can do this” before giving a workshop and feeling relieved with a reaffirming nod of a head in the audience. I remember the feeling at my first Bid Day as a consultant and knowing that the lack of sleep was worth the smiles beaming from the new members’ faces.

The Lasts: Seeing my last schedule, sending my last visit notices, or working with Kim to book my last set of flights. The feeling of how quickly this journey has come to a close and how much I have changed as an individual. The feeling of the last time I will submit a bid list, the last time attending Bid Day or the last time I will hear “Never Alone.”

Flashbacks of my amazing journey as an ELC bring a twinge of sadness that it is the season finale. The best part is seeing the awesome transformations and lessons learned on the road throughout the year – learning to be prepared for anything, surprised by nothing and appreciate everything! And most of all knowing that the friendships found on this journey can never be replaced.

Brie Strimbu (Beta Gamma-Colorado) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Brie by clicking here.

February 20, 2015

Featured Product Friday: The Social Life Headbands


Choose from five different color options of these pre-designed Cabobandz exclusively for Alpha Phi. Perfect for adding a little flair to your class outfit or to your beach getup! Order just one for yourself or order in bulk to get special discounted pricing.


Price (for one band): $12. Click here for details and discounted bulk pricing.

February 19, 2015

Planning Your Chapter’s Frances E. Willard Day of Service


March is quickly approaching, which means that the month to hold your Frances E. Willard Day of Service (FEWDS) is right around the corner! We want to make sure that you have a plan in place for your chapter to participate in Alpha Phi’s 5th consecutive year of this meaningful initiative.

Planning

  • Contact your campus/student life office and research organizations that provide service to women in your community, nationally or globally.
  • Contact your local alumnae chapter to collaborate efforts or invite them to join in on your service activity.
  • Select a women’s organization that is open to working with your chapter.
  • Find a date in March that works with the organization you've selected and when the members of your chapter are available.
  • Finalize the date, time and location.
  • Send out a communication to all your members with the specifics they need to know about participating in the event. Make sure you have everyone wear their letters to volunteer!
  • Take the pre-FEWDS survey to let the Executive Office know what your chapter is up to.

During

  • Participate in FEWDS with your sisters!
  • Take “action shot” photos while you are participating in the service activity.
  • Post to your social media channels using the hashtag #APhiFEWDS.

Follow-Up

  • Send a thank you note to the organization where your chapter volunteered your time.
  • Recognize the members of your chapter that participated and recap what you accomplished as a chapter by donating your time.
  • Submit all of your accomplishments and photos through Chapter News so Alpha Phi International can share it with all our members.
  • Take the post-FEWDS survey and share the details of your successful service activity!
If you have additional questions, please contact Beckie Maday at bmaday@alphaphi.org.

February 18, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Achieving the Balance


In “sorority world,” the lines between public/private, work/home, and professional/fun easily disintegrate in a storm of glitter. Passing through this storm, I have learned you can never know a leadership position’s full range of responsibilities until you tackle it yourself. General membership can keep you very active—striving for academic success, staying on top of attendance, and meeting community service requirements—but toss a demanding leadership role on top of it all and the level of commitment only increases. When you take on a position, your experience in sorority world—and the relationships that define it—evolves. You relate to advisors, administrators, alumnae, PNMs, and, of course, your sisters in new and sometimes intimidating ways. Inevitably, your perspective, your opinions, and your actions change. Sometimes the glitter storm feels like a monsoon. In the midst of the shimmering downpour—in class, at work, or on the weekend—you are always representing your organization to the people around you.

Separating “chapter business” from “personal business” is a notable accomplishment, especially when your sisters are also your roommates, friends, and classmates. Sometimes in these contexts sisters will second-guess what they say or how they act around you, wondering whether or not they can be completely open with you. You might question if it’s possible to be both a good leader and a good friend. I've realized that most of us want to be both leaders and friends. It’s great when the two overlap. The reality is, they’re not always going to. You hold your friends to your own personal standards, but you hold your sisters to Alpha Phi’s standards—that’s part of your responsibility. As long as you remain consistent, your friends should understand that part of being a good sister means supporting your loyalty to your leadership position. What matters is that we’re able to work together to achieve the same goals. At times we need to remind each other what those goals are. Embodying professionalism as a peer leader doesn't have to mean you’re anti-fun. It just means you need to find a healthy balance between being fun and being focused.

In sorority world we compartmentalize professionalism, but the popular saying tells us that we’re always wearing our letters. Like it or not, being a leader of your chapter is a round-the-clock job that will require you to rebalance your schedule. When I was Chapter President, I answered 3:00 a.m. phone calls from sisters and attended 9:00 a.m. classes in spite of them. I rearranged my study schedule to hold judiciary hearings during finals weeks. I made a commitment and I took it seriously. Whenever you drop the ball, as a member or a position-holder, it doesn't just go away—it rolls into someone else’s court. Your success as a leader and your ability to achieve professionalism in that role sometimes depends on what you are willing to sacrifice. That being said, leaders can sometimes bite off more than we can chew; we instinctively take on too much.

One huge misconception in “sorority world” is that being an impactful leader is mutually exclusive with holding a position. Positions aren't the only way to develop professionalism. We all have concerns we want prioritized, and we don’t need titles to voice them. Being an active rather than passive member of Alpha Phi will ensure that each of our chapters will continue to strive for improvement rather than become stagnant.

Alina Walentowicz is a collegiate member at SUNY/Plattsburgh (Theta Psi). Learn more about Alina by clicking here.

February 13, 2015

Inside the EO: Dakotah Lindsay

What is your name? Dakotah Lindsay

Where are you originally from? Outside of Dallas, Texas

Where did you attend college and what chapter were you a part of there? The University of Southern California - Beta Pi (Fight On!)

What was your major in college? I majored in Policy, Planning, and Development, and I minored in Law and Public Policy and Marketing.

What was your plan post-graduation? I originally planned to stay in LA and to work in fashion marketing… clearly my plans have changed!

Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity? I originally applied to be a ELC on a whim, but once I started traveling, I fell in love with working with our chapters.

What is your job title? Program Coordinator of Collegiate Recruitment

How long have you been working for Alpha Phi? I traveled as an ELC from 2012-2014, but I just started my new position at the beginning of January.

What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi—as a collegian, alumna, or staff member? It is incredibly hard to pick one! A lot of them have been centered around recruitments, while I was in school, as a consultant, and as a volunteer. One of my favorite experiences has definitely been the entire experience of working with our Iota Kappa chapter at Dartmouth. I have loved working with them and building a relationship with them. I’m currently in the middle of my fifth Dartmouth recruitment, and I’m so proud of their improvement. I also had the chance to be a part of starting our chapter at Harvard, which was such a cool experience!

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office? I really enjoy working with great people to help improve and support our chapters. I loved working with our staff, volunteers, and chapters as an ELC, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to do so.

What are some of your goals for the next few years? Personally, I want to explore and get to know Chicago. I would also really like to better adapt to the cold weather (and get a warmer jacket)! My main goal workwise is to continue to provide the best support possible to our collegiate chapters.

Do you have any advice for current collegiate members? Enjoy every second of your collegiate experience. It goes by so quickly. Also, stay involved with Alpha Phi after you graduate! I loved my collegiate experience, but I have loved my post-college experience even more.

February 11, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Informal Made Easy

The informal bidding process is something that can allow a chapter to reach goals it never has before. However, it takes strategy and planning to make it work. For my chapter at Western Michigan, COB took our chapter from 75 members to 83, the largest our chapter has been in years. Our new member class reached a whopping 42 members, and I was lucky enough to add not only one but two new member to my Alpha Phi family! I was Director of COB when our chapter was growing, and I was determined to get us to campus total. I had a couple weapons in my arsenal that allowed me to accomplish this goal:

  1. Educate. Sometimes it can feel like the Director of COB is the only one who really cares about the process. This isn't going to help anyone. Boosting chapter morale and educating your chapter on the importance of COB will make the job easier in the long run. COB is no different than formal recruitment in that these are women who can be potential roommates or even a little sis (I snagged my second little sis through COB), so everyone should be interested and invested.
  2. Go neutral. Typically, after inviting women to our home and giving them a tour and such, I found it beneficial to take them to Starbucks or Froyo. Doing this takes them to neutral ground and can take some of the nerves away after being in a huge house with 50 loud strangers. It can be intimidating. Take this time to get to know these women, what they want out of your chapter, why they’re deciding to go Greek now, and other things that they’ll feel comfortable answering somewhere neutral.
Theta Delta's latest new member class after their pinning ceremony

COB isn't easy, nobody ever said it was. But if you work hard at it, it can lead to great success. Finding what works well for your chapter on your campus is key. Sometimes you have to make the wrong move to see what the right move is. And who knows, you just may find the other missing piece to your Greek family.

Gianna Petan is a collegiate member at Western Michigan (Delta Theta). Learn more about Gianna by clicking here.