May 4, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: Alpha Phi and Sports, The Love that Bonds the Two

In high school, a major milestone for me was quitting soccer. Now, at the time I was ready for that change and genuinely could not imagine missing the sport. I was tired, burnt out and looking forward to the new experiences awaiting me in college which was arriving in the not so far future.

Two years away from the sport was long enough for me to realize I could actually miss it and this hiatus reached its end right around the time I joined Alpha Phi. In joining Alpha Phi, I realized that for someone like me, I could not avoid participating in sports forever. It was a part of me and it was something I loved, just like Alpha Phi.

Alpha Phi had a sports team for practically every sport offered by our school’s intramural program and I slowly found myself immersed within every team. Before I knew it, I had played on the Alpha Phi flag football team, futsal team, basketball team, softball team and of course, soccer team (the only sport I neglected to participate in being volleyball).

And, I have since enjoyed every moment of my involvement. I have also realized that Alpha Phi and sports have more in common than one would instinctively think. Sports teams require support to achieve success and, well, Alpha Phi is one giant team who supports each and every sister. While participating in the sport itself is enjoyable, when I first quit soccer, the thing I did internally acknowledge that I may miss most was my teammates and the mere feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself, of being part of a team.

Alpha Phi is the same way.

There is something to be said for stepping on that dimly lit turf field at 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night with the women who love you, encourage you, support you and maybe even love the sport as much as you. And, of course, we like to win, and many times we do but, many times we don’t. However, when that final whistle is blown, we consistently step off that field laughing, smiling and encouraging those who are maybe struggling to do the same.

I still remember when our flag football team was mercy ruled one night (meaning we were losing so badly that the officials had to call our game short). While we were all a little embarrassed, we raced together for a team picture smiling so bright our coaches were concerned that our knowledge of football was so lacking that we may have thought that we had come out of that game with a victory. We even went out for ice cream afterwards. I also remember when our soccer team won the intramural championships on a hot and sunny Sunday May afternoon. It was only an hour or two following senior ceremonies and one of our senior sisters ended her last game with Alpha Phi by scoring the winning goal. Sisters and friends rushed the field in equal excitement with their poster board signs reading “GΑme Φn” and “Go Seniors! ΑΦ”.

While I personally have found enjoyment in every sport I have participated in with Alpha Phi, soccer season in the spring is the one I now look most forward to. Soccer requires 11 girls on the field not including substitutions which means its one of the biggest sports teams we organize, meaning more quality time with more sisters. And, I know for certain I am not the only one who feels that way at least at Eta Lambda. For us, Alpha Phi intramurals combines the many different aspects of ourselves with our sisterhood. It combines a competitive drive with a light heart and love for sport and sisterly bonding. They are one of many ways in which we learn how to cope with both losing egregiously and winning gracefully, together. As as team, as a sisterhood.

So, Alpha Phi and sports do go together and there is a love for both that bonds the two. At the end of the day, we are a stronger, more synergistic unit because of it.

 Christina Castle is a collegiate member at George Mason University (Eta Lambda). To learn more about Christina, click here.

April 27, 2016

Alumnae Life: Redefining your Alpha Phi Experience

In August of 2011, as I drove away from the life I knew for the past four years, I made a phone call to see what I could do to continue my time with Alpha Phi. For four years Alpha Phi was everything to me, and I knew that I wanted Alpha Phi to be a part of my life forever.

I started volunteering with the Zeta Xi chapter at Elmhurst and met wonderful women whom I still talk to now. I volunteered there for three years, and then while attending Convention 2014, I found out that Alpha Phi would be opening a new chapter right down the street from me at the University of St. Francis. I was so excited that I immediately started to figure out how I could help open a brand new chapter at a University that had never had a sorority or fraternity.

After a lot of hard work and effort I was able to be the Chapter Advisor of the Iota Phi chapter at St. Francis University. I used my new-found home and role to find advisors that would be willing to help start this new chapter and help make it succeed like all the others before us. After a year of working with Iota Phi, I got the news that my husband was being relocated to Wisconsin for work. The first question I had was “What about my role with Alpha Phi??”

I was devastated to leave this brand new chapter that I had helped create but knew that my time with Alpha Phi was not over. Before I even moved to Wisconsin, I had been in contact with other volunteers from the Iota chapter at University of Wisconsin Madison. Being able to volunteer with the Iota chapter has given me a new life line here in Wisconsin. Having to leave behind your entire family, your job and all your friends is not an easy thing, but with Alpha Phi you always have a home no matter where you go.

As an alumna of Alpha Phi you have an opportunity to meet so many more people than you do as a collegian. I have met so many wonderful women, and I know I will always have someone to turn to no matter where my life takes me. Every year I get so excited to attend Leadership Conference in February because I get the chance to see all the amazing volunteers and staff members that have helped me through not only my college years but also my volunteer years. I always meet new people and get to reconnect with those I haven’t seen since the previous Leadership Conference.

The women that I have met through Alpha Phi have become my best friends and sisters in more ways than one. They are the women that I can’t wait to share good news with. They are the women that are there for me when something bad happens and help me figure out what to do to make it better. They are the ones that I couldn’t wait to tell that I would be having an Alpha Phi legacy. They are the ones that no matter where I am in my life, will always be there to support me and have my back. They are the ones that I look up to and hope to be.

I loved being an Alpha Phi as a collegiate, but being an Alpha Phi as an alumna is even better. I hope that I can inspire the women that I work with the way I have been inspired by so many before me.

Alyson Shelton Feminis (Epsilon Delta - Northern Illinois)

April 20, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: Importance of Sorority Women Performing Community Service

Through Alpha Phi Foundation, hundreds of Red Dress Galas and the multiple philanthropy events chapters host throughout the year, Alpha Phi is well-known for raising millions of dollars annually. While Alpha Phi’s philanthropic focus includes women’s heart health, I have found that many of my sisters’ passions lie in other diverse causes. Ranging from College Mentors for Kids to Answers for Autism, directing our passions to various causes allows us to exercise different parts of our skills and have life-changing experiences.

As sorority women, we stand as role models and pioneers for female leadership, going above and beyond within our chapter and our community. Service is one of our core values but it is much more than simply volunteering. Performing community service together as members of Alpha Phi is what allows us to foster memories and meaningful bonds. Each opportunity we have to be a part of our community is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, bring people together, gain professional experience and encourage civic responsibility. These very aspects are the values of our sisterhood and it shows the various ways we can grow from giving back to our house and community.

The common bond of Scholarship-
Through our experience of service, we are simultaneously reaching for education, knowledge and achievement. We can improve upon our skills or learn new ones that are vital to our success as female leaders of future generations.

Pioneering Leadership-
By immersing ourselves in service that we are passionate about, we often become inspired and motivated. Our inspiration provides opportunities to encourage one another to reach and strive for innovative and significant developments. This freedom to grow is carried with us in day to day activities from going to class in the morning and inspiring our sisters at home.

High expectations for Character -
In being a part of something bigger than us, we are challenging our social norms and fostering qualities that separate us from others. Through action and diligence, we are leading by example and empowering women to do the same. In turn, we are becoming more self-confident and versatile individuals prepared for life’s twists and turns.

As inspired sorority women, we have the potential to harness our strength in numbers and to immerse ourselves in service to both each other and the community.  Alpha Phi provides opportunities for young women to discover their skills and be amongst a supportive system that will last through joy and obstacles. Through service, we have the opportunity to give back to the things that helped us become who we are today. Through our sisterhood, we can make significant changes. I invite you to take part today.

Caitie Santo is a collegiate member at Butler University (Epsilon Beta).

April 11, 2016

2016 Alpha Phi Cap and Gown Photo Contest

Alpha Phi is holding its eighth annual Cap & Gown Photo Contest! Submit your best photo of you and your sisters in caps, gowns and Alpha Phi stoles by Tuesday, May 31 at 11:59 p.m. CT to be entered in the contest. Even if your graduation takes place after the deadline, graduates are encouraged to try on their cap and gown today and snap away!

We will be sharing selected photos from the submissions on Facebook on Thursday, June 2. Sisters will then "vote" by liking their favorites. The photo that gets the most likes by Thursday, June 9 at 5:00 p.m. CT will win. As an added bonus, submissions may be featured in the 2016 Summer Quarterly!

To apply please send the following to with the subject "Cap and Gown Contest - [chapter name]":
  • Your name
  • Your chapter/school
  • Your photos with description
Contest Information:
  • The Alpha Phi 2016 Cap & Gown Photo Contest is limited to entries received April 11 - May 31, 2016.
  • Entries must be submitted as digital photos and they must be submitted as attachment as .tif or .jpg files;
  • Photos will only be considered for the 2016 Summer Quarterly if they are high resolution images (at least 3 in. x 5 in. at 300 dpi).
  • The entrant must be the sole creator of the images being submitted.
  • The entrant will not receive payment for the images selected or used.
  • Selected submissions will be featured on Facebook, but not all submissions will be included.
  • By entering the contest, each entrant agrees that the photos may also be used in other Alpha Phi International communications.
  • Acceptable hand symbols include the ivy leaf.
  • Photo collages are not accepted.

If you have any questions, contact

April 6, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: 5 Things You Can Do To Maintain a Happy and Healthy Heart

As an Alpha Phi sister, maintaining a healthy heart is something I like to make a priority every day of my life. With heart disease being the number one killer of women in the United States, I believe it is so important to educate young women across the nation to do the same. With that being said, here is my list of five things you can do to maintain a happy and healthy heart:

1. Eat a healthy and balanced diet! 

Of course, this one is obvious. But it is important to eat foods that are nutrient rich, high in fiber and low in calorie content. So check the labels on the foods you purchase and try to avoid products with a lot of sugar and saturated fat. This is the easiest and most sure-fire way to ensure a healthy heart.

2. Exercise!

Whether it is walking to class instead of driving, going to the gym a few days a week or attending a hot yoga class, exercising is a great way to maintain a healthy heart! Understand that exercising doesn't have to be a huge time commitment; even just a few hours of exercise a week can significantly improve your overall health, and you can even create a reward system where you treat yourself to something fun after completing your time at the gym.

3. Drink water

Yes, it's that simple, people! Another super easy way to stay healthy is to drink water every day. It is recommended that you drink at least 8 big cups of water per day, so always keep a water bottle on you, and refill it frequently. Along with helping keep your heart happy and working properly, it also does wonders for your skin, among so many other things.

4. Don't skip breakfast

I know you've all heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And whoever has told you that is right! Eating a healthy breakfast provides so many health benefits, and skipping breakfast can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and high-cholesterol. So start your morning off the right way, eat some oatmeal, eggs or toast. The benefits are exponential!

5. Last but not least, laugh, and laugh often!

Several studies have shown that laughing helps relieve stress and through that, promotes the healthy function of blood vessels. Whether it is by spending time with people who make you laugh or watching a rom-com, laugh out loud every day, not only will it improve your heart's overall health, but it will also make you a happier person in general!

Tatum Pugh is a collegiate member of the University of Missouri (Omicron). To learn more about Tatum, click here.

March 28, 2016

Alumnae Perspective: How Attending ELI and the Fellows Program Changed My Life in More Ways than One

I often hear the question, “What is your favorite part about being a sister in Alpha Phi?” Followed by answers, like “I feel at home when I am with my sisters” or “I know I am cared for and I will always have a genuine friend to lean on.” I relate closely to these two answers, but more often than not, when I am asked the same question I will always answer with:

Alpha Phi has given me more than I could have ever imagined (cliché, but true). On top of navigating college with the support of my Delta Nu chapter sisters and having the opportunity to hold several positions within my chapter, I was also accepted to attend a session of the Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI) and the Fellows Program while I was an undergrad. I like to think of these Alpha Phi leadership programs as the stepping stones or the “ladder” I climbed to becoming the woman I am today. ELI was the perfect guide to learning how to become a leader, within my chapter, undergraduate classes and the other organizations I joined as a collegian; while the Fellows Program helped me shape my leadership skills for life post-graduation. These opportunities inspired me to reach for higher professional goals and gave me the skill sets to do so. If it weren’t for the Fellows Program, I truly don’t think I would be where I am professionally and I would have missed out on the lasting Alpha Phi connections I have made.

Top 5 ways I benefited from attending ELI and Fellows Program:

  • I strengthened my communication and interviewing skills tremendously. I learned how to rattle off a 30 second elevator speech, which highlights all of my professional and leadership skills.
  • I was introduced to a network of sisters who have supported me from all over North America. Some of my best friends are Alpha Phis I met through these programs and even though we live states apart I keep in contact with these women on a daily basis and visit them as often as possible.
  • Due to the generous financial support of Alpha Phi Foundation, I was able to participate in both of these life-changing opportunities. The programs pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me the opportunity to travel on my own to cities I had never visited before (Indianapolis, Evanston, and Chicago).
  • I built confidence in myself and strengthened the leadership skills I knew I had, but also identified other skills that needed some work. I wasn’t ashamed to admit my weaknesses in these environments because I knew I had a team of women going through the same experience and willing to support me along the way. Imagine being in a room full of top Alpha Phi leaders from across North America, it was both motivating and inspiring.
  • I learned the true definition of what it meant to be a leader and how I could stand up for myself, strive for my goals and most importantly not be intimidated by male leaders in the work force. 
If I could give any single piece of advice to a collegiate member in Alpha Phi, it is to take advantage of these leadership programs. Or, if you’re an alumna and would like to volunteer some of your time, apply to be a facilitator (I also keep in contact with the facilitators from these programs and I can’t thank them enough for all they taught me).

The lessons I learned as a participant of these programs, still ring true in my current everyday life. Following my college graduation from the University of Maine in May 2015, I began working at Alpha Phi International’s Executive Office as a Program Coordinator. While working in this position I also manage a media production company, which I co-found as a senior in college. Working and living in one state, while running a company in another location is not the easiest thing to do as 22 year old, but the Alpha Phi Leadership Programs gave me the skill sets and confidence to meet my goals and become the young professional I am today. I am confident that the experiences I had in both the ELI and Fellows Programs helped to build a solid foundation that I build upon each day. I know that no matter where I go or what I do, the skills that I have gained will serve me well as a leader and as an Alpha Phi.

Kristen Douglass (Delta Nu-Maine)

March 23, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: Homecoming: Why it is important to remember

As according to the Oxford English Dictionary, homecoming is “the action or an act of returning to one's home, household, or native land; an arrival at home”. In a U.S. context, it is “an annual event for former (and current) students at a high school, college or university”. As collegians, many of us already hold a personal understanding of homecoming. It is the football or basketball game. It is the tailgate. It is wearing our school colors and singing our fight songs and chants in unison. It is spending time with friends, family and of course, sisters.

And for me, it is also that one time it rained and I showed up drenched but, didn’t mind because my sisters were all drenched and happy regardless. Or that one time it snowed and many of the roads were still closed so we hiked through the many feet of snow, claiming such a trip as our workout for the week. And, when I won a free gift card from the flying blimp (excellent marketing by the way. Wegmans has been my go-to ever since.)

These are my examples of my personal perception of homecoming. However, just as we as individuals change, our understandings change. This is especially exemplified through homecoming as homecoming is tied to the creation and re-visitation of memories.

The definition of the word itself is indicative as such through the word “returning”. Homecoming is the act of returning. Returning to school. Returning to friends, family and sisters. It is returning to memories. To remember is to keep in mind and never forget. It permits the act of moving forward while simultaneously shaping our future selves by referencing the past.

For current students, in simplest terms, remembrance is bringing your jacket this year because you forgot one last year. For alumna, it is sitting away from the student section, but still wearing your class ring. It is appreciating the old and welcoming the new.

Homecoming is one of three times a year where school pride as well as Alpha Phi pride is at a high which is visible for all to see (the other two times being formal recruitment season and Greek Week). It is the time of year in which the past meets the present and enjoyment and memories are shared amongst all. With the past, present and future, there’s no better way to spend such a special time of year than with sisters held near.

 Christina Castle is a collegiate member at George Mason University (Eta Lambda). To learn more about Christina, click here.