October 19, 2010

Circle Circle, Dot Dot... Now I've Got My Mom and Dot!

Welcome to Terminology Tuesday! Each Tuesday we will blog about some commonly misused terms within the Fraternity. It’s our hope that you take some time to read, laugh, smile, and then use the information to alter your word choices, and the choices of those around you.

Many of our chapters are in the midst of one the most exciting times of the new member program, Big and Little Sister matching. While some of our members are planning special surprises for the newest members of their family lines, others of us are anxiously awaiting the pictures and stories that get passed on. Amidst all the excitement there comes the inevitable sigh when we see the references of ‘Mom and Dot/Daughter’ or ‘Mom and Kiddo’ on photos and wall posts. As an organization, Alpha Phi refers to this relationship as Big and Little Sisters.

But so what? Honestly we aren’t hurting anyone – we are just sticking with the “traditions” of our chapter – right!?! While this may seem like just another thing small nuisance we talk about, it’s an important topic to discuss with your chapter, and even your campus.

By referring to our new members as daughters instead of sisters, we are sending the message that she is not equal to the rest of the chapter. There is still someone who is above her, who can tell her what to do. After graduating high school and starting college one of things students say they are most excited about is no longer having a parent telling them what to do all the time. So why do we allow this in our chapters? The purpose of the Big Sister program is to be a peer and mentor to our newest members.

This terminology is by no means strictly an Alpha Phi issue - in fact it is deeply embedded in the “traditions” of many university campuses. Our chapters can’t control the actions of all Greek organizations and often don’t want to be the only different chapter on campus, so the incorrect terminology continues on with time.

But since when has Alpha Phi been afraid of taking a stand on important issues and initiating change? We educate our new members on all the amazing firsts and accomplishments of our Fraternity, so let’s demonstrate to them that we are still leaders today. Let’s be the organization that takes the issue to your Panhellenic Council and lead by example!

Heather Scheuer is the Program Manager of Collegiate Chapter Services at the Alpha Phi Executive Office. She can be reached at hscheuer@alphaphi.org.

1 comment:

~Janet~aoe*** said...

Love the post Heather!! You and Bethany are too cute in that pic! Miss you! I will definitely pass the link on to our chapter!