November 2, 2010

Terminology Tuesday: Inspiration DAYS


As new member orientation periods start coming to an end and we begin to prepare for Initiation, many of our chapters are starting their inspiration activities prior to Initiation. In the past this time was called “Inspiration Week,” “I-Week,” or “Inspo Week.” However, those terms are outdated and do not reflect what our chapters should be doing.

Alpha Phi does not support an Inspiration Week—a five day week full of activities for our members. This does not lead to the most inspirational experience for new members or allow them the opportunity to reflect on why they are joining our organization.

Instead we use the term, “Inspiration Days” to best reflect what our chapters are doing (or should be doing). Prior to Initiation, chapters should plan two or at the most three activities for all members, including Court of Ivy. A chapter can choose to do one history appreciation event (such as a Founder’s Day Ceremony, slideshow of chapter’s history, a Ritual review, or the Rose Ceremony) OR one sisterhood event (such as the Flower Ceremony, a pot luck, or older members sharing their Alpha Phi memories).

The following events are NOT allowed during the time prior to Initiation:
- Requiring new members to move into the house, suite, or a location that is not their normal place of residence
- Scavenger hunts
- Any activities with alcohol
- Any activities with men
- Blindfolding
- Test taking
- Class nights (Examples: Nights with the Seniors, Juniors, etc. or new member class nights: nights with new member class from fall ’09, etc.)
- Sleepovers—Alpha Phi founders felt that members should spend the time before initiation alone, in contemplation.

It is important to note that all inspiration activities must include the ENTIRE chapter.

Chapters should not write or use ceremonies specific to their chapter without permission from the Executive Office. All chapters should utilize ceremonies from the Ceremonies Manual or other Alpha Phi International Office publications. This is to ensure that our new members are receiving the Alpha Phi experience and not one that incorporates “traditions” that are no longer relevant or appropriate.

At no time should new members be scared prior to Initiation. Each new member should eagerly anticipate admittance to Alpha Phi’s Ritual. All activities should be planned and carried out in a spirit of love and kindness.

It is also important to understand that inspirational activities should be planned for the entire membership throughout the new member orientation period and the rest of the school year. Why just wait for a few days before Initiation to share the meaning and importance of our organization with our sisters? We can be honoring and living our Ritual daily, and reminders throughout the year are helpful to renew our commitment to our sisterhood.

Stefania Rudd is the Manager of Resources and Training Initiatives at the Alpha Phi Executive Office. One of her focus areas is the new member program and chapter education. She can be reached at srudd@alphaphi.org

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