August 8, 2011

Responsibility of Passing Along Your Alpha Phi Items

I love history and genealogy, so, family photos and collectibles have always meant a lot to me. This is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing that I actually enjoy looking at things hanging on my walls, in my bookcases, on top of my mantle. They define me, my interests and those of my husband and my son. The curse is that my house is getting full!

The secret for me has been to begin to identify what items might belong in another place where they can be treasured and appreciated and not end up at a garage sale. In the case of Alpha Phi items, I have tracked the sale of Alpha Phi badges and other items for initiated members only being sold on eBay for several years now. Luckily, the number of badges being sold online has decreased as more members learn and remember the proper way to handle badges. The Alpha Phi badge, upon the member’s death, should either be buried with the member, given to another Alpha Phi or sent back to the Executive Office. Nancy Theisen Bennett (Delta Tau–LSU) currently resides in Fresno, CA.

Personally, I have begun to give away to other Alpha Phi’s the items I no longer wear with much frequency. As friends’ daughters have joined Alpha Phi, I have given away some clothing and some jewelry. They love it as it truly is “retro” and certainly appreciate the thought. Several years ago, I was given a beautiful raised crest disc necklace by an older alum and neighbor who wanted me to have it to wear to Alpha Phi functions. I have worn it with great pride and always told the story when I wore it and gotten a lot of compliments. Should I stop wearing it, I will make sure to pass it along to a younger Alpha Phi that I know will treasure it as I have. It is important for Alpha Phi’s legacy to keep these badges and jewelry and even clothing in member’s hands. Anything less degrades the special nature of these items we all wear with pride.

In gifting of Alpha Phi items, also consider giving back to your collegiate chapter or a local chapter in your area. If your local collegiate chapter conducts silent auctions as fundraisers at events, some of these “vintage” items could be big sellers.

If you do see an Alpha Phi badge or even another sorority or fraternity badge at an estate sale and you cannot afford to purchase it, consider contacting a member who might be interested. I was at an antique sale several years ago and spotted a Phi Mu badge. I contacted one of my Phi Mu friends in Fresno Alumnae Panhellenic who knew the vendor and purchased it from her to give to another Phi Mu. And, as the family member who collects, I had been given my grandmother’s Alpha Delta Pi Initiation Certificate (1922, Kansas State) along with some other mementos from her college days. I contacted the Alpha Delta Pi Memorial Chair at their national headquarters. After describing the items in detail, she was thrilled to have them sent to her and I know my grandmother would be thrilled as well.

I encourage you to protect Alpha Phi’s legacy and feel good about passing along your legacy.

Nancy Bennett (Delta Tau-LSU) currently resides in Fresno, CA.

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