October 31, 2011

Representing Alpha Phi in Your Community at Alumnae Panhellenic

In my nearly 35 years since college graduation, I have lived in six different communities, five of them in the first 17 years. So, as we moved to new communities, I looked for any networking opportunities that would help me meet new people socially and professionally. My first priority was always direct involvement in Alpha Phi, specifically as an advisor to a collegiate chapter. I did this with my own chapter (Delta Tau – LSU) and also with Gamma Pi at Arizona State. Both of these experiences of being an advisor were very rewarding and kept me young and connected. In the case of Arizona State, I became lifelong friends with a close knit group of advisors and also met wonderful women through the alumnae chapter. These Alpha Phi contacts were terrific socially but were also an asset to my career as two of my close Alpha Phi friends worked for the same bank as me.

The four other places I lived did not have Alpha Phi collegiate chapters and one town was so small that there was no college nearby. We currently live in Fresno, CA and have lived here for nearly 18 years. I contacted the local Alumnae Panhellenic to join and represent Alpha Phi as there was not an Alpha Phi alumnae chapter when I moved there. I am still actively involved in Fresno Alumnae Panhellenic Association (FAPA) and enjoy friendships to this day with some of the women that I met when I first move to Fresno. Sorority women are active and involved in their communities and for this reason I have found ease with working with fellow sorority women on different school or community projects. For selfish reasons alone, the Alumnae Panhellenic memberships that I have held have benefited me in many ways. On a much larger scale, my membership has benefited Alpha Phi.

In the case of FAPA, I was a District Alumnae Coordinator for Alpha Phi in the mid-90s. Fresno State’s Greek system was in a state of flux and really needed some assistance. Because they were without a true Greek Advisor for quite some time, FAPA recommended me as a volunteer advisor. My role was so appreciated because I was knowledgeable and objective. My presence at Greek events keeps the Alpha Phi name in the forefront on campus. The strong Greek community at both the college and alumnae level here indirectly benefits Alpha Phi at other locations, certainly in California.

Many women want to know that the organizations they are involved in is relevant to them – one that gives back to the community and benefits them as individuals – which is exactly what Alumnae Panhellenics do. They are in place to help the collegiate sororities and assist in spreading the word about sororities to high school students. For example, many Alumnae Panhellenics award scholarships to Greek women at local universities or who live in the area. In the case of FAPA, we have consistently helped with recruitment, especially helping counsel girls during the final selection process. We have lobbied on behalf of the Greek community with the college administration on issues such as housing contracts in the dorms or being involved in the interview process for replacement Greek Advisors. Additionally, we help publicize the positive events that the Greeks participate in. FAPA is relevant and the proof of that is the women who join FAPA because they want to give back to the Greek community, help strengthen it and provide positive role models to the collegiate women.

I would encourage any Alpha Phi to take advantage of joining an Alumnae Panhellenic in your community, both for your personal networking and also to spread the positive benefits of joining Alpha Phi. Alumnae Panhellenics seek membership from all NPC sororities as part of their charter. For more information about Alumnae Panhellenics in your area, please contact Paige Stallings at pstallings@alphaphi.org.

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

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