July 27, 2011

Squares & Rectangles, Friends & Sisters

I have an important question for you. What’s the difference between a friend and a sister?

You know how they say everything you really need to know you learned in kindergarten? This might be another instance of that. Because I’d like to answer my own question by saying that, the difference between a friend and a sister is a lot like the difference 
between a rectangle and a square.

For one thing, all squares are rectangles, just as all your sisters are your friends. Some women might stop there and conclude that, hey, they’re all parallelograms. Straights lines, right angles, late nights, afternoon coffees, it’s all basically the same thing.

But of course, a square is a more rigorously defined shape. Maybe one answer is that a sister is a friend, held to a higher standard. By the time we joined Alpha Phi we had all made our friends, our best friends, and our okay friends, our Facebook friends, and our oh-my-god-we-should-totally-hang-out-sometime friends. A sister will do everything with you that a friend does, but that’s not what distinguishes the role of Alpha Phi in our lives. A sister is codified. A sister is pledged to you. A sister will be dependable beyond what we normally ask of our friends, beyond what we think we can ask of our friends.

Your sisters will forgive you if you make a mistake, they’ll console you if you didn’t win the match or pass the test or get the job. They’ll agree enthusiastically that the referee was legally blind or that your professor was totally unreasonable. Your sisters will cheer for you and believe in you, but the thing is, a sister is also a teammate, one for whom the season never ends and the field of play is wherever you are. So a sister will also expect really big, amazing things of you. They’ll hold you to a higher standard. A sister doesn’t let you cheat, or cop out, or take the easy way. A sister disagrees with you, passionately, when you say that you’re not up to the task, when you think you’re not good enough. A sister will believe in you if no one else does, she’ll be on your side if everyone else is walking away, she’ll  be happy for you when other people are jealous, and still proud of you when other people are disappointed. And a sister will trust you to do the same for her, and she’ll trust you to do the same for everyone else in Alpha Phi.

I cannot wait to be part of the dazzling, beautiful future of the Kappa chapter at Stanford. I am so, so proud and happy to be a part of Alpha Phi, and so grateful that I get to be friends, and sisters, with the most amazing group of women I know. Thank you.

Tiffany Li is a rising junior at Stanford (Kappa).She currently works for Obvilux.

July 22, 2011

Featured Product Friday

Alpha Phi and other Greek organizations have recently joined forces with Williams-Sonoma and affiliates (PB Teen) to offer a new line of Greek products!
Check out the products here:

July 20, 2011

Sisterhood is...

We asked members how they define sisterhood. Here are some of our favorite responses.

Sisterhood is…

“…inspiring others to keep the flame burning so that new members can enjoy the same lifelong experience of having friends forever.”

“…having sisters there for you through every stage of life.”

“…having women stand behind you through the good, the bad and the ugly and knowing they will never let you down.”

“…knowing that even though you may not see each other all the time and may live miles apart, the ties that bond sisters together are everlasting.”

“…standing next to a group of young women for your first new member picture, not realizing that they will be a blessing in your life forever.”

“…being able to walk into your sorority house, even though you may not live there, and feel at home.”

“…honestly knowing each and every one of your sisters, not by their name or face, but by the little quirky things they do.”

“…being able to share your deepest secrets and insecurities, your hopes and dreams without holding anything back, knowing that your sisters are your vault.”

“…going through the college ups and downs with 50 other women.”

“...standing together when the external forces try to tear you apart.”

July 18, 2011

Inside the EO: Fresh Faces Series

What is your name? Rachel Smith

Where are you originally from? Indianapolis, IN

Where did you attend college and what chapter were you apart of there? I was initiated at University of Dayton and was a part of the Zeta Psi chapter for 2 years.  After my sophomore year at Dayton, I transferred to the Delta Rho chapter at Ball State where I completed my degree.

What was your major in college? Public Communication.

What was your plan post-graduation?  Did you pursue a graduate degree post-graduation?  My plan after graduation was to pursue a career in the communication field.

Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity?  I loved my time as a collegian and then also now as an alumna and have always wanted to make it into a career.  I can truly say that I love what I do!

What is your job title?  I am the Coordinator of Events and Administrative Services.

How long have you been working at the Executive Office?  How long have you been in your current position?  I have been working in my current position at the Executive Office since early July. 

What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi –as a collegian, alumna, or staff member?  I have quite a few favorite memories, but forced to choose just one—I would say that my favorite memory of Alpha Phi as a collegian would have to be my time at ELI (Emerging Leaders Institute).  I met so many wonderful sisters from all different backgrounds and was able to not only learn so much from them, but also create lasting friendships. 

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office?  I love that everyone at the Executive Office truly has a passion for this organization and are all doing everything they can to help it be the best!

What are some of your goals for the next few years?  I am really looking forward to learning from everyone here at the Executive Office and evolving in my new role as an alumna. 

Do you have any advice for current collegiate members?  Enjoy every minute of being a collegian and truly do your best to be involved.  The same can be said when you become an alumna—do everything you can to stay involved with your local chapter and the other alumnae that are around you.  I promise you will not regret it!

July 6, 2011

Summer Phiunion Planning: Parting Gifts

I’m sure the conversation and reminiscing will be enough to draw your pledge sisters back together, but you can help them remember the great times with this “sweet” sendoff.

Melanie from “You Are My Fave” put these party favors together, and I definitely want to make them for my pledge class’ next Phiunion.

This project is pretty simple. Here is what you need:
-Starbucks Frappuccino bottles
-Spray paint
-Martha Stewart labels
-Colorful candies like peach rings, Swedish fish and lemon drops

Simply spray-paint the lids, load with candy and stick your printed labels on the front. Need ideas for the labels? How about “AOE” or “Sweet Seeing You.”\
Following up after the Phiunion is easy. E-mail your pledge sisters a few weeks after and propose a new date several months in advance. This way, those who live farther away can plan flights and hotels.

Having several Phiunions throughout the year can guarantee that all of your pledge sisters can make at least one. And don’t get discouraged by pledge sisters who choose not to come. It’s wonderful if every sister can make it, but just as nice if your gathering is small and intimate.

If you are planning a Phiunion of your own, send your photos and a short blurb about the event to kmitchell@alphaphi.org so we can share your stories on the blog. Enjoy your Phiunions this summer – we can’t wait to hear how they went!

Kathryn Knight Randolph (Gamma-DePauw) currently resides in Chicago, IL.

July 2, 2011

Summer Skin 101

True life: I am extremely pale. My fellow ivories, alabasters, porcelains and Natural No. 1s will agree when I say that we burn very easily. With the summer months ahead, not only fair-skinned sisters but also those with tan complexions are at risk for skin damage.

Regardless of whether you burn, freckle or tan, repeated exposure to UVA/UVB rays will lead to wrinkles, blotchiness or even deadly skin cancers such as melanoma. Studies have shown that this exposure, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, causes the brain to release endorphins. This is why you feel  relaxed after a tanning session. Many who tan multiple times a week thrive on this sensation, which is why many dermatologists believe tanning to be addictive.

In addition to the endorphins, another factor that may cause the desire to tan is the constant pressure from the media. So many celebrities are seen on the red carpet, bronzed and beautiful. Television shows such as “Jersey Shore” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County” constantly send the message “Tanner = Better”, and it is almost frowned upon to have a fair complexion.

It is completely understandable to want a summer glow at this time of year. To maintain a healthy, youthful appearance and still achieve your desired bronze, try these tips:

1. For day-to-day protection, use a moisturizer and lotion that has an SPF in it. Your skin will be silky smooth and protected from the sun. Fun fact: the left arm is a very common place for skin cancer because it is always exposed to the sun while driving.

2. Jergen’s or another sunless tanner is a great way to get that bronzed look without the rays! Be sure to exfoliate and moisturize the rougher areas such as elbows and knees to avoid streaks. Been there, done that.

3. A pricier option, great for special occasions: spray tans. Disclaimer for my pasty peeps: spray tans are extremely intense for the first couple of days, and after about five days, it starts to get blotchy. Here is the plus side: you will look amazing and not orange for that one special day, whether it is a date function, initiation or if you want to see what it’s like to be tan for a day.

4. Invest in an Alpha Phi hat. This way, you can protect your face from harmful rays when you are at the pool/beach and sport the sorority you love most!

5. Lastly, the most important tool for protection is a good SPF. Using a sunscreen of at least 30 or a sunblock (there is a difference) will guarantee protection. Another disclaimer: you are not guaranteed protection with just one application. Even if the bottle says “sweatproof and waterproof”, after a certain amount of time, it’s really not. Reapply every couple of hours to maintain your youth.

As women, we can often feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. There's pressure to achieve the ideal bronze beauty, but we want to remain healthy and youthful at the same time. Is it worth damaging our skin to look great now but not-so-great later? You decide.

Alison Parker is a collegiate member at James Madison University (Theta Iota).

July 1, 2011

Quarterly Review

“Alpha Phi Enters Cyberspace” in Spring 1996. Look how far we’ve come!


"Fresh Faces" Series

What is your name? Jane Simon

Where are you originally from? Hinsdale, Illinois

Where did you attend college and what chapter were you a part of there?
Gamma/ DePauw University

What was your major in college? Communication

What year are you in College? Do you have plans for post-graduation?
I am going to be a junior in college and this upcoming fall I will be studying Marketing and Business at the University of Westminster in London, England. After graduation I hope to live in Chicago and pursue a career in Marketing.

Why did you decide to intern for Alpha Phi International Fraternity?
This internship connects two things that I really enjoy: Alpha Phi and Communication.

What is your job title?
I am the intern for the Marketing and Communications Department.

How long is your internship at the EO?
My internship is for the summer of 2011.

What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi—as a collegian, alumna, or staff member?
My favorite memory as a collegian is all the nights my sisters and I stayed up talking during recruitment! During rush everyone had their different experiences, stories and opinions so the whole house would gather in our informal and share their thoughts of the day.

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office?
Although I haven’t been interning at the Executive Office for long, I have found the social media aspect of Alpha Phi really interesting and I have loved learning about it.  I also appreciate how nice all the women working here are to one another!

What are some of your goals for the next few years?
My goal for junior year is to have fun experiencing the British culture and to travel to many different countries in Europe. As for Alpha Phi, I plan on running to be VP Marketing of my chapter and getting to know all the new members when I get back from being abroad!

Do you have any advice for incoming collegiate members?
I suggest getting to know all your sisters in the chapter. While living in as a sophomore, I was amazed at how different everyone was, but how well everyone responded to one another!