April 21, 2012

Alabama Tornado Relief

A few weeks ago, Alpha Phi Educational Leadership Consultant (ELC) Sarah Dariano (Beta Omicron-Bowling Green State) informed the Executive Office about the work of two amazing collegiate Alpha Phis, Paige Trotter and Alex Mays (both Beta Mu-Alabama). Paige and Alex saw the aftermath of the tragic 2011 Alabama tornados and decided to do something about it. This is their story.

On April 27, 2011, we were rushed down to the bottom floor of our dorm, one block away from the path of the F5 tornado that destroyed our town. Tuscaloosa, Alabama had become our home during our freshman year at The University of Alabama (both being from Colorado, Alex and I met as pledge sisters at Alpha Phi). Although we escaped the storm unharmed, we saw plenty who hadn’t. The tornado took away things that could never be replaced, so we wanted to try and bring people comfort and give back what could be replaced. I flew home to Colorado to start campaigning to different churches, schools and organizations in an attempt to raise money. The Colorado community immediately came together bringing us food, clothes and supplies to send back down with Alex’s dad and myself. Alex stayed down in Tuscaloosa volunteering in the cleanup. We spent every day sending out letters, emails and Facebook Group messages to people asking for donations. In the two weeks of fundraising, we raised $6,000, with an exceeding total of $10,000 by the end of the summer.

We “adopted” a family who lost everything in the tornado, and were able to help out a couple more families and individuals with the kind contributions of everyone in Colorado. We supported the White family who left three children as orphans after the tornado. The newborn baby girl was thrown across a field and was found wrapped in clothes without a single scratch, a true miracle baby. The children are under their grandparents care; however, both grandparents had been severely injured by the tornado. We assisted the family in getting food, clothing, toiletries, and were even able to purchase a dryer for them. We also got basic needs to other families and individuals.

We continued to fundraise and host events over the summer of 2011 and worked with a Tuscaloosa non-profit, sending them our additional funds. Approaching the one-year anniversary, we were contacted by Alpha Phi to share our story. We are currently working with another family to furnish the home they finally get to move into after an entire year of living with family members. We are so honored to be Alpha Phis and to be able to share our story with our sisters, along with having their love and support.

Thank you to Paige and Alex for sharing their story! You are an inspiration to Alpha Phis everywhere!

April 17, 2012

The Importance of Collegiate Involvement

Going away to college can be tough. Transitioning from your comfort zone of regular schedules and daily home-made meals to alarmingly late nights and Ramen noodles can be a big change. College can really test your character and make you question a ton of things about your interests and your future. The best way to cope with the constant change of college life is to get involved!

You’ve probably heard this at least a dozen times from your parents, your advisors, other college graduates, or a combination of all. But hey, they’re right. Getting involved changed the way I viewed my collegiate experience and really made the difference between sticking it out and moving back home.

2010-11 Homecoming Council

If you’re going to a large college or university, it’s easy to get lost in the vastness of the student population and feel like an ant among giants. Going from auditorium to auditorium with 300 strangers to go back to cinderblock dorm-room is kind of… well, awful. The best way to avoid those painful twinges of homesickness is to get busy. Dive in and explore your university’s student activity resources and find something you might see yourself enjoying. Get so busy that you have no choice but to love what you’re doing.

After a pretty emotional freshman year, chalked with break ups, adjustments and bad roommates, I was craving something that would positively define my college experience. I went out on fairly extreme limb and applied to be on the Homecoming Executive Council.

Beyond fortunately, I earned a position on the board as an assistant to a great friend of mine. I had a blast. I met people that changed my life and made me laugh -- who encouraged me to do things I never would have done in the first place – like rush FSU’s Newest Sorority, Alpha Phi. It’s because of my experiences with student activities in college, that I have such pride and love for FSU.

Most schools have a website solely dedicated to student activities. At FSU, there are over 600 Registered Student Organizations, so have no fear, there’s something for everyone from every background. All you have to do is look.

FSU Panhellenic Recruitment 2011- Preference Ceremony

Getting involved with your college outside of the classroom is extremely important to the success of your future. It allows you to apply what you’re learning to real-life situations and puts you in front of a diverse group of students and faculty. The connections you make with different facets of the student body is rewarding and totally worth any work you put into your membership or position. Serving on an executive board for any student organization will be the most enjoyable work you ever do, and if nothing else, adds a tier to your resume.

 As graduation creeps closer and closer, it’s not the all-nighters, classes or even the teachers I’ll remember. It’s the time I was blessed with working with people who both inspired and helped me light a path in making my years in college some that I’m really proud of.

If you haven’t already, find your niche. Get out of your dorm and your comfort zone and find something that helps you be you. Participate in recruitment, join an honor society or find a club that coincides with your major. The more places you go, and the more people you meet, the more opportunities will flourish – and the happier you’ll be.

Jamie K. White is a collegiate member at Florida State (Gamma Phi). Click here to read more about Jamie.

April 13, 2012

Featured Product Friday: Bows

When we posted the photo below to our social media outlets last week, Alpha Phi's Facebook page was buzzing! Many of you asked where to purchase this lovely bow, and we're happy to share with you an Alpha Phi Licensed Vendor: Explosion Sportswear. Contact information for ordering is listed below!

Heather Hauge, Explosion Sportswear
360-521-4830 Direct line
1-866-800-1900 Toll Free

April 11, 2012


Negative stereotypes of Greek life are nothing new. As sorority women, we have spent countless hours defending bad reputations given by movies like The House Bunny and Animal House to campus administration, the media, friends and family. We are forced to explain that being in a sorority does not mean we’re arrogant, shallow or unintelligent—in fact, it is just the opposite! So why do some find it funny to make light of these labels?

The acronym “TSM” stands for “Total Sorority Move” and was coined by the website totalfratmove.com. The site’s perspective on what a “Total Sorority Move” is differs greatly from my Alpha Phi experience. Here are a few of many distasteful excerpts:

“It’s not hazing, it’s hierarchy. TSM.”
“Dear standards, sorry for partying. TSM.”
“I make sandwiches, not decisions. TSM.”

Are these things to be proud of? I sure don’t think so. While it is easy to laugh off these statements, it is just as easy for non-Greeks to see them as confirmations of the stereotypes they’ve always heard. If we don’t show respect for our organizations, how can we expect others to?

Since my initiation two years ago, I have made some of my closest friends through Alpha Phi. I’ve supported a great cause while participating in the Gamma Omicron chapter’s Fast Phi’t philanthropy events, and have helped colonize a new Alpha Phi chapter at Creighton University. I was proud to be in the chapter with the highest GPA in Greek life last spring, and am excited to meet sisters from around the country at the Alpha Phi Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) this summer. And while the social events and formals have been incredibly fun, these are the reasons I will value my time as a collegiate Alpha Phi and will be proud to be part of this organization for the rest of my life.

Fellow NPC group Tri Sigma suggested on their blog earlier this year that sorority women should consider replacing “TSM” with “RSM”—Real Sorority Move. Instead of promoting the stereotypes shown in the media, this acronym promotes our sisterhood, the values we swore to abide by, and the outstanding benefits of being a member of a great organization. Here are some alternative “Real Sorority Moves”:

“Going to school for my MBA, not my MRS. RSM.”
“Always acting as if you’re wearing your letters. RSM.”

And, as Tri Sigma states on their blog,
“Realizing that the term TSM may have been corrupted by negativity and arrogance. RSM.”

So, before you upload that spring break picture or post a status concluding with “TSM,” keep in mind that it will be a reflection of Alpha Phi whether it includes letters or not. As Alpha Phis, we already know that our organization is made up of quality women with outstanding character—let’s make sure that the rest of the world sees us that way, too!

Use the hashtag #RSM on Twitter to tell us your Real Sorority Moves.

Maria Opatz is a collegiate member at Drake (Gamma Omicron). Read her bio here.

April 10, 2012

A Common Cause: Two Bentley Sisters Reconnect Through Business

Over ten years have passed since Alpha Phi sisters Jillian (Lamoureux) Nowlan and Kate McCullough graduated from Bentley University (Zeta Rho chapter), but these roommates have kept in touch and now are working closer than ever by integrating their businesses together—while keeping children in our community at their core.

Kate, a South Boston resident, was an avid quilter and sports fanatic. After watching a Jimmy Fund special during a Red Sox game, she was inspired to use her talents to give back to the community. After months of planning, she created “Wrapped Up in Sports, “ a 501(c ) (3) tax-exempt non-profit organization dedicated to making, collecting and donating sports team-inspired quilts to children in need. She has worked alongside Terry Francona and Kevin Youkalis (and his non-profit organization) to donate over 462 quilts in just over two years. Kate believes that every child deserves to have their spirits lifted, not only on game day, but every day.

Eight hundred miles away in Charlotte, North Carolina, her former roommate Jillian had just taken some time off from a fulfilling relationship management career upon the birth of her two sons, Garrett and Grayson.

“After working so long in the professional field, I realized that I was still a business woman and now my business was kids!” Jillian saw the joy in the eyes of a child when they read a good book and decided to write and publish her own. “I definitely utilized my Bentley education while creating my publishing company, “Cloud 9 Children’s Books, Inc.,” and the entire book’s lifecycle from writing, editing, printing, networking, analysis and marketing. This project touched on every subject and was a great big check mark off my bucket list.”

After numerous late night calls and emails, the former roommates decided to partner in their business endeavors. Kate shares and assists in marketing Jillian’s book “My Propeller Plane,” and a portion of the proceeds goes directly to Kate’s organization, “Wrapped Up in Sports.”

Kate and Jillian are grateful that Bentley and their Alpha Phi sisterhood provided the foundation that they needed to go out into the world and make a difference; they both agree that they are in the business of making children in our communities smile.

For more information, please visit Kate and Jillian’s websites:
Cloud 9 Children’s Books, Inc
Wrapped Up in Sports

Thank you to Jillian Nowlan (Zeta Rho-Bentley) for sharing this wonderful story.

April 5, 2012

Theta Delta Colony: A Founding Member's Perspective

This is such an incredibly exciting time for Alpha Phis at Creighton University.Currently, our organization is a colony, soon to be installed and receive its charter in late April! Alpha Phi is Creighton’s seventh sorority on campus, and I feel so blessed to be a member of such a diverse and wonderful group of young women.

Choosing to be a founding member was a really tough decision for many of the women in the colony. Formal recruitment is an extremely draining and reflective week, and choosing your sorority can impact the rest of your life. Alpha Phi was involved with Creighton’s formal recruitment process for the first two rounds; there was an initial round about where the Educational Leadership Consultants (pictured with Murphy below) discussed what Alpha Phi was all about, and there was also an evening dedicated to philanthropy. After these initial rounds, Alpha Phi left the formal recruitment process, inviting any women interested in becoming a founding member to leave formal recruitment as well. These women would then participate in an Alpha Phi-specific recruitment process a few weeks later.

Creighton is not short on extraordinary students, so talking to women from various organizations made it tempting join one that was already established. Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious, however, I couldn’t help but think of all of the possibilities that would remain ahead as a founding member of Alpha Phi on Creighton’s campus. I was willing to take the risk and join without knowing who exactly my sisters would be. And there was something terrifying about taking that risk. Even if Alpha Phi sounded more than wonderful, who could say if the sisterhood would be the right fit for me?

One evening during the week, I was stressing over my decision, so I called one of my best friends, the founding chapter president of Beta Theta Pi, a men’s fraternity recently established on Creighton’s campus. I wanted to know about his experience as a founding member, and if he thought it would be the right path for me. He reassured me that it was one of the best decisions he had made at Creighton. As he talked about how his hard work paid off in developing Beta as a fraternity on campus, I put myself in his place and imagined what I would be capable of doing for Alpha Phi. The possibilities seemed endless, and it seemed as though it would be a more fulfilling experience than joining an already-established organization.

The next day, signing the form that officially dropped me from the formal recruitment process was an emotional experience. I knew that choosing to be a founding member would lend a very different experience to Greek life. It’s impossible to tell at that moment if I was making the correct decision, but I thought back to the beginning of formal recruitment, when the Panhellenic president assured all of potential new members that they would end up exactly where they belonged. Two months into my experience as a founding member of the Theta Delta colony, I simply could not be happier to call Alpha Phi my home. Choosing Alpha Phi wasn’t necessarily the easiest path to take, but I think I speak for all of the women in the Theta Delta colony when I say that it has been the right--and best--decision possible.

Murphy Dowd is a collegiate member at Creighton University (Theta Delta). Read her bio here.

April 3, 2012

The Other Side of Philanthropy

“You may have a heart condition.”

Six little words that can instantly shake your world. At 22, a college senior is usually thinking about graduation and life after college. But in that instant, my thoughts of the future stopped.

Everything began from simply running at practice…

I play rugby for Shippensburg University. At the first practice of the season, I suddenly became dizzy, nauseated and lost my sense of balance. Since I had a concussion only three months prior, my team took precautions and sent me to the local emergency room. I was thinking it could be something with my head, but was not phased when an EKG (Electrocardiography) was taken “just for cautionary measures.” After many tests, the doctor came into the room and began discussing the results of my EKG. An EKG is essentially a test that records the electrical activity of the heart. He asked if I had heart disease in my family, to which I replied “yes.” He asked if any family members experienced sudden death at a very young age. I froze, and said “no.” He then mentioned Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW), a condition I had never heard before. The doctor explained that people with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome have an extra pathway to their hearts that may cause a very rapid heart rate. The most severe form of a rapid heartbeat is ventricular fibrillation, which can rapidly lead to shock, and requires emergency treatment. I couldn’t tell you how the rest of our conversation progressed. I thought about the fact that it was February, the month to celebrate Alpha Phi Foundation’s philanthropic focus: women’s heart health. In one short week, we would raise funds and awareness for the Foundation with a male beauty pageant. We always talked about being heart healthy in meetings and at events and how to find out if you’re at risk. And now, I wasn’t just talking about our philanthropy…I was living it.

A few days later, I sat in the cardiologist’s office at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. They would perform a diagnostic electrophysiology procedure to see if I had WPW. Even though it was 7 a.m., sisters sent their thoughts via text message asking me to keep them updated. I knew regardless of the results of the test, I had a support system to get through it. Five hours later, I awoke to the nurses overhead. I experienced a wave of feelings when I found out the news. Everything was normal.

The following week, Alpha Phi hosted our male beauty pageant benefitting Alpha Phi Foundation. It was an emotional end to a whirlwind week. As I taught the contestants their pre-choreographed dance, I couldn’t help but look around at all my sisters and think how fortunate I was. Seeing the other side of Alpha Phi’s philanthropy is an experience I am so thankful for. It re-affirmed that joining Alpha Phi three years ago was one of the best decisions of my life. Through the support of my sisters and philanthropy, I now know I can get through anything—with heart.

Lauren Lamon is a collegiate member at Shippensburg (Theta Xi).

April 1, 2012

Quarterly Review

Spring 1979

On a lucky Friday the 13th of October, last, collegians, one hundred strong, from Beta Omicron chapter, Bowling Green, Ohio, swarmed to the backyard of International President Mary Carr Boyd in nearby Perrysburg, to give her a surprise serenade. International president Mary Boyd and Beta Omicron president Karen Hoffman are at center.