May 28, 2012

Inside the EO: Fresh Faces

1. What is your name? Sarah Dariano
2. Where are you originally from? I’m from Perrysburg, Ohio

3. Where did you attend college and what chapter were you a part of there? I went to school at Bowling Green State University, the Beta Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi.

4. What was your major in college? I majored in Biology with a Chemistry minor.

5. What was your plan post-graduation? I had always planned on going to medical school, but then I became a consultant for Alpha Phi and fell in love with working for this organization. In my first year as a consultant I worked primarily with our new chapter at Florida State and a bit with our young chapter at Alabama. In my second year as a consultant I worked with our new chapters at Utah, Whitman and Clemson, and continued to support our young chapter at Alabama.

6. Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity? Honestly, I applied to be a consultant on a whim thinking that it would be a fun experience for a year and then I would pursue a career in the medical field. After my first year as a consultant I couldn’t think of anything I would rather be doing.

7. What is your job title? My job title is the Program Coordinator of Colony Development, so I will be working with our newest colonies from their bid day through the installation of their chapter.

8. How long have you been working for Alpha Phi? How long have you been in your current position? I am just starting this new position on June 1, but on July 15 I will have been with Alpha Phi for two years.

9. What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi—as a collegian, alumna, or staff member? My favorite memory of Alpha Phi was bid day for our new colony at Florida State. It was the first colonization that I experienced and to see all 140 of those women show up so excited to be an Alpha Phi was absolutely amazing!

10. What do you like best about working at the Executive Office/What drew you to work at the Executive Office? My favorite part about working at the Executive Office is all of the people that work there. I have had the pleasure of working with 25 consultants over my two years as well as all of the staff members, which makes me want to do my job better not only for myself and the students I work with, but also for my co-workers.
11. What are some of your goals for the next few years? Over the next few years I hope to help streamline Alpha Phi’s colony development process as well as continue to support the consultants who are working with the colonies.

12. Do you have any advice for current collegiate members? Stay involved with Alpha Phi after college! I absolutely loved my collegiate Alpha Phi experience, but I have loved my post-college experiences with Alpha Phi that much more. You can join an alumnae chapter, volunteer on a regional team, work for the executive office and anything in between, but definitely do something!

May 25, 2012

Collegiate Perspective: The Top 5 Apps

At this point in time, many of us are owners of a smart phone. Whether it’s an iPhone, a Blackberry, or an Android, there a millions upon millions of apps to choose from, but for the on-the-go Alpha Phi, these are some of my favorites.

Hopefully you’ve already got a LinkedIn account, and if you don’t, I would encourage you to get one! It’s basically a Facebook for professionals. It’s a great way to market your occupational skills while connecting to important people within your field of work. This app lets you do this on-the-go with alerts about messages and invites, and keeps track of your news feed. This is an awesome app especially for recent Alpha Phi graduates seeking employment.

Nike Training Club
The Nike Training Club app might be my favorite app of all time. It is the most convenient way to get a good, solid, workout in, from anywhere, at anytime. Which is basically an on-the-go, collegiate woman’s dream. It has dozens of workouts based on either “getting lean, getting toned, getting strong or getting focused,” each focusing on a specific area of the body. Two of my best friends (and Alpha Phi sisters) use this app for nightly workouts. It times each type of workout, gives you an instructional video, and lets you set it to your favorite pump-up play list. We really like the “ab burner” workout under “get focused”!

If you’re a coffee junkie like me, you will love this app. It has several features, however, the card and location features are my favorites. During the summer I travel a bunch, so finding the closest Starbucks from anywhere closest to the interstate comes in handy. It lets you know the nearest location to you and gives you directions. Have a Starbucks gift card? Load in the information onto your smart phone, you can use your phone just like a gift card!

Instagram allows you to put a creative touch on all those pictures you take everywhere you go. Give them a vintage feel, make them brighter, or change the highlights and lowlights. It also works sort of like Twitter and Facebook, so you can check out your sisters and friends pictures in a newsfeed setup.

Witty, right? This is the BEST to-do list app. I have several. This app allows you to categorize based on importance. If you’re facing an impossibly busy semester, juggling class, internships, Alpha Phi, AND work, this app breaks all of your biggest jobs into the smallest parts, helping you manage your life a little better. It syncs up with your iCal, too, making this task manager virtually almost flawless.

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

May 15, 2012

Branding Your Chapter

Recruitment isn’t the only time of year to focus on marketing your chapter. Every day is an opportunity to show off the Alpha Phi lifestyle to potential new members, your campus community and other onlookers. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind while promoting your Alpha Phi home:

1. Keep a Blog. Beginning and maintaining a chapter blog is cheap, easy and fun. Examples of entertaining posts include a philanthropy event recap, a feature on a member who received an award, or an account of a sister’s travels while studying abroad. Keep posts concise but personal, and include pictures! Try websites like Blogger or Wordpress for free, customizable templates. For a great example, check out this blog created by the Omicron chapter (Mizzou).

2. Find Friends and Followers. Speaking of social media, blogging isn’t your only option. Facebook and Twitter aren’t only used for procrastination—they’re a marketer’s best friends. If you haven’t yet, create Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep viewers updated on chapter activities, and be sure to submit the links to Alpha Phi’s Executive Office so your pages appear on the Chapter Locator page. Interact with alumnae, organizations on your campus and other Alpha Phi chapters to spread your reach. Creating events or hashtags for philanthropy or recruitment activities can also be used to inform and generate buzz.

3. Invite Your Professors to Dinner.  Hosting an all-chapter “Professor Dinner” at a local venue or your chapter house can showcase Alpha Phi’s commitment to scholarship. Inviting professors, coaches or advisors for good food and conversation welcomes them to experience Alpha Phi and see it in a positive light. Introducing them to chapter advisors and giving house tours can also build connections between academic personnel and the extracurricular group you love.

4. Organize a Pen Drop. Everyone loves free stuff. Last year, my chapter came up with a creative way to market Alpha Phi and give away some useful utensils. During the first week of spring semester, we orchestrated a campus-wide “pen drop” of hundreds of ballpoints that read: “Alpha Phi wishes you a successful semester!” We left these pens all over campus—in the library, cafeteria, classrooms, and offices. The pen drop got our name out on campus, as well as in many students’ backpacks.

5. Be Panhellenic! Just like you chose Alpha Phi as the right fit for you, the women of other houses chose their sorority home for a reason. Keep that in mind, especially before recruitment. Putting down other organizations on campus doesn’t give them a bad reputation—it gives you a bad reputation. This is extremely evident to potential new members who are concerned about the catty sorority stereotypes. Showing respect for everyone in the Greek community can be one of the best marketing tools you have.

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

May 8, 2012

Continuous Open Bidding (COB)

Bid Day has to be one of the most nerve-wracking and exciting days of Greek life. In a formal recruitment process, you’ve gone through a long week, trying to figure out where you belong along the way. For many, this is the way they fell in love with Alpha Phi. For some, it is a different case entirely. Formal recruitment can be a really overwhelming experience, and for some, it isn’t the right gateway into Greek life. As someone who never quite saw myself in a sorority, I can understand the uneasiness associated with formal recruitment. This is in part why I chose to become a member of the recruitment committee and work specifically with Continuous Open Bidding (COB).

A semester into being a charter member of Alpha Phi, there is still nothing more exciting than when new women accept their bids into Alpha Phi. As one of the Co-Directors of COB for the Theta Delta Chapter, I have had the pleasure of extending bids and watching as the experience of Alpha Phi changes lives. As a newly initiated Alpha Phi, I am beyond thrilled to be able to share in the collegiate experience for the next three years, and I feel so blessed to be a part of watching our Theta Delta family grow each week. This has been one of the most rewarding parts about being a founding member of this chapter.

COB is an informal recruitment process in which sororities meet with Potential New Members (PNMs) on simple coffee dates to see if both the sorority and the PNM are interested. It’s a less intimidating approach to joining Greek life for women who are unsure if it is the right fit for them. Many sororities employ COBing when they're under campus total. For brand new chapters, COBing is essential to keep the family growing. Being a part of this process, first as member of our COB team and now as a Co-Director, has been one of the most incredible parts to the charter member experience. There’s no better feeling than being able to introduce fantastic new women each week at chapter, and knowing that you had a direct impact on an organization that will change their lives forever.

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

May 2, 2012

Alpha Phi: Two Words That Changed My Life

Bid day can be considered a pivotal moment in any collegiate woman’s life, and I remember mine clearly. After a long recruitment week at University of Alabama, I was sitting on my bid in Bryant-Denny Stadium with a couple thousand other women all anxiously waiting to tear open our bids. With a deep breath, I closed my eyes and opened the envelope. Inside was a piece of paper that would change my life forever.

Alpha Phi. Those two words in a matter of a few seconds would become one of the most important things in my life. We all know that Greek organizations give you a home away from home, but on bid day, I didn’t realize how big of an effect it would have on my life. I came from a horrible high school experience filled with cliques, and as the new kid from Japan, it was sometimes hard to fit in. But when I pledged Alpha Phi, I was welcomed by women I barely knew with open arms. Beta Mu and my 93 new pledge sisters served as a new beginning.

From day one, I knew that pledging Alpha Phi was one of the best decisions I ever made. We immediately went on a pledge retreat, which helped us bond as sisters, and on that same retreat, I was also elected pledge class social chair. Having a title and major responsibilities from the start definitely helped foster and grow my love for Alpha Phi. It allowed me to become involved in every aspect of Alpha Phi and get to know my sisters as well.

I’ve also found that when you’re having a bad day, one of the most comforting places to go is the Alpha Phi chapter house. Whether its boy trouble, pressure from school or friend issues, one of your sisters is there to listen. Some of my older sisters should really consider getting a psychology degree because they have given me amazing advice through some difficult situations.

Also integral to my Alpha Phi experience is my godmother, Julie, who is an Alpha Phi alumna of Ohio State University (Rho). A week before recruitment started Julie showed me her pin and said if I pledged Alpha Phi, she would give it to me. Neither one of us knew which sorority I would end up in, but I still remember the look on her face when I saw her outside of the chapter house on bid day. It was probably the happiest I had ever seen her and there were tears in the corners of her eyes from pure joy. In November, she surprised me by initiating me, and right before initiation, she opened the palm of her hand revealing her pin, saying said that it was mine now. It’s an amazing feeling to know that not only is your biggest role model your godmother, she’s also one of your sisters.

They say that when you join a sorority you find your lifelong friends and bridesmaids, and I can honestly say that thanks to Alpha Phi I have found both. In just 10 months Alpha Phi has changed my life completely. There is no other way I would rather be experiencing college than as an Alpha Phi at the University of Alabama.

Cate Cullen is a collegiate member at the Beta Mu chapter (Alabama). Read her bio here.

May 1, 2012

Quarterly Review

Summer 1975

“Hey there,” to the rest of you 60,000 Phis out there from delegates to the Lawrence, Kansas, Leadership Seminar. The coat-of-arms on the Gamma Delta chapter house wall was designed by International President Phyllis Sims Selig and Annette Luthy Davis when both were collegians at Kansas. It was fired in seven sections; no kiln on campus was large enough for the whole thing. It’s as wide as President Phyllis is tall and weighs 1,200 pounds.