November 10, 2013

On the Road: Sweet Home Alpha Phi

The past 3 months of being on the road have been filled with the most life-changing experiences I have ever had.  One of the biggest adjustments for me was being away from home for months at a time.  Throughout college I was always 20-minute drive from home and the longest I ever spent away from my family was probably two weeks. My biggest fear was the possibility of being home-sick. I knew I was going to miss my parents, my brother, and my dog, but also my Beta Psi home at San Jose State. As it turns out, being away has been better than I could have ever expected.

From August through October I have had the opportunity to visit six of Alpha Phi’s wonderful chapters. Each chapter has welcomed me with open arms and in each visit I have felt at home. The truth is, no matter where we go we always have an Alpha Phi home not too far away. Having the physical structure of a house is just a nice bonus some of our chapters are fortunate to have, but a home is so much more. It is sharing a special bond with a group of people who you can always count on whether you’ve known them for four years or for four minutes.  

I have been lucky to spend the majority of my time traveling at the Beta Sigma Chapter at the University of Utah.  One of my greatest memories during this journey so far was my third trip back to Salt Lake City. After a long, stressful day of traveling with flight delays and layovers, I was greeted at the airport by two cars of girls with posters and flowers. The surprises didn’t stop there. While I was gone, 15 members moved into their brand new chapter house; I was so anxious to see the house and the décor. After a tour of the house the girls showed me to the guest room that I would be staying in during my visits the rest of the year. Tears filled my eyes as I entered the room when I spotted the frames filled with pictures of my family, my sisters from home, and my ELC team. Words can’t describe how much that meant to me and my appreciation for the women who put that together. I wasn’t just entering a new house, I was entering a new home. 

This past weekend was another special moment only few get to experience as an Alpha Phi, the Ribbon Cutting of a new chapter house. I was so excited to be able to attend the ceremony with the sisters of the Beta Sigma chapter and we were all so thrilled that Linda Boland would also be attending. A few days before the event, I received a call from the Alpha Phi Foundation with the opportunity to speak on their behalf at the ceremony. I was so honored and grateful to be able to present the chapter that I have been so fortunate to watch grow so much over the past three months, with the Foundation’s gift. The building of this home has been a huge accomplishment for the women of the Beta Sigma chapter. It has brought me so much joy to watch them begin making so many memories within these walls. 

While the house with the red door on South 10th Street in San Jose, California will always hold a special place in my heart, it now shares that place with 6 other chapters and counting.  My love for Alpha Phi continues to grow with every member I meet and this experience has been so gratifying to see the success and the future of our organization.

Melissa Doruff (Beta Psi-San Jose State) is a first year ELC. 

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