October 31, 2013

Collegiate Perspective: The Name Game

Earlier this year, I was offered the opportunity to meet 50 Alpha Phi women outside of the Delta Epsilon chapter, from all over the United States and Canada. Alpha Phi’s Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI), held in Indianapolis, IN, was a chance to explore my leadership abilities and develop strategies to bring back to my chapter at the University of Iowa. Most of the women I met at ELI also held leadership positions in their own chapters.

In short five days, ELI helped me fall even more in love with Alpha Phi and my chapter, and I learned something important in that time frame, something that I had never realized prior: it’s all about the name.

I was initiated into Alpha Phi in October 2012. The day I left Indianapolis, I promised myself to know every member by her first and last name. Our leader whom I still look up to, Genevieve Evans Taylor (Psi-South Dakota), opened ELI with a segment on names. Little did I know, eight techniques would help me through Fall Formal Recruitment, networking opportunities, and all while strengthening my leadership abilities.

  1. Look the person dead in the eye and repeat his or her name. This is easier said than done. I consider myself to be very outgoing and have no issue with eye contact, but after learning this technique, I discovered I made excuses to not look someone in the eye. However, it’s one of the simplest things to do and it helps me make the most connections.  
  2. Ask the person to repeat or pronounce his or her name. I’ve met a lot of men and women whose name on paper is difficult to pronounce. It’s shocking how many times I’ve been passively corrected because I’ve been pronouncing a last name wrong. If only everyone’s last night was phonetic.  
  3. Visualize. Vague right? The “word art” all of us 90s kids came to love in middle school really takes the cake. Write it out in your head with your favorite font style or make bubble letters with pink sparkles if you’re feeling girly. Visualizing a name helps you spell and remember that Catie with “C”. 
  4.  Use associations. This technique takes some creativity, but it’s possible. If I find myself thinking of something, like a place for example, while meeting someone new; I’m going to remember that person’s name. 
  5. Drill. That’s what I said. If we can do it for midterms, we can do it with names. As crazy as it sounds, notecards help. Now, think notecards sound extreme? I’m not disagreeing with you, but when your future boss has to remind you of the 10 most important people that could change your future sitting in a meeting…you’ll thank the notecards—and me—later.  
  6.  Write the name down. Over and over and over. I’m sure by the 100th time you’ll know their full name, hometown, and favorite color.
  7. Intend to remember. Simple, if you want to remember, remember.
  8. Admit you just don’t know. Avoiding a person’s name will get you nowhere except awkward. If all else fails, ask, “What’s your name?” When they respond, say, “No, your last name.” Poof! You now have both their first and last name without any awkward “Hey you!” elbow taps.

Anna Kozak is a collegiate member at Delta Epsilon (Iowa). Learn more about Anna by clicking here.

October 30, 2013

On the Road: Individually Unique, Together Complete

Throughout each of my visits, I have encountered a wide variety of living situations. I am asked many questions along the way, but one questions seems to be particularly frequent: “So…where do you live?” I usually answer this question by turning towards my 27-inch suitcase and its 21-inch matching carry-on, both of which contain my life essentials.

Then I think about it, and, really, I live in many places. I’ve lived on 30 planes (but who’s counting?), in dozens of airports, and a few hotels. I’ve lived in an apartment, numerous bunkrooms with collegians, and chapter guest rooms. But when I really look at where I’ve lived, it’s not just the facilities I stay in but how I feel when I stay with each of these chapters. It’s the voices of sisters filled with excitement after a successful day of recruitment, members sitting in the TV room laughing and chatting about their daily lives, or watching how happy members are when they are reunited with their sisters at chapter meetings after spending even just a few days apart from one other. These are just some of the joyful moments that make my time as an ELC unforgettable.

Many things define each of our 159 Alpha Phi chapters, but regardless of where they live, members of Alpha Phi have more in common than I could have ever imagined. Alpha Phis are compassionate about sisterhood, learning and leadership, and strive to develop their futures through scholastic achievements. Their journeys may lead them to many different places, but their Alpha Phi journey is one that will always lead them home. And regardless of where I live, and no matter where I go, I will always find a home when I am with my Alpha Phi sisters.

Bridgett Giery (Gamma Pi-Arizona State) is a first year ELC.

October 26, 2013

Collegiate Perspective: Some Have A Story, We Have A Legacy

One of the challenges our chapters face is building a bond between alumnae and collegiate members. On October 10, Alpha Phi celebrated 141 years of sisterhood; all of which wouldn’t be possible without the women who built a foundation upon which Alpha Phi now thrives. The relationships formed with alumnae members can develop into some of the most rewarding friendships. Alpha Phi has more than 155 chapters, and over 165,000 members. In early October, the Eta Lambda chapter at George Mason University celebrated its 25th anniversary. The chapter was blessed by the presence of the chapter’s founding new member class, and was reminded of its special bond with the founding members and other alumnae. 

“Seeing the women of the founding new member class interact with one another after being apart for many years was amazing. I felt like I was in a time machine, because they were all still so close, and they reminded me of the relationships I have with my best friends in Alpha Phi,” said Eta Lambda chapter president Taylor Hillman. “I hope that I am able to attend Eta Lambda’s 50th Anniversary celebration with my roommates, sisters and family and still be as close as those women are. It was as if nothing had changed.”

Often times we forget that the women who came before us had the same experiences, victories and trials that we face as collegians today. “I loved how the room lit up when our collegians told us that they’re still winning Greek Week every year; that was something that my sisters and I worked so hard for, and I’m so proud to know that it’s still as important to the chapter now as it was when I was in school,” added Eta Lambda alumna Christina Vanecek.

Alpha Phis strive to be leaders on campus and in their communities, which continues following graduation. Alpha Phi alumnae are accomplishing amazing things in their professional fields and in their communities. Many of those alumnae serve as mentors for collegians, helping them to discover their “personal brand” and convey their Alpha Phi experiences in the real world. Relationships with alumnae provide networking opportunities and they are always excited about hiring fellow sisters.

So, whether you’re celebrating Founders’ Day, a milestone anniversary or an event with alumnae in attendance, remember the bonds that collegians and alumnae share and what differentiates Alpha Phi from other organizations: some have a story, we have a legacy. Continue the legacy of the women who sat in the chapter rooms before you, and ensure that when they return home to their chapter 25 years later, they will be proud to call you a sister. 

Kersten Smith is a collegiate member at George Mason (Eta Lambda).

October 25, 2013

Collegiate Perspective: Alpha Phi Firsts

The Iota Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi was only installed last spring, but after a successful first formal recruitment in our brand new chapter house, it is obvious that we have a great year (and many more!) to come at Carnegie Mellon.  With elections just around the corner and our first Red Dress Gala quickly approaching, I cannot wait to see what wonderful things my sisters and I will accomplish in the coming year. 

Just three days after a very exciting bid night, Iota Sigma was lucky enough to have a very special guest visit our new house – Alpha Phi International President Linda Boland (Gamma Kappa-CSU/Long Beach)! Along with Linda came other members of the Alpha Phi Executive Office to join our chapter in a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially celebrate the opening of our brand new chapter house on the Greek Quad. Just one semester after being installed we proudly have a home to call our own, in one of the largest Greek facilities available on our campus, right in the middle of all the exciting things happening at Carnegie Mellon. The ceremony included a gift from Alpha Phi Foundation—a photo of the first Alpha Phi chapter house at Syracuse University—a great reminder of just how proud we should be of our new home and what it represents for Alpha Phi.  After the ceremony we had a nice luncheon and I gave tours of the newly renovated home to members of other Greek organizations on campus, parents and a group of Alpha Phi sisters from Duquesne University. It was a very memorable day and we loved being able to show off our beautiful new space to everyone in attendance!

I am also lucky enough to be one of the 29 women living in our house for this year. As the first ever residents of the new facility, it has been an exciting experience for us to learn just what “living in” will be like. It’s great to be able to walk down the stairs for meetings, socials and sisterhood events, and living in the house has made being a member of Alpha Phi even easier. I also serve on the executive council as the Director of Finance so it’s convenient to be able to collaborate with other executive members just by walking down the hall or down a flight of stairs.  With elections on the way, I am so excited that our new board will be able to live together in the house next year. Living in the house has helped me become closer to so many of my sisters. I already have so many great memories of staying up late, or lounging in bed on the weekends, just hanging out and catching up in the midst of all of our hectic schedules. Having the Alpha Phi house has been a great experience for our chapter so far and I cannot wait for more women to experience how great it is!

Catherine Spence is a collegiate member at Carnegie Mellon (Iota Sigma).       

October 17, 2013

Collegiate Perspective: Alpha Phi Apparel

Whether planning recruitment, socials or philanthropy events, Alpha Phi’s love the opportunity to design and purchase apparel! But it’s often difficult to come up with new and creative designs that haven’t been used before. So, to save the apparel, recruitment, bid night, philanthropy and social chairs some time and stress, I’ve come up with a few t-shirt ideas to promote your Alpha Phi event phi-nominally!  

There are multiple Greek Licensed Vendor websites that offer adorable pre-made t-shirts, but most chapters are looking for something new and fresh, which leads me to my favorite source of inspiration: Pinterest. Pinterest is a website that has taken Greek Life by storm, giving us unique ideas for crafts, event planning and more. But my favorite use is to see apparel ideas from other Alpha Phi chapters. Pinterest boards I check daily include Sorority Sugar and Sorority Please. You can also check out the official Alpha Phi Pinterest board for approved t-shirt designs and other ideas.

Posted below a few of the more popular designs that have made their way onto almost every Alpha Phi’s board. Happy Shopping!

Always be sure to use an Alpha Phi Licensed Vendor. To see a comprehensive list, please click here.

Everyday Alpha Phi Ideas:

Red Dress Gala Ideas:

And a Bid Night Idea:

Jessica Nazzareno is a collegiate member at Cal Poly (Epsilon Chi). Read her by bio by clicking here.