I cannot wait to be an alumna in a short year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the springtime of my youth, but my year spent as Director of Alumnae Relations let me in on some awesome secrets about alumnae life that makes me so excited for what’s to come. When we joined Alpha Phi, we all made a promise to remain lifelong sisters; to stay present, involved and to always be there for a sister, in good times and in bad. Whether you’re currently a collegian or already an alumna, this message should hit home for you. All of us, regardless of age, lifestyle or location, have a responsibility to remain engaged in the happenings and well-being of our collegiate chapters.
I cannot stress the importance of alumnae involvement. It’s a vital part of the success of our Fraternity at the local, regional and international levels. Good news for everyone: it’s so easy to be involved! Alpha Phi provides an awesome alumnae website for members to pay dues and update information, and for newly graduated members, the Transitions website has loads of information for you, too!
It’s easy to read articles, of course, and although it’s important to educate ourselves, alumnae involvement is much more personal than anything you’ll be able to read on a screen. In order to really understand the importance of being involved, you have to see the impact. Again, thankfully, a look into the benefits of alumnae involvement are not hard to find.
With a simple donation of $35 a year (plus Founders' Day pennies!), or a lifetime donation of $395, alumnae can support collegians in huge ways. These dues help fun the ongoing programs and services that keep Alpha Phi strong. These programs advance our leadership skills, allowing us to develop stronger values, and expose us to the community of Alpha Phi sisters around North America. On a local level, alumnae who volunteer as advisors, House Corporation Board members or even just as seasonal recruitment help, allow our chapters to excel. Although collegians are capable and strong, it’s truly the foundation of professional, knowledgeable and loyal alumnae who give us advice and encouragement that really help move chapter success along in a positive direction. Although providing donations and financial assistance is needed, appreciated and honorable, the power of alumnae support can and should go much deeper than that.
Alumnae sisters are the women that collegians hope to be someday. They are women who have experienced the love and value of sisterhood at the young age of 20, have begun their careers and families and have remained faithful to our Fraternity. We look up to them, and we hope to grow into the loyal, respectable and beautiful women they have become. To be an alumna is to be a role model, and being a role model comes with a lot of responsibility to act with integrity and to honor one’s values. As Alpha Phi alumnae, you have the unique opportunity to impact the next generation of Alpha Phis. All it takes is the recognition that you are changing lives! So, update your contact information, search for a volunteer opportunity at a local chapter or reconnect with the alumnae sisters in your area. It’s crazy how one small action can have a huge impact!
Collegians, you’re responsible for engaging alumnae, too. Chapters benefit hugely from having a strong alumnae base who still support their alma mater. These women can provide unique insight and support, and help elevate your chapter in a new way. When I became Director of Alumnae Relations, my chapter had no alumnae involvement, and in one short year, we were able to hold multiple alumnae events and re-involve alumnae; it takes work, but it’s worth it! Now, we have alumnae who are writing recommendations for scholarships to our sisters, offering housing while sisters are doing internships and providing incredible career advice—these things are invaluable to collegiate sisters. Send newsletters, hold events, and engage, engage, engage! Help alumnae help you.
If you have any questions on how to get involved as an alumna, or how to engage alumna as a collegian, check out alphaphi.org, or speak with any of your chapter advisors. My blogs seem to have an overall theme about sisters helping sisters, and fostering the relationships between alumnae and collegians is an awesome place to start! Remember, sisters, we promised to “forget-me-not.”
Cheltzie Miller-Bailey is a collegiate member at Northern Iowa (Epsilon Theta). Learn more about Cheltzie by clicking here.