October 29, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: A Snapshot of ELI

You hear ELI (Emerging Leaders Institute) alumnae tell you all the time what a life-changing experience ELI was, how they met so many people and how those five days made such an impact on their lives.

In the back of your mind, you think that’s great and all, but a part of you doesn't buy it. I mean, what exactly does a “life-changing experience” even entail? Realistically, how impactful could a mere five days have been?

The reason you've probably heard ELI described by a myriad of generically enthusiastic adjectives is… well, it was amazing, but it’s almost impossible to sum it up in words. So, I will try to take you through a snapshot of ELI during, after, and now.

During ELI
You arrive in Indianapolis, unsure of what to expect. You've packed an abundance of letters, but that barely matches your even higher level of anticipation and nerves. Over the next couple of days, you attend workshops that teach you where you stand as a leader, and how to become an even better one. You are surrounded and challenged by incredibly intelligent and driven women that push and empower you, and inspire you to represent Alpha Phi values just as much in everyday life as you would within your chapter. During downtime, you watch sing Frozen together, watch cry over an Oprah documentary and, unknowingly, develop strong bonds on the basis of a shared connection of Alpha Phi. By the end of the five days, you've become part of a whole new chapter, despite geographical differences.

After you go your separate ways, you find yourself immediately reminiscing back on the days at Butler. But ELI doesn't end there. There are the obvious connections that can be made over social media that will always enable you to stay within reach of your ELI session-mates. You’ll always be in the loop about what’s happening in a chapter across the country, and supported in your own endeavors. You may even find yourself reuniting with those in your ELI session at future Alpha Phi events, or even out of the blue at somewhere like Disneyland. The fact remains, you were brought together by Alpha Phi and this connection lasts past the five days at ELI.

ELI may be just a distant memory now, but its lessons remain. It’s about being a representative of values that improve you, as an Alpha Phi and as a person. This includes being an Alpha Phi steward, acknowledging that our fraternity was handed to us after decades of history and that we now hold the responsibility of upholding its legacy. With this come high expectations of improving our fraternity and ourselves, leaving it better than when we arrived.

With all that being said, I strongly suggest you look into ELI applications in the future. Applications for ELI 2015 will be available on the Alpha Phi website December, 2014!

Hellen Pang is a collegiate member at Western University (Theta Eta). Learn more about Hellen by clicking here.

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