March 27, 2014

See Beyond What is in Front of Us

A common misconception about sorority life is the loss of individuality; each member lets go of the person they were before in order to adapt to an established order or “standard." My own experience in Alpha Phi has taught me the complete opposite. I have never met a group composed of such diverse personalities, backgrounds and ideologies. The uniqueness of each individual member is embraced and pushed towards a path of growth through the use of Watchcare, and serves as the basis for sisterhood. As such, through Alpha Phi, we “banded ourselves together to improve our minds and hearts, and we seek to aid each other through a constant Watchcare always given in love.”

 
We should never forget about our duty to practice Watchcare, inside our chapter meetings and out. When our Founders thought about Alpha Phi, they wanted each member to challenge each other, take care of one another and always act in a spirit of sisterly love and kindness. Because of that, your sisters in Alpha Phi are different than your friends- the Watchcare we practice with one another is a lifelong commitment, where we seek to improve the core of who we are.

Watchcare does not only refer to the times when your sisters need you to be sober sister to or manage a difficult situation. Watchcare is seeing beyond what is in front of us, to care enough to ask a simple “are you okay?” or to have the courage to reprove and correct a sister. If we take the time to practice what our Founders expected from us, we would embrace the diversity we each possess; getting to know our sisters beyond what is visible to everyone else.

I am a senior and my collegiate life is almost coming to an end, but as I look back at my past Alpha Phi years, I realize that Watchcare helped me become the person I am today. My sisters never stopped challenging me and when I did wrong, they held me accountable for my decisions, always in the spirit of love. As a younger classman, I was never good at taking responsibility for my actions. Thankfully, my behavior was brought to my attention and I slowly learned to represent Alpha Phi in a more positive way and to be a more caring sister. It is never easy to recognize one’s character flaws and it is ever harder to change what we are so accustomed to. However, it is necessary to accept the need for growth in oneself.
As I stepped outside of my own boundaries, I got to know more sisters and they relied on me for a helping hand. Today, I am not perfect or remotely close to being so, but I know I will leave my collegiate chapter with the satisfaction that through the practice of Watchcare I helped my sisters, and I came to know who they are, where they came from and where they are going.

Samantha Padilla is a collegiate member at St. Mary's (Iota Beta). Learn more about Samantha by clicking here.

March 26, 2014

Inside the EO: Emma Donatille

Name: Emma Donatille

Hometown: I was born in Boston and lived in Norfolk, MA until 4th grade, then moved to Chagrin Falls, OH until junior year of high school when my family moved to St. Charles, IL. I also have spent a large amount of my life in Chautauqua, NY.

College/chapter: I attended Drake University where I joined the Gamma Omicron chapter

What was your major in college? Advertising Account Management and my minor was in marketing.

What was your plan post-graduation? Did you pursue a graduate degree post-graduation? I attended Northern Illinois University and earned my Master of Science in Education in Adult and Higher Education – Student Affairs. 

Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity? I was working at a college as the Greek Life Coordinator overseeing the entire fraternity and sorority community and their facilities for the last two years. When the position at Alpha Phi opened up I jumped at the opportunity to combine my knowledge of fraternities and sororities, my degree in adult and higher education with my love of Alpha Phi!

What is your job title? Program Manager of Alumnae Chapter Development

When did you start in your current position? March 5, 2014

What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi—as a collegian, alumna, or staff member? I have many fond memories from my time at Drake with Alpha Phi and have friendships that last a lifetime. Some experiences that have stuck with me through are going to national conferences such as the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors or Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values and having meals with Alpha Phi sisters from all around the country. It is amazing to see that the bonds of sisterhood span generations, universities and experiences.

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office or what are you most looking forward to? I look forward to helping the alumnae chapters grow. I think it is important to help women stay involved with Alpha Phi after they graduate from college. Joining Alpha Phi is a lifetime commitment so we need to help women get involved and stay involved!

What are some of your goals for the next few years? I would like to work on alumnae involvement and retention of members with the alumnae chapters. I would also like to streamline some of the alumnae chapter processes such as rosters!

Do you have any advice for current collegiate members? To live in the moment and enjoy your Alpha Phi experience! Especially for those seniors who will be graduating soon, I know that I couldn’t wait to graduate and enter the real world but now I would do anything go to back to my time in college and at Alpha Phi. I also recommend staying in touch with your friends immediately following graduation; don’t let any time pass in that first email, text, phone call or get together because all of a sudden real life hits and it is hard to stay in contact! 

March 25, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Putting the 'A' in Alpha Phi

As undergraduates, we've all struggled with juggling our studies, extracurricular activities and social lives. But that doesn’t mean our grades have to suffer. It’s getting close to the end of the semester, and we still have many assignments and exams, many of which are fast approaching. As such, there’s no better time of year to strategize in order to get the grades you want! Here are a few scholarship tips and tricks from the sisters of the Xi chapter at the University of Toronto.
Buy a planner: The first step to success is ensuring that you always keep track of assignments. It can become difficult to keep track of all your work and extracurricular activities. As someone who wants to stay one step ahead of the game, you need to be aware of all due dates, and writing them down definitely helps!

Take breaks: Don’t forget to take a break when you need one! It’s easy to become overwhelmed with activities constantly taking place. It is important to find a way to de-stress. If you’re pushing yourself too hard then you’re not giving the best that you can give, and it is easier to make mistakes due to stress. Your method of de-stressing may differ from someone else’s. For example, one person might find working out to be a great stress reliever, whereas someone else finds reading a book a good way to wind down. Either way, take care of yourself and remember to take breaks. 
Prioritize your time: You can’t accomplish everything all at once. Start with your most important/pressing task and work from there. If you check the most important task off your list right away, it will give you more time to complete your minor tasks, and they’ll also feel less daunting. Not only will you learn more efficiently, you’ll also be less stressed when doing so!
Attend class and take notes: Although this might seem silly, going to class is a vital part of your academic performance.  It’s true that we all have different learning styles—ranging from visual to auditory—but class is the only place your professor can provide a better understanding of the class’ content.

See your professor when in doubt: Sometimes it can be intimidating to talk to a professor, and you might feel like your questions are silly. Always remember: there is no such thing as a silly question, and your professor will be happy to provide assistance when it’s needed. Also, it shows how much dedication and effort you’re putting into a course when you go to a professor’s office hours. It can also be a good way to establish a personal connection with your professor.

Participate in class: Participating in class ensures you’re engaging with the content. This tip has helped me remember and keep track of important information. When you participate in class, you’re using information that you’ve just learned in a critical way; by participating, you’re actively engaging with the material, and the new information is more likely to stay in your long-term memory. This is helpful when it comes to exam time. Depending on the format, not all classes will allow you to participate, but you can also branch off and form a study group. Studying as a group is a great way to stay motivated; make it a sisterhood bonding moment by gathering up your sisters for a night at the library.
Edit, edit, edit: If I had a dollar for the number of times I lost marks on simple grammar/punctuation mistakes, I would be rich! We are all guilty of incorrect grammar and spelling mistakes. However, procrastination and leaving your assignment until the last minute increases their likelihood. If you start assignments early, you’ll have time to edit your work properly and reduce the amount of grammatical errors.
At the end of the day these tips are useful for maintaining a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. They might not work for everyone, or maybe you’re using some tips not on this list. Regardless, keep doing what you’re doing to stay on top of your work and put that ‘A’ in Alpha Phi!


Sukhe Mann is a collegiate member at Toronto (Xi). Learn more about Sukhe by clicking here.

March 24, 2014

On the Road: Holding On


Two weeks. Fourteen Days. That is the amount of time I have left as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Phi. The closest comparison I can draw to this time in my life and the indescribable emotions it brings with it, are the feelings I experienced during my final preference ceremony as a collegian.

The final preference ceremony was a reminder (not that I could forget) of the imminent and pressing reality that graduation was around the corner. A reminder that I would soon have to leave and that the most amazing chapter of my life was coming to a close. I was nostalgic for the beautiful spring days I would spend walking on campus and even for the dining hall food I resented as a freshman. As an Alpha Phi senior, I was clinging on for dear life to the few times I had left to eat “breakfast for lunch” in the Alpha Phi kitchen and the handful of nights I had left to fight for an outlet as eight of us attempted to get ready in one bathroom.

We try to explain to potential new members during preference that we would give anything to be in their positions, at the start of their Alpha Phi career and with the best years of their lives ahead of them. We explain how much we would love to turn back the clocks and not have to graduate and leave our best friends. We challenge them and try to help them understand that Alpha Phi will inspire and help them become the most amazing women.

In a speech I gave during my final preference ceremony I wrote, “It is not a coincidence that Alpha Phi brought these women, from different states and ages, together. This contagious spirit of Alpha Phis is something that will remain with me forever.”
At that moment, I am not sure if I truly understood the validity of that statement. As I visit chapters, I find this to be one of the only consistencies amongst them. Whether I was visiting our chapter at Lehigh University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of Rhode Island, it was clear that this organization knows no boundaries and has the power to bring the most phenomenal women together, those that possess that unexplainable characteristic. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to experience other preference ceremonies since the spring of my senior year. It is the most incredible feeling to know and experience the bond that Alpha Phi creates amongst our collegiate chapters and this unique bond exists throughout each of us.

Just as I learned so much from each of my collegiate Alpha Phi sisters, I learn so much from each chapter I visit. From the dedication and drive of the Lafayette women, to the joy and love for life I saw in each of the Alpha Phis at Johns Hopkins University, these chapters have taught me a great deal. When I was a senior, I knew that I was forever changed by the contagious spirit of my sisters from the Delta Zeta chapter at the University of Maryland, but I did not know that this same sentiment existed in each of the chapters that opened their doors to me with open arms.

As far as my statement spoken a year ago, nothing could be truer for the team of Educational Leadership Consultants that I have worked with over the past year. Much like signing my bid to Alpha Phi, as I signed my contract to work as an ELC, I had no idea who I would be embarking on this journey with, or that these incredible women would soon become some of my best friends. Alpha Phi has had the power to create a lifetime of sisterhood, endless memories, millions of hours spent laughing, thousands of tears when saying goodbye, hundreds of bridesmaids, the best four years a collegiate woman can have and for me, an unforgettable 272 days spent alongside 16 of the most amazing women I have ever met.

As my experience as an ELC draws to a close, I find myself repeating the same thing I told myself just about a year ago. Although I am moving on, I know our chapters are in amazing hands. Whether those are the hands of our incredible chapter presidents, executive councils, volunteers, Executive Office staff, ELI participants or thousands of members, I know the undying passion we share for this organization can never be extinguished. Just as I could not hold on to my collegiate years forever, I yet again find myself closing another chapter of my life, but now I know I will forever share in this unique bond amongst Alpha Phis everywhere.

Although there are new and exciting things that lay ahead of me, I find myself once more holding on for dear life to the moments I spend with our chapters, volunteers, staff and my amazing team of ELCs.


Chelsea Dubrofsky is a first-year Educational Leadership Consultant (Delta Zeta-Maryland).

March 22, 2014

Inside the EO: Beckie Maday

Name: Beckie Maday

Hometown: Burr Ridge, Illinois


College/Chapter: I was a Blue Demon at DePaul University and part of the Iota Eta chapter.


What was your major in college? I majored in psychology with a focus in community. I also minored in environmental science and American sign language.


What was your plan post-graduation? Did you pursue a graduate degree post-graduation? I am finishing my master’s degree in college student affairs at Eastern Illinois University.

Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity? I was so excited when I learned about the open position at Alpha Phi. When I applied, I was volunteering and I had met a few staff members. I loved their personalities and was eager to work with them. The position itself has a lot of opportunities to combine my graduate studies in college student affairs and fraternity and sorority life, so I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to start my career in higher education.

What is your job title? Program Coordinator of Membership Services

When did you start in your current position? I started part time in March 2014 and will be full time after graduation in May 2014.

What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi—as a collegian, alumna or staff member?
Attending the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values (AFLV) in St. Louis, Missouri, and having the opportunity to meet many other Alpha Phis from across the Midwest during a luncheon at the conference. It was really awesome to see what other campuses were doing the same and differently than my own. I also enjoyed meeting Alpha Phis that were professionals, like Greek Advisors, and realizing that I wanted to be like them some day.

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office or what are you most looking forward to? I'm excited to combine my sorority experience with my education. I love the people that I am surrounded by, as they all have the same passion that I do, and that is to create rewarding experiences for Alpha Phi members.

What are some of your goals for the next few years? To make the process of filling out forms easier for students to complete and easier for the staff to understand. Another goal of mine is to get to know some of the collegians in chapters on a more personal basis. A personal goal I have is to adopt a dog and name him Stanley (he will be decked out in Blackhawks gear!).

Do you have any advice for current collegiate members? Make the experience the one you want it to be. If you want to be a leader, take the opportunities that Alpha Phi provides and go to everything that you can. Don’t let your grades fall behind, make smart choices, set goals for yourself, get connected with professionals and most importantly, take time for yourself and have fun!

March 20, 2014

On the Road: For Life

As my ELC experience comes to an end, I am left reminiscing about this past year and how far I have come. This time a year ago, I was a senior preparing to graduate college, happy to have a job, but sad to leave my best friends of four years – my Alpha Phi sisters. It was hard to imagine that I would ever find that type of close friendship again. So many times we hear “Alpha Phi isn’t just four years, it’s for life”. But as a collegian it can be difficult to understand how that will take shape in your own future. As an ELC, I have begun to understand that Alpha Phi will always be “for life.”

Being part of the ELC team is like being part of new kind of Alpha Phi sisterhood. It’s pretty unbelievable that as a group we have only spent 23 days together, but I could honestly count on any of these women to encourage me during my toughest of days, make me laugh on my most stressful days and celebrate with me on my best days. Our GroupMe text is used daily to post questions, tell airport stories and share BuzzFeed links. Each of us brings different experiences to the group and we continue to offer new advice to each other from our experiences on the road. From the east to the west coast, to the south and throughout the Midwest, we all bring our own cultural flare.  And best of all, we have this experience…the experience of being an ELC that will stay with us forever. Gaining these lifelong friendships has been one of the most rewarding parts of being an ELC.
 

Not only did I meet 16 incredible new sisters, I have also had the pleasure to work with many of our inspiring volunteers and Alpha Phi International Executive Office staff. These women have become my role models, Alpha Phis that I aspire to be like someday. Their knowledge of Alpha Phi is truly remarkable and their loyalty to our Fraternity is unparalleled. These women are dedicated to enhancing our Fraternity, and along the way, have enhanced my life as well as the other ELCs they have worked with. Their dedication continuously inspires me to give back to Alpha Phi as a volunteer. From recruitment to risk management, to career choices and professional skills, our volunteers and staff have offered support to me as an ELC and as a young woman. Because of these women, I am constantly reminded that Alpha Phi will always be a part of my life for many years to come, and for that, I could not be more grateful.


Bridgett Giery (Gamma Pi-Arizona State) is a first-year Educational Leadership Consultant.

March 19, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Alumnae Involvement

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.

March 18, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Set Sail for Summer Success

With spring break winding down, it seems as if everyone is already making plans for the next big vacation . . .summer. As students, it feels as if we are always busy and on the go. Although it is important to squeeze in “me time,” it never hurts to consider your next big move professionally.

As a junior at Marquette I have the unique privilege to have four internships during my time studying in Milwaukee. While balancing classes, Alpha Phi commitments and work isn’t an easy task, I always look forward to the summer so that I am able to devote my time to pursue my professional career with passion. Summer is the perfect opportunity to branch out and explore a variety of avenues within your major and apply the many skills you learned in the classroom through a more active role. Summer internships allow you to be engrossed within a company and help foster professional connections that can extend beyond your time of employment.

Summer deadlines are approaching quickly, but here are a few tips and resources to assist you in your search and make you stand out from the many other applicants.

 
 

When looking. . .

Have a clear idea of what you are looking to gain from an internship position. Employers are in need of filling a position, but your personal pursuits should be priority. Don’t just apply for an internship position because you think it will be a cool opportunity. Be deliberate and intentional in your search. Apply for internships that will enable you to grow and develop through first-hand experience rather than errand running and busy work.
 
Tap into your connections to help gain an insider perspective and network. LinkedIn, is a great way for you to tap into your connections and leverage people within your network. As an Alpha Phi, we have access to the official Alpha Phi LinkedIn Group. By being engaged within the group on a consistent basis, you are able to digitally network and showcase your enthusiasm for your respected field.

When applying. . .

Brand yourself. Always be consistent with how you market yourself to an employer. This can be achieved in a variety of ways including: creating a website, customizing your resume, and organizing visual standards for other needs (portfolio, business cards, cover letter headings, etc.)

Always tell yourself. . .YES! As women, we tend to be a bit more self-critical; don’t let application season be another instance of this. Feel and be confident when applying and interviewing for a position. Employers will take note and feel more comfortable with someone who believes they can handle a job’s responsibilities and more.

Take time to clean up social media. Social media is incredibly important and is often a way for employees in human resource to scout an applicant after they have applied. Take time to comb through and groom your digital presence. Whether you are interested in pursuing a career in communications or elsewhere, it is always important to make sure you are presenting yourself at your very best. . .and Alpha Phi.

You snagged an interview. . .now what?

Do your homework. Always go into an interview prepared with facts regarding a company’s background. It is important to show an employer that you are serious about this position and becoming a contributing member of their team. By showing that you have an understanding of the company’s business practices and clients you demonstrate your enthusiasm and eagerness to work with them.

Market yourself. An interview is a chance to physically represent the information detailed in your resume and elaborate your skill set mentioned in your cover letter. Don’t throw yourself at an employer and come off as a desperate and distraught college student. It is important to strategically present both your strengths and weaknesses upfront and show how you are able to overcome adversity. Don’t be afraid to name drop either.

After the interview. . .

Always follow up. Following an interview always send an email within one week after it took place. It is important to present yourself again before an employer and it serves as a friendly reminder that you are very interested in the position.

Snail mail says more. In this day in age, almost all correspondences are conversed digitally. Take time to invest in nice stationary and spend time writing a thank you note by hand. Employers will appreciate the sentiment and take your courteous mannerisms to heart. Regardless of how you might think an interview went, this traditional business practice will help you stand out from many of your competitors.

 
Check out these websites and resources to get a jump start
on the application process:



Lauren Holman is a collegiate member at Marquette (Eta Mu). Learn more about Lauren by clicking here.

March 17, 2014

On the Road: The Rollercoaster

Little did I know just over a year ago that being hired for this position as an ELC for Alpha Phi would truly change my life forever. Many previous consultants told me that I would learn more in these eight months as a consultant than I would working anywhere else right out of college.  I’ll be honest; I had a hard time believing them. I always thought that this job would be a fun opportunity to travel the country and spend time with Alpha Phis from multiple different chapters, playing the “professional sorority woman role.” I looked at it as a fun first job that would help me prolong the “the real world.” I could not have been more wrong.


Yes, this position has given me an incredibly unique opportunity to travel to about 25 schools in 18 states and Canada, and of course there have been times where I found myself up to my neck in glitter and rhinestones crafting for recruitment, but this job has given me far more than just frequent flyer miles and a crafty edge. It has given me many skills that will help me be successful no matter where life takes me.

This job has taught me independence. This is something I wasn’t used to. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by family that would help me solve any issue that came my way, but traveling the country for the past year, I couldn’t rely on anyone but myself to resolve any situation including cancelled flights and getting sick. This independence is something that I truly appreciate because it made me realize I was a much stronger person than I originally thought I was.

This position has taught me what hard work truly looks like. Throughout the past year, I have had many sleepless nights during recruitment visits, numerous meetings with officers, countless conference calls and what feels like millions of reports, but the amazing successes I have seen in many of the chapters I have visited has proven to me that hard work pays off in the end.  Whether it’s a chapter improving in recruitment or hosting a successful sisterhood event, the happiness I see in chapters makes all the work we do as ELCs worth it.

Most importantly, this position has taught me how to communicate with people who come from various cultures, lifestyles and belief systems, and that is invaluable. I have made connections with women across the country that will last a lifetime. Whether I am in my hometown of San Francisco or in any other state, I will be able to count on the Alpha Phis I have met throughout this incredible journey, and that is priceless.

When people ask me what this position is really like, the only way I can describe it is a rollercoaster. Rollercoasters have their ups and downs, their twists and turns, but once the ride is over, you are happy and proud that you did it, which is exactly how I feel about this past year. I am beyond grateful to have had this opportunity, and cannot thank Alpha Phi enough for not only giving me the best four years in college, but also giving me many experiences that have helped shape the woman I am today!  


Melissa Mauer (Epsilon Rho-UC/Davis) is a first-year Educational Leadership Consultant.

March 14, 2014

Featured Product Friday: Sparkling Forget-Me-Not Earrings

 
The forget-me-not has never looked this good! Sparkle and shine in these cubic zirconia earrings from Alpha Phi's official jeweler Herff Jones. Priced at $20, they make the perfect gift for a chapter sister, advisor or yourself.
 
 
Click here for more information and to purchase.
 

March 11, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Surviving Your First Semester on Executive Council

 
Becoming an elected officer in Alpha Phi is an honor but also a responsibility. As a new leader in your chapter, it can often be difficult to determine where to begin. The first semester in your position is where you establish yourself as a leader and as an Executive Council.

Throughout my years in Alpha Phi, I have served on two Executive Council as the Director of Administration and the Vice President of Risk Management. These two positions were challenging but certainly rewarding. I was able to make a difference in my chapter and also make a difference in myself. Through my experiences in both officer roles, I have noticed that some Executive Council members occasionally become discouraged and frustrated with their positions when first starting out. The following are some tips and tricks to having a successful first semester in your new role: 
  1. Bond with your Executive Council. My chapter advisor always plans a special retreat when we first take office. Through fun activities, you can learn how to interact with other members of the Executive Council as well as break the ice. Examples of potential retreats include seeing a play, laser tag, bowling or taking a glass blowing class.
  2. Create long-term and short-term goals for your position. Whenever I take a new position, I always create a list of ideas to implement or changes to make while I am in office. Then, I divide this list into my short-term and long-term goals. My short-term goals are focused by semester. Long-term goals are ideas and changes I want to make by the end of my term. Differentiating your goals is imperative to surviving your first semester of exec because trying to implement too many changes at one time will frustrate your chapter and cause you additional stress. Focus on three to five major changes you want to make each semester. This could include updating your chapter’s social media policy or creating a new point system.
  3. Always present a united Executive Council front. Whether you agree or disagree with an idea or policy, support the policy if it is implemented. It is okay to disagree behind closed doors but when presenting ideas or changes to the chapter always support your fellow exec members. Your chapter can sense when an Executive Council is divided. Also, divided Executive Councils breed animosity and inefficiency and the changes you want to implement could be suspended.
  4. Ask the previous Executive Council for help. There is no harm in asking your predecessor for advice. Often, previous exec members can tell you what did and did not work well for them while they were in your position or suggestions on how to best complete your goals. These women have been in your shoes. They know what your job description entails. However, be careful not to fully rely on your predecessor or feel pressured to take their advice. Past exec members can be helpful but they may also have their own opinion of how the chapter should be run. Be prepared to take their suggestions with a grain of salt.
  5. NEVER TALK DOWN TO THE CHAPTER! This is the best advice I can possibly give you. No one responds well to negativity, yelling or sarcasm. As an exec member, you should strive to maintain a professional tone with the chapter and remember they are your sisters. You may have a large position but your sisters elected you to govern them and they expect to be respected. When addressing a sensitive or important issue, use a calm yet firm tone of voice.
  6. Use your resources. The chapter is your greatest asset! Some of the best ideas I implemented during my exec terms were ideas I received from the chapter. If you are struggling to come up with goals for your position, ask your chapter what they would like to see  accomplished during your term. You can also assess the chapter’s culture and think of ways to either improve or sustain your chapter’s culture.
  7. You will never be everyone’s best friend. As an Executive Council member, there will ALWAYS be someone who does not agree with you. Do not cater your exec agenda by trying to please everyone in the chapter. If you do, you will never achieve anything. Sometimes, you will have to make the tough decisions in the chapter and you will feel as if everyone is against you. Maintain your professionalism and continue to work towards your goals. Eventually, the uproar will subside and everyone will accept it as normal.
  8. Be a listener. Often there is a stigma attached to Exec. There is a perceived distance between the Executive Council and the chapter. This comes from a lack of open communication. Exec should be consistently communicating with the chapter and remain as transparent as possible. Also, be honest with the chapter and appreciate their ideas and suggestions. The chapter will be your greatest critic and your greatest supporter. Take criticism constructively and learn from it.
  9. Set the example. Do not expect the chapter to follow your new policies or procedures if you do not follow them yourself. As an Executive Council member, you must hold yourself to a higher standard and you must be the change you want to see in the chapter. It can be difficult, but it is your duty to uphold the standards of your chapter as well as the values of Alpha Phi International.
  10. Do not sacrifice your relationships in the chapter. Serving in a leadership role can be difficult but it does not mean you can only be friends with exec members. Make sure you still foster your big/little relationship as well as your relationship with other sisters in the chapter. It is also imperative to learn how to separate your leadership role from your personal relationships. You may have to make a tough decision regarding one of your friends or even your little.
 
My years on my chapter’s Executive Council were some of the most challenging yet rewarding years of my life. I truly learned to appreciate myself as a leader and became grateful for the opportunity to serve my chapter. As a member of the Executive Council, you will be challenged. Just remember that you will make a difference in your chapter. You will help make your chapter the best that it can be. 
 
 
Tara Bresette is a collegiate member at Kent State University (Beta Omega). Learn more about Tara by clicking here.
 

March 6, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: What Money Can’t Buy

“When you join Greek life you are buying your friends.”

As sorority women, we have heard this stereotype again and again and continue keep our heads held high and ignore it. We all know in our hearts that it is far from the truth, but when we are put on the spot to defend ourselves, somehow we are at a loss for words.

How do you explain to someone that these experiences can’t be bought or that no amount of money could put a price on all that you have gained?

Yes, we pay dues in order to have sisterhood retreats, socials, chapter dinners and other events that others may interpret as forced bonding experiences. However, once you choose to take off the mask of the stereotype and face the reality of the situation, you will be confronted with something that may seem unimaginable: a group of women with similar values and a genuine interest in the well-being of one another.

 
When I was a freshman I looked at the seniors of my chapter as if they could walk on water. They were involved, welcoming and full of advice for me and my fellow new members. Looking back I realize that what stood out above all else was that they were consistently there for each other. I vividly remember looking through scrapbooks they had made of their college careers with the hope that in four years my new friends and I would be exactly like them.

Three years later and much to our surprise, we are not exactly like them.

My friends and I disagree with each other. Sometimes we take each other for granted because we spend the better part of each day together. Honestly, there are some days when all we want is a little bit of time to ourselves.

The beauty of it is that even in those trying times, we stand by one another.


This school year has been a period of growth for me and many of the people I'm close to.There have been break ups, make ups, tests of character, lifestyle changes, bad choices, great decisions and an over-arching theme of trying to figure it all out. We work through each new challenge as a team with the understanding that we might not always see eye to eye but we will always be there for each other, hand to hand and heart to heart.

So when people tell me that by joining a sorority I bought my friends, I no longer get angry or frustrated. I don’t even have trouble explaining my side of the story because in my mind it boils down to a very simple concept.

These aren’t just my friends, they are my sisters. And family can’t be bought.

Alyson Faucett is a collegiate member at San Diego State (Gamma Alpha). You can learn more about Alyson by clicking here.

March 5, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Welcome to Alpha Phi, Newest Members!

When I first thought about the topic of this blog, I wanted to make it about the new members and their new journey in Alpha Phi. As I brainstormed the perfect way to express everything I have to say about “The Alpha Phi Experience," I thought about my favorite Alpha Phi Founder, Clara Bradley Burdette who, in 1929, wrote a beautiful letter to the new members. In this letter (found in the Ivy Leaf), Clara greeted the new members, talked about the blessings of Alpha Phi and most importantly, what is entrusted to each member as they become a sister of our fraternity. With simple words, she conveyed a powerful message: Alpha Phi gives many blessings, but as an Alpha Phi you are also in charge of carrying on the mission and values of our Founders.

 
Since the moment you sign your bid, everyone greets and congratulates you on becoming a sister of Alpha Phi, but you must not forget that with sisterhood, everlasting memories and loyalty comes stewardship. YES- you are now a steward of our fraternity; you are responsible for protecting and ensuring Alpha Phi is always in the best light.

Alpha Phi International Fraternity exists today because of past generations of members who received a bid and did the right thing; those women upheld the values that were once taught to them and because of their leadership and commitment, we have the opportunity to experience Alpha Phi in the present day. This semester, every chapter chose you (newest members) to be a sister; you received a bid from Alpha Phi Fraternity because of the unlimited potential within you to transform the world around you, to be a leader, to take charge, to carry on to future generations of Alpha Phis a legacy of 142 years and to take part in the groundbreaking world of Alpha Phi. 


My advice to you is to be a sponge and to absorb everything Alpha Phi has to offer, from leadership opportunities and scholarships to the everlasting bonds of sisterhood. Get to know your sisters, build memories, be eager to learn about your heritage, your Founders, and make sure the values of Alpha Phi do not get lost. There is nothing better than taking pride in being part of such an outstanding organization; an organization that has thrived through time, empowering women and always believing in our capacity as contributing members of society and leaders in our community. Let your greatness define your actions, let your actions define your chapter, and let your chapter define collegiate life. Make a difference.
 

Today, I challenge you to be like  Clara, aspiring to change the world around you into a better place through the high ideals of womanhood, scholarship, and service. Do not forget the potential within you, live up to it, and shine inside and outside of Alpha Phi. Above all, be zestful and carry your torch high.

Congratulations new members, welcome to the ivy, the silver, and the Bordeaux!
 
Learn more about the new member experience by visiting nm.alphaphi.org.
 
 
Samantha Padilla is a collegiate member at St. Mary's (Iota Beta). Read more about Samantha by clicking here.

March 1, 2014

Quarterly Review


Spring 1991

On the Cover: Alpha Phis across the continent are going into elementary schools and meeting with children's groups to promote environmentalism through "Kids for Saving Earth". 

Collegiate Perspective: A Day in the Life at the Executive Office

This past winter break I had the unique opportunity to intern at the Alpha Phi Internal Executive Office (EO). My time at the EO was filled with lots of amazing people and many new experiences. For the sisters who haven’t had a chance to visit the EO in Evanston, IL, I share with you a day in the life of an Alpha Phi intern.

8:00am: Up and at ‘em! My wardrobe was all skirts, tights, and nice tops—even in the cold December weather! The commute to the Executive Office in Evanston was about 45 minutes, so I had to get up early every morning. In Iowa, we don’t have railway systems like they do in Chicago, but I loved it! I always looked forward to my morning commute (and being able to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way!).

9:30am: I was always welcomed into the office by smiling faces. My first day luckily happened to be the holiday party, so I met all of the ELCs, the Foundation staff, and was welcomed by lots, and lots of food. Believe me, I didn’t complain! In the morning I would sometimes stop by Stefania or Denise’s desk to get an update of what they wanted me to work on for the day, as well.

10:00-11:30am: I worked heavily on preparing for this year’s Leadership Conferences. I organized files, made a lot of copies, and even got to make some phone calls! It sounds very “intern-y”, and it was, but I was working on a very important project, so it made me feel important to be trusted with such a huge responsibility.

12:00pm: Sometimes, if the weather wasn’t miserable, the staff would venture a few blocks down the road to grab some lunch. Everyone was really helpful and showed me all the best places to eat. Admittedly, Potbelly’s Sandwich Shop was my favorite—I had it three times in a row!

1:00pm: The Executive Office staff attends meetings like crazy! Although I was a little out of the loop, they were really excited to help me gain insight to as many different areas as possible. I attended meetings about the alumnae department and others about collegiate operations. I even got to give a short little update on what I had been working on.

2:00-4:00pm: For the rest of the afternoon, I continued working on prepping for all the Leadership Conferences. Periodically I would stop to get to talk to people who were visiting the office, or my coworkers, who were awesome by the way!

4:30pm: I headed home before the sun went down to make sure I got there safely. I was lucky enough to stay with an alumna from my chapter who serves on the IEB. For my two week stay (and many weeks before and after), she answered an array of questions about Alpha Phi while we ate dinner or explored the city a little.

I know that my internship at the Alpha Phi Executive Office is something that not everyone will get the chance to experience, but I took away some valuable lessons that apply to sisters everywhere.

First of all, we are the EO’s main focus. The recommendations and opportunities they give us are provided so that we will succeed and grow as women in and outside of Alpha Phi. So apply to go to ELI, take a leadership role in your chapter, and utilize things like officer portal; everything is created with our well-being in mind.

I got to take a lot of time and explore the Executive Office; there’s a lot of great stories within its walls. My next piece of advice is to get to know your chapter’s history. There’s this room at the EO called Heritage Hall, which is filled with some of our Fraternity’s richest history and memorabilia. It’s an incredible reminder of where we’ve been and all of the places we have yet to reach. Take the time to learn your chapter’s history; it’s a fun way to trace the steps your predecessors took to get you where you are today.

Finally, and most importantly, utilize your network. Just by being Alpha Phis, we have a network of thousands of sisters all over the world. I met Stefania Rudd and Denise Reens at ELI two summers ago, and those two simple connections led me to my dream internship. In an even better twist of fate, another one of my ELI silver circle sisters, Sarah, was interning with me at the same time! Whether you’re pursuing a career in marketing, biology, or human services, I guarantee there is a sister out there who can help you reach your goals. I encourage you to send a simple email and ask questions; your sisters want to help you! The greatest thing about Alpha Phi is the support that we can all provide each other; let your sisters help you succeed.

I’m so thankful for my internship at Alpha Phi, and even more certain that I want to pursue a career in Fraternity and Sorority life. Always remember to say thank you to those of people who have helped you in your path of happiness and success, especially our friends at the Executive Office. The staff is knowledgeable, kind and helpful, and Alpha Phi is so lucky to have them! 

Cheltzie Miller-Bailey is a collegiate member at Northern Iowa (Epsilon Theta). Learn more about Cheltzie by clicking here.