November 28, 2014

Featured Product Friday: M&D Sorority Gifts Quarter Zip Pullover

This versatile pullover is great for layering or to wear alone (if you're in a sunshiny climate). It's made of a cotton/spandex blend for comfort and flexibility, and features everyone's favorite: thumb holes!! Alpha Phi letters available in white, black, hot pink, or Bordeaux.
Price is $38.98. Click here for details.

November 21, 2014

Featured Product Friday: Remy & Olive Holiday Sweatshirt

Alpha Phi spirit + holiday spirit = win. Get ready for this season in Remy & Olive's version of the classic crew neck sweatshirt, made of 100% extra soft ring-spun combed cotton, pre-laundered for minimal shrinkage. Comes in navy too!

Price is $39.99. Buy it here. 

November 20, 2014

On the Road: The Experience of a Lifetime

All of our stories begin as nervous potential new members making the big decision on what sorority we will join. At the time, you think you are making a decision that will shape the next four years of college but never really consider that it will be one decision that will change your life. When I was a new member back in 2010, I was very excited to be part of something special. Never in a million years did I think it was going to change my life forever.

Being an ELC is life changing. It’s one of the most unique experiences one can ever have. Spending months at a time living out of a suitcase, visiting chapters all over the country, submerging yourself in many different cultures –  just as it’s starting to feel like home, it’s time to pack up and head to your next stop. Every time you are getting off that plane, it is a new learning experience. A new set of people you will be working with, a new place you will be visiting, a new challenge you will face and a memory that will stick with you forever. It’s a job unlike any other in the world.

People are always asking what we do, where we live, and what made us want to be ELCs. The most common question I get is what my favorite part about being an ELC is. I have found myself giving a different answer each time because I truly can’t explain all of the different things I love about this experience. I love getting to work with so many different chapters. They are all so different from one another yet similar in so many ways. I love working with different types of people and making connections with all of them in one way or another. I love traveling to different parts of the country and experiencing the different cultures, even if it’s just for a few days. I love the sense of pride I get when I give someone my business card and say I work for Alpha Phi International. But most of all, I love being able to help chapters in any way that I can. Whether we are meeting with officers and helping them strategize for the upcoming year, or entering a recruitment list at five in the morning, making any sort of difference is the most rewarding feeling of all.

I never thought that the one decision I made to join Alpha Phi would bring me to where I am today. Alpha Phi has shaped me into the person I am and I am so proud to be an ELC. I have learned more about myself in these past few months than I ever have in my entire life. Being an ELC truly is the experience of a lifetime.

Lissette Meza (Gamma Kappa-CSU Long Beach) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Lissette by clicking here.

November 19, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: There's Always Something

As the holidays approach, everyone gets a little bit colder, a little more cheerful and a lot more thankful. For some reason, it often takes the holiday season to remind people of what’s important in life — loving and caring for one another, and appreciating all we have. Oh, and pumpkin and peppermint flavored EVERYTHING!

After the recent passing of two Zeta Iota sisters, Casey Schulman and Shelley Goldsmith, our chapter at UVA started a “Thankful 5K” in their honor. It’s a reminder to ourselves, our loved ones and our community to take a moment and reflect on all the things that we are thankful for. This year, more than 600 people ran our race and spread smiles and gratitude around Charlottesville. On each of the runner’s bibs was a place where they could write what they were personally thankful for. Here are some happy things our friends and family are thankful for, a reminder that the world we live in is a wonderful place.

  1. Family: Near and far, relatives, friends that become family and the people who make life easier day in and day out.
  2. Health: We are lucky enough to be able to run a 5K, while some people may not be. The ability to move our legs, pump our arms and take a breath are all blessings many of us take for granted.
  3. Sunny mornings: There’s nothing quite like a bright, happy morning to greet you on a day of cheer, or even one of despair. Each day is a new day; we have to make them count!
  4. New adventures: From college to 5Ks to trips around the globe, we shouldn't take for granted each experience we have!
  5. A home away from home: College is a huge transition for nearly everyone; it’s always nice to know that we have a community surrounding us with abundant resources and people who truly care.
  6. The HOOS (sorry, we are biased here at UVA): WAHOOWA!
  7. Honor: For every tragedy, devastation and disaster our world encounters, there are so many more people fighting for a better tomorrow. One of the main ways we promote activism and sound character in Charlottesville is the standard of Honor.
  8. Chocolate: Need I say more?
  9. A great education: As college students, we are all lucky enough to be able to further our intellect and strive to learn as much about ourselves, our interests and our world as we can to leave every place better than we find it.
    And, of course…
  10. ALPHA PHI: The best sisterhood any of us could ever ask for.

I’m thankful for all of you Phis, near and far. I hope the holiday season gives you time to set aside any sorrows you may have and instead reminds you of all of the great things in your lives.

Much love, and forever thankful.

In memory of C.A.S and M.S.G.

Lauren Yevak is a collegiate member at Virginia (Zeta Iota). Learn more about Lauren by clicking here.

November 16, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Fall Sisterhood Activities

No matter where you live, the second half of fall semester seems to conjure feelings of comfort, warmth, and coziness from coast to coast. This season that exists in between the sandals of August and the sweaters of December is perfect for sisterhood activities that take advantage of both foliage and fireplaces. Here are some fun ways that your chapter can make the most out of fall:

Celebrating Gratitude: Give thanks with your chapter before Thanksgiving break by making a gratitude bulletin board. Before meeting, prepare an assortment of fall shapes – think feathers or leaves – cut out of different colors of cardstock. On individual pieces, have each sister write down something for which she is thankful, and have the chapter share their words one by one. After a sister reads her sentence, she can add her paper to a growing, colorful gratitude bulletin board that can be displayed for the rest of the season.

Decorating Fall Cake Pops: Cake pops are my favorite dessert to make for or with large groups of people because they’re just as fun to create as they are to eat, and they taste delicious regardless of how creative you want to get with decorations. To make, bake a batch of cake – try apple cinnamon or pumpkin flavor – and allow it cool. Crumble and combine the cake with small amounts of frosting – caramel is a great fall choice – until the mixture sticks together, and use your hands roll into bite-sized spheres. In a microwave or fondue pot, heat different colors of chocolate wafers and use the melted chocolate to glue a lollipop stick into ball. After the sticks are cool and solidly in place, dip the cake pops into the melted chocolate, twirl off the excess, and use fun sprinkles, colored sugar, or icing to decorate. Try using a piping bag to draw small ivy leaves and AΦ letters, and bring your creations to chapter meeting as a special treat. 

Organize a “Secret Sister” Gift Exchange: Before winter break, have each sister decorate a gift tag with her name and a few of her favorite things, colors, and designs. Collect all of the tags in a hat or gift bag and then pass the collection around, giving each sister a chance to grab a different tag and receive the identity of her “secret sister” – the special someone for whom she’ll be buying or making a small gift. For a fun twist, encourage the chapter to hand-make their gifts for a personal touch, or set a spending limit to inspire maximum creativity. If a sister is stumped, she can always use the “favorites” on the decorated gift tag as a starting point. 
Sisterhood Letter Painting: Fall is the perfect time to add some new sorority décor to your room or to give your chapter letters a makeover from summer to winter. On the above wooden letters that I painted for a sister last year, I used holiday gold and white and pearl trim for a winter look, while our chapter’s recruitment team recently repainted our lawn letters in festive red and pink.

From the chilly northeast to balmy California, these months are a great time to embrace fall and get a little bit seasonal with your sisters. 

Alexa Curto is a collegiate member at Johns Hopkins (Zeta Omicron). Learn more about Claire by clicking here.

November 14, 2014

Featured Product Friday: Lillybee Flats

Slip into these striped ballet flats with bow clips from Lillybee when going to the house for chapter meeting or just headed to the local coffee shop! Featuring Alpha Phi's colors and removable grosgrain ribbon shoe clips.

Price is $74. Click here for details and to purchase.

November 7, 2014

Featured Product Friday: Envy the Ivy Wall Print

Spice up your walls with this Envy the Ivy print from Boutique Greek! With a range of sizes and mat colors available, you're sure to find a combination that fits perfectly in your space. Professionally printed on thick, 68lb satin luster paper for vibrant color and pixel perfect graphics with archival inks.

Price starts at $11.50. Click here for details.

November 5, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Tutoring Opportunities within Alpha Phi

When you think of a sorority, your thoughts might not jump straight to the academic opportunities it provides. I've encountered more people than I can name who have automatically assumed that I am unintelligent when they find out I’m a “sorority girl” due to the incorrect and often ridiculous stereotypes we are characterized by. Fortunately, I find that us “sorority girls” can usually prove them wrong. Sororities function as organizations that don’t only promote costume parties and philanthropy events, but also strongly stress the importance of academics. 

Academics are the number one priority for all my friends and myself, and being in Alpha Phi has been extremely beneficial for succeeding in school. In the Epsilon Chi chapter, we have a variety of tutoring opportunities and resources for help with all majors and classes. Every year, we create our own personal “Yellow Pages” in a Google Doc, where every member inputs her name, phone number and major. So, if ever I need help in a specific class, I use the list as a resource to find someone who is successful in that field.  Additionally, our Scholarship Chair is always available to set up women with tutors within Alpha Phi using the Yellow Pages.

Another great thing about being in Alpha Phi is the way our chapter holds its members to high academic standards, requiring we all stay above a certain GPA to stay in good standing with the chapter and hold leadership positions on our Executive board. This condition succeeds in reinforcing the importance of our education coming first, especially when it can be so easy to get caught up in the social scene.

We also have a variety of programs within Alpha Phi that reward or benefit girls doing exceptionally well in their classes. One of our favorites is the “A Papers” program, in which girls who get over a 90% on tests or papers can submit a photo, and get recognized with a little treat at the next meeting. During finals week, our Scholarship Chair will also reserve rooms in the library for a quiet study place, and usually brings Scantrons, pencils and Smarties. These activities are a great way to get everyone together to study hard and succeed on their midterms and finals.

Another responsibility of the Scholarship Chair is to put together the Test Files, which is an online account accessible to any member of our chapter. The Test Files contain anything from notes, study guides, and flash cards. These notes are extremely beneficial in studying for upcoming midterms and tests, because they allow for a different perspective than your own notes and are often helpful in explaining concepts from a different point of view. Anyone can add to the Test Files, and I know I have certainly benefited from it!

While I've always been dedicated to succeeding in school, being in Alpha Phi has fostered that commitment in me all over again. When I wear my letters I want to be a role model and show off how amazing my sorority is, and thriving in school is a major part of that.

Claire Lindsey is a collegiate member at Cal Poly (Epsilon Chi). Learn more about Claire by clicking here.

November 3, 2014

On the Road: An ELC Victory Lap

I am writing this blog post from the dining room of our chapter house at Florida State University. Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about my first recruitment as an ELC, which ironically was with the Florida State.

I cannot believe that I have been traveling for Alpha Phi for almost a year and a half. The past 16 months have been filled with victories both small and large. For many of my visits it is the anticipation of getting the recruitment returns and setting your alarm for 5:00 a.m. (and then every 30 minutes after that) because you cannot wait for them to be posted. For those recruitment junkies out there, you know there is no better feeling than logging on to ICS and seeing your return rates increase from the previous year. There are the big victories of seeing an amazing new member class on bid day, being with a chapter as they complete their first formal recruitment, or even when members move into their gorgeous new chapter house after years of hard work and anticipation. And then there are the small victories that happen each day; when you are meeting with officers and you see the light bulb go off, and you just know that they are becoming believers. All these instances are good and all impact the chapter.

But, every ELC knows that this job comes with many personal victories too. There is the moment when you realize that you can jump off a plane and walk into a chapter and present in front of 150 people on any given topic. Or when you realize that you have become the best version of yourself and your ability to be independent is your new favorite quality. And, one of my personal favorites: going through airport security is so systematic and routine that the repetition is almost comforting. This job surrounds you with people who have over time become your people: your ELC team, your boss and ELC mentors, collegians and advisors. Being an ELC for Alpha Phi has given more than I could have ever imagined, it is hard to even put it all into words.

But what I can explain is why it is called a victory lap. After your first year has gone by and a new year starts, you begin to really appreciate this job and all it can do for you. In turn you take what you have learned from the previous year and you work even harder to help our chapters succeed. I am so lucky to have been able to travel as a second year ELC, and this year has been nothing short of victorious.

Nikki Comer (Beta Gamma-Colorado) is a second year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Nikki by clicking here.