June 22, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Students, First and Foremost


One of the more frustrating stereotypes I’ve come across as a member of the Greek community is that Greeks are not academically inclined. I almost feel bad for anyone who tries to take that stance with me, because as the previous Director of Scholarship, Order of Omega President on our campus (the all Greek honor society) and someone who genuinely likes school, they get an earful. I usually start with the fact that Greek organizations often score above campus grade point averages while also juggling community service, social activities and athletics. I’ll continue to outline scholarship plans, values and the vast amounts of resources we have access to, until they regret ever buying into the stereotype. The understanding that academics come first is perpetuated through every Greek chapter I know, and Alpha Phi is certainly no different. I have seen so many women who struggle with school achieve their highest grades because of the opportunities, resources and motivation that Alpha Phi has provided.

My chapter, Chi at the University of Montana, has worked incredibly hard over the past four years, and last year we were honored to have received the most improved scholarship plan at Alpha Phi’s Western Leadership Conference. As a previous director of scholarship for our chapter (and self-proclaimed nerd) this was a huge deal. One of Alpha Phi’s core values is scholarship, so to be recognized for scholastic achievements on a regional level was pretty amazing. Each chapter of Alpha Phi has their own specialized scholarship plan, geared to its members. Some pair up mentoring buddies sharing the same major, others utilize incentives for attending class and good performance on tests or papers and some have a requirement for specific study hours. In any case, academics play a huge role in Alpha Phi, as the women who founded it understood that we are first and foremost students.

One of the great things about being an Alpha Phi is the amount of connections you make with others; these links are especially helpful in the world of academics. Your sisters are always there to lend a helping hand when needed, whether that’s looking over a paper, flipping flashcards or just sitting with you and keeping you on task. We have study tables in our dining room in the evening where members gather to work on their homework in a quiet atmosphere. Being surrounded by others focused on their work definitely pushed me to put forth my best effort on my own.

When you are a part of Alpha Phi you are a part of something bigger than yourself. That notion is emphasized in all facets of our values, and scholarship is no exception. The desire to perform well for not only you, but to represent Alpha Phi in a positive light, is definitely felt. It isn’t an added pressure, but it is definitely an added motivator. This expectation is reasonable as Alpha Phi provides tools to make academic success a possibility. From study groups (internally or panhellenically), special rooms rented at the library or filing cabinets packed with the study notes of past members, this organization not only keeps education at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but also offers a variety of ways to flourish.

Taylor Skansi is a collegiate member at Montana (Chi). Learn more about Taylor by clicking here.

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