May 27, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Not Four Years, But for Life

Not four years, but for life. We’ve all heard it. During recruitment, on a T-Shirt, at a senior goodbye or maybe a leadership training. I’ve heard it, I’ve said it, I even suggested it as a topic for a blog post. And yet, I never gave much thought to what it meant, to what it was going to mean for me.

Early on in my Alpha Phi experience I knew I wanted to keep Alpha Phi in my life in some way. I was a founding member of the Iota Sigma chapter at Carnegie Mellon University, and for a while I knew more alumnae members than collegiate. Being a volunteer wasn’t a question it was a certain fact. I heard “not four years, but for life” and thought of the future and how much I looked forward to being a Chapter Advisor, an Alumnae Chapter President, the International President. I still think about all of these things. But, in the week since I graduated and joined the ranks of dedicated alumnae, I have been thinking about this statement in a different light.

I began to think about who I would have to be to become an Advisor worth having. Older and wiser come to mind but it's more than that. I will need to become, to remain an exemplary Alpha Phi. In college I thought a lot about living to the highest ideals of Alpha Phi, I thought about how my actions would reflect on me, but also on my chapter and my sisters. There was something incredibly humbling and powerful about striving to be better not just for myself but for a group of women who loved and supported me. I am proud of who Alpha Phi made me.

This last week I have come to realize what the real meaning of “not four years, but for life” means. Yes, it means volunteer. Yes, it means donate money to our amazing Foundation whenever you can. Yes, it means reunion weekends with your pledge class as often as you can make them happen. Yes, it means having a drawer of Alpha Phi shirts you cannot bear to part with. But what it really means is to not forget what Alpha Phi made you. Do not forget the person you were when living to the highest ideals of our values. Do not forget how it felt to have you and your actions resonate with 90 other women. I picked Alpha Phi for a reason, I stayed for a million more. It is a decision I will be happy about for the rest of my life, and I will thank Alpha Phi by always reinforcing what it taught me.

Rachel Pustejovsky is a collegiate blogger from Carnegie Mellon (Iota Sigma). Learn more about Rachel by clicking here.

May 22, 2015

Featured Product Friday: Vinyl Alumna Decal by Boutique Greek

We know recent graduates and long time alumnae alike will appreciate this Alpha Phi alumna sticker by Boutique Greek! Perfect for your car window, laptop, room decor or anywhere else you want to show it off. It comes in three sizes so you can pick whichever best fits your space!

Price is $4.50. Bulk pricing available. Click here for details.

May 20, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: What Alpha Phi Has Done and Will Still Do For Me

With Convocation fast approaching, I can’t help but reflect on the past four years of my collegiate experience. I entered university unsure how I would find my place, who I would call my friends and who I would truly become. I knew one thing was for sure – that I was ready for something new. It all started with a simple suggestion from a friend to check out formal recruitment. I had no idea what this was, or what I was getting myself into, but I am truly thankful to that friend, and now fellow Alpha Phi alumna, for opening my eyes to Greek Life.

As I picked up my bid card accompanied by a beautiful light pink rose, I walked through campus with a smile on my face and my head held high. I knew then that this decision was going to be the start of an amazing chapter in my life. My sisters welcomed me with open arms, inviting me to outings and genuinely wanting to get to know who I was, and what I was all about.

As semesters came to their ends and new ones began, I became more comfortable and confident in myself. With different positions I took on, I was able to learn how to work with people, time manage and truly believe in what I had to offer. In doing so, I was able to put my best foot forward at conferences, in classes and in my daily life. As well, I was and am still able help others come to realize this ability in themselves.

I can confidently say that Alpha Phi helped shape the person that I am today. Even though collegiate life has come to an end, alumnae life has just begun. I’m excited to give back to an organization that has given me so much. Whether that be advising, attending local chapter philanthropy events, or becoming part of the Gold Society – I intend to stay involved in any way I can. Like the popular saying goes, “It’s not just four years, it’s for life.”

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

May 17, 2015

Alumnae Volunteer Perspective: You’re Graduating – What Does that Mean for Your Involvement in Alpha Phi?

Alpha Phi is for life, yet what does that really mean after graduation? Alpha Phi has consumed so much of your college days, does it mean that you have to keep that level of involvement?

It’s totally up to you. There are so many ways you can remain engaged with Alpha Phi for the rest of your life, but it also depends on what else you have going on.

When I first joined Alpha Phi it was to meet more women on campus. You see, I was a commuter student and never lived in dorms. Alpha Phi gave me the socialization that I needed while in college. Very soon after college, I relocated and was focused on building my career. I wasn't interested in anything Alpha Phi right away. However, after a while, and with the local alumnae chapter's persistence, I attended my first event. It was fun to re-engage with women from my area. I started attending on a regular basis and gained a great group of new friends.

When I moved to California 15 years ago, the very first person I met was an Alpha Phi. It was such a fun chance meeting, but it made an impact. She took me to a founder’s day event and from there I met sisters who connected me to other sisters who remain my closest local friends. I now travel for my job and love that I can reach out through social media to find sisters who are willing to keep me company for dinner.

Over the years, I've watched sisters come and go with their level of activity in alumnae life. Some decide to take a break after college, while others remain consistently active. Often as careers or families build up, involvement with Alpha Phi decreases. However at some point, we see these sisters return to attending alumnae events or taking volunteer positions. They've missed Alpha Phi and will seek out ways to stay involved.

We see recent graduates jumping right in and volunteering on chapter advisory boards as well as on alumnae chapter leadership teams. Other times, it's just an occasional alumnae social event that keeps you engaged. If you're a new alumna member and are wondering how to stay involved here are some ideas:

Alpha Phi is truly for life and will be ready and waiting for your involvement – when the time is right for you.

Karen Siegel Fitting (Eta Alpha-New Hampshire) is an alumnae engagement manager in the western quadrant. She has served our alumnae in many capacities, and Alpha Phi thanks her for her service.

May 15, 2015

Featured Product Friday: Scripted Boxy T-Shirt by Dormify

This boxy, loose T-shirt is unbelievably comfortable and the trendy metallic script will ensure that this easily becomes your favorite new Alpha Phi Tee. The neutral gray keeps your outfit options open while the gold adds just the right punch. Flaunt our letters in style!

May 13, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Authentic Leadership: Aligning our Actions with our Values as Alpha Phis

Though the final weeks of the spring semester can be stressful, they are always my favorite. Amidst exams, papers and projects, hard work and dedication finally become tangible results. These are the weeks filled with banquets, award ceremonies, presentations, release parties and inductions—all culminating in the ultimate accomplishment: commencement. But in each of these cases, knowing deep down something is worth celebrating always proves more gratifying than a piece of paper affirming it.

That being said, I look back on the past year, trying to recognize the difference between going through the motions and purposefully completing tasks. For example, have you ever received a good grade on an exam or paper you weren't sure you genuinely deserved? You followed all the instructions, but the results weren't overly impressive. I think it’s safe to say we've all chosen an “easy A” class at some point—the one that gave our GPAs some extra padding, allowing us to sacrifice as few drops of blood, sweat and tears as possible. The classes we genuinely struggled through were so much more gratifying, even if they didn't necessarily bring us closer to the Dean’s List. Maybe we didn't get As on every assignment, but when we did finally ace one, we knew we had earned it.

Leadership is pretty similar. It’s easy to list a whole slew of positions on your resume, but if you didn't really accomplish anything through them, they’re nothing more than placeholders. In Greek Life—and in Alpha Phi—we spend a lot of time talking about leadership, defining it and trying to cultivate it. While talking is a good place to start, if no one wants to listen to you, you probably don’t have many followers. And, if no one wants to follow you, can you really call yourself a leader?

Leaders encounter problems in need of solving. This is inherent in the job description. Sometimes it’s exciting, providing opportunities for innovation and creativity. Other times it’s like maneuvering a maze, endlessly trying and failing to find the way out. The answers aren't always clear. In Alpha Phi, authentic leadership means going beyond the “easy A.” It means using our values to help us navigate through the challenging situations we encounter, not just in college but in life. We are going to experience a need for loyalty, sisterhood, service, scholarship, character development and leadership both in the present and in our futures. Simply acknowledging this isn't enough—we need to act on it too. At the end of the day, it’s our actions—reinforced by our words—that make us leaders.

As I look forward to this year’s commencement, I know our seniors see their diplomas as more than just grade point averages and specific numbers of completed credit hours. They symbolize the friendships and experiences collected over the last few years, representing the ongoing effort to align actions with values in order to achieve personal and collective success. The year may be coming to the end, but we will continue to face new and unique challenges, striving for authenticity—rather than perfection—in our efforts to overcome them.

Alina Walentowicz is a collegiate member at SUNY/Plattsburgh (Theta Psi). Learn more about Alina by clicking here.

May 8, 2015

Featured Product Friday: Ivy Leaf Sandals by Sorority Inspired Sandals

You'll be showing off your Alpha Phi pride in style wearing these leather ivy leaf sandals! They're made with genuine leather and a rubber bottom sole. They're the perfect cute and subtle way to rep Alpha Phi all summer long.
Price is $54. Click here for details.

May 7, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: A True Sorority Woman

Being a part of the Greek system in college opens so many doors, allowing young women and men to grow and develop into who they want to be. Abigal Winters is one of the women in my chapter who has constantly been the one I look up to, who has provided consistent advice, guidance and support. She was our chapter president for the 2014 school year, and went on to win the President of the Year award, Greek Goddess and the Who’s Who award at Western Michigan. She worked tirelessly for our chapter and posed as a true leader. I reached out to Abby, who graduated from Western Michigan this past Sunday, and asked her the following questions that only scrape the surface of what Alpha Phi means to this incredible leader.

How has Alpha Phi prepared you for the professional world?
“In so many ways I'm able to attribute Alpha Phi for preparing me for the professional world. I was able to graduate college with more leadership experience then I could have ever imagined. I can take the skills I learned from leading an executive board and use those very skills in any professional position I take on in the future.”

What advice would you give new members of Alpha Phi?
“Take a position as soon as you can! If you're willing to put in the time and effort into your experience with Alpha Phi, I promise you that this organization can give you more than you could have ever imagined.”

What is your fondest memory during your time as a collegiate member?
“It's so hard for me to just choose one memory after such an amazing four years with Alpha Phi, but one of my favorite memories was having the chance to travel to Palm Springs for the 2014 convention and represent the Delta Theta chapter as chapter president. There I was able to reconnect with other Alpha Phis that I had been friends with since 2012 when I attended the Emerging Leaders Institute. When all of us reconnected at convention, it was like no time had gone by at all.”

She affectionately calls me her mini-me, a nickname I am honored to have received from Abby. If I can do a fraction of the things she accomplished as a collegiate member, I will know that I have made the most of my collegiate experience. The Delta Theta chapter is sad to see Abby go, but overjoyed knowing that she has an incredible career ahead of her, a life filled with happiness, and a home on 1603 Fraternity Village Drive that she can always come back to.

Gianna Petan is a collegiate member at Western Michigan (Delta Theta). Learn more about Gianna by clicking here.

May 1, 2015

Featured Product Friday: State Necklace by A-List Greek Designs

Show your love for your home state and Alpha Phi at the same time! This necklace comes in gold or silver and the chain length is adjustable from 16-18" - you can't go wrong!

Price is $39.95. Click here for details.