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.

June 17, 2015

Alumnae Volunteer Perspective: Leading Alpha Phi Then and Now…

Leadership is one of my dearest values and, luckily, Alpha Phi shares the same devotion to leadership for all its members. Alpha Phi provides collegiate and alumna members the ability to gain more leadership skills through the many opportunities they provide. I am so happy to be a part of an organization that truly cares about the success of its members.

One of my most cherished Alpha Phi experiences was attending the Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) as a collegian in 2008. I knew I wanted to make a difference in my chapter, and I thought ELI would be the place to gain confidence and to understand Alpha Phi from an even bigger perspective than just my tiny state school. Little did I know that it would change my life forever.

When attending ELI, you are constantly learning and growing, whether it be in a large group session or in your smaller Silver Circle sessions. I remember being so enthralled by the amazing women who were volunteering their time and talents to help collegians find their voice. I was strongly impacted by all of these alumnae and it helped me change for the better. I knew that there was something much more to Alpha Phi than just the 50 women in my chapter. There was a lifelong love and commitment to our organization, which you could tell gave so much to those alumnae, and they wanted to give their love back through volunteering.

After those five intense days at Butler University, I felt an obligation to be a steward of our organization, to pay it forward, and to give back as much as it had given to me. Luckily, ELI gave me my volunteer start in more than one way. I was asked to serve the Fraternity as its Music Consultant upon graduation. My prayers had been answered! I resolved to give back to my Fraternity, and this was my chance.

Once I became an alumna member, I wanted to dive in and get involved with volunteering as much as I could. I got more involved on the international and regional levels. Then I received an email from Alpha Phi regarding the search for ELI facilitators, and at that moment I knew this was the way for me to truly serve as a steward.

I have been a Silver Circle facilitator three times since I graduated in 2010, and each time has been crazy, wonderful, rewarding and life-changing. Each time I attend, it reaffirms my love and commitment to our fraternity, and it makes me incredibly hopeful for its future. The collegians that attend ELI, remind me of myself and the many amazing volunteers I have met through these fantastic leadership opportunities. I hope that I impact those collegians, just as the amazing Silver Circle facilitators at my ELI session impacted me.

Without the strong leadership foundation and fundamental skills Alpha Phi has given me, I would not be the type of volunteer I am today. ELI gave me a sense of purpose and helped me realize how important it is to spread the Alpha Phi love.

Sami Conter Hoerner (Theta Xi-Shippensburg) currently serves as the Music Consultant for the Fraternity, as well as the Chapter Advisor for the Eta Tau chapter at SUNY Cortland. She continues to share her love of Alpha Phi with collegiate members each year at ELI.  Alpha Phi thanks her for her service and stewardship.

The Emerging Leaders Institute is funded each year through a grant from Alpha Phi Foundation. All attendees receive a full scholarship to participate in this unique experience designed to provide Alpha Phi’s rising leaders with the unique opportunity to learn from successful alumnae and each other.

June 12, 2015

Featured Product Friday: Gone Greek Flag Tank

Fourth of July is right around the corner... Don't be left looking for a cute outfit last minute! This fun Comfort Colors tank will have you celebrating in comfort and style. What more could you ask for?

Price is $25. Click here for details.

June 5, 2015

Featured Product Friday: Best Dad Ever Mug by Boutique Greek

Father's Day is coming up, so show your dad he's the best with this "best dad ever" mug by Boutique Greek! These mugs are ceramic and come in 11 oz and 15 oz sizes. They even come in a white gift box to make gifting easier for you!
Price is $16.50. Bulk pricing available. Click here for details.

June 3, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Greek Love

In Alpha Phi we say the ivy of our chapters binds us together, however joining the Greek community creates a bond much larger than that of Alpha Phi alone. Yes we all gained a hundred or more new sisters and best friends, but we have also made countless everlasting friendships through philanthropies, socials, competitive pairings such as Greek Week or homecoming and many more opportunities to get to meet others.

Through being involved in the Greek community, we have all met other students who are in our classes, interning at the same company and even future roommates. The bond of Greek life is truly incomparable, and I think all of the Zeta Delta chapter women would agree with me when I say we are all already missing each other this summer. All of these friendships started with the desire to get involved and through doing so in the Greek community, we have made so many new friends and have even more friendships to make this upcoming year. This bond can lead to future networking opportunities, having friends nearby no matter where we might move to, and who knows, maybe even some of our future bridesmaids.

Another common saying in Alpha Phi, as with many other organizations, is “throw what you know”; but going along with this one of my favorite Greek quotes is “No matter the letters, we are all Greek together.” This is so true, and is just one example of how incredibly welcoming the Iowa State campus and Greek community have been to the Zeta Delta chapter of Alpha Phi. The pictures in this post are from Bid Day, where hundreds of women from other sororities gathered to shout and jump in excitement with us as we put on our Bid Day tanks and joined in the celebration of Alpha Phi.

Whether you’re a freshman, a senior, or anyone in between, we all get home sick from time to time. But by joining the Greek community you create a second home and family, both of which will create lifelong friendships and help you find where you belong.

Jamie Chamberlain is a collegiate blogger from Iowa State (Zeta Delta). Learn more about Jamie by clicking here.