October 28, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Finding My Way

Throughout my collegiate experience I have made some important realizations, realizations that – along with support and advice from friends, family, professors and mentors – have helped me grow. Today I’d like to share a few tips I’ve implemented that are beneficial to any college student.

1. Eating the frog. In this context, the frog refers to the most dreadful or difficult task on your day’s to-do list. Making this the first task I work on makes me feel more accomplished and productive. Putting it off until the end of the day won’t benefit you. Ziglar says, “If you’ve got to eat a frog, sitting around looking at it doesn’t make it any better.”

2. Saving at least 10 percent, if not more. Build up your savings by taking 10 percent of your paycheck and depositing it into your savings account. That way, you’re well-prepared and less stressed in an emergency financial situation.

3. Learn to make one outstanding meal and one outstanding cup of coffee. No one will ever pass up a good home cooked meal or a greatly brewed cup of coffee. I learned to make great rosemary chicken with my special green beans!

4. Learn to articulate what you value in life and the qualities you value in other people. The ability to recognize what I find important and instilling those as a part of my core values has made me a more confident individual. Alpha Phi has played a huge part in helping me discover what I value in relationships. Being able to articulate this has allowed me to form new relationships while staying true to who I am.

5. Be able to defend your opinions. This is a lesson I learned early in college. Instead of regurgitating other’s opinions, do your research and find your own voice. People are more likely to listen to your opinions if they are truly your own, when you are able to elaborate on them and defend them with conviction.

6. Have some perspective. Being able to put yourself in other’s shoes and taking a moment to understand your peers is a commendable trait to have. We all come from different backgrounds and understanding that will help you with your relationships.

7. Weed out people that suck. Surround yourself with good company that makes you happy to be a part of this world. Be involved in their lives and they will want to be involved in yours.

I hope these realizations make an impact on your life like they have made on mine.

Darshana Panchal is a collegiate member at Creighton (Theta Delta) . Learn more about Darshana by clicking here.

October 26, 2015

On the Road: Packing list of qualities, skills, and items

While this just brushes the surface, here’s my attempt at a packing list of qualities, skills, and items I have found necessary for my year on the road as an ELC:

fLexibility – each new day brings its own unexpected challenges; travel schedules change, flights are unpredictable, and day to day life is different at each chapter you visit, but the unknown is what makes the job fun!

Energy Drinks & Emergen-C – actual all-nighters are the norm during recruitment season but make for the best laugh attacks and some of the best memories.  

Adventurous spirit – sometimes you may find yourself needing to get creative on how to reach your destination after a long day of delayed and cancelled flights.

Dry shampoo –travel days and recruitment week’s call for a little help freshening up! You never know who you might meet on the road; Robin Thicke might actually show up to Alpha Phi’s bid day.

Earplugs – you may be put up in a freshmen men’s residence hall where wrestling and ping pong tournaments are the norm at 2:00 a.m.  

Raincoat – you may be assigned to a project without a car in a city where it rains 140 days a year.  Thankfully, Salem, OR has allowed me to see the beauty and peacefulness of rainy days.

Self-motivation – ELCs have to muster up energy to crank out reports, weed through endless Basecamp emails, create workshop presentations, generate names for COB, and make hundreds of crafts no matter the day. Seeing your hard work pay off on bid day or witnessing a young chapter make strides make every effort completely worth it.

Hats - ELCs “wear many hats” – I’ve been a vocal coach, choreographer, motivational speaker, computer whiz, accountant, event planner, marketing director, photographer…to name a few.

vIsionary – chapters often narrow their focus in on the details of bid day decorations or the color of date dash t-shirts, so ELCs provide the unique big picture and fresh perspective to ensure all decisions are contributing to the chapter’s long term success. 

Piece of home – my mother sewed me a travel pillow on the way to the airport when I started in July and while I work diligently during most flights, that pillow and photos of family and friends from home comfort me when I need it most.

Chill pills – the perfectionist in me has had to learn that taking the frantic approach is never effective. Sometimes you have to take a step back, breathe, and laugh (especially when it starts raining during an outdoor preference ceremony and the PNMs are covering their heads with napkins). At the end of the day, everything falls into place and it all works out, maybe just not quite how you imagined it.

Open space – in your suitcase for the tons of t-shirts chapters generously shower you with and open space in your heart to welcome all the wonderful new people you befriend on the road.

Nap time –sometimes you get lucky and are sent to a school with a fellow consultant and instead of pulling all-nighters, you take turns taking naps to get in a few ZZZZZs. 

Starbucks giftcards –for whatever Starbucks obsession you may have. I consume an embarrassing amount of birthday cake pops – just ask the members at Linfield.

vUlnerability – waiting for a stranger at the airport, stepping into a house of unfamiliar faces, and taking the reins and offering insight to an established team can be scary, but breaking down barriers, being honest and real, and letting your true self shine is the first step to being welcomed into the chapter as one of their own.

Love of Alpha Phi – the one cool thing I have in common with every member, officer, advisor, volunteer, staff member and consultant I work beside and the one thing that will forever connect me to all of these incredible women.

Thick skin – when you travel alone it’s especially important to bounce back and keep a positive attitude when the going gets tough.

Adaptability – each campus and chapter brings with it its own unique culture. While my roots are in the Midwest, this job has forced me to adapt to a variety of schools and regions from large southern sororities to small Pacific Northwest liberal arts colleges to the high intensity of an Ivy League and each new place captures this Nebraska gal’s heart.

Notebook – to record meeting minutes, make to-do lists, but most importantly to document the special memories made.

These and many more are the reasons I get up every day, pack my life into a suitcase, and travel the country for the organization I love. 

Courtney Cosler (Theta Delta - Creighton) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Courtney by clicking here.

Product Picks from the EO Staff: #SweaterWeather

October 21, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: How To Do It All and Not Be Stressed

When I started my first year at George Mason University I was eager to dive into various leadership roles head-first, like many other motivated collegians. I had never really been involved in high school and knew I wanted to make the most of my college experience. First, I joined Alpha Phi and applied for an appointed position within my chapter. Then, I helped launch a community service organization at my school. Eventually, I took on positions in Panhellenic and student government as well. I was addicted to leadership.

I found myself drowning in 18-credits of home work and stressed out helping with events for four different organizations. I was constantly trying to make sure everyone was happy, throwing my own mental well-being to the wind in order to meet deadlines. I put too much pressure on myself to be “the best”- without having a clear idea of what that was.

Eventually, I learned the power of time management and delegating tasks. Sometimes we think “Well if I don’t do it, somebody else won’t be able to do it right!” Well the truth is, we’re wrong. Asking your sisters and colleagues for help is never a bad thing. In fact, getting multiple opinions on a decision can give you many different perspectives and new ideas. There is no reason to purposely overwhelm yourself when you have friends who want to support you.

Time management is a valuable skill I’ve gained in college that I know I’ll take with me into my professional career. The most important aspect of managing your time in college is staying organized. Some tools that have helped me stay organized would be my (Lilly) planner, a calendar and my google drive. When you know about your commitments and responsibilities ahead of time, you can plan ahead and prioritize, stress free!

I also realized that sometimes we may come to a point where we cannot take on any more projects or tasks. Sometimes we just need to say, “I have too much on my plate”. We all want to be the best sisters we can be: serving on committees, holding positions, attending every event. But while we’re running a mile a minute we need to stop and prioritize.  As we balance school, internships, relationships, our chapter and other clubs, we must keep in mind our well-being for a healthy lifestyle. 

Now well into my senior year, I know I will never regret being so involved in my sorority and on my campus. I am still on the Executive Board of Alpha Phi, the Panhellenic Council, and student government; living proof that you can do it all and remain sane, if you stay organized, manage your time well and ask for help!

Caroline Whitlock is a collegiate member at George Mason (Eta Lambda). Learn more about Caroline by clicking here.

October 19, 2015

On the Road: Each new place is a new adventure

I started my ELC adventures with 20 of my soon to be closest friends almost three months ago on a summer day in Chicago. We trained together, soaked up all of the knowledge we were given and laughed a lot along the way. A couple weeks later it was time for us to start traveling and make a difference in Alpha Phi chapters across North America. I was nervous to start my adventure, and I wanted to make an impact on each chapter I visited. But what I didn’t realize is the impact those chapters would have on me.

My first stop was University of Alabama, where I got to help my biggest rival. Even though I will always be a Tiger at heart, T-town will now be a place that holds special memories. Next on the road would be Florida State, where we chanted Hottie Tottie and bonded over rain delays. At Iowa State we laugh about all of the corn, and watch Grey’s Anatomy together. Indiana State taught me that sometimes it is 40 degrees in September and it is always more fun to have late night talks than sleep. I became “wicked” cool at New Hampshire, chanting Hoorah for A Phi, and I will never forget the countless Taco Bell runs in Eastern Washington. 

Now as I sit and listen to the girls’ excitement of College Game Day at Utah and reflect on my experiences thus far, I am beginning to realize that Alpha Phi has set me up on one unique, never ending adventure. The initial path was laid as a Delta Tau founding chapter member, where my sisters and I (somewhat lost) built the beginning of a strong sisterhood at LSU. My fellow ELCs now serve as my compass, providing guidance and navigation through life’s unexpected twists and turns. And now I am in the midst of one crazy expedition. With each stop, I learn something new and create new memories. I have met so many amazing women along the way, each of whom has impacted me and contributed to my Alpha Phi adventure.

Calli Simoneaux (Delta Tau - LSU) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Calli by clicking here.

October 14, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: 10 Simple Ways a College Woman Can Improve Her Heart Health

Awareness surrounding heart health is growing, and with that awareness comes a responsibility to take better care of ourselves on a daily basis. Doctors tell us to run every day and replace all junk food in the house with kale and granola. Coming from a rather broke and time-crunched college student, running every day and buying expensive, healthy foods are just out of the question. Although I have only been a sister of Alpha Phi for a short amount of time, women’s heart health has become a huge part of my everyday life. I am here today to tell you that having a healthy heart all starts with you, and it is easier, cheaper and simpler than you think.

Chocoholics, rejoice!
One tip to a healthier heart is to eat dark chocolate. Studies have shown that the tasty treat improves blood flow and prevents the formation of blood clots. Keep your heart happy with a daily dose of dark chocolate

Dance it out
The words “cardio day at the gym” make me cringe. Although running makes my heart happy, the rest of my body doesn’t appreciate it. Luckily, running isn’t the only form of exercise that makes your heart smile. Dancing is good for the soul and the heart. With its high calorie burn and ability to raise your heart rate, dancing is a fun way to get that much needed cardio in. So blast the latest Justin Bieber and get moving!

Laughing is the best medicine
I currently live in the Alpha Phi house with 24 other roommates and I can proudly say I have never laughed more in my life. Research found that laughing reduces the stress on your heart tissues and vessels, which promotes a very healthy heart.

Don’t be salty
College is notorious for unhealthy foods: dining halls, pizza delivery and sandwich places. Not only is this awful for a college budget, but it is also awful for your heart. Salt is one of your heart’s biggest enemies. Salt is a huge contributor to heart disease, which affects 1 in 4 women[KM1] . Reducing your salt intake means reducing that statistic.

Going nuts
Between classes and chapter meetings, the life of a college woman is a busy one. When I’m on the go, I tend to grab the easiest and quickest thing to eat – but it’s not always the healthiest. I challenge myself, and all of you, to grab nuts instead of a handful of chips when you’re in need of a quick fix. Nuts are high in unsaturated fats, which help reduce cholesterol. Make your heart go nuts for nuts!

Adopt a furry friend
Okay, maybe not quite yet, but pets are proven to release the happy chemicals in our brains, which is great for the overall health of our bodies. Taking a trip to the local shelter or over to your crazy cat-lady friend’s house is a great way to get those health benefits without all the responsibility. Being around animals regularly can potentially lower the rate of getting heart disease and even improve your lung function!

Alright ladies, we all know that our time in Alpha Phi has made us professional crafters. We could all graduate now with a degree in blanket making or canvas painting. Not only do our fingers get stronger, but our heart does as well. That’s right! Crafting is good for you. Crafting, knitting and doing puzzles are shown to relieve stress, which as we know, helps the heart relax. Let’s get crafting!

Meditation Nation
Yoga is not only good for your figure, but it is also one of your heart’s best friends. Yoga has been proven to allow your heart to relax and to positively affect your heart rate. Grab your mat and while you stretch out the stress of that chemistry exam, you can also make your heart smile. It’s a win-win!

Have your breakfast and eat it, too
I know firsthand how hard it is to get up in time to eat a nutritious breakfast after a long night of writing an essay or studying for a quiz. Usually, all we want after a late night and early morning is a huge cup of coffee. This is one giant NO NO. Caffeine without food can cause a lot of stress on the heart. Your heart doesn’t quite know what to do with all of that energy, so it tends to beat really fast and your temperature can fluctuate causing a very uncomfortable morning. As hard as it is to set your alarm 15 minutes earlier for breakfast, it is worth it. Get up and make a quick bowl of oatmeal or some yogurt and fruit to start your day off with a healthy heart and a happy tummy!

Enjoy your life
Heart health doesn’t have to feel like a chore. It’s the little changes you make every day that will make the biggest difference. Above all, enjoy time with your sisters and enjoy getting healthy. A happy heart means a happy life!

Rylee Portman is a collegiate member at Northern Colorado (Delta Gamma). Learn more about Rylee by clicking here.


"28 Healthy Heart Tips." Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. .

"Caffeine and Heart Disease." Caffeine and Heart Disease. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. .

October 12, 2015

On the Road: What ELC really means…

I always get asked what an ELC really is, and I never really know how to answer because to me there is no way to explain everything that goes into being a consultant for your sorority. I’ve tried the official job description, which is a consultant who helps and identifies the needs of a chapter, but I feel like that description doesn’t do my job justice.

This is my best attempt at describing what being an ELC means: 

  • It means having a support system of 20 other ELCs that know exactly what you’re going through and who you can call at any time of night just to make you laugh
  • It means patiently waiting for your schedule to find out where you will go and who you will get to work with next
  • It means getting to meet some of the most amazing women who do amazing things for chapters, and working alongside them to make a difference for an organization you both love
  • It means driving back and forth between Hobby Lobby and Home Deport because homecoming is right around the corner
  • It means becoming Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms for the chapter to help them win Step Show
  • It means wearing game day buttons and screaming Roll Tide, Hotty Toddy, and Geaux Tigers even though GO MEAN GREEN is still in your heart
  • It means always being the first to wake up, the last to get ready and the last to go to bed during recruitment
  • It means finding a place in your heart for the women of MIT, UNCW, Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss; and most importantly finding a home away from home

Out of all of these statements I feel like I should give a more concrete definition, so here it goes: my unofficial definition is that being an ELC is the best job in the world, one where I get to make a difference for my fraternity and in women’s lives every day. I never understood how I could be as happy or proud of another chapter on bid day as my own, but no one can explain to you the joy, excitement and pride you experience when you see a chapter that you helped succeed and welcome a new member class on bid day. I didn’t think my post grad job would have me living in another sorority house or blowing up 10,000 balloons at 3:00 a.m., but I’ll never be able to explain the joy I get giving back to an organization that has given me so much.  I can’t imagine doing anything else. 

Mary Price (Gamma Eta–University of North Texas) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Mary by clicking here.

Product Picks from the EO Staff: Gifts for your Little Sis

October 10, 2015

Founders' Day - Finding Your "Something Wonderful"

Framed in the kitchen of the Drake Alpha Phi chapter house is a quote by one of our Founders, Martha Foote Crow. It reads: “Every girl when she enters the Fraternity shall come not with the idea that she is to imitate the ideals of the Great Originals, but with the positive vow that she will struggle with her utmost to add something wonderful to that ideal.”

What a powerful statement to reflect on as we celebrate Founders’ Day; a day to think about our history and consider our future.

I often think about how groundbreaking the idea of a sorority was in the time when Alpha Phi was founded. Women were not often welcome in the higher education system. Alpha Phi was the result of a determined group of women bonding together to demand better for their own educational rights and the rights of women in decades to come. Especially in the current media depictions of sororities, it is important for us to remember the values and missions at the very core of Alpha Phi.

Reading the biographies of our Founders is incredibly inspiring. They are philanthropists, mathematicians, teachers, writers, linguists and so much more. I know that we can all think of women in our chapter that inspire us and have gone on to do amazing things. Our stories today help shape our Alpha Phi legacy. It is important to think of Founders’ Day as not only a celebration of our past, but a reflection of ways we can continue to build on this foundation that has been laid for us.

Maybe you want to study at Oxford, like Martha Foote Crow, or be a teacher, like Jane Higham. Or maybe you want to create an Alpha Phi legacy all your own. The mission of our founding was not just a one-time ritual, but also something that is a continuous attempt to make Alpha Phi an organization that supports women through lifelong achievement. The time and place may change, but we each have something that we can add to that mission. I encourage you to find your “something wonderful.”

Emily Sadecki (Gamma Omicron-Drake) is a member of Clara's Circle Leadership Council with Alpha Phi Foundation. 

October 9, 2015

A Message from Alpha Phi International Fraternity’s Executive Director

Since its inception, Alpha Phi has been an organization that has never tolerated racial discrimination. This steadfastness has been reinforced this week, as many of our alumnae across the globe have written in concern to ensure that Alpha Phi remains an organization that is true to this ideal and have professed their personal support and reinforcement to that end.

College students make mistakes and it is our role as alumnae to help them correct those mistakes and learn from them such that they become stronger, better women.  Our Founders sought “to aid each other through a constant watchcare shown by mutual criticism, sometimes perhaps severe, but always given in love.”  You can be assured that Alpha Phi International will continue to provide our chapters and members that make mistakes with the appropriate reproof and correction, and we will also continue to enhance the training materials related to cultural appropriation and human dignity that we provide to our officers and chapter members.

We are proud of our history and will never waiver from our ideals.

Linda Wells Kahangi (Zeta Delta-Iowa State) is the executive director of Alpha Phi International Fraternity

October 7, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Choosing Phi, Sentiments from a Senior

Last May, as I drove home up I-65, I replayed the hellos and goodbyes of yet another year well spent. Listening to sad Zac Brown Band songs, I spent the drive wishing that time could come back, regretting nothing, but still somehow wanting to do it all over again. Every tangible memory of my junior year slipped through my mind – apple picking and tailgates, formals and bid night, sisters leaving for and coming home from beautiful adventures abroad, the list goes on. As I picked up the phone to call my mom to update her on my whereabouts (per her usual request), I immediately began to sob, with a distinct inability to articulate the sadness I felt as I drove away from DePauw. I wept on the phone to her for miles, blubbering about how it seems that with the arrival of senior year, the world was coming to an end. 

Well, the world didn’t end. My world just shifted – away from the familiarity of feeling as though I had so much time, and into my final phase as a collegian. Let the nostalgia begin. We’ve started quantifying everything – date parties, weekends, chapter meetings. As I come to the end of my term as chapter president, some of those numbers are even smaller. Each time one of our senior sisters mentions the limitations of our time in college, we throw a fit and tell one another to stop talking about it. It’s a difficult thought to truly entertain, but it lives in the back of our minds. 

Choosing Alpha Phi was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 
So much of who we have become in college is built upon Alpha Phi’s ideals of leadership, loyalty and sisterly love. Alpha Phi remains at the forefront of our campus engagement, but has supported us as we expand our horizons throughout DePauw and the world. 

As a freshman, I looked at the senior women, mesmerized by their love and energy for these people and this place. I didn’t understand why they would scream the words to “White Houses” at the top of their lungs, why they would all stay up late in the informal chatting rather than getting sleep or how they could possibly make every moment together so meaningful and vibrant. I wanted to be them. And now I am.  

We count the moments because they are fleeting, and we don’t want to miss a second. We could quantify almost anything we do as Alpha Phis: chapter events, attendance and annual donations to Alpha Phi Foundation. But you can’t quantify the love that lives with us at 202 E. Hanna Street or measure the value of being an Alpha Phi. In serving on executive council, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and meet alumnae and collegians from all over, and there is a very distinct and undying culture of support and love that is cultivated within this sisterhood. 

Senior year will carry on, and so will the inevitable countdowns. It’s not just time but the happiness that has passed with it that keeps me from ever looking back. When I opened my bid card, I opened a gift of lifelong sisterhood, memories and love. Everything I have believed and achieved in college, I have done so with my sisters by my side. And the failures, too. We’ve done it all together. Every moment – and the fleeting moments that are yet to come – union hand in hand. 

Grace Quinn is a collegiate member at DePauw (Gamma). Learn more about Grace by clicking here.

October 5, 2015

On the Road: Passion over Plans

I was always the girl with a plan. Throughout college I had in my head that I would graduate, immediately move to City X, begin working in industry Y, work my way up the company ladder and I would be happy. After spending a summer in the city I thought I would love, working for a company that I thought offered my dream job, I began to realize that maybe this big plan I had in mind was not actually what I wanted to do. I started to question what it was that I really wanted out of my future career. I soon realized I was most afraid of accepting a job offer just to have a job. I wanted to work for a company that I was passionate about.

I started asking myself what were my passions and Alpha Phi was one of the first things that came to mind. This organization had given me the most amazing college experience. It challenged me, connected me with a group of talented women who I admire, but most importantly it helped me grow into the woman I am today. I knew Alpha Phi would have this effect on women for many years to come and I wanted to be a part of that process. I decided to apply for the Educational Leadership Consultant position and I am so thankful I did.

Not only has this job allowed me to share something I am passionate about with other women, but, in true Alpha Phi fashion, it has continued to push me to grow. I can without a doubt say that if I had taken any other job  out of college I would not have developed half the skills I am developing as an ELC. I’m learning to work with all different groups of people, I am creating and implementing procedures, acting as a mentor, self-managing, budgeting and the list goes on and on. 

This position has also pushed me to grow on a personal level. Being a California girl and relocating to the east coast for eight months has been a challenging and wonderful experience. I am learning how to adapt to change, function independently, and I am starting to understand what truly makes me happy.

I am so thankful I was chosen to be an ELC. The lessons that I have learned during this job I know will be invaluable as I continue with both my professional and personal life. The main thing I want to share with you all is, it is ok to not have a set plan! Chose to follow your passions, because I can guarantee you that journey will be better than any plan you have set for yourself. 

Lauren Drewniany (Epsilon Chi–Cal Poly) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Lauren by clicking here.