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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, February 5, 2018 10:00 AM, by Jenni Broughton Schmaltz

Are you looking for an opportunity that will help you "further develop and hone your leadership skills, bring people with opposing viewpoints together, and learn to strategize" (Kathy Bennett Tonkel, Eta/Michigan), gain "the confidence to go outside your comfort zone" (Lisa Sombart Street, Alpha Mu/Missouri), and build "a wider circle of dear, dear Theta sisters from all over North America of all ages" (Jill Pedicord Peterson, Beta Gamma/Colorado State)?


We recently asked some former board members to reflect on their Theta board service and these are just a few things they identified having gained. There are three board level opportunities across the Theta enterprise. Because each Theta entity has a unique purpose and mission, each board requires different work.


  • Grand Council serves as the governing body of the Fraternity, exercising general supervision over the business and affairs of Kappa Alpha Theta and determining long-term vision and strategy for the Theta enterprise.

  • FHC Directors serve the Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC), which oversees all housing for Kappa Alpha Theta.

  • Foundation Trustees manage the affairs of Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation in order to fulfill the mission to secure and manage resources for the educational, leadership, and philanthropic programs of the Fraternity and for the scholastic, professional, and service pursuits of its members to help them reach their fullest potential and make a difference in the world.

While individual strengths and background may make a candidate better suited for one board over another, it seems everyone is initially drawn to board service for a different reason, whether it was simply "a desire to make a difference and contribute" (Zita Enloe, Gamma Phi/Texas Tech), "curiosity about how Theta worked on a national level" (Elizabeth Prosser, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma), a "love of Theta" (Lisa Street), an eagerness to "experience Theta governance and oversight on a national level" (Kathy Tonkel), or seizing the "right opportunity at the right time after not being able to have a full four-year experience while in college" (Lyn Stewart Simensen, Gamma Gamma/Rollins).


No matter what drew them to a Theta board, "rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable" were just some of the words used to describe their experiences. Some board members serve only one or two terms, while others have served several terms across multiple boards.


If you are interested in serving Theta in a board capacity, these former board members have the following advice to offer:


  • "Keep an open mind and think outside the box when looking toward the future. For it will only be by being forward thinking that our organization will remain relevant for future generations of women." Lyn Simensen

  • "Make sure you serve for the right reasons. Don't serve with your own personal agenda, and ensure your intentions are altruistic." Zita Enloe

  • "Be prepared to extend yourself in many ways. Give it your all!" Lisa Street

  • "We never stop learning! What a privilege it was to share my professional expertise while learning more from others! Theta encompasses extraordinary leaders! Continual growth both personally and professionally." Jill Peterson

  • "Do it! What you will learn and benefit from as an individual and in your life experience—the challenges, the exposure to various situations and various individuals--far outweighs any negatives. And you will have been involved in determining the direction of a wonderful organization! I would have not traded it for anything!" Kathy Tonkel

  • Are you interested in board service or do you know a Theta who would be a great candidate? Please nominate yourself or a Theta sister for any of the three board service opportunities during the 2018-2020 biennium. Nominations must be submitted by March 1, 2018. Interest Indicators will be available February 7, 2018.

    Jenni Schmaltz, Gamma/Butler, is the chief operating officer for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

    Posted On: Monday, November 6, 2017 07:36 AM, by Kristi Tucker

    On Halloween, I opened my email and saw my first Christmas-themed message from a retail store, and I thought, "The trick-or-treaters haven't even arrived, and the holiday shopping season has already begun!"


    If you are someone who loves the holidays, loves to shop, or is already searching for gifts this season, look to Theta's 600+ licensed vendors for all the Thetas on your list. Find trendy items such as jewelry, clothing, and other accessories that any Theta is sure to love. Our list of licensed vendors is your one-stop-shop for cute and quality products for any budget.


    Perhaps this is the year you decide to upgrade your badge, or purchase a badge as a gift for a sister, you can do so directly online at our official jeweler's website. Please note, our deadline for holiday orders is November 20. Badge orders must be submitted by November 20 to be received in time for the holidays.


    Happy shopping!

    Kristi Tucker is an assistant director of alumnae engagement at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity headquarters.

    Posted On: Friday, November 3, 2017 07:15 AM, by Laurie McGregor Connor

    Fraternities and sororities are the nation's second largest provider of student housing. However, more than 370,000 of the most active college student are currently restricted from receiving full tax dedications towards building and maintaining our houses.


    The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) would provide our houses with equal access to facility upgrades under the law. By simplifying the tax code, all non-for-profit housing (including fraternities and sororities) will gain incentives to increase funding for life-safety and capacity upgrades like fire sprinklers and alarm systems. If integrated into tax reform, CHIA will also make a difference in long-term student debt crisis, meaning our students and their families will be less burdened when it comes to campus housing.


    We're now taking our efforts from the House to the Senate, and need your help once more. Tell Senate to include CHIA in the upcoming tax reform package. The more our voices are heard, the more likely students across the country will gain the benefits of safe and affordable student housing - and the wonderful college experience that comes with it! Thank you for your support.

    Posted On: Thursday, October 26, 2017 11:00 AM, by Laurie McGregor Connor

    Fraternities and sororities are the nation's second largest provider of college student housing. We provide housing—and one-of-a-kind experience—for more than 370,000 of the most active students on campuses. Yet, donations toward building and maintaining our houses are restricted from receiving full tax deductions.


    The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) would provide our houses with equal access to facility upgrades under the law. By simplifying the tax code, all non-for-profit housing (including fraternities and sororities) will be able to gain incentives to increase funding for life-safety and capacity upgrades like fire sprinklers and alarm systems. If integrated into tax reform, CHIA—which has always enjoyed bipartisan support—will also make a meaningful difference in the student debt crisis, by expanding the offering of affordable collegiate housing options.


    Now we need your help. Tell Congress to include CHIA in the upcoming tax reform package. The more voices Congress hears, the more likely students across the country will gain the benefits of safe and affordable student housing. Thank you for your support.

    Posted On: Monday, October 23, 2017 07:13 AM, by Teresa Silva Smith

    On October 24, we're celebrating 10 years of the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity Housing Corporation. Happy birthday, FHC!


    Since 2007, our housing corporation has provided and maintained safe, competitive, and desirable homes for our collegians. FHC facilities not only enhance the sisterhood of our college members, they also foster alumnae affinity and support the health, heritage, and future of our college chapters.


    To celebrate this milestone, here are a few of FHC's top moments from the past 10 years:


    • FHC interior designer Jennifer Coleman, Delta Epsilon/Arizona State, developed a custom Theta fabric collection that is used for FHC upholstery and home furnishings. An adorable tote bag using this fabric is available for purchase!

    • FHC introduced new technology and custom-designed items in its facilities.

    • FHC has invested more than $16 million in chapter renovations!

    • FHC is growing for even better service. We started with two staff members and now boast a team of eight, including professional interior designers!

    • Three Theta chapters (Tau/Northwestern, Alpha Eta/Vanderbilt, and Beta Delta/Arizona) are featured in a Town & Country Magazine online article about the 15 top sorority houses in the country.

    • 85 chapters (58 percent of all Theta chapters) participate in FHC, with four new builds coming soon! (Gamma Iota/Kentucky, Delta Omicron/Alabama, Theta Theta/NC State, and Theta Nu/Georgia Tech)

    Learn more about the benefits of joining the Fraternity Housing Corporation, view featured renovations, and more on its website.

    Teresa Smith, Phi/Pacific, is the executive director of the Facility Housing Corporation.

    Posted On: Monday, October 9, 2017 07:16 AM, by Ellen Barlow

    Kappa Alpha Theta will celebrate Day of Service for the ninth time this year on October 19, Bettie Locke Hamilton's birthday. Theta's newly defined Philanthropy Philosophy quotes the words of Former Fraternity President Adelaide McDonald Sinclair, Sigma/Toronto: "The world should be a better place because Kappa Alpha theta exists." In Adelaide's spirit, Theta categorizes philanthropy in the following three areas:


    • Service, focusing on hands-on volunteering for others;

    • Fundraising, or collecting monetary or in-kind donations for causes close to our hearts; and

    • Advocacy, or championing a cause through public support, education, and awareness.

    As Day of Service's name suggests, we want our members to focus on the first of the three categories—service. There are plenty of resources on the this website related to Day of Service, from planning to promoting to participating in the annual photo contest.


    Our world has been full of heartache for many people recently. From neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville to several natural disasters occurring one right after another, it seems each news day is more overwhelming than the last. It is not easy to watch our neighbors suffer—lives lost, property destroyed, and worlds turned upside down. It's only been a few weeks since Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston and surrounding areas. Days later, Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Caribbean and parts of Florida, followed closely by Jose and Maria, which took out power on the entire island of Puerto Rico. Couple these with two massive earthquakes in Mexico, a typhoon in the Philippines, and the most recent tragic mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas, and we can feel helpless, even paralyzed. But in dark times, the world needs our light all the more—our sparks of consciousness and caring have the power to change lives for the better.


    Day of Service can be a reminder that while we cannot do everything, we all have the capacity to do something. One of Theta's three aims is to exercise the widest influence for good, and thus, Kappa Alpha Theta aspires to cultivate philanthropists, who demonstrate tangible works to seek positive change in their communities. As a callback to this, Kappa Alpha Theta staff will be participating in Day of Service by serving two organizations whose missions focus on serving historically marginalized populations in our local Indianapolis community— New Hope of Indiana and Groundwork Indy. We encourage you to do the same.


    Whether you live in an area affected by the most recent storms and wish to assist with the ongoing relief efforts or you simply want to serve an organization you care about, Day of Service is about the power of one multiplied by 200,000—the number of living, initiated members around the world. Imagine the impact Thetas can have, if we all give just a little bit of our time to serve others. We hope you will join us in lifting our lanterns and forging ahead to spread the widest influence for good.

    Ellen Barlow is an assistant director of education and leadership at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.


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