It's a new year and a brand-new semester here as an educational leadership consultant. As I reflect on 2016, I can't ignore the profound impact that being an ELC has had on me. Here are my resolutions for the coming year:
- Be present. With so many distractions, it's easy to find myself planning my day or lost in thought about the next item on my to-do list. However, my favorite and most meaningful connections with collegians and alumnae have happened unexpectedly; in all instances I have been unplugged and fully engaged.
One of my favorite memories of Epsilon Theta/Stetson, the chapter I established with my based partner, was from Theta Thanksgiving where we provided the members a Thanksgiving meal before they left for break. As I chatted with the members and looked around the room, I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity to spend time with them. This is a moment I would have missed had I been checking my email or worrying about my next move. In the year ahead, I will stay fully present.
- Stay thankful. One of the special characteristics of this job is the connections I'm able to make with collegians, mentors, and friends. When I reflect on the past semester, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to see so much of the country, different campuses, and Theta experiences. Seeing two chapters become installed was one of the most meaningful experiences I've had as a Theta. Each day I will remember how special it is to be able to have these experiences as an ELC.
- Say "yes" more. Some of my favorite interactions during my time as an ELC have happened during unstructured time when I have said yes. Whether it has been an unplanned conversation, meeting, or opportunity, I have enjoyed seeing what makes each campus unique. I will continue to say yes to new opportunities.
- Take care of myself. Like many college students today, I sometimes forget to slow down and take care of myself. Whether it's treating myself to a warm cup of coffee in an airport, or carving out time to go on a walk, in this new year I will take time for myself. I know when I return, I'll be energized and ready to be fully present.
I'm so excited to see what this new semester as an ELC will bring. What resolutions are you making for the new year?
During my college days, I frequently heard the phrase, "It's not four years; it's for life." What does that really mean? Just a year ago I feared my Theta experience would soon be over. Little did I know that my Theta experience was far from over.
As a based ELC at Gamma Sigma/San Diego State, I had the opportunity to attend the Alumnae Homecoming Brunch last weekend. Women who had not seen each other in years were catching up like a day had not gone by. Gamma Sigma's charter class was also in attendance. The charter class was given the opportunity to see "It's not four years; it's for life" in action that day. "Homecoming brunch was a chance to see a sisterhood that withstands the test of time. Watching all these women greet each other as if they were just at chapter meeting yesterday was so wonderful and sweet. I love how enthusiastic alumnae are for Gamma Sigma. It is their legacy and support that will no doubt help build Kappa Alpha Theta in its time of reestablishment.," said charter class member Alison Norwood.
What does it actually mean that Theta is not four years but for life? It means that for the rest of your life Kappa Alpha Theta will support you in many ways. You can join an alumnae chapter in your area. You can always participate in Day of Service on Bettie Locke's birthday, no matter where you are! ThetaConnect is a mobile app that makes it easy to find and connect with Thetas near you. Betties List can connect you to products and services offered by other Thetas. The Theta website offers many more ways for alumnae to connect and engage with one another and with the Fraternity.
The most important support that Kappa Alpha Theta will give you as an alumna is sisterhood. You may think that in order to continue your Theta experience you will need to become an advisor, ELC, officer, or volunteer in other aspects. In order to truly continue your Theta experience, stay connected as a sisterhood. This does not mean that you need to call your sisters every day. It means that sisterhood will always be there and will give you support when you least expect it. It could be as simple as reaching out to a sister who is not one just for four years, but for life.
Kappa Alpha Theta has had a busy fall with the establishment of five new college chapters! From coast to coast, these new chapters will lay the foundation on their campus this semester, and for the success of the chapter for years to come. Being a charter member is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and many leading women at these universities will share in this special opportunity. Just a few years ago, I was in those very shoes as I became a charter member of Eta Phi/Belmont. Very quickly I realized that Theta was one of the most incredible opportunities I would have during my college years.
The women I got to know through my charter experience are without a doubt the most inspiring, smart, incredible women I have ever met. Looking back, it was such a journey starting at the little table outside of our student life center where ELCs Katie and Joni spent hours recruiting our charter class. Each new member became an instrumental part of each step since day one; over the next few years we stood by each other to celebrate the highs and work through the growing pains.
What Theta and each new member creates in a charter class is really something special. Each member has the chance to be a part of something so much bigger than any one of us. These chapters are given the support and guidance to be unstoppable. I've enjoyed watching the amazing things Eta Phi has done over the years and I know there are even bigger, better things coming in the future! The start of a legacy is created that first year as a chapter, and it is remarkable to see several years down the road what these chapters will have accomplished—all because the charter members had a hand in setting it up for success.
I have had the amazing opportunity this year to see my Theta experience come full circle as I have helped reestablish Epsilon Theta/Stetson. With their recent Bid Day celebration, the new Epsilon Theta charter members were welcomed into Theta and I know for certain that they will have many life-changing experiences that lie ahead. I can't contain my excitement for each and every one of these women!
Are you a charter member of your college chapter? What special memories or experiences have you had because of Theta? Share in the Comments section below!
On Saturday, November 14th, the Theta Lambda Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta was installed!
Theta Lambda Chapter was the 98th chapter installation the educational leadership consultant program has been a part of. The ELC program has existed since 1959, and for the past 56 years, ELCs have been working with the establishment, reestablishment, and installation of Kappa Alpha Theta chapters across the United States and Canada.
Two ELCs have been based in Rochester New York, working hard to find students who embody the values of Kappa Alpha Theta and who want to become leading women on their campus by joining a brand-new chapter. The based consultants have received a lot of support in their efforts, from Fraternity headquarters and volunteers, other ELCs, and alumnae. Since the Theta Lambda Chapter establishment, the ELCs have educated and built bonds of sisterhood with and among 57 chapter members.
Five educational leadership consultants were present at the University of Rochester to help with installation. These ELCs had the opportunity to work with the Fraternity president and Fraternity ritualist, Kappa Alpha Theta executive director, and assistant director of chapter services, as well as an alumnae district director, recruitment and Panhellenic district director, and local alumnae who are serving as Theta Lambda Chapter advisors.
The day of installation was more than special. The assisting ELCs were especially excited for the based consultants who have been directly working with the Theta Lambda charter members since August. Seeing 57 charter members initiated was inspiring, and seeing all initiated members sign the Theta Lambda charter was both a moving and historic event for Kappa Alpha Theta.
There were so many individuals who made the establishment and installation of Theta Lambda Chapter happen, but it is very amazing to think that ELCs have been helping with the establishment and installation of chapter for 56 years!