As I travel from chapter to chapter, my favorite question to ask members is, "What was it that caused you to choose Theta?" and beyond this, "What experience caused you to stay?" Every member has a different story. Maybe it was the fellow new member with whom you attended every chapter event. Maybe it was while living in the chapter house, watching movies late at night, that you realized you had not only joined a house, but also found a home. Or maybe, it was the idea that a group of women could empower each other to be become better each day and strive to live meaningful and influential lives. Whatever the story, I am willing to guess Theta means something to each of us because of the connections we made along the way.
As new members join our chapters in these busy recruitment weeks, I have realized the value of true sisterhood. These new members finish an eventful, tiring, and exciting recruitment week and are happy to find a new home. What we commonly forget is recruitment is not over on bid day; we must help our new members find connections to each other, our college members, and Theta internationally. The new member period is a time of excitement, chaos, and happiness.
It is at this time I believe each chapter can slow down, focus on each other, and create true and lasting impressions. Whether this is through a sisterhood retreat, playing silly bonding games, or sharing personal stories, I believe we each have the potential to find connections and influence each other for good. In the end, this is exactly what Bettie Locke wanted for us all, as she put it: "I send greetings of love and a welcome to each of you as you enter the fraternity with the wish that your scholarship, zeal and loyalty will build up Kappa Alpha Theta to twice its present size and it will go down in its history what you have accomplished...."
Over the past ten months I have had the opportunity to visit chapters with facilities, chapters without facilities, members who live together in a dorm, and chapters with meeting spaces on or near campus. I have consistently encountered strong sisterhoods and women who are proud to call themselves Kappa Alpha Thetas, regardless of whether or not they have a chapter facility.
In the past few months, I have been able to work together with FHC and with a chapter to secure a facility and while the membership is ecstatic, they will continue to tell you that a house does not make a chapter. In their case, their hearts have been in Theta and behind all that it stands for and therefore, their "home" will continue to be the sisterhood that they have created.
This chapter has taught me a valuable lesson. Although I might be traveling from university to university, meeting thousands of incredible members, I will always have a place to call "home." Whichever city I might be in for the night or whatever campus I might be visiting, I know that I will find comfort in the sisters around me because "home is where the heart is" and my heart is with Theta.