How lucky are we to belong to a sisterhood of women that has not just lasted but thrived for the past 147 years? I often think about the strength, determination, and resilience of our four founders on that long-ago 27th day of January in Greencastle, Indiana. At a time when college was not a place where women were welcomed, these four leading women, wearing their badges, walked proudly through the doors of the Asbury chapel despite the male students who scoffed at and mocked them.
Founders Day is celebrated in several ways. Whether at a brunch, an afternoon tea, or another type of event, I ask that you take a moment to reflect on the efforts and strengths of the women who have come before us. Imagine the fortitude and passion of women who had to fight for the right to an education, not only for themselves but for all who would come after them.
Founders Day is a time to remember that belonging to Kappa Alpha Theta is truly an honor and a privilege. It is a time to be grateful for our ability to receive a college education and have a place to call home; women to call our sisters; and an organization to empower us to be our best selves academically, morally, and socially.
In my time traveling as an educational leadership consultant (ELC), I have been inspired by the quality and accomplishments of the women who represent Kappa Alpha Theta. Every Theta I come to know reminds me that I am honored to be a part of such a remarkable organization. In my time as a based consultant reestablishing the Epsilon Nu Chapter at Virginia Tech, I am already so impressed by the caliber of women who are pursuing the opportunity to join our sisterhood.
Thank you to Bettie Locke Hamilton, Alice Allen Brant, Hannah Fitch Shaw, and Bettie Tipton Lindsey. We would not be who we are today with your leadership and love.
As members of a Greek organization, I can bet we have all been asked the question, "What is the true purpose of a sorority?" or "What do you do in your chapter?" Throughout my Theta membership experience, and especially now that I am serving as an educational leadership consultant for the Fraternity, I am often asked how sororities are still relevant today or what I do for my job. I take this as an opportunity to tell my Theta story. I share why Theta was such an integral part of my college experience and continues to impact me today as an alumna.
As you find yourself in various situations, whether it be a volunteer opportunity or a job interview, it is important to be prepared when asked about your Greek experience. Here are a few tips for how to best market your involvement in Kappa Alpha Theta and effectively communicate the unique skills you've gained from your membership.
1. Prepare specific stories: It's important to have specific examples of "a time when..." In an interview, for example, you will most likely be asked to share a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle, worked together as a team to accomplish a common goal or stepped up to lead in an effort. Through your Theta experiences, I would imagine it's possible to find a story to fit each of these prompts.
2. Talk in numbers: Employers are very impressed by the sheer numbers of many of our chapters, including the number of members, the leadership opportunities we offer and the philanthropic impact we make. Do not be afraid to include specific numbers on your resume and in interviews, such as: "Served on a committee of 12 women to plan, coordinate and execute a philanthropy event that raised $12,800 for our international philanthropy, Court Appointed Special Advocates."
3. Use Theta's tagline of Leading Women: Lots of situations (group project work, volunteer coordination, etc.) require leadership ability. Whether or not you held a leadership position in your chapter, you should reference Kappa Alpha Theta's tagline of Leading Women as a talking point of your character. Through Theta's values that we hold so dearly and the standard to which each chapter member is held, Kappa Alpha Theta helps you develop leadership, integrity and ethics.
These are just a few examples of the many ways you can utilize your Theta experiences as you share with others why Greek life - and Kappa Alpha Theta - are important to you. It is my hope that you can always feel confident and proud discussing your Greek affiliation in any type of setting.
We are Kappa Alpha Theta. We are leading women. This tag line encompasses Kappa Alpha Theta's brand, its mission and its vision. It is what our organization was built on and what we hope each of our chapters strive for. But what does it mean to be leading women? What can our chapters do to live out Theta's brand each day?
Kappa Alpha Theta's Grand Council chose the tag line Leading Women after reflecting back on our history, what our organization aspires to be, and the women who proudly wear our letters. We were the first Greek-letter Fraternity known among women, the first women admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, the first women's Greek organization to establish at four Ivy League universities, and the first women's fraternity to establish a chapter in Canada.
For Theta chapters to live out our brand, they must first be educated on what that means. A brand encompasses who makes up the organization, not just the letters, the sayings, or even our symbols (though I know we all love our kite.) When I visit chapters, I always ask members to describe their chapter's brand...in other words, if I were to ask a student on campus about Kappa Alpha Theta, what would he or she say? It probably wouldn't be what Theta's colors are or our symbol of a kite, but instead Theta's reputation and how the members present themselves on campus.
We are all responsible for upholding Theta's brand through our words and our actions. Every single college and alumnae member holds the responsibility to ensure Theta continues to be a leading women's organization for years to come. Theta believes all women have the capacity to be leaders in their communities and on their campuses, and I have been so fortunate to witness this leadership time and time again as I visit our college chapters. Our members are leading the way in their fields of study, their internships and in their hearts for service. But what I find to be truly special is how Theta leads our members to lifelong memories and friendships.
Halloween is a fun and exciting time of the year. Friends get together to celebrate with festive decorations, lots of candy, and of course, dress up in costumes. Halloween costumes are an opportunity to be creative, but it is important to be intentional about a costume choice. Walk into any costume store, and you are bombarded with hyper-sexualized costumes that are anything but creative and do not support the image of a strong, empowered woman that we value as members of Kappa Alpha Theta.
Whether you are celebrating an historical leader or dressing up as a favorite female character, there are many strong women you can be on Halloween. Here are three costume ideas that are easy to make and celebrate leading women!
Hermione Granger: Hermione Granger, the leading woman of the Harry Potter series, is academically excellent, compassionate, and a fiercely loyal friend. Grab an Oxford shirt, pull-over sweater, skirt and tights, and a small stick for your wand.
Katniss Everdeen: The Katniss costume takes a little more work because you'll need to create a bow with arrows, but all you need beyond that is a braid and combat boots. Katniss put her own life on the line to protect her sister, and is a wonderful role model for young women.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Justice Ginsburg is the second woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Breaking countless legal and professional barriers for women, she is the perfect example of an empowered woman. All you need for this costume is an old graduation gown, white scarf, eyeglasses, and professional shoes. Throw your hair in a bun, and you will look as professional as Justice Ginsburg.
We would love to see your final costume! Post your image on social media, and use the hashtag #ThetaHalloween to show off which leading woman you chose this Halloween.
Because detailing every measure of Bettie Locke's impact could take a lifetime, below are three ways Theta empowers college women:
1. Theta empowers collegians with leadership skills. The leadership skills gained in holding an office or being an involved committee member are skills a collegian can carry with her into the workforce. Teamwork, time management, and delegation are such necessary skills in any career. As a collegian, take the step to make yourself available for office and be a key member of a committee! It will make all the difference in your Theta experience and in the leadership skills you will develop.
2. Theta empowers collegians with professional development skills. One amazing aspect of Kappa Alpha Theta membership is that it lasts for a lifetime. Therefore, the membership is widespread! The professional development skills collegians can gain in networking and forming relationships with alumnae can mean the difference between getting—or not getting—the internship or job. The world is much smaller than one realizes, and if it can be made smaller through a Theta connection, that's even better! What better way to develop professionally than to network with a Theta alumna? A collegian can learn so much from a fellow sister who has had years of experience in the working world. As a collegian, take advantage of the network around you!
3. Theta empowers collegians with personal excellence skills. Personal excellence is one of the core values of the Fraternity, and this aspect can be developed in individuals simply through membership in Kappa Alpha Theta. It is enhanced by being a part of an organization that values scholarship and service, both facets of life that can only enhance one's personal excellence. As a collegian, don't forget the values the Fraternity holds dear, as they are our values for a reason. By aiming for highest scholarship and maintaining a commitment to service, you will be empowered to be a better version of yourself.
No matter how much you become involved in Kappa Alpha Theta or how much you choose to network with alumnae, you should feel empowered in calling yourself a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. How amazing is it, in remembering Bettie Locke today and every day, to be able to say the founder of your organization began the first Greek-letter fraternity known among women? Being able to say that in itself is indeed empowering.
During my time as an ELC, I have been thanked hundreds of times by so many individuals, but always by Fraternity volunteers. While I am so appreciative for their kind words and constant encouragement, the roles should be reversed. I should constantly be thanking them for their dedicated service. These women are working full time, taking care of their families, battling diseases, and juggling a hundred different obligations, but still find time to give back to Kappa Alpha Theta.
On my visits, one of the first questions I ask during my meetings with a collegian is about their relationship with their respective advisor. The answers I have received have served an inspiration in themselves. So many of them have told me stories about how integral their advisor is to the success of their chapter. Many times, these women have told me that their advisor is an inspiration and serves as a true role model to them. On the flip side, during my meetings with an advisor, I am always curious to learn why they made the decision to advise. While their answers and stories range, their firm belief in membership in Kappa Alpha Theta remains the same. It is their enjoyment in watching women grow and develop throughout their collegiate experience. Above all, it is their love and passion for this organization that keeps them returning year after year.
In closing, I would simply like to say thank you. I know many times volunteer work can be a thankless job, but please know just how important you all are to the success of the Fraternity. It is my firm belief the Fraternity would not be able to function at the level that it does without you all. You women inspire me, challenge me, and encourage me to serve this organization to the best of my ability. Through your dedicated service, you remind me just how valuable membership truly is.
Have you thanked a Fraternity volunteer today? Take the time to let them know the kind of impact and influence they have had on your membership in Kappa Alpha Theta.
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