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CHIA   [Clear]    (Found 3)

Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, June 29, 2015 09:05 AM, by Brooke Knudtson
Front: Brooke, Laura Doerre, Celia Wright. Back: Madeline Grunewald, Kristin Anderson, Cindy Stellhorn, Laurie Connor.
Traveling to Washington D.C. to be a part of the Fraternal Governmental Relations Coalition (FGRC), while representing Kappa Alpha Theta, was truly an honor. When I first arrived, I immediately found my Theta sister Celia and went straight to touring the Smithsonian. After seeing the original Star-Spangled Banner lyrics and the collection of First Lady dresses, we met up with the rest of our Theta group. While we were talking, I realized we all had similar backgrounds; we were leaders on our campuses. Sharing our different stories about our experiences with Theta, such as recruitment, really opened my eyes to the meaning of sisterhood.

While meeting fellow Theta sisters was a blast, the main purpose of this trip was to gain support and co-sponsorships from senators and representatives for the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA). We were separated into teams, and I would like to say I had the best team consisting of Theta's Fraternity President Laura Doerre as well as Delta Gamma's Staci Skoog. Although we could probably be professional tour guides after all our meetings on the Hill, we were able to successfully secure some co-sponsors for CHIA.

When I heard the statement "Theta is for a lifetime," I did not fully understand the concept until this trip. Theta has no boundaries. I feel that I have truly developed some lasting relationships with my fellow Theta sisters. I was truly honored to represent Theta and the National Panhellenic Conference as a leading woman. I am excited to say I will be returning next year, and I cannot wait to reconnect with more Thetas in D.C.!

Brooke Knudtson, Zeta Upsilon/UT Dallas, will be a senior this fall and is majoring in political science. She is UT Dallas' student government president.

Posted On: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 09:15 AM, by Tory Redman
Tory Redman
Beta Epsilon/
Oregon State
Early May in Washington, D.C. not only marks the beginning of cherry blossom season, but also the annual Capitol Hill visits sponsored by the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition. During this time, Greek collegians from across the country come to our nation's capital to lobby federal legislators on issues related to higher education. This year, Greek students advocated for the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act, a tax reform bill that would encourage charitable giving by allowing facility improvement donations to 501 (c) (3) organizations to be tax-deductible. The collegians representing Kappa Alpha Theta included Anna Hyronimus, Alpha Rho/South Dakota; Haley Davis, Epsilon Epsilon/Baylor; Molly Burke, Alpha Pi/North Dakota; and myself.

The expectations for our performance on this trip were high. Our conference directors included presidents and vice-presidents from the North-American Interfraternity Conference, National Panhellenic Conference, and Patton Boggs LLP. I was surprised to hear on our very first day of training to prepare for failure. While lobbying federal legislators is a difficult task on its own, this lesson was intended to apply to all collegians getting ready to go out into the real world. One of the most valuable lessons I gained from the Capitol Hill visits was facing the realization that we are ALL going fail at some point in our lives, but that shouldn't stop us from advocating for what we believe in, or striving to achieve our highest goal. I could tell that the collegians at this conference took in a quiet gasp when they were told their streak of high achievements would one day slump. But when we eventually reach this point, remember this: "Some of our greatest successes will come from what we once thought was our biggest failure." So take your failure in stride and know that Theta will always be there to provide a network of support and opportunity. As Theta women, we are destined to achieve personal excellence and are reminded not to be afraid of what we might accomplish because the risk of failure is only a shadow of our light.

Through the Capitol Hill visits, Theta has given me the opportunity to personally and professionally develop as a leading woman. I feel honored to be one among so many outstanding Theta women who challenge themselves to achieve personal excellence. I highly recommend the Capitol Hill visits for those interested in learning more about Theta's involvement on the national level and building relationships with some of Theta's most esteemed leading women. For anyone seeking more information about the Capitol Hill visits or my experience as a collegian, I am happy to share my story. Send me a note in the Add a Comment section below.

Tory Redman, Beta Epsilon/Oregon State, was recently named OSU's 2014-15 Memorial Union president.

Posted On: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 12:08 PM, by Alissa VanMeeteren
L-R: Thetas Anna Pojman, Nicole Cawsey, Fraternity President Amy Kates, Alissa VanMeeteren, and Megan Demshki
There is a reason why the nation's capital isn't located within the bounds of any one state. Washington, DC is in a world of its own, and rightfully so! Within the beltway borders, the subways move fast and the people move faster. Capitol Hill is littered with passionate people bringing publicity to issues about which they care. While spending a day in late April lobbying the Hill on the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act, or CHIA, the Theta delegation and I were part of the movement.

Working with student leaders from all across the country was an incredibly rewarding experience. Several collegians (Megan, Nicole, Anna, and I) had the opportunity to network with a fraternity and sorority representation, Hill staffers, and members of Congress. Many of these members were part of the Greek community, and welcomed our company and conversation with open arms. It was so wonderful to swap Greek life stories with these esteemed representatives. At the same time, some were not as open to our cause. When meeting with these legislators, we were forced to stand up for ourselves and the cause for which we were fighting.

The purpose of CHIA and our presence in Washington was to bring parity to the tax code. Although it sounds somewhat complicated, essentially CHIA would allow Greek alumni to give tax-deductible donations to chapter houses for infrastructure improvements such as safety and security measures. University housing is permitted to use donations for this purpose, and in the future, hopefully we will have the same opportunity!

As members of the Greek community, we are part of something huge. If we stand together, our voice is exceedingly powerful. Bills such as CHIA give us the opportunity to speak up for ourselves and to show the world how admirable fraternity and sorority life truly is. I think this especially true for the women of Kappa Alpha Theta. After our week in Washington, I couldn't have been more proud to be a Theta!

Alissa VanMeeteren is the chief marketing officer for Alpha Rho/South Dakota, and is also the president of the Student Government Association.