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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 07:27 AM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
10-year volunteer charm
Last week, fellow Assistant Director of Alumnae Engagement Kristi Tucker was busy preparing volunteer charms for our members celebrating five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 years of service to Kappa Alpha Theta (see the list!).

As I read through the 39 names, I realized that I've worked directly with so many of these women—college district directors, permanent alumnae secretaries, former and current Grand Council members—and it made me proud to see how far they've come in their Theta volunteering journey.

For example, Fraternity President Laura Doerre is celebrating 10 years of service this year, but she certainly didn't start there. Her volunteer tenure began as an officer with her Houston NW Alumnae Chapter. And each year, she climbed the Theta ladder to the highest volunteer position.

As I thought about her trajectory, and those of the other women on the list, I began to think about our future. About your future. Have you ever thought about giving back to the Fraternity? What skills and talents could you share with us?

It doesn't take any time to get started, so complete a Volunteer Interest Indicator today (login required). And maybe in 10 years, we too will ask, "How did she get her start?"

International and district officers, committee chairmen, and PASes are eligible for volunteer charms.

Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel, Gamma/Butler, is an assistant director of alumnae engagement at Fraternity headquarters. Her focus is on volunteer recruitment, retention and recognition.

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, June 24, 2015 08:05 AM, by Rachel Tilghman
L-R: Hannah, Rachel, and Jessica in Quito, Ecuador
In late April, I took a spontaneous trip to Quito, Ecuador to treat myself for my birthday (call it a quarter-life crisis if you will). I booked the trip with just four days' notice, so I did very little planning, apart from reading a guidebook on my plane ride to South America. I've been part of the Kappa Alpha Theta Global Alumnae Facebook group for a while now, and I've seen members post to find roommates in foreign countries, plan trips, or get recommendations, so I thought I should try it.

I posted in the group, and within hours had made Saturday night dinner plans with two collegians from Zeta Eta/Wofford who were studying abroad for the semester: Hannah Flack and Jessica McClain. I was traveling alone 3,000 miles with no preparation and felt a little bit crazy, but I took comfort in knowing I already had plans with sisters.

In the true spirit of Ecuador, where nothing ever goes as planned, I had some things change, and it was on my bucket list to go to a true futbol (soccer) game in South America, so I messaged Hannah asking if we could swap dinner for a local arena soccer game. She and Jessica met me, and we cheered on the Quito home team while swapping travel stories and favorite Theta memories. After a few days of traveling solo and making friends with foreigners in hostels, it was a breath of fresh of air to talk to sisters.

Join the Kappa Alpha Theta Global Alumnae Facebook group today! Already a member? Tell us what successes you'd had - sister meetups, tips, or stories to share!

Rachel Tilghman, Eta Sigma/Chapman, is president of the Chicago North Shore Alumnae Chapter and serves on the Tau/Northwestern advisory board.

Posted On: Monday, June 15, 2015 08:00 AM, by Tiffany Erica Yoshida
Tiffany Erica Yoshida
Epsilon Sigma/
UC Irvine
CASA. I first heard about Court Appointed Special Advocates my freshman year of college at UC Irvine during sorority recruitment. I never thought I would join a sorority, but my friend convinced me to go through the recruitment process with her. During recruitment, I was given my first introduction to CASA while visiting Epsilon Sigma's facility and decided to join.

Some of my favorite experiences as an undergraduate were the philanthropic events planned by Theta. It was always so fulfilling and gratifying to know that we were supporting and donating what time and funds we could to a very beneficial and impactful cause. In addition to our own events, we had the opportunity to volunteer at some of our local CASA events and fundraisers. Little did I know I would soon be a guest at these annual galas and on the event committee after graduating!

During my senior year, I represented Epsilon Sigma at Robin McGraw's initiation at Omicron/USC. This was a special moment for me as I saw the partnership between CASA and Theta embodied in an inspiring individual. Robin is a national spokeswoman for CASA and now a Theta! Shortly after graduating UCI, I met someone through an interview process, and he coincidentally turned out to be an instrumental figure and supporter and on the board of advisors for CASA. After so many connections, the CASA connection continued to follow me. At this point, I knew CASA was meant to be in my life, and in late 2010, I signed up for training to become a court appointed special advocate.

Since that time, I have had two cases. I am incredibly passionate about CASA. CASA's mission is to "support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child can be safe, establish permanency, and have the opportunity to thrive." I've seen firsthand the impact that this mission has on children, including the current youth I serve. In addition to serving as a CASA, I am involved in CASA's local events to spread its mission and raise awareness.

Joining Theta was one of the best decisions I have made. My college experience was immensely enhanced and wonderful because of Theta. I am proud to be a Theta, and I thank Theta for helping me become who I am today. I encourage all my Theta sisters to get involved with their local CASA chapter, whether committing to be a volunteer advocate such as myself, or getting involved in other ways with local events and fundraisers and spreading awareness to the mission of CASA.

I love being a CASA and being a part of the CASA family. Theta led me to CASA and helped me find my voice in the world, and CASA allows me to give my child a voice.

Tiffany Erica Yoshida, Epsilon Sigma/UC Irvine, works as a client services specialist at CBRE, Inc and is a volunteer child advocate for CASA of Orange County and a wish granter for Make-A-Wish of Orange County.

Posted On: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 08:00 AM, by Christine Collins Clymer
Christine Clymer
Tau/Northwestern PAS
With our brand "Leading Women," Kappa Alpha Theta is represented by a hardworking yet quiet group of women, the permanent alumnae secretaries, or PASes. As a PAS, I volunteer to keep the records of a specific chapter current by finding lost members and maintaining the existing member roll. Myself and the other PASes—one for each of our chapters—work diligently to keep our chapters connected with alumnae, Theta headquarters, and local alumnae chapters. The age of the Internet has made this job much easier to accomplish.

PASes are the "Nancy Drew"s of each chapter. I seek and find members that Theta headquarters considers "missing," meaning that there is no longer a good working address for them. When I began this position 15 years ago, the job was done solely via mail and phone calls. If someone was abroad, she was difficult to track down. I just had to hope she reconnected if she returned to the States. With 21st century technology, I can now connect domestically and globally in the blink an eye. It has truly transformed how fast searching for someone can be done.

I use many search engines, social media sites, and school databases to find my "missing" Thetas. One of my best techniques has been emailing each new member class, going back from the 1970s to present. It is a great idea provided by another PAS and has worked well. Asking other Thetas has also been a terrific way to find missing members and a wonderful way to chat with alumnae from all around the globe. Just by spending a few hours each month, I am able to update my database with new facts on lost members or update details on current members. It is truly rewarding when, upon reconnecting with a Theta, she tells you that she was glad to be found!

Since my initiation 30 years ago at Beta Zeta/Oklahoma State, serving as an advisor at two other chapters, and now as Tau/Northwestern's PAS, I have been enriched by being a part of Kappa Alpha Theta. I am honored to be Life Loyal to Theta and hope that others will look fondly on their years with the Fraternity. Alumnae can always update any data on Theta's website and stay connected to the Fraternity.

Christine Collins Clymer, Beta Zeta/Oklahoma State, serves as the permanent alumnae secretary for Tau/Northwestern.

Posted On: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 11:00 AM, by Liz Appel Rinck
Spring 2015 issue
Soon the Spring 2015 issue of the Theta magazine will appear in your mailbox. Although it's not a special issue, per se, it does comprise a number of noteworthy features:

  • News of a first-of-its-kind capital campaign launched by Theta Foundation. Through this campaign, Thetas and friends of Theta can invest in two proven programs: the Educational Leadership Consultant (ELC) program and a new need-based scholarship program.

  • Further celebration of Theta's 25-year relationship with CASA, including an article by a collegian who strengthened the connection between her chapter and her local CASA chapter.

  • Stories from alumnae groups and college chapters about spreading the widest influence for good on our sixth annual Day of Service.

  • The Fraternity's annual report, a list of undergraduate Thetas who earned straight As, and a profile of Jean Smith McKenzie, Alpha Mu/Missouri, president of American Girl.

As always, we hope you will find both inspiration and entertainment in the latest issue of the Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine.

Liz Appel Rinck, Gamma/Butler, is the director of communications for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

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