This summer, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), of which Kappa Alpha Theta is one of 26 members, and the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC), which has over 70 member groups, endorsed the Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act, which were both introduced in the US House of Representatives on July 29. The impetus for this action—as I wrote in a blog post in August—was a desire to address the problem of sexual misconduct on US campuses. The statistics are appalling and unacceptable: there are too many occurrences and too many victims. The status quo must change. Kappa Alpha Theta supported the efforts of NPC and NIC to utilize our collective position of leadership to make a positive change on college campuses through a multi-faceted legislative approach.
Recently, after collaboration with two senators (including a member of Kappa Alpha Theta) who have led the charge in offering legislative solutions to address the problem of sexual assault on college campuses, NPC and NIC agreed to withdraw their endorsement of the current form of the Safe Campus Act. The senators agreed to collaborate with NPC and NIC to continue to support a legislative agenda that, in addition to offering solutions related to sexual assault adjudication, focuses on protecting our right to organize as a single-sex organization, preventing organizations from being penalized for allegations of criminal misconduct which do not directly involve our organizations, and respecting the vital role alumnae play in supporting our students who rely on confidential counsel from their mentors. Kappa Alpha Theta continues to support the efforts of NPC and NIC.
Of ultimate importance is eliminating the problem of sexual assault altogether, and unfortunately that cannot be achieved through legislation alone. Theta has a long tradition of offering not only support for survivors of sexual misconduct and sexual violence, but also a commitment to engaging members in prevention and intervention efforts. Through our award-winning Sisters Supporting Sisters initiative, we connect members to a comprehensive program of educational resources addressing interpersonal violence, healthy relationships and communication, emotional well-being, and more.
Our Fraternity also has a long tradition of respecting the voices and opinions of our members. We are proud of the Thetas who continue to lead discussions on this important topic, and we remain committed to working with our sister groups, NPC, campus professionals, and victims' advocates to develop effective solutions.
The 2015 Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity Day of Service is over, the deadline for photo contest submissions has passed, and now I pause to reflect on all the amazing work that was done on Bettie's birthday, as well as look ahead to next year. We have had nearly 40 submissions for the photo contest, which means at least that many college and alumnae chapters participated in the day (we know there are more of you, so please be sure to fill out the Day of Service form in the Officer Portal to let us know what you did), which is absolutely amazing! From visiting nursing home residents to cleaning up the beach, from sorting food donations at an area food bank to working with the local Guardian Ad Litem to put on a carnival for foster children, from serving at a local animal shelter to working at an organization that refurbishes furniture to give to families living in poverty, you all exercised the widest influence for good and embodied what it means to be leading women.
Here at Theta headquarters, we served in two shifts at Gleaners Food Bank, central Indiana's largest food bank that distributes food to hungry Hoosiers through a network of more than 250 partner agencies, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. The first shift, which included Executive Director Betsy Corridan (and her two sons who were on fall break), volunteered in the cooler, helping to sort and organize refrigerated food so that the local agencies they serve can distribute fresh food to their clients. They were a bit chilly, but had a fantastic time! We in the afternoon shift relabeled three pallets' worth of canned corn - the warehouse staff person on site said we were the fastest labelers he'd ever seen! - and repacked four pallets' worth of "backsacks," bags of food sent home with hungry school children on Friday afternoons so that they have something to eat over the weekend. We had an amazing time working with an awesome organization, serving alongside one another.
My hope is that October 19 was just a jumping off point for you to explore what it means to serve meaningfully and with intention and purpose. I challenge you to find an organization you care about in your community, contact them, and see what opportunities they have available for ongoing service, and then commit to going as often as you are able - once a quarter, once a month, once a week...
All the while, we must continue to think about the larger social issues the organizations we work with are trying to solve, how we can break down stereotypes about the people we serve, and always reflect on the impact we are making.
For now, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about service:
• "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." —John Wesley
• "We ourselves feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." —Mother Teresa
• "No man or woman, even of the humblest sort, can really be strong, gentle, pure and good without the world being better for it; without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness." —Phillips Brooks
• "Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What are you passionate about?
Whether or not you realize it, the answer to this question is an intrinsic part of you and your life. It's what you naturally talk about when you meet someone new at an interview or a party; it's what builds your network and connects you to others who share this passion; and it's the starting point to figuring out what you really want to do after college.
Unrealistic? No. Finding a job or career that actually ignites your passions can seem impossible, but it's not. Knowing your passion is the first step to understanding what types of jobs will excite and energize you.
To help ambitious millennials design a career they're passionate about, Levo League created a series of online guides that take you step by step through creating a career planning action plan—to find the one that's right for you and that you would be amazing at.
We're excited to announce that we've partnered with Levo to offer their Complete Career Toolkit to you for free! The toolkit is comprised of various guides designed to help you find a career you love. Each guide offers coaching videos, tips, and action items to get you the ultimate result: a job and career path that matches your passions.
To make this announcement even sweeter, Levo is giving away a $100 Modern Citizen gift card and $100 cash to four lucky winners. To enter, just sign up for your guide by November 4.
Get access by joining Levo today at www.levo.com/kappa-alpha-theta!
Driving to work, I heard a countdown to the holidays on the radio. Seeing as that it's not even Halloween yet, I couldn't believe it! It made me think of another important holiday countdown—the deadline for official jewelry orders!
If someone on your shopping list is longing for a new Theta badge, guard, or dangles, visit the J. Lewis Small website by November 23 in order to receive your merchandise in time for the holidays. Most items are not kept in stock, as they are hand-crafted upon ordering.
If you have any jewelry questions, please contact me directly. Happy shopping!
My husband, Jose Carlos, and I met during a summer course at Fairfield University. My family lives in Fairfield, Conn., and I was taking summer courses in order to earn additional credits before studying abroad in London. After dating long distance for about three years, I moved down to El Salvador, leaving my job and family in the United States.
Geographically, El Salvador is about the same size as the state of Massachusetts, but with just over 6 million people. I had to learn Spanish, adapt to a new culture, and find a new job.
In the spring of 2014, I saw an announcement in The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine that my chapter was looking for a PAS. I wanted to take on the role so that I could have a tangible connection to Theta. There aren't any alumnae chapters in Central America, so it was difficult to maintain that closeness to Theta after moving abroad.
Being PAS allows me to be close to my sisters, although geographically, I am far removed. With social media and the PAS resources on the Theta website, it's very easy to do my volunteer role. I can perform my duties on my time schedule, and there's also a lot of creative leeway to connect with and involve my Epsilon Pi sisters.
There are so many opportunities to stay involved with Theta as an alumna. I encourage you to update your contact information and use resources like the Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine, the Theta website (www.kappaalphatheta.org), and your chapter's social media to find ways to stay involved.
Keep your eyes open! Just as I thought I wasn't going to be able to be an involved alumna, I found the role as PAS for my college chapter, and I absolutely love it!
It's hard to believe we are just one week away from Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity's Day of Service, in celebration of Bettie Locke's birthday on October 19. Here are some final tips and reminders:
- When you are serving next week, remember that you are representing your chapter and and Kappa Alpha Theta. Pay attention to the Tips for Media Relations, and use the information provided to not only represent yourselves well on social and other media, but also the organization with which you are working. Making a good impression on the organization is key in building a meaningful relationship.
- Use social media to promote your chapter's or group's participation. The hashtag is #ThetaService, and view sample social media messages. In addition, don't forget to submit photos for the Day of Service Photo Contest, the object of which is to show the impact you and/or your chapter is making in your community. Thetas should be included in the photos, and action shots are strongly encouraged. Please make sure the people are organization you are serving are represented with dignity and respect. You are encouraged to wear your Greek letters or Theta apparel during your Day of Service activities. Please note that photos must be high-resolution without filters, and submission of collages or Instagram photos is discouraged. Photos will be accepted for submission from October 19 - November 2.
- Don't forget about reflection! As I've said before, taking time to reflect on service experiences helps us critically assess what we are seeing and doing. The most effective service experiences are those that provide structured opportunities for participants to reflect on the work they did. Reflection activities can be found on the Day of Service Plan page.
As Leading Women, we are called to exercise the widest influence for good. My hope for you is that your Day of Service experience will help you understand that idea a little bit better, and will inspire you to continue doing good in your community.
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