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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, September 8, 2014 09:00 AM, by Cindy Henderson Zetterman
Cindy (center) and other participants in the Run to Overcome event in 2013 (click to enlarge).
Recently our family "celebrated" what would have been our son Adam's 38th birthday. Adam was the second of five children...our oldest son. He was an easy child to raise from the moment he was born. He had such a good nature - quiet and reserved but also a fun sense of humor. He and our other children have brought my husband John and I much joy. He was very talented in athletics as well as music and academics. He received many awards during high school in each of these areas. Adam was very close to his siblings and with us. We've always had family dinners every few weeks, especially since all our children have grown and live independently. Adam was always there.

After his high school years, as he started college, he began a battle with depression, and it often reared its ugly head and interfered with his lifetime dream of being a nurse. He struggled to complete classes even though he was more than capable. However, he finally achieved this goal and graduated from University of Nebraska Medical Center with honors. He also found a beautiful and caring girl he wanted to marry and was soon to be engaged. We were so very happy to see him achieve some of his major goals, and actually felt a sense of relief that he "conquered" depression and not the reverse. However, this disease is sneaky and often silent. It is most difficult to understand.

Adam described himself as "trying" to be happy like the people he saw around him. Sometimes it was situational, sometimes not...he just couldn't find relief from this chronic, horrid plague. Even though he achieved the exact job he desired at Bryan Health's cardiac ICU and was successful in his position... Even though he was respected by other staff and frequently requested by patients because he was strong, trusting, and intelligent... Even though he knew beyond all doubt that he was greatly loved by his family, his brothers and sisters, mom and dad, and seven nieces and nephews... He was bound by the ever-tightening ropes of depression, and it caused him to take his life on April 16, 2010. He lost his battle.

It's a stark reality our family faces, not only on special days but every day. Family gatherings are just not the same. We all miss him so very much. We continue to ask the question, "Is there something we missed? Something more we could have done?" We are thankful. Thankful for the 33 years we had together and thankful for the memories. Thankful that God continues to carry us through each day and gives us opportunities to reach out and help others who may themselves struggle with depression, know of someone who struggles with depression, or who have lost a loved one to suicide because of depression.

Depression is a disease with a stigma. This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, a time to promote awareness of suicide prevention and to encourage others to seek help. I recently read a study that stated less than 20 percent of college students who struggle with depression seek help. This stigma often prevents people from seeking help or following recommendations. It often is a quiet disease and can be well hidden. Or not. It has many faces. Some faces are not able to get out of bed. Other faces may be that roommate or sorority sister or classmate you never would have suspected. These faces are male, female, young, old, of higher or lower economic status, higher or lower intellectual abilities, educated, not educated, successful or struggling to become successful.

Through our loss of Adam, the Run to Overcome was born. Our family met and partnered with Bryan Health so that more people can be reached and become aware of the huge numbers of individuals who are affected by this disease in some way, so that somehow the stigma may begin to fade and lives are saved. We work hard at bringing something positive from this huge loss.

The 4th Annual Run to Overcome will be held at Lincoln Southwest High School (Lincoln, Neb.) on September 28. This event is most certainly not a day of doom and gloom, but a day that families, individuals, and groups come out to show support and celebrate life. Our goal is to increase registrations and reach a goal of 2,000. For more information and to register, visit the Bryan Health website.

Cindy Henderson Zetterman was initiated at Rho Chapter and is a University of Nebraska graduate. She lives in Lincoln, Neb., with her family.

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: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 08:30 AM, by Ashley Settle
Ashley Settle
Eta Theta/
Central Florida
Social media is more and more becoming the lifeblood of communication. With more than 1 billion Facebook users posting hundreds of thousands of posts each and every day, our networks—both personal and professional—are now online and active participants in daily, digital communication streams. Yet when it comes to professional interactions, platforms like LinkedIn rise to the top as social media sites created for the purpose of job hunting and networking. And while LinkedIn is undoubtedly an efficient and promising platform to build solid professional relationships, other sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and even Vine shouldn't be discounted when it comes to maintaining a respectable online reputation and building professional relationships.

A New York Times article recently found that "31 percent [of college admissions officers] said they had visited an applicant's Facebook or other personal social media page to learn more about them." Our social media presences are becoming part of our perception—and one that can't be ignored as online ecosystems grow. Employers and universities alike want to create communities that reflect their mission and standards, which is why it's important that prospective employees and students mirror that image. A CareerBuilder survey found that "hiring managers are using social media to get a glimpse at the candidate's behavior and personality outside of the interview, and are most interested in professional presentation and how the candidate would fit with the company culture." In fact, the survey found that 50% of employees have taken a candidate out of the running due to "provocative/inappropriate photos/info" on social media sites. And within the past year or so, we've all heard stories of employees being shown the door-promptly-after posting negative content online while at work or on behalf of the company.

So how can you navigate the ever-evolving social media sphere to stand out in a professional, yet well-rounded way? Take a look at Ragan.com's infographic for helpful tips on personal branding. Here are a few keys takeaways.

Create and maintain an online personal brand. When employers search for your name online, having consistent and well-managed social sites is incredibly important. Be sure that your Twitter handle and bio are reflective of your personality, but also professional enough that an employer wouldn't mind mentioning on their website or blog. Use your real name and a suitable photo or headshot.

Be aware of the content you publish. Ensure all public-facing content is something that you would be fine with having your parents, boss and/or professors see. Not only does this go for photos, but also negative comments or profanity in your captions, comments and feeds.

Engage with professionals online. Thousands of employers and professionals are online each and every day. Twitter, like LinkedIn, can be an especially useful platform to job search and engage with hiring managers and recruiters. Don't be afraid to reach out to industry experts and connect with them.

Share good content. Contribute to the conversations already happening! Reply to articles online that you find interesting, share blog posts or articles that you've recently read, and keep the momentum going.

Being professional and respectable online doesn't mean be boring! It simply means being cognizant of the information you're posting online. Employers and universities want to bring on board smart, positive and personable employees, and the best place to get a good sense of your personality is often online.

Ashley Settle, Eta Theta/Central Florida, is a senior account executive for Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, in Washington, D.C. and serves on the Fraternity’s marketing & communications committee.

Posted On: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 08:30 AM, by Greta Hass Snell
As a community of leading women, Kappa Alpha Theta offers endless opportunities for leadership. Whether you're a student, recent graduate, or a seasoned professional, mentioning your experience(s) with Theta can add relevant qualifications to your growing resume. To us, it's a no-brainer!

Being part of the Greek organization teaches strong values, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and teamwork - all of which are oftentimes top qualities for new hires. The key to successfully incorporating your Greek experience on your resume is to showcase the transferable skills you gained from being a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and the Panhellenic community. Of the many credentials you could share, leadership, organization and time management, and philanthropic contributions and community service should be make an appearance on your resume.

Leadership
If you held any kind of position for your chapter, outline the responsibilities of your role and highlight the successes. Qualitative and quantitative measures are key in articulating specific examples from your time in office. For example, simply stating you managed the chapter's budget isn't as powerful as stating that you managed a chapter budget of $100,000, or sharing that you planned your annual philanthropy event isn't as exciting as sharing the number of attendees or amount raised.

Organization and Time Management
Members of the Greek community dedicate several hours to their chapter and the Panhellenic/interfraternal communities. In addition to school, extracurricular activities, and even a part-time job, members are often forced to manage jam-packed schedules. The ability to prioritize and organize are assets you should be proud of and be sure to share on include on your resume.

Philanthropic Contributions and Community Service
Fundraising for CASA, Theta Foundation, and The Friendship Fund, along with events such as Day of Service and the Theta Service Trip, are all resume builders. The time and dedication to these organizations and events support the ideals and values of leading women. Listing volunteer experiences and involvement shows you are a compassionate person with interest in the greater good.

What skills have you learned from your Theta experience, and how have you marketed them on your resume?

Greta Hass Snell, Beta/Indiana, is an associate editor at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity headquarters.

Posted On: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 08:30 AM, by Elise Connor Rowan
When I'm chatting in the break room with a colleague or with a stranger on an airplane and Theta comes up, I usually take the extra 30 seconds to tell them Theta supports Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that stands up for abused and neglected children in foster care. It's one of reasons I'm so proud to be a Theta.

Apparently, I'm not alone. I recently had the privilege of meeting with CASA CEO Michael Piraino who told me a heart-warming story about a Theta sharing CASA with a stranger. Michael was on a plane and he overheard a young woman talking about Theta and explaining CASA to her seatmate. Michael sat back, smiled, and listened to her enthusiastically explain his life's work. At the end of the flight, when people were collecting their bags to de-board the plane, Michael told her he overheard her conversation and introduced himself as the CEO of CASA. She was a little embarrassed and asked if she had said the right things. "Couldn't have said it better myself," Michael replied.

This upcoming year, Kappa Alpha Theta and CASA will mark the 25th anniversary of our partnership. And it really is a partnership. We have supported their mission to advocate on behalf of children who need a champion, and CASA has enabled us to spread the widest influence for good—one of the core aims of our fraternity.

As Theta's liaison to CASA, it is my privilege to work with CASA to understand their work to advocate on behalf of children in need of a champion, communicate the significance of that work to Thetas everywhere, and encourage our members to spread the word to friends and family about the incredible service CASA provides to the community.

For anyone who needs a refresher, here's how it works: A judge appoints a CASA volunteer—a member of the community—to represent the best interests of a child in foster care. The CASA volunteer gets to know the child, listens to the child's wishes, considers his or her safety, and works within the legal system to find the child a safe and permanent home, either with his or her family or with an adoptive family. In some cases, a CASA volunteer is the one constant presence in these kids' lives.

Anyone looking to better understand the difference a CASA volunteer can make in a child's life should read Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, a 22-year-old who spent most of her childhood in more than a dozen foster homes, some of which were abusive or not suitable for a little girl. In her book, she shares that her CASA volunteer, Mary Miller, was her biggest advocate and one of the main reasons she was adopted into a safe and loving home.

How do Thetas support CASA? Last year our college chapters alone raised $750,000 for CASA both locally and nationally. According to CASA, it costs them about $1,000 per year in training costs to give a child an advocate. That's 750 lives that our college chapters supported just last year alone! But it goes beyond money. Thetas also serve as advocates like Mary Miller, board members for their local CASA programs, or volunteers at events to raise money for CASA locally. Our support for CASA runs wide, and it runs deep.

After 25 years of working with CASA, Theta has developed thousands of potential advocates for abused and neglected children in foster care. This coming year, as we prepare to celebrate this milestone with CASA, I am motivated by the fact that Kappa Alpha Theta has had an impact on the lives of thousands of children and young adults. And we have so much more to do. Stay tuned for ways you can participate in the 25th anniversary celebration.

Watch Michael's message to Thetas everywhere for National Child Abuse Prevention Month:

Elise Connor Rowan, Gamma/Butler, is Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity's service & philanthropy committee chairman.

Posted On: Thursday, April 24, 2014 09:00 AM, by Liz Appel Rinck
Spring 2014 issue
Since we redesigned our signature publication in 2009, the cover of each issue of the Theta magazine has featured the smiling face of a Theta collegian or alumna. And while that photograph is the first Theta face you see, it is by no means the only Theta face you'll see in any given issue.

In the Spring 2014 edition, for example, Abbi North, Alpha/DePauw, graces the cover. And on the inside pages, you'll find more than 120 photographs that portray more than 1,300 Thetas.

These women—our sisters—are role models, scholars, philanthropists, mentors, athletes, and innovators. They personify leadership, exercise the widest influence for good, and strive for achievement. In short, they are all remarkable, and we think you'll be proud to learn more about them.

If you haven't already received it, the Spring 2014 issue should be in your mailbox very soon. We hope you enjoy it!

Liz Appel Rinck, Gamma/Butler, is the director of communications for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and is a charter Life Loyal member.


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