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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 07:30 AM, by Christa Dell Sobon
Christa Dell Sobon
Delta Zeta/Emory
During the month of February 2014, we once again join our Panhellenic sisters in celebrating the Month of the Scholar. In thinking of what to share for this blog, I reviewed the Academic Excellence: A Resource for College Panhellenics manual prepared by the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). In it, some study tips included the following:

• Use your time wisely; write down everything you need to do in your planner.
• Learn to say "no."
• Stay healthy and practice healthy habits; reading on an empty stomach or one full of junk food affects retention and performance. Exercise helps to relieve stress.
• Get enough sleep; adequate sleep is a prerequisite for strong academic performance.
• Set personal goals that are challenging yet attainable, and review them regularly. Once you have established a study schedule, stick to it.

As I reviewed the list, I was struck that while these tips are certainly geared for college women and their academic success, they are really good life tips.

At times, I get frustrated when my friends who were not members of Greek-letter organizations label our community as "fake." Some insinuate we didn't add value to the college ecosystem in any way other than socially and very occasionally philanthropically. However, I have always believed that membership in a Greek-letter organization prepares one very well for life after college (be it medical school interviews, serving as room parent, job interviews, etc.).

We have a high standard for our women in many ways and certainly academically. Each chapter sets its own grade requirement to stay in good standing. Of course, as a Fraternity, we expect our chapters to be at or above the all-sorority grade point average (ASA) for that campus. I continue to be amazed at how well our women are doing. One in four of our chapters are first on their campus in terms of grades. Nearly 80% of our chapters are above the ASA. Our women are accomplishing great things on their campuses and then taking those skills into the "real world" for continued success.

Christa Dell Sobon, Delta Zeta/Emory, is Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity's scholarship committee chairman. She is also a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Monday, January 20, 2014 08:30 AM, by Liz Appel Rinck
Winter 2013-2014 issue
As everyone who watches television knows, much of the US was impacted by a severe winter storm in early January. The intense cold, ice, and heavy snow cancelled flights, closed schools, snarled traffic... and delayed production and delivery of the Theta magazine. Happily, things are slowly returning to normal, and the print version of the Winter 2013-14 issue is now arriving in Theta mailboxes.

On its pages, you'll find news of Theta's three new college chapters, information about the Grand Council election process (a new Council will be installed this summer), and stories of interesting and accomplished Thetas. We hope you'll find a lot to enjoy!

The online magazine, of course, is not so easily affected by weather, and it is designed to look and be read as much like its printed sister as possible. Every Theta has access to the online version, while the print edition is sent to a limited subscription list. We began to describe the process for re-constructing our subscription process during the Summer of 2010; you can review the specifics on the Theta Magazine web page.

In whatever format you read the Theta magazine, we hope it continues to serve as an enduring link between you and your Fraternity.

What did you enjoy reading in this issue? Share in the comments section below to let us know!

Liz Appel Rinck, Gamma/Butler, is director of communications at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and editor of The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine. She is also a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 08:00 AM, by Amy Hayner Kates
Amy Hayner Kates
Alpha Phi/Tulane
Almost 150 years after our founding, it is hard for us to imagine a world without Kappa Alpha Theta. A world without the love and support, the demonstrations of leadership, the efforts to spread the widest influence for good of our sisters.

Bettie, Alice, Hannah, and Bettie lived in a world without these things, and it is because of their longing to have them, as well as their vision and hard work in founding our Fraternity, that we are linked heart to heart with women all over the world—women we may never meet in person—who are our sisters because of Theta.

Each year on January 27, we celebrate not only our founders but also all the Thetas who have followed them, the more than 200,000 women who have ensured the continuation of our founders' dreams. Thetas are pioneers... role models... philanthropists... mentors... champions... innovators. We aspire to excellence; we strive for wide and wise human service; we help one another achieve lifelong opportunities for social, intellectual, and moral growth; we define the path for future generations of women. And we are loyal sisters, standing together throughout one another's lives.

One of the purest affirmations of this sisterhood is the Friendship Fund, which we also celebrate every January 27th. Established in 1926, it is based on a beautiful, timeless idea—sisters reaching out to sisters. The Friendship Fund demonstrates care and love by providing monetary support to Thetas experiencing extreme financial hardship due to serious or terminal illness, job loss, natural disaster, and other devastating occurrences.

One very important aspect of the Fund is the secrecy surrounding the giving of gifts. Two members write on behalf of a sister, and the Friendship Fund committee determines the award amount. The requesters remain anonymous, and all records are confidential. During times of need, the Friendship Fund has made all the difference to hundreds of Thetas.

The Friendship Fund is also a tangible display of our ritual, which instills in us the belief that Kappa Alpha Theta is larger than ourselves and that what we give to one another comes full circle. The Friendship Fund helps us remember what a powerful force Theta can be in our own lives and in the lives of others.

Amy Hayner Kates, Alpha Phi/Tulane, is president of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and is a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Monday, January 6, 2014 10:00 AM, by Amy Hayner Kates
Phoenix Alumnae Chapter members during their fall welcome meeting.
As every member of our Fraternity is taught, Kappa Alpha Theta was founded as the first Greek-letter fraternity for women. In creating Kappa Alpha Theta, Bettie, Alice, Bettie, and Hannah were leading the way for women's fraternal groups and for women in higher education.

As individuals and as chapters, Thetas are known for leading in our communities and on our campuses. As a whole, our Fraternity is known as a leading women's group; our ideas and programs have often been on the cutting edge. Although many of our members have been notable in their chosen fields of endeavor, we understand that leader is not a title conferred or an office held.

Recently, four young women at Swarthmore College sought to create a community of sisters by establishing the first women's fraternity on their campus in nearly 80 years. Like Theta's original founders, they persevered in the face of opposition for many months, demonstrating faith, hope, and love, and personifying leading women. The dedication and hard work of Callie Feingold, Olivia Ensign, Christina Obiajulu, and Julia Melin was rewarded last spring when the Alpha Beta Chapter was re-established at Swarthmore.

More than 2,300 miles away, Nicole Scott is dedicated to revitalizing the alumnae chapter in Phoenix, Ariz. Innovative programming has helped to increase membership; at the fall welcome meeting, each attendee completed the sentence "As a leading woman, I am..." Responses were documented on a heart-shaped card, and everyone discussed how they were leading women in their own lives.

Through Kappa Alpha Theta, each of us gains opportunities for friends, experiences, and goals that we might not have had otherwise. Through Kappa Alpha Theta, we are led to personal excellence and empowered to lead others there as well.

What does the phrase leading women mean to you?

Amy Hayner Kates, Alpha Phi/Tulane, is president of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and is a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 09:00 AM, by Lauren Lewis
Code Name Verity
January 2014
book selection
As the new year is now upon us, nearly half of all Americans create New Year's resolutions. This year, Theta could help you achieve multiple items on your list! Do you want to get more exercise? Save money? Learn something new? Decrease stress? Get connected with Theta?

Well, you're in luck. Theta's online book club, Reading Women, has you covered! I'm sure you're thinking, "How is reading going to accomplish all of those resolutions?" Let me tell you how.

Get more exercise: Reading gives your workout more staying power. A suck-you-in plot keeps you on your exercise machine a lot longer than without.

Save money: Reading is a much more cost-effective splurge for entertainment than eating out or going to the movies.

Be more positive: A novel can lift your spirits with a happy ending, and events throughout the story can bring up warm memories from your past.

Learn something new: Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. It can also benefit your writing and comprehension skills.

Decrease stress: Reading helps bring down levels of unhealthy stress hormones, such as cortisol.

Get connected with Theta: Reading Women allows you to connect with Thetas from all over the world on your computer!

Not convinced yet? Give it a try! Our next live, online discussion is at 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Thetas from all over the world will join in to discuss Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, a young-adult historical novel about a friendship between two young British women during World War II.

Have any books you'd like to see on the Reading Women list? Share your ideas in the comments below. More information on Reading Women can be found on the Theta website.

Lauren Lewis, Delta/Illinois, is an assistant director of alumnae engagement at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 07:00 AM, by Theta Archives
Julia Morgan
Omega/UC Berkeley
Julia Morgan, Omega/UC Berkeley, is the 2014 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal Recipient. She is the first woman to receive the AIA Gold Medal and will be honored posthumously during the AIA convention in Chicago in 2014.

Born in 1872, Morgan grew up in Oakland, Calif., attended the University of California Berkeley, and initiated in 1890 into the Omega chapter. After graduation, she worked in a local architectural office and then in 1896, went to Paris to begin her attempt to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1898, she became the first woman to enter the architectural department. Returning to California in 1902, she worked on several projects until opening her own office in San Francisco in 1904.

Morgan and her office are credited in designing between 700-800 structures. One of her earliest projects was designing the Omega facility in 1906; she assisted in the remodeling efforts in 1927. She designed many structures related to women's groups, including 11 YMCAs, the Berkeley Women's City Club in 1929, the University of California's Women's Gymnasium, and YWCA Conference Center in Pacific Grove. Her most notable work was the San Simeon castle built for William Randolph Hearst. It took more than 20 years to construct the cottages, pools, and main structure, which she personally supervised every weekend while still maintaining her office and other work. She passed away in 1957.

The January 1927 issue of The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine states: "Julia Morgan is modest; she prefers to remain unsung. But with the evidence of her success and of her thoughtful kindness before us always, we are proud to number her among Theta alumnae."

Julia Morgan—a leading woman.

For more information about the AIA Gold Medal, visit the AIA website.

Noraleen Young, Alpha Chi/Purdue, is the project archivist at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and is a charter Life Loyal member.

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