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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Thursday, March 6, 2014 09:00 AM, by Michelle Mouton Geiger
As we celebrate National Ritual Celebration Week, including International Badge Day, I can't help but be reminded of the common bonds all Panhellenic women share. As I perused my Facebook newsfeed on International Badge Day this year, the number of photos of badges—our Theta badge and those of numerous NPC groups—was a pleasant reminder of how fortunate I am to have so many friends and colleagues who proudly continue to support their fraternal organizations and live their values.

As stated in the Panhellenic Creed, "We, as Fraternity women, stand for service through the development of character inspired by the close contact and deep friendship of individual fraternity and Panhellenic life. The opportunity for wide and wise human service, through mutual respect and helpfulness, is the tenet by which we strive to live."

It's easy to see the connection to Theta's own values when I read this, and it is a reminder that all of us have the privilege and responsibility to be representatives of Kappa Alpha Theta and all Panhellenic groups as we share our pride. Just as we strive to live our Theta ritual through our daily lives, the National Panhellenic Conference provides opportunities for all sorority women to engage with and live our common values. By providing programs like Something of Value, consulting team visits, and Advance Panhellenic!, NPC shows an outward dedication to our ritual. Though each NPC group's ritual is unique, NPC supports all of us in our efforts to be our best selves and to celebrate our common values.

Though we know that NPC offers many resources for college chapters and Panhellenic councils on college campuses, the support for Panhellenic women goes beyond college. Alumnae Panhellenics provide tangible ways to continue to develop our common bonds and celebrate our organizations. Alumnae Panhellenics often offer scholarships, conduct special welcoming ceremonies for graduating college members, and most importantly, provide a continued avenue for sorority women to share their values, support one another, and enhance their communities. What a perfect way to live our ritual outside of college life!

We are all proud of our Theta affiliation, and are equally proud to be part of the larger Panhellenic community. What better time to reflect on this connection and the way we share our experiences as members than during National Ritual Celebration Week!

Karen Ledbetter, Gamma Tau/Tulsa, Michelle Geiger, Delta Kappa/LSU, and Cate Bibb, Gamma Phi/Texas Tech, are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd alternate NPC delegates, respectively, for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Monday, March 3, 2014 08:00 AM, by Greta Hass Snell
Happy International Badge Day from Theta headquarters! Each year, National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) organizations are encouraged to wear their badges with pride.

I often consider my Theta badge as a representation of growth. From the moment I first received it to now, it's clear that Theta is a large part of how I've progressed through life (and continue to). My badge is the emblem of Theta ideals, and for that, it signifies a lot of who I strive to be in my daily life.

Headquarters is packed with Thetas, but it is also very fortunate to have staff members representing a variety of NPC and NIC groups. It is a diverse and Panhellenic environment in nature. And, as we all remind ourselves of what our Theta badge means to us, here's a peek into how other staffers feel about their badge on International Badge Day:

Kristi Tucker, Kappa Delta—"Whenever I look at my badge, I always think of our open motto, 'Ta Kala Diokomen,' which means 'let us strive for that which is honorable, beautiful, and highest.' It's fun to say it in Greek, but more importantly, it reminds me to be a more faithful and loving person. I'm also reminded of my sisters and the friendships and memories I have with them."

Madisen Petrosky, Sigma Kappa—"To me, Sigma Kappa's badge is the physical representation of our ritual. The meaning of our letters and the triangle shape are special, and I am always so proud to wear it over my heart and show that I try to live my sorority's values every day. Two of these values are personal growth and friendship. I am incredibly thankful to Sigma Kappa for instilling these values in me, but I am also very thankful to Kappa Alpha Theta for helping me grow and develop these values. I can push myself in personal growth through the work I do and what I continue to learn by working at a fraternal foundation. And, of course, it has been more than wonderful to build all the new friendships I have with my Panhellenic sisters here at Theta!"

Gretchen Brown, Alpha Chi Omega—"My badge, the Alpha Chi Omega Lyre, means the world to me. It reminds me of my wonderful days at Ohio Wesleyan and my sisters back in the 1950s. It reminds me that I found instant life-long friends in four different alumnae chapters, making my move to new cities so much easier. My family is a Panhellenic one: my mother a Pi Beta Phi; my daughter a Delta Gamma; my cousins Kappa Kappa Gammas and, one very dear Theta niece. But my Theta family is so very special! In my 22 years on staff at Kappa Alpha Theta, I have received so much love and respect for my Alpha Chi membership. Being so very proud to work here at headquarters has increased my pride in Alpha Chi and all Greek organizations. It just does not get better than this - my Alpha Chi badge and my special Theta family!"

Abby Merritt, Phi Mu—"My badge is a small reminder of the huge impact that Phi Mu has had on my life. It reminds me of the strong bond of sisterhood that helped me develop into the person I am today. It reminds me to give back to my community. It reminds me to always stay grounded and humble. I'm proud to wear my badge because it connects me to a special group of women all over the world who share the same values and ideals."

Christine Lorkowski, Pi Beta Phi—"My Pi Beta Phi arrow badge has meant so many things. During college it was a sense of belonging, when at that time, my life had changed for the first time ever. No longer living at home, I felt that my sorority and the badge that accompanied it was a safe place for me to land. Then, in some of the years following college, it was somewhat (regrettably) forgotten. The exception was the friends that I held on to from those Pi Phi days who have remained that safe place. As I think about my badge and the significance to me now, I probably appreciate it more than ever. I see it as a representation of a time of growth, responsibility, support, fun, laughter, hopefulness for the future, and not to forget, belonging."

Jeff Rinck, Sigma Chi—"You might think my fraternity badge doesn't mean much to me as I gave it away 30 odd years ago, but I remember how proud I was to wear it after initiation. I am still proud of all that being a member of Sigma Chi means. I am proud of the values that my fraternity espouses and even more proud when I am with my brothers and see those values brought to life. I still get a lump in my throat during our ritual and when we sing that old song about my sweetheart of Sigma Chi ... who still has my badge."

Each NPC and NIC group has its own unique history, but as a Greek community, we share many of the same values. In many ways we are one group of leaders, role models, philanthropists, and sisters and brothers.

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

Posted On: Monday, February 24, 2014 08:00 AM, by Lynne McCaul Miller
Click the image to enlarge, and save the poster for use in your chapter.
At some point in your life it's very likely that you will encounter someone who suffers from an eating disorder. Very possibly, maybe that someone is you. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. NEDA also notes that the rate of development of new cases of eating disorders has been increasing since 1950 (Hudson et al., 2007; Streigel-Moore & Franko, 2003, Wade et al., 2011). Given these statistics, it is very likely that some of our Theta sisters are struggling, or have struggled, with an eating disorder.

February 23-March 1 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and in light of this, the wellness committee would like to share some helpful information that might assist you if you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder. NEDA has the following suggestions on how to help a friend with eating and body image issues:

  • Learn as much as you can about eating disorders. Read books, articles, and brochures. NEDA has wonderful resources on its website as well.

  • Know the difference between facts and myths about weight, nutrition, and exercise. Knowing the facts will help you reason with your friend about any inaccurate ideas that may be fueling her disordered eating patterns.

  • Be honest. Talk openly and honestly about your concerns with the person who is struggling with eating or body image problems. Avoiding or ignoring it won't help!

  • Be caring, but be firm. Caring about your friend does not mean being manipulated by them. Your friend must be responsible for her actions and the consequences of those actions. Avoid making rules, promises, or expectations that you cannot or will not uphold. For example, "I promise not to tell anyone." Or, "If you do this one more time, I'll never talk to you again."

  • Compliment your friend's wonderful personality, successes, or accomplishments. Remind your friend that "true beauty" is not skin deep.

  • Be a good role model in regard to sensible eating, exercise, and self-acceptance.

  • Tell someone. It may seem difficult to know when, if at all, to tell someone else about your concerns. Addressing body image or eating problems in the beginning stages offers your friend the best chance for working through these issues and becoming healthy again. Don't wait until the situation is so severe that your friend's life is in danger. Your friend needs a great deal of support and understanding.

Whether the signs of an eating disorder are evident or you just suspect an individual's personal struggle, it can be very difficult to start a conversation addressing your concerns. Sisters Supporting Sisters has a multitude of resources to help you:

  • Our recently developed the Sisters Supporting Sisters Resource Guide, which outlines tips on starting this conversation (p. 11) and how to intervene (p. 17).

  • Our free online screening program, which can be found on the Sisters Supporting Sisters page, includes a screening link for eating disorders.

  • Collegians and their advisors can also take advantage of our free 24/7 confidential counseling hotline, Talk One-2-One, by calling 1-800-756-3124 and indicating your membership with Kappa Alpha Theta. Professional counselors can assist those who call with concerns about themselves or other members.

  • We've also developed a webinar on Body Image and Self Esteem, and have other resources on the Sisters Supporting Sisters page.

If you or your chapter are interested in getting involved in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, check out opportunities and ideas on NEDA's website.

Lynne McCaul Miller, Mu/Allegheny, is the wellness committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 08:00 AM, by Christie Horton
Christine Horton
Delta Eta/Kansas State
When the Fraternity's ritual committee introduced Project Initiation, I was more than happy to participate. I've served as a chapter advisor, a district officer and a Fraternity committee volunteer, so this was just another way to stay involved as an alumna. I hadn't forgotten our beautiful initiation ceremony. It hadn't been that many years since I stood next to my sisters to welcome another group of eager and excited young women into our sisterhood. I didn't expect it to feel any different; I was just doing my part. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect.

Project Initiation turned out to mean more to me than I ever expected. The words are the same and they have the same meaning today as they did on the day of my initiation—but somehow, they mean more to me now. All the joys and pains of life are put into perspective each time I hear our initiation ceremony. I stand back and listen to the words, and I'm reminded about all the different times that my sisters have supported me as well as the times we've supported each other. What we often don't realize as collegians is that the words we're speaking have so much truth to them. Sure, we understand they're important, but as young women with so much life still to come, we don't always have the best context when we pledge ourselves to true sisterhood. That is what Project Initiation had done for me; it has given context and a deeper meaning to my time as a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Project Initiation has helped me to develop an even greater sense of pride and love for the ritual that ties us all together as Thetas. It's helped me to appreciate my Theta sisters near and far, new and old, as we've traveled through life's journeys together. It's allowed me stand next to my newest sisters each year, and silently reaffirm my pledge to be a loyal member of this amazing fraternity.

I agreed to participate because my fraternity asked me to. I continue to participate because I love how much our initiation ceremony continues to resonate with me each year. Every alumna should take the opportunity to not only support a chapter during this very special time, but to reaffirm her faith, hope, and love in Kappa Alpha Theta.

Christine Horton, Delta Eta/Kansas State, serves on the Delta Eta advisory board in several positions. She is also a charter Life Loyal member.

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.

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