Already Registered? Please Login

User Name: 
Remember Me:
Please Note: The "Remember Me" option is not recommended for use with shared computers.

New to the Website?

Register Here: Collegians or Alumnae

Home > What's New > Blogs > Fraternity Blog

Fraternity Blog

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.

Posted On: Saturday, May 16, 2015 09:00 AM, by Kristin Allen Armstrong
Kristen Armstrong
Striving to be high achievers as both collegians and alumnae is a part of who we are, and a large part of why Theta chose us to become members. Unfortunately, many of us are no longer satisfied with simply doing our best, instead holding ourselves to impossible standards that contribute to stress, anxiety, depression, and countless other negative medical, emotional, and interpersonal consequences.

As Mental Health Awareness Week (May 11-17) comes to a close, it's a good time for us as modern women to recognize that this balance between perfectionism and achievement has become an all-too-common problem and a barrier to effective leadership. Essentially, it's a confidence-killing cycle of self-doubt. First, we attempt a task with the standard of perfection, and when that impossible goal isn't reached, we take it as confirmation of our insufficiency. If you count yourself among perfectionists, you'll likely notice it playing out in a sequence of procrastination (a result of our fear that we don't have what it takes), stress (as we scramble to complete the task and wait for the evaluation of our performance), and burn-out (when we can no longer keep up with the cycle). Sure, the results are often of a high caliber, but perfectionists are unlikely to acknowledge the quality of the final product, instead focusing on the minute details that didn't meet their standards.

In contrast, substituting a standard of realistic high achievement rather than a standard of perfectionism allows us to finish with a sense of satisfaction in our work and an improved, leadership-building sense of self-efficacy that encourages us to take on greater challenges in the future and execute them well. The question is, how does one begin to make such changes in their ways of thinking?

  1. A good place to start is by identifying areas of your life where a standard of "good enough" is truly sufficient. For example, earning an 'A' on an exam is still an excellent score even if you earned a 94% rather than a 100%. Likewise, cooking a healthy meal doesn't have to look like it was made by the Barefoot Contessa. Set realistic goals for achievement in areas of lesser concern to promote exceptional performance in the few places where it matters most to you.

  2. Remind yourself that it is okay to say "no" to taking on additional commitments if you feel overwhelmed by your current engagements. If you have time to execute a few tasks at a high level, you will be more satisfied with your performance than with many tasks you have to scramble to complete.

  3. Finally, engage in positive affirmations. Rather than focusing on what you could have done differently, identify the areas of a task where you did well. Remind yourself of those achievements, however small, to build confidence for future endeavors and reduce the fear of failure that fuels perfectionism. For example, an affirmation such as, "I've done well in all of my past races, so I will most likely do well in this one" is better fuel for your next 5K than focusing on the fact that you didn't complete your last race at a faster pace than your running buddy.

With the numerous roles Theta women take on, the demand on our time, skills, intellect, and emotions is higher than ever. If you feel overwhelmed with your current commitments and the high standards associated with them, you are not alone. Take the mental health screening on the Kappa Alpha Theta website to assess if you may need help, or visit your campus counseling office or local mental health professional.

Kristin Allen Armstrong, MSSW, Nu/Hanover, is Nu’s recruitment and Panhellenic advisor, and Sisters Supporting Sisters advisory board member. She is a counselor for Childplace, Inc. in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Posted On: Thursday, May 14, 2015 08:00 AM, by Dinah Harriger Cummings
Dinah Cummings
Delta Omega/
Texas A&M
Stress seems to be a given in the American lifestyle. We all experience situations and seasons of life that are more stressful than others. We manage stress in our jobs, academic pursuits, relationships, career decisions, health status, etc. Although stress is unavoidable and is sometimes accompanied by negative physical consequences, our culture tends to mistake stress for anxiety.

During Mental Health Awareness Week (May 11-17), it's a good time to understand the difference between stress and anxiety. Although they are both certainly related, stress is rooted in external circumstances and situations, whereas anxiety is an internal emotional response of fear and worry that remains even when the external stressor is gone. So, anxiety is an overwhelming fear and helplessness that persists despite our circumstances, and interferes with the ability to manage our daily lives.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America tells us that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S. affecting 40 million Americans, and that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed as men. In a little over a decade, anxiety and depression rates have doubled, and the suicide rate has tripled in the U.S. Access to mental health services proves critical during the college years given that the typical age of onset for many mental health conditions is 18-24. College campuses across the country have seen a significant increase in students seeking help for anxiety-related conditions. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 75% of individuals with an anxiety disorder will experience symptoms before the age of 22. College presents the perfect set of environmental stressors (from a new environment to social pressures to major life decisions) that, when combined with internal factors, increases one's risk for anxiety and depression.

Ranging from generalized anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic attacks, anxiety spectrum disorders come in many shapes and sizes, and symptoms manifest uniquely in each individual. Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with other conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and sleep disorders.

Kappa Alpha Theta's Sisters Supporting Sisters Initiative is such a valuable resource for our collegians not only in educating our members about mental health issues but also by helping connect them to campus resources. Theta sisters have been supporting each other long before we had an official mental health initiative. In my own life, it was a Theta sister who encouraged me to seek help for anxiety during our sophomore year of college. I can honestly say that her intervention and encouragement changed my life. I am so thankful for Theta and the supportive friends who walked with me through a difficult season.

The good news is that treatment outcomes for anxiety are quite favorable; unfortunately only a third of individuals suffering with anxiety seek help. Getting that help early is so important to effectively treat and manage anxiety. Treatment options typically include medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications. Anxiety disorders do not develop overnight, so effectively managing stress can certainly be an effective prevention strategy.

Dinah Harriger Cummings, PhD, Delta Omega/Texas A&M, is an assistant professor at Angelo State University and wellness committee member for Kappa Alpha Theta.

<< View Older Entries     View Newer Entries >>