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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 08:00 AM, by Liz Appel Rinck
Autumn 2014 issue
As its editor, I hope that one of the accomplishments of the Theta magazine is to connect our more than 150,000 members with one another. Through its pages, we hope to strengthen the links between women of all ages; women who attended college in nearly every US state and Canadian province; women who live all over the world; women with varied professions, faiths, and ethnic backgrounds.

In part, we do this by sharing stories, not only of impactful Fraternity programs and events, but also of individual Thetas. These stories run the gamut from amusing to heart-warming to thought-provoking, and they are always inspiring.

Whether you receive the print version of the Autumn 2014 issue of our magazine or read it online, we hope you will enjoy in-person accounts from Thetas who participated in last summer's service trip, attended the Emerging Leaders Institute, gained a global perspective through Panhellenic involvement, and overcame the lasting effects of polio.

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

Posted On: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 11:00 AM, by Melissa Rocco
If you are a collegian who is still debating about whether or not you want to start your career by experiencing the Theta ELC program, you need to read this blog.

Part of my job working in higher education involves advising and mentoring undergraduate students. Juniors and seniors want to talk about how I began to create a fulfilling, interesting, and challenging career path. They are so overwhelmed with the feeling that they have to decide right now what they are going to do for the rest of their lives, and they want advice from as many trusted individuals as are willing to share.

When I am asked about how I started my career, I without hesitation proudly share that I was blessed with the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and Canada as an educational leadership consultant for Kappa Alpha Theta. Not everyone understands what that means, but they always ask to hear more about my experience.

Being an ELC during the 2005-2006 school year was one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs I have ever had, and likely will ever have. Not many people have the chance to work for an organization that they actually care about, but even fewer have the chance to do it while meeting intelligent, caring, and inspiring people from all over North America.

So, here's what I want to share with you:

  1. Being an ELC means being an advocate and educator, challenging young women to be the best versions of themselves and supporting them in campus environments that send mixed messages about what it means to be successful. ELCs have an incredible opportunity to be role models, teachers, friends, confidants, and mentors to our college members. In the process, ELCs are enhancing their own critical thinking, empathic listening, and strategic planning skills. There is a higher level of maturity, professionalism, self-efficacy, and grace that ELCs develop during their time working for the Fraternity.

  2. Being an ELC means doing good, engaging, challenging work.Don't be fooled by people who question whether or not traveling for your "sorority" is a "real job." Think those other jobs graduating seniors apply for are tough? Try winning over a group of 100 of your peers the first day you meet them, and then helping them change the culture of their organization by the time you leave on day five. Try being responsible for starting an organization from scratch and mentoring others to take it over in six months to a year. Being an ELC means making organization-wide decisions, building educational curriculum, leading workshops for audiences of all sizes, writing and implementing strategic plans, motivating teams, bringing together diverse people and perspectives, working with top-level administrators, and more—all in your FIRST year out of school. Most people have to wait 10 years and three promotions before being trusted to do that. But if you are ready for that now, Theta will give you that opportunity as an ELC.

  3. Being an ELC means developing a network of rich friendships and professional connections.Whether it's facilitating a leadership workshop for fraternity and sorority members in Boston, attending an international conference of higher education professionals in Dallas, or meeting up with a group of traveling consultants from other organizations in Los Angeles, ELCs get the chance to develop relationships with a wide variety of interesting and engaging people. One of the best types of relationships they develop is the connections with their fellow ELCs. I am certain you have read in other ELC blogs about the friendships they develop with their fellow travelers, and I echo their sentiments. My fellow ELCs have seen me through some of worst and best times of my life. They also have resumes and life histories full of accomplishments and interesting stories.

  4. I would not be the woman I am today with out my experience as an ELC. I mean that. I am forever indebted to the people and places planted into my life that year. I continue to grow into a better version of myself because of the learning and love they provided back then that will stay with me always.

For someone smart, talented, and eager like you, the "normal jobs" will always be there. If you are good enough to get into graduate school now, you will be an even better candidate in a year or two. Right now, you have the chance to do something different. Something that will push you, mold you, and shape you in ways you cannot imagine. Something that will most certainly be a game-changer. Apply now for the Kappa Alpha Theta ELC program, and begin what could be the journey of a lifetime.

Melissa Rocco, Alpha Gamma/Ohio State, is an instructor for the Leadership Studies program for the College of Education and Leadership & Community Service-Learning office at the University of Maryland. She is working on her PhD in Student Affairs.

Posted On: Monday, November 3, 2014 08:00 AM, by Kristi Tucker
It's hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner! If you're looking for the perfect item to purchase for a special Theta in your life (or for yourself), visit the J. Lewis Small website, where you can find several different types of badges, chapter guards, officer recognition dangles, and more.

Just be sure to get your order in before Nov. 24 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!

Kristi Tucker is the assistant director of alumnae engagement at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity headquarters.

Posted On: Monday, October 20, 2014 09:00 AM, by Melissa Shaub
Guest blogger and CASA CEO Michael Piraino shares his thoughts about Theta's 25-year partnership with CASA.

When people ask me what CASA is all about, I tell them it's a movement. A volunteer movement of advocacy for abused and neglected children. Throughout the past 25 years, our partnership with Kappa Alpha Theta has helped thousands and thousands of those children in so many ways.

Every day, tens of thousands of Court Appointed Special Advocates across the country stand up for kids who might otherwise navigate an overburdened foster care system feeling lost, scared and alone. Every dollar raised has helped train dedicated volunteers or spread awareness of the cause. Because of this partnership, many Thetas have decided to be trained to become volunteers and help children in their communities. And, caring Theta alumnae continue to support CASA long after they have graduated. It's a powerful partnership that has reached out across the country and continues to impact lives wherever Thetas are and beyond.

When I think of the power of this partnership, I can't help but think of the executive director of Tulsa CASA. Today, Maura Wilson works closely with Gamma Tau/Tulsa, and she can't say enough about all the help she gets from them every year. But, what shows the true long-lasting strength of this partnership is that Maura started as a Theta at the same university.

As she explained to me, "I remember sitting at a meeting when I first joined Theta and hearing all about CASA. I said to myself, 'When I'm old enough I'm going to become a CASA volunteer.'" And she did!

Together, National CASA and Theta have made a huge difference in helping abused and neglected children. But, despite the progress we have made, we know that more needs to be done, especially when we hear statistics like these:

  • A child enters foster care every 2 minutes.

  • A child ages out of foster care once every 22 minutes.

  • A child dies due to maltreatment every 5.3 hours.

Today, even though a CASA or Guardian Ad Litem volunteer is assigned to a child every 15 minutes, only one-third of children in need receive the life-saving support that CASA volunteers provide.

As I travel the country talking to people about National CASA, I tell them that they have the ability to change those statistics. All of us can lift up the life of a child by volunteering, making a donation, or sharing awareness of what CASA does with others.

Thank you, Thetas, for being such a mighty voice for CASA. You have been a powerful force in the lives of our nation's most vulnerable children for the past 25 years. I look forward to all we can accomplish together during this 25th anniversary celebration year and in the years to come.

In the upcoming months, you'll receive more information about the Theta/CASA partnership and how you can help with the good work that we're already doing to help foster children.

Michael Piraino is CEO of the National CASA Association. He has been a lifelong advocate for children at home and abroad, working to end child poverty, abuse and neglect, and to champion reforms in foster care.

Posted On: Thursday, October 16, 2014 12:00 PM, by Elise Connor Rowan
This year, on October 19, we will once again celebrate Bettie Locke Hamilton's birthday with acts of community service around the world. Here are the ABCs of service to give you some ideas on what you or your chapter could plan to participate in Theta's very own holiday to spread the widest influence for good.

Ask your local CASA program if they could use your help at their office or with special projects!

Bring Chipotle burritos to people living on the street. Chicken or steak?

Clean up a local park, highway, or beach.

Donate blood and possibly save a life.

Empower young girls by spending time with your local chapter of Girls, Inc.

Fill boxes with dry meals for organizations like Feed My Starving Children that distribute the food to children in countries like Uganda.

Give your time to great organizations that impact your local community.

Host a career fair at a local school or community center based on your members' majors and career goals.

Invite a friend to join you volunteering for Meals on Wheels.

Join other volunteers and spend a day building a house for a deserving family with Habitat for Humanity.

Kick-start a tutoring program in your community.

Lift up CASA volunteers by writing them letters, thanking them for their service to the community.

Meet with other local Thetas (college or alumnae) and plan a service opportunity together.

Nominate organizations to serve in your chapter meeting. Your members may have some great suggestions they are passionate about.

Organize food supplies at a local food pantry.

Plant a tree.

Quilt some blankets for a local children's shelter.

Read a book to a low-income child through Reach Out and Read.

Serve a meal at a local homeless shelter.

Treat young ladies at an afterschool program to a Theta spa day.

Unite with United Way in your community; your local office can direct you to several volunteer options from serving food to landscaping.

Visit a retirement home in your community and ask what your city or town was like when they were your age.

Walk dogs at your local animal shelter or Humane Society.

Xhibit the widest influence for good during Day of Service and every day.

Yak on and on to others about serving and get them excited, too.

Zero in on what the urgent needs are within your community, and see what your chapter can do the other 364 days of the year!

Don't forget to take pictures of what you do for Day of Service and submit them in the photo contest! More information is available on the Theta website.

Elise Connor Rowan, Gamma/Butler, is the service and philanthropy committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Monday, October 6, 2014 08:30 AM, by Lynne McCaul Miller
It's not so bad. I'll stop feeling this way soon. I just have to get over it. Move past it. It's not a big deal. This is nothing compared to what other people go through. I just can't take it. I'm so tired. When will this end? It has to end...

These might be only some thoughts that go through the mind of a person experiencing depression or grief. Often, it is hard for an individual to come to terms with their feelings and emotions. To seek help. To find their way out of the dark.

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, with Thursday, October 9 promoting Depression Screening Awareness Day. While one of our goals for Sisters Supporting Sisters is to bring awareness to Thetas about mental health illnesses, we also want to make sure that our sisters who are struggling with a mental illness feel the support and power of our sisterhood. To encourage them to seek help. To help them get out of the dark.

During the month of October, we are asking Thetas everywhere to participate in the Love is Louder social media movement to show our love and support to all of our sisters—in Theta, in Panhellenic, in life—and let them know that LOVE IS LOUDER than depression. Love is Louder was started by The Jed Foundation, MTV, and Brittany Snow to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone. You can participate by taking a photo of your hand with "Love is Louder" or "Theta Love is Louder" written on your palm (see photo on the left). Please join us in this campaign by sharing your photos answering this statement: "Theta Love is Louder than _____." Tag your photos on social media with the following hashtag: #LoveIsLouder. Let Theta love be felt everywhere.

We would also like to encourage you—our collegian and alumnae members—to participate in Depression Screening Awareness Day by taking the mental health screening provided on the Sisters Supporting Sisters website ( Links are provided for members and the general community.

The Sisters Supporting Sisters program is made possible by Theta Foundation.

Lynne McCaul Miller, Mu/Allegheny, is the wellness committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and is a Life Loyal member.

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