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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 08:05 AM, by Noraleen DuVall Young
Items from the "Bettie and Her Family" exhibit, on display at Theta headquarters through April 30.

"You won't believe what we have at headquarters!"

What does an archivist do when she receives an incredible collection of materials related to founder Bettie Locke and her daughters, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter? She immediately makes plans to share it with everyone! With the opening of the special exhibit "Bettie Locke and Her Family: Four Generations of Thetas" which will run through April 30, 2017, I get to do just that.

Since I began to receive photographs and tintypes, clothing and accessories from the family of Carole Cones-Bradfield, great-granddaughter of Bettie Locke, I have been talking about these items with anyone who came through the archive space. I have been sharing with my coworkers here at headquarters (they have been really patient with me), Thetas who have come through headquarters on visits, and friends, and family who have asked what I have been doing lately (True confession: sometimes they didn't even have to ask.) Recently my opening line in many a conversation has been, "You won't believe what we have at headquarters!"

The last few months have been filled with discoveries. Every time we open a box or sort letters still in their envelopes—most likely not opened since they were first read more than 100 years ago (See Fraternity Archivist Lisa McLaughlin's blog about some of her finds.)—I again realize the breadth and depth of this collection. Artifacts that have never been seen outside Bettie's family urge me toward research to find out more about them and how they represent the lives of American women over the last 150 years. (Wait until you see the personalized hanky of Eulalia Hamilton Hartley from 1901!)

So, to share just a few of the treasures related to the Bettie Locke family collection, I, with assistance from fellow staff members, have created a special exhibit at headquarters. Our goal is to provide a glimpse into the lives of Bettie, Edna, Eulalia, Genevieve, and Carole so that you too, can get to know these wonderful leading women. I am thrilled to share with you their lives as collegians, wives and mothers, and active community members ... all with the thread of Theta running throughout.

I encourage you to visit the exhibit in person if you can; please contact me to schedule a tour. If you can't come in person, follow along on social media throughout the run of the exhibit. Believe me: you won't believe what we have at headquarters!

Noraleen Duvall Young, Alpha Chi/Purdue, is a certified archivist; she has served Theta as staff archivist for more than 15 years.

Posted On: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 07:53 AM, by Ellen Barlow
Gleaners Food Bank volunteers

The 2015 Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity Day of Service is over, the deadline for photo contest submissions has passed, and now I pause to reflect on all the amazing work that was done on Bettie's birthday, as well as look ahead to next year. We have had nearly 40 submissions for the photo contest, which means at least that many college and alumnae chapters participated in the day (we know there are more of you, so please be sure to fill out the Day of Service form in the Officer Portal to let us know what you did), which is absolutely amazing! From visiting nursing home residents to cleaning up the beach, from sorting food donations at an area food bank to working with the local Guardian Ad Litem to put on a carnival for foster children, from serving at a local animal shelter to working at an organization that refurbishes furniture to give to families living in poverty, you all exercised the widest influence for good and embodied what it means to be leading women.

Here at Theta headquarters, we served in two shifts at Gleaners Food Bank, central Indiana's largest food bank that distributes food to hungry Hoosiers through a network of more than 250 partner agencies, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. The first shift, which included Executive Director Betsy Corridan (and her two sons who were on fall break), volunteered in the cooler, helping to sort and organize refrigerated food so that the local agencies they serve can distribute fresh food to their clients. They were a bit chilly, but had a fantastic time! We in the afternoon shift relabeled three pallets' worth of canned corn - the warehouse staff person on site said we were the fastest labelers he'd ever seen! - and repacked four pallets' worth of "backsacks," bags of food sent home with hungry school children on Friday afternoons so that they have something to eat over the weekend. We had an amazing time working with an awesome organization, serving alongside one another.

My hope is that October 19 was just a jumping off point for you to explore what it means to serve meaningfully and with intention and purpose. I challenge you to find an organization you care about in your community, contact them, and see what opportunities they have available for ongoing service, and then commit to going as often as you are able - once a quarter, once a month, once a week...

All the while, we must continue to think about the larger social issues the organizations we work with are trying to solve, how we can break down stereotypes about the people we serve, and always reflect on the impact we are making.

For now, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about service:

• "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." —John Wesley

• "We ourselves feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." —Mother Teresa

• "No man or woman, even of the humblest sort, can really be strong, gentle, pure and good without the world being better for it; without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness." —Phillips Brooks

• "Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ellen Barlow is an assistant director of education and leadership 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: Thursday, December 27, 2012 11:29 AM, by Mindy Young Marshall
Mindy Young Marshall
Director of Administration
Like any segment of the population, Kappa Alpha Theta's staff varies when it comes to overall wellness. Some members of our staff are marathon runners, and our assistant director of administration/systems administrator, Jeff Rinck, has even completed an Iron Man competition. Then there are people like me who have dropped from a fitness routine and are looking for ways to get back on track. Fairly sedentary, I struggle to find the motivation to exercise. But there is hope for all of us: Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and Theta Foundation have kicked off a staff wellness initiative that will start officially on January 1.

It has become more and more apparent that an active, healthy lifestyle is of benefit to employees and employers as well. People who are active, eat right, and generally take care of themselves mentally and physically see improved memory, creativity, and productivity, and also increased levels of energy and an improved outlook on life. Therefore, a committee of four (comprised of staffers Melissa Shaub, Jeff Rinck, Heather Thomas, and myself) determined that the best approach would be to provide a myriad of resources so all staff members could participate - regardless of their current state of health - to improve themselves and enjoy the process along the way. People like me can take advantage of lunchtime walking groups, while our more active, determined staff members are organizing weekend meet-ups for collaborative training. Staff members will receive our monthly wellness newsletter and be able to share knowledge learned via other avenues during monthly "lunch and learn" forums. Some topics we're looking forward to discussing are nutrition, ergonomics, meditation, the impact of mental stimulation on health, and of course, exercise.

We are so excited about this initiative and having the opportunity to encourage each other along the path to overall better health.

Are you setting (or is your company encouraging you to set) any wellness goals in 2013? Please share them with us in the Add a Comment section below.

Here's to a healthy and happy 2013!

Mindy Young Marshall, Gamma/Butler, is the director of administration at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity headquarters, and is a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:07 AM, by Melissa Shaub
Melissa Shaub
Alpha Sigma/
Washington State
If someone would have told me when I joined Theta that I would one day work on staff (twice!), I think I would have not believed her. It's funny how things work out, right? Theta always seems to pop up in my life with great opportunities. I'm happy to be back on staff working in this new position as the director of education and training.

My first experience on staff was as an educational leadership consultant (ELC). Being an ELC not only gave me a deeper appreciation for Theta, but it helped me to uncover my career path: higher education. First and foremost, I consider myself an educator. Since finishing my position as an ELC, I have worked on a college campus either as a graduate student or staff member. My master's degree and subsequent staff positions were all in student affairs/student development, which basically means all the staff positions that work with the programs, initiatives, and organizations "outside" the classroom. Specifically, I have worked in the leadership development and fraternity and sorority life offices on various college campuses.

My position at Theta involves this idea, and so much more. I am working with all the Fraternity's education and training programs. In tandem with many talented volunteers, I oversee advisory board training, college chapter officer training, educational programs for college chapters, leadership development, member orientation, ritual, scholarship, and wellness. As a Fraternity, we have an amazing opportunity to enhance women's learning and leadership potential through membership in our organization.

I believe that learning is enriched by participating in organizations and taking advantage of programs outside of the classroom. As a values-based organization, we have the responsibility and opportunity to train and educate our members to be empowered with confidence and skills to make positive change in their communities. While these great programs and initiatives will have an impact on our college women, many of these program areas will also support learning and personal development opportunities for our alumnae.

I welcome feedback, so please feel free to email me with successes, challenges, opportunities, and suggestions.

Melissa Shaub, Alpha Sigma/Washington State, is the director of education and training for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:03 AM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
Fraternity staff determining their DISC profiles
If you're a collegian, advisor, Fraternity volunteer—or maybe just a fervent Theta blog follower—you surely know about the changes that are taking place in Thetaland.

For one thing, we added three new staff positions (directors of education, administration and alumnae relations). We also changed our college chapter officer structure to the efficient leadership officer structure (ELOS). And perhaps most notably, we completely revamped the Fraternity officer structure, appointing Fraternity committees, each led by a chairman.

That's a heck of a lot of change for a 142-year-old organization.

Although Fraternity staff is very excited about the possibilities these changes bring, change can be challenging. So, last week, Fraternity staff participated in a full-day retreat to talk about embracing these changes and how our individual work styles affect the way we interact with one another and Fraternity volunteers.

As a staff member, it was a very uplifting and eye-opening experience. Uplifting because the discussions about the future of the Fraternity were so positive and forthcoming. Eye-opening because we each took a DISC Profile (Dominance-Influence-Steadiness-Conscientiousness) to determine our work-related behavior styles. Here's a quick breakdown (source:

  • Dominance: Emphasis on shaping the environment by overcoming opposition to accomplish results.

  • Influence: Emphasis on shaping the environment by influencing or persuading others.

  • Steadiness: Emphasis on cooperating with others within existing circumstances to carry out the task.

  • Conscientiousness: Emphasis on working conscientiously within existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy.

You have a good handle on the personality of the people you work or volunteer with, but you might never consider the behaviors that make them tick, and perhaps more importantly, the work behaviors that drive them absolutely batty.

Have you ever completed a DISC profile, or similar test, with your co-workers or friends? What did you learn about yourself? Did it make you a better employee or group member?

Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel, Gamma/Butler, is an associate editor at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

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