Day of Service: The Importance of Service to Theta

Category: Fraternity

Ellen Barlow

Next in the Day of Service blog series, we discuss why service is important, how it’s connected to Theta’s values, and how service is a vital part of leadership and being a leading woman.

Why is service important?

Service is a critical component of community-building and helping to shape active, civically-engaged citizens. Serving helps us to “develop a meaningful philosophy of life, promote understanding across differences, and contribute to a more just, caring, thriving world”—to borrow a phrase from our friends at LeaderShape. Service learning is a piece of this, the purpose of which is to engage people in experiences that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities for reflection intentionally designed to promote learning.

Kappa Alpha Theta cares about service.

There are many different models of leadership, particularly one that enables the development of leadership qualities in all participants (known as the Social Change Model of Leadership) and another that enables someone to be a servant leader (i.e., Servant Leadership).

The assumptions of the Social Change Model of Leadership are as follows:

  • Leadership is socially-responsible; it impacts change on behalf of others.
  • Leadership is collaborative.
  • Leadership is process not a position.
  • Leadership is inclusive and accessible to all people.
  • Leadership is values-based.

Community-involvement/service is a powerful vehicle for leadership. Community service can help us be better leaders because it enables us to think about others who may be different from us, to be active participants in the communities in which we live, and to move from a sense of individualism to a sense of shared purpose.

What then is “servant leadership”? Robert K. Greenleaf coined the term in 1970, saying, “The servant leader is servant first…it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” (Read more on the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership website). This is the kind of leadership we should be aiming for. The kind that listens, empathizes, heals, is aware, persuades, conceptualizes, has foresight, practices good stewardship, is committed to the growth of people, and builds community.

Leading women serve.

As Thetas, we are called to be leading women, and according to Article I, Section 2 of the Fraternity’s Constitution and Bylaws, “The social aim of the Fraternity shall be to exercise the widest influence for good.” Think about how powerful that is. Part of the Fraternity’s purpose—its why, its heartbeat—is to exercise the widest influence for good. It is written into the document that allows us to exist as an organization.

Learn more about Theta’s Day of Service.