Mandy Wushinske

Zeta Sigma, Ohio Northern

Founders Day & Friendship Fund Message 2022

In the November 1926 edition of the Kappa Alpha Theta Journal, now known as the Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine, Ruth Ketcham, Beta Pi/Michigan State, shared a first-hand experience of her new chapter’s first Grand Convention:

“The first night, as the train backed into the station in Chicago and I first saw the lighted Kappa Alpha Theta sign, I realized that I belonged to a greater organization than the bounds of my own chapter. It had been hard for me to visualize in my mind the idea that we belonged to a greater organization and we were not only responsible now to ourselves, but to others too. As each hour passed I realized more and more the vastness and quality of our fraternity.”

After reading this quote, I was struck by the use of the word belonging and it reminded me of my own membership experience. As a young college woman, my Theta sisters taught me about belonging. Whether it was a warm smile, a listening ear, or an invitation to join an activity, I knew that my sisters accepted and valued me. This feeling of belonging has followed me throughout my Theta experience, inspiring me to be sure that every member I meet feels that they belong in Theta, too.

Belonging. What does it mean to belong? Feeling that you belong means coming home to your family’s warmth after a long, hard day at work. It means the ability to be your true, authentic self in the presence of those who love you most. It’s the basic human need to feel comfortable and loved and wanted. Many aspects of our world today have seemingly forgotten how to make us feel that we belong, but that must not be the case for Kappa Alpha Theta. It’s only natural that we recognize, foster, and intentionally cultivate that in our own sisterhood. Without a doubt, belonging is strongly linked to sisterhood.

Giving to the Friendship Fund is just one way that we can ensure a Theta sister feels that she belongs in this Fraternity. The Fund was established in 1926 to be a tangible expression of the support and warmth we show to one another. This writing from the January 1930 edition of the Kappa Alpha Theta Journal displays the incredible impact of the Friendship Fund, one that transcends decades and generations past:

“Because the calls upon the fund have, so far, been few, people have asked, ‘Is the fund worthwhile?’ Let the answer come in the following quotation from a letter written by the alumnae secretary last spring: I have been very much discouraged lately and somewhat rebellious about the unjust distribution of pain, sorrow, and trouble there seems to be in the world. Your letter has done more than offer me financial help, which I certainly need; it assures me that there is something which compensates in the loyalty of friends who can offer at the same time that they don’t know me. That translates Theta into very real terms.

Your gift to the Friendship Fund alleviates the stress of a Theta sister caused by life tragedies she might be experiencing. A gift to the Friendship Fund tells a Theta that she belongs here.

This Founders Day, and throughout this year, I hope that you will consider how special it is to feel that you belong to this community and to something so much bigger than ourselves.

Happy Founders Day, Thetas.