Jan 2021 heritage news

January 2021 Heritage News: Networking, a Theta Tradition

Category: Heritage

Noraleen Young

Alpha Chi, Purdue

Have you had a chance to check out ThetaConnect? It is a great site to connect, network, and look for opportunities to mentor or be mentored with fellow Thetas.

Theta has a long tradition of providing opportunities for its members to network. As college-educated women, many Thetas went from their college experiences to a variety of careers. Fellow Theta sisters who had gone before them offered them opportunities to learn from them.

In the Theta Magazine, from its first issue in June 1885, members shared their work history through alumnae updates. Articles about job opportunities for women appeared in the pages of magazine. Alumnae chapters also assisted with efforts to mentor members. The New York City Alumnae Chapter noted in a 1907 article that “we have established a committee … who will be glad to see that Thetas coming here are met on their arrival, if they wish it; or who will find suitable boarding places for them, or will find employment for Thetas, or Thetas to fill positions, on request.”

In 1913, Theta created the Service Bureau, which organized alumnae to study and assist in efforts not related to fundraising. Among the committees created, a group of alumnae assisted collegians selecting “college courses that will help them later in their chosen vocations” and advising “as to demands and returns of different professions.” The vocational committee worked with the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (forerunner of the AAUW [American Association of University Women]) to help Thetas find positions but Theta alumnae also advised and mentored.

The 1913 Service Bureau board members

One specific program offered Thetas the opportunity to contact Thetas in 16 specific professions including medicine, law, social work, secretarial work, the theater, as well as others. Members could contact the individual by mail and were requested to send a “self-addressed, stamped envelope” for a reply. ThetaConnect makes it so much easier!

In 1982, Theta once again developed a specific program to connect through the “Theta Connection Program” or TCP. The program included the development of “career connectors” throughout the U.S. and Canada who assisted with the development a career data bank. In 1986, a computerized form of the data bank was maintained at Theta headquarters and printed directories available for members. The program even established “TCP Home Base,” connecting Thetas who offered a room for other Thetas who had to travel for job interviews.

ThetaConnect continues this long tradition of offering opportunities to advise and mentor from our fellow Thetas. (Have questions about ThetaConnect? Let us know!)