Kappa Alpha Theta has had a busy fall with the establishment of five new college chapters! From coast to coast, these new chapters will lay the foundation on their campus this semester, and for the success of the chapter for years to come. Being a charter member is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and many leading women at these universities will share in this special opportunity. Just a few years ago, I was in those very shoes as I became a charter member of Eta Phi/Belmont. Very quickly I realized that Theta was one of the most incredible opportunities I would have during my college years.
The women I got to know through my charter experience are without a doubt the most inspiring, smart, incredible women I have ever met. Looking back, it was such a journey starting at the little table outside of our student life center where ELCs Katie and Joni spent hours recruiting our charter class. Each new member became an instrumental part of each step since day one; over the next few years we stood by each other to celebrate the highs and work through the growing pains.
What Theta and each new member creates in a charter class is really something special. Each member has the chance to be a part of something so much bigger than any one of us. These chapters are given the support and guidance to be unstoppable. I've enjoyed watching the amazing things Eta Phi has done over the years and I know there are even bigger, better things coming in the future! The start of a legacy is created that first year as a chapter, and it is remarkable to see several years down the road what these chapters will have accomplished—all because the charter members had a hand in setting it up for success.
I have had the amazing opportunity this year to see my Theta experience come full circle as I have helped reestablish Epsilon Theta/Stetson. With their recent Bid Day celebration, the new Epsilon Theta charter members were welcomed into Theta and I know for certain that they will have many life-changing experiences that lie ahead. I can't contain my excitement for each and every one of these women!
Are you a charter member of your college chapter? What special memories or experiences have you had because of Theta? Share in the Comments section below!
As a full-time traveling educational leadership consultant, I spend a large chunk of my time on the road and live a life full of constant changes. I have been to 11 different cities in the past nine weeks, and the semester is only halfway done! With this exciting but busy schedule, I've consolidated a number of strategies to help refocus and re-energize myself in my personal and professional endeavors. Each of these mid-semester mood-lifters can be done in 15 minutes or less and can be adapted to fit your individual lifestyle.
- Prioritize your to-do list. And actually write-down the things you need to accomplish. Sometimes it can feel as though there is so much to do and so little time. Spend a few minutes in the morning planning your day, and be sure to cross off tasks once they're completed. Actually seeing your accomplishments checked off will encourage you to do more. You can choose how much you want to put on your do-list each day, but be consistent.
- Revisit your goals and objectives. The middle of the semester is a great opportunity for chapter officers to gauge progress on their individual objectives, in addition to the chapter's goals. Reach out to committees or members to help with a sisterhood event or service opportunity! See where you stand with your plan and find the motivation to continue in the right direction. Revisiting personal goals is a great way to maintain self-care and happiness, too.
- Be intentional about breaks. Turn on your favorite song and take a walk around the block. The 15-minutes of exercise will give you a boost of endorphins, as will listening to music that you love! Rainy day? Read an interesting article, do a crossword puzzle, or phone a friend to catch up with. Set a time limit, and when the break is over, put away all distractions until your next break.
- Acknowledge your frustrations—and conquer them. It's OK to not be OK all the time. Spend five minutes thinking about what's frustrating you, what has been upsetting you, or what issue you want to resolve. Spend the following 10 minutes creating a plan to solve or address those problems, then let them go. It is never worth it to sweat the small stuff or stress over things out of your control; work to improve the things you can.
- Look at the big picture. Taking a brief step away from any focused environment provides a breath of fresh air and a renewed perspective of the task at hand. What is going to matter a week from now? A month from now? A year from now? Remind yourself of the big picture goal and the necessary steps to for achieving that goal.
What tips and techniques help you lift your mood? Share in the comments below!
Next week we recognize World Mental Health Day (October 10). According to the National Institute on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S experiences a mental health issue in a given year. And in Canada, the same percentage of adults experience mental health issues in their lifetime, reports the Canadian Mental Health Association. With stats like these, we all should be aware of mental health issues, both for ourselves and for our sisters.
Here are three ways you can care for your own mental health.
- Get a checkup: Today, October 6, is National Depression Screening Day. Kappa Alpha Theta offers screenings for college students, alumnae and the general public as part of the Sisters Supporting Sisters program. Sisters Supporting Sisters helps to create a safe space for women to talk about mental health. Anyone on a college campus with a Theta chapter can access the screenings. Sisters Supporting Sisters also provides education for recognizing signs and symptoms and support for women who are dealing with any sort of mental health challenge or disorder.
- Talk it out: Most college campuses have a counseling center staffed by certified counselors who can listen and help with a variety of problems. All you have to do is call and set up an appointment! Kappa Alpha Theta also provides a service called Talk One-to-One that gives members the chance to speak anonymously with a certified counselor on the phone. Whether you are concerned about a friend or yourself, this hotline is available 24/7.
- Join a group: Lots of college campuses have organizations aimed at supporting individuals who are dealing with mental health challenges as well as groups that strive to raise awareness about mental health initiatives. These organizations are a great way to continue to learn as well as give and receive support.
It is so important to be mindful of your mental health and to remember that there is nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it. If you thought you had broken your arm, you would definitely go see a doctor. So if you are sad or stressed or anxious and it doesn't seem normal, why wouldn't you utilize the resources available to make you feel better?
Kappa Alpha Theta is so proud of this mental health initiative, and we want to make sure that our members feel supported no matter what. To learn more about Sisters Supporting Sisters or take a screening, visit our website.
Kappa Alpha Theta is incredibly fortunate to have so many thoughtful, dedicated and selfless advisors among our organization. Each college chapter has a team of advisors that supports and empowers our women to go that extra mile, to always remember the big picture and most of all continue to be leading women in this world. This role is not something to be taken lightly or overlooked!
Here are five reasons why each member—whether a collegian or alumna—should thank her past or present advisors today!
- For being volunteers. College chapter advisors are not compensated for their time. Each woman becomes an advisor for the well-being of Kappa Alpha Theta solely because she is selfless by giving back to the organization that has given her so much.
- For being our cheerleaders. Advisors are our biggest cheerleaders day in and day out. Their role is to guide our chapters in the right direction and celebrate a chapter's wins. This includes daily operations, supporting chapter's philanthropic endeavors, being present at recruitment, and many more.
- For providing consistency in the chapter. Undergraduate women move through their chapters in four years. Kappa Alpha Theta has college chapter advisors who stay through the years and different member classes graduating. This has given the advisors an opportunity to have seen what works and what may not be the most effective at times. Advisors are then able to be a sounding board for chapter ideas and provide insight into what that college chapter has found successes in previously.
- For professional growth opportunities. Kappa Alpha Theta comprises thousands of Leading Women. These women, especially advisors who are present in college chapters, become mentors for the Theta experience as well as in professional fields. They have experience in resume building, communication in the workplace, and even interview techniques. With this wealth of knowledge as well as true dedication to bettering our organization, the advisors are helping to shape the women each member will become in their future.
- For being our sisters. Most importantly, thank each and every advisor for being our sisters. Advisors embody the true meaning of being a sister, regardless of their age, college chapter or geographic location. They have faith in the organization, hope for the successes of the college chapter, and love for each and every member.
How have you thanked your advisors? Share with us in the Comments section below!
This week is National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW), and with so many of our college chapters welcoming their newest members, it is a great time to revisit the ways in which we can make their new member period—and Theta experience—the best it can possibly be. Kappa Alpha Theta has a strict no-tolerance policy for hazing and believes strongly in creating a safe and welcoming environment during all stages of a woman's membership. Here are some ideas for how to ensure your activities are providing the best experience possible for the women who we have welcomed into our sisterhood:
- Think fun, not funny: When you're planning activities for the chapter, think of how new and initiated members will experience the event. The goal should never be to embarrass someone by making or asking them do something they might be uncomfortable with. Events such as a movie night, bowling, or trivia are fun for everyone! Remember, when you're doing group activities, mix up the chapter so initiated and new members can meet each other!
- Think retreat, not sleepovers: Overnight retreats can be full of s'mores and some much-needed chapter bonding. In addition, they also need a plan and a purpose. Ensure all members are invited and that there is a bed for everyone. These retreats should not take place during Inspiration Week, and careful thought should go in to planning the activities. Retreats with specific programming based on your chapter's needs can be a great way for members to bond with one another!
- Think trust, not fear: The ultimate goal of programming (including Kappa Alpha Theta ritual) should be for members to create relationships with one another based on trust. Oftentimes we get too concerned in determining the specific events that are considered hazing, but the most important thing to consider is the environment that is being created by these events. We ask you to create a safe and secure environment for all of your chapter members. If you do have questions, though, reach out to your advisor, college district director, risk prevention committee member or headquarters staff. They're always ready and willing to help you as they all want our chapters to be successful!
Is your chapter participating in hazing prevention programming this week, either on your campus or in your community? If so, we'd love to hear about it! Post pictures from the program on social media and use the hashtag #LeadingWomenDontHaze so everyone can see how you're educating yourselves and others on hazing prevention! And add a comment below sharing details about the event.
By now, many of our college chapters have completed primary recruitment and are welcoming new members! While it's up to chapter members and the chapter's education committee to ensure that these new members understand the aims of the Fraternity (intellectually, highest scholarship; socially, the widest influence for good; and morally, the love revealed in the Moral Code), it's also important to get to know each of them and learn how they can contribute to the Theta chapter.
Here are tips on how to create a genuine relationship with each new member:
- Meet them where they're at. Just because they may all dress the same during recruitment, live in the same residence hall, or have the same major, new members are by no means the same. Whether it is their first or last year on campus, it is important to acknowledge and embrace where these women are in their college experience. Nothing makes joining a chapter more intimidating than feeling lost or disconnected. It is your job to make your chapter feel like a welcoming home from day one. This starts with educating and sharing the knowledge you've gained from your own experiences.
- Make yourself available. Make spending genuine time with the women who have just joined your sisterhood a priority. The effort you put into getting to know new members outside of chapter programming is where sisterhood truly grows. Inviting new members on gym dates, to sit by you in class, or to grab dinner before a chapter meeting will make a greater impact than you may think. And don't invite the same women each time - mix it up! Get to know as many as you can.
- Understand their differences. It is crucial not to make assumptions based on hometown, appearance, involvement prior to recruitment, or other factors. Listen and seek to understand. Learn more about what experiences they've had and what experiences they hope to have through Theta. Understand that every new member has a different story. Embrace what those stories can contribute to your chapter.
- See their potential. As leading women, we must strive to empower ourselves and our sisters. As new members join, see the value in the limitless leadership potential being added to your chapter. It is the responsibility of older members to provide opportunities and introduce new ideas to them as new members. They truly are capable of so much.
- Be a role model. If you are the older member you hope these new members will be in a few years, you must first be that person in their eyes. Accepting, understanding and empowering new members is at the heart of growing a chapter. It is up to older members to rise to the occasion and be the women we promised to be during recruitment. Above all, be the sister, friend, and mentor you needed when you were a new member.
Share with us below any tips about what success stories or tactics you use in your chapter to welcome and engage your new members!
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