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!
As you return to school for your first, next, or final year in Kappa Alpha Theta, think about what you want out of your Theta experience. Everyone joins for various reasons - and stays for various reasons - and that is okay. That adds diversity and gives everyone a different experience. Kappa Alpha Theta strives to create an environment in which everyone is welcomed, is encouraged to bring something different to the table, and has the chance to get involved.
If this is your first year in Theta, I encourage you to take advantage of every minute you have with your sisters. Look at each event, coffee date, leadership position, and chapter meeting as an opportunity to bond with your sisters, form lasting friendships, and find your place and passion through Kappa Alpha Theta.
If you are entering one of the "middle" years in Kappa Alpha Theta, I encourage you to stay engaged. Think back to why you joined Theta, what you loved about it, and what you still want to experience through Theta.
If this is your last undergraduate year in Kappa Alpha Theta, I encourage you to get to know the new members, strengthen those friendships you already have within Theta, and think about the legacy that you want to leave. It is easy to take advantage of being so close to all of your sisters in college, and also forget that in a number of months everyone will go their separate ways.
Kappa Alpha Theta truly has the ability to change women's lives, to create bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime, and to help members grow in ways that were at one time unimaginable.
There is not another job in the entire world quite like being an educational leadership consultant (ELC) for Kappa Alpha Theta. If you have a passion for Theta, a love of travel, and a yearning to interact with leading women across North America, this may be the job for you. Regardless of your major, the chapter officer positions you have held, and the college you come from, Kappa Alpha Theta is looking for a woman just like you to share your Theta experience!
You may be wondering why, how, and could I ever? I know I had these same questions myself, but the answers to them are simple; being an ELC gives you a unique professional experience that will make you a marketable candidate in any career field you are looking to enter. Furthermore, being an ELC will teach you more about your own resiliency and the extent of your capabilities than you imagined possible. This position also gives you the opportunity to interact with and be inspired by amazing college women across the United States and Canada.
If you are interested, have questions, or want to know more, please visit the ELC Program web page. Also feel free to email any questions to the current 2016-2017 ELC team, as we are more than happy to talk with you and share our own experiences. Applications are being accepted beginning on Monday, October 17, and are due December 1!
Being an ELC is a job unlike any other. What could be better than having the chance to befriend and work with other amazing women, spend countless hours in Indianapolis at our beautiful international headquarters, and traveling to chapters to interact with the next generation of leading women? I feel honored to have been chosen to be a part of this experience, and know that even just in these first few months I have grown exponentially and learned life lessons you can't find in a text book. We all joined Kappa Alpha Theta in the hopes of belonging to an organization that reaches far beyond our individual selves, and being an ELC allows me to take this step of humility even further.
I cried on the morning of commencement. Graduation was a time to celebrate. I should have been all smiles, but this time was also bittersweet; on that morning I was also saying goodbye to my best friends, my proudest achievements, and the home I had comfortably shaped around myself over the last four years. Everything I did that morning was a last: last time getting ready at a mirror too small for five women to comfortably share, last time enjoying the easy convenience of living five steps from my best friend, last time stepping out of my house before I moved.
I usually don't cry when I think I should. Weddings, reunions, and the most sentimental toasts fill me with emotion but I rarely wear it on my face. That morning I surprised myself by bawling like a baby; it was the end of an era.
Five hours later, I had finished a lot of "lasts." I bid goodbyes to my friends. Campus was polished and new. Flowers had sprung up; my university was decked and adorned for the graduation ceremony. Behind the pomp, I recognized my old, familiar school and quietly said goodbye to it as well.
A rush of pride swept over me as I received my diploma; I had graduated. I realized then my college experience was so meaningful because it was finite.
The gap between graduation and ELC training had been pleasant but devoid of "firsts;" I had slept in the same bed I had since I was eight. I had run the same trails and eaten on the same plates. I arrived at summer ELC training blasting music in a silver rental car. My stomach bounced in happy, nervous anticipation; I was itching to learn new things and meet new people.
After I graduated, I gained a deeper appreciation for how impactful Theta can be. I became an ELC because of my college experience; I will always carry that with me. I have a sense of adventure now, though. I want to experience others "firsts." I want to see what makes other Theta's experiences so special and why, when it's time, it will be bittersweet for them to say goodbye, too.
Share with us your Theta story and why Theta is special to you in the comments section below!
Mental health affects everyone. In fact, all people fall somewhere on the mental health spectrum, from a positive to a negative state of mental health. So, what exactly is mental health? The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community." Every day, we deal with our own mental health and some days are better/worse than others. May is Mental Health Month, and it's a good time to learn how Sisters Supporting Sisters can help you, and the people around you, on those more difficult days.
Sisters Supporting Sisters is a mental health initiative by Kappa Alpha Theta to help support members with all of the various factors impacting one's mental health. Sisters Supporting Sisters is able to do this by providing online resources for college chapters and advisors to recognize and offer guidance to members who may be encountering mental health challenges. The resources provided range from topics such as body image to depression, but the website also offers information on a confidential, 24/7 hotline called Talk One-2-One. Talk One-2-One is a free service for members of Kappa Alpha Theta to talk with a counselor on the phone at any time, even during school breaks.
No one is alone in their challenges with mental health. If you, or someone you know, is having difficulty dealing with the state of their mental health, please seek out help, whether that is with the Sisters Supporting Sisters resources or with a on-campus or community professional.
<< View Older Entries