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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 07:03 AM, by Mindy Young Marshall

Kappa Alpha Theta leaders have been working diligently to create a program for Grand Convention 2018 that will educate, celebrate, and inspire you! Expect to make powerful connections with other Thetas and with our organization as a whole. Our goal is for you to leave this event feeling the precious bonds of our sisterhood more acutely than ever, to be connected even more deeply than when you arrived.

Convention will be held at the lovely Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes from June 28 to July 1. We are excited to offer pre-Convention educational programming for CEOs and alumnae delegates, as well as a free pre-con session for all attendees, presented by To Write Love on Her Arms. The focus of this interactive session will be depression, suicide, and the role a trusted community plays in bringing hope to those who feel broken.

In 2016, we started offering educational programming during the business sessions for non-delegates. This was a huge hit, so we will be following this model again for 2018. Our focus will be on advisors, chief external affairs officers, chief operating officers, and chief recruiting officers. Other programs will offer all attendees opportunities to network, idea-share, and make those powerful connections.

The Convention website will give you a taste of what to expect at Grand Convention 2018, including information for first-time attendees, registration dates, costs, and much more. We trust this information will be helpful as you make your plans to attend Grand Convention.

We hope to see you at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, Orlando Grande Lakes in June!

Mindy Marshall, Gamma/Butler, is the director of administration at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Monday, March 5, 2018 07:49 AM, by Carey Thielemann Criswell

This tribute to the power of Theta sisterhood honors both Ritual Celebration Week and the Year of Sisterhood.

Theta is one of the BEST things that ever happened in my life!

I was just with a group of my closest friends over the weekend, all Thetas. All Indiana University grads from 1974 and 1975. We went to the IU vs Minnesota basketball game Friday night and then spent the weekend together. One just experienced the death of her son, one is going through a divorce, another is caring for two grandchildren who lost their mother to cancer four years ago, another's husband just lost his job, one's son is going to get engaged this weekend, and another's daughter-in-law is due to have her first baby tomorrow! All these things and so much more we share and have shared for 45 years. I don't know what I would do without them ... for their love, advice, and support, I am beyond THANKFUL!

You don't know what "Theta for a Lifetime" means or is going to mean when you are initiated. It's not until you live it that you truly understand.

Theta for a lifetime,

Carey Thielemann Criswell
Beta, 1972

Carey Thielemann Criswell, Beta/Indiana, is a Kappa Alpha Theta Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Monday, February 19, 2018 11:27 AM, by Liz Appel Rinck
Winter 2018 issue

Many years after the founding of Kappa Alpha Theta, Bettie Locke Hamilton wrote, "We realized somehow that we weren't going to college just for ourselves, but for all the girls who would follow after us." While it's inappropriate to apply current terminology, like feminist, to a woman who was born more than 150 years ago, and impossible to know, aside from what we can infer in her writing, what that woman thought, it seems reasonable to assume that Bettie at least hoped for a future in which women had achieved the same political, social, and economic rights as men.

Yet gender-based violence, a highly personal example of inequality, is the focus of this issue's profile article. Rebecca Macy, Nu/Hanover, a distinguished professor at North Carolina University, conducts community-based research on gender-based violence, including domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking. Although it is disheartening to realize that women today face many of the same challenges our sisters faced in 1885, there is hope to be found in an evolving cultural zeitgeist and the strength derived from women supporting women.

Macy graces the cover of the Winter 2018 issue of the Theta magazine, and you can learn more about her work inside.

Liz Rinck, Gamma/Butler, is the director of communications at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Monday, February 5, 2018 10:00 AM, by Jenni Broughton Schmaltz

Are you looking for an opportunity that will help you "further develop and hone your leadership skills, bring people with opposing viewpoints together, and learn to strategize" (Kathy Bennett Tonkel, Eta/Michigan), gain "the confidence to go outside your comfort zone" (Lisa Sombart Street, Alpha Mu/Missouri), and build "a wider circle of dear, dear Theta sisters from all over North America of all ages" (Jill Pedicord Peterson, Beta Gamma/Colorado State)?

We recently asked some former board members to reflect on their Theta board service and these are just a few things they identified having gained. There are three board level opportunities across the Theta enterprise. Because each Theta entity has a unique purpose and mission, each board requires different work.

  • Grand Council serves as the governing body of the Fraternity, exercising general supervision over the business and affairs of Kappa Alpha Theta and determining long-term vision and strategy for the Theta enterprise.

  • FHC Directors serve the Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC), which oversees all housing for Kappa Alpha Theta.

  • Foundation Trustees manage the affairs of Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation in order to fulfill the mission to secure and manage resources for the educational, leadership, and philanthropic programs of the Fraternity and for the scholastic, professional, and service pursuits of its members to help them reach their fullest potential and make a difference in the world.

While individual strengths and background may make a candidate better suited for one board over another, it seems everyone is initially drawn to board service for a different reason, whether it was simply "a desire to make a difference and contribute" (Zita Enloe, Gamma Phi/Texas Tech), "curiosity about how Theta worked on a national level" (Elizabeth Prosser, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma), a "love of Theta" (Lisa Street), an eagerness to "experience Theta governance and oversight on a national level" (Kathy Tonkel), or seizing the "right opportunity at the right time after not being able to have a full four-year experience while in college" (Lyn Stewart Simensen, Gamma Gamma/Rollins).

No matter what drew them to a Theta board, "rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable" were just some of the words used to describe their experiences. Some board members serve only one or two terms, while others have served several terms across multiple boards.

If you are interested in serving Theta in a board capacity, these former board members have the following advice to offer:

  • "Keep an open mind and think outside the box when looking toward the future. For it will only be by being forward thinking that our organization will remain relevant for future generations of women." Lyn Simensen

  • "Make sure you serve for the right reasons. Don't serve with your own personal agenda, and ensure your intentions are altruistic." Zita Enloe

  • "Be prepared to extend yourself in many ways. Give it your all!" Lisa Street

  • "We never stop learning! What a privilege it was to share my professional expertise while learning more from others! Theta encompasses extraordinary leaders! Continual growth both personally and professionally." Jill Peterson

  • "Do it! What you will learn and benefit from as an individual and in your life experience—the challenges, the exposure to various situations and various individuals--far outweighs any negatives. And you will have been involved in determining the direction of a wonderful organization! I would have not traded it for anything!" Kathy Tonkel

  • Are you interested in board service or do you know a Theta who would be a great candidate? Please nominate yourself or a Theta sister for any of the three board service opportunities during the 2018-2020 biennium. Nominations must be submitted by March 1, 2018. Interest Indicators will be available February 7, 2018.

    Jenni Schmaltz, Gamma/Butler, is the chief operating officer for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

    Posted On: Monday, November 6, 2017 07:36 AM, by Kristi Tucker

    On Halloween, I opened my email and saw my first Christmas-themed message from a retail store, and I thought, "The trick-or-treaters haven't even arrived, and the holiday shopping season has already begun!"

    If you are someone who loves the holidays, loves to shop, or is already searching for gifts this season, look to Theta's 600+ licensed vendors for all the Thetas on your list. Find trendy items such as jewelry, clothing, and other accessories that any Theta is sure to love. Our list of licensed vendors is your one-stop-shop for cute and quality products for any budget.

    Perhaps this is the year you decide to upgrade your badge, or purchase a badge as a gift for a sister, you can do so directly online at our official jeweler's website. Please note, our deadline for holiday orders is November 20. Badge orders must be submitted by November 20 to be received in time for the holidays.

    Happy shopping!

    Kristi Tucker is an assistant director of alumnae engagement at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity headquarters.

    Posted On: Friday, November 3, 2017 07:15 AM, by Laurie McGregor Connor

    Fraternities and sororities are the nation's second largest provider of student housing. However, more than 370,000 of the most active college student are currently restricted from receiving full tax dedications towards building and maintaining our houses.

    The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) would provide our houses with equal access to facility upgrades under the law. By simplifying the tax code, all non-for-profit housing (including fraternities and sororities) will gain incentives to increase funding for life-safety and capacity upgrades like fire sprinklers and alarm systems. If integrated into tax reform, CHIA will also make a difference in long-term student debt crisis, meaning our students and their families will be less burdened when it comes to campus housing.

    We're now taking our efforts from the House to the Senate, and need your help once more. Tell Senate to include CHIA in the upcoming tax reform package. The more our voices are heard, the more likely students across the country will gain the benefits of safe and affordable student housing - and the wonderful college experience that comes with it! Thank you for your support.

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