Sunday, January 30, 2011

Got Spirit? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah


For those of you that don't know:

Spirit Week |spe'it weak-| noun. producing or able to produce large amounts of Spirit : a week long celebration of Pi Love. • most notable distinguished by large amounts of coffee (or caffeine substitutes), weird or silly behavior, and long nights achieving or producing a significant amount or result: The Theta Theta Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi is celebrating Spirit Week and getting ready for new Alpha Sisters.

Spirit Week is one of my favorite times of the year. I really love Formal Recruitment - I am always amazing by my sisters, what they can do, how they present themselves and how they come together. While I absolutely LOVE recruitment, I also recognize that it is a very stressful, busy, crazy time.

1. Practices will go late.
2. Sisters have homework, boyfriends, roommates, friends all of which also require attention.
3. Happy at 4 p.m. does not always ensure happiness at 4 a.m.

So what can we do? How do we as chapter members, leaders, and officers ensure that this is the best week possible for our sisters?

We have to set the tone.

Setting expectations as a chapter or whole group, making "rules" for the week - our list, which we made at chapter last night, covered everything from "No saying 'shut up'" to "Don't burst my happy bubble" - if sisters have to stay up until all hours of the night, they have the right to set the standard for themselves and each other about the behavior they expect.

As our Spirit Chair beautifully said last night - this week will be long, and we'll all be tired, but we have to choose our attitudes, this week gives us the opportunity to choose that we're "a sisterhood, not just a sorority."

Set the bar. Hold yourself and your sisters to it.

<3 Happy Spirit Week

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baby Let's Roll With It

Sometimes things work out exactly the way you imagined, exactly the way you planned.

Most of the time however, they don't.

Mistakes or miscommunications are made, circumstances change, space is unavailable, your budget is cut, numbers go up then down then up again.

How do we get through it? How to we execute an event or program or anything else when it seems like the details are coming apart at the seams?

Start with this:

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

The wisdom to know the difference . . . that's the key !

Have you read your manual (all of it, even the less interesting parts)?

Where you as prepared as you possibly could have been?

Did you use effective communication with the people you're working with?

Even while you're frustrated, were you mindful of your words and language to others?

If so....then that's all we do.

Our job in creating chapter or campus events is to create programming that positively represents our chapter's values, gives sisters the opportunity to develop their friendships and come closer together . . . not to mention have a little fun !

So what, the balloons are the exact shade of chartreuse that you imagined ! So what, one name tag is missing the slightest bit of glitter ! In my experience, especially with Recruitment, is that the little things I think are SOOOOO terrible at the time, can sometimes make the party or the event even better!

If we are all doing all that we can, and all that we are responsible for . . . then we just have to roll with it.

Have a back up plan for situations that are foreseeable. Pack a few extra everything. But, no matter what be proud, and remember that people know what they see in front of them, not what you imagined or expected. They see what's there and now, and I can assure you, no matter the situation, they're seeing something amazing!

Baby, just roll with it . . .

Friday, January 28, 2011

Be The Change You Wish To See...In Your Chapter!!

Why did you join your chapter?

What did you expect to gain from it?

What has been your role as a member?

Most members can easily answer the first two questions - felt like I belonged, loved their philanthropy... make friends, get more involved - the list for both goes on and on!

We all have expectations, we have them for every part of our life! We expect to be treated a certain way by the people around us, we expect to gain certain things through our participation, we even sometimes expect to be given certain things (actual stuff, experiences, etc.) based on our involvement.

When it comes to question #3.... many members don't have an answer "I'm a member?" or "I go to chapter."

Officer, committee member, special event chair, or member-at-large: it does not matter!!

You have a great idea? Tell someone! Want to host a really cool philanthropy event? Go to the philanthropy committee's meeting that week and talk about your idea? Think that meetings are taking too long and have an idea about how to streamline them? Post it in the suggestion box, or attend executive committee to talk to advisors!

When officers or sisters send our surveys asking for your opinions - respond! Otherwise, they'll stop asking.

What do you think is fun? What are your hobbies? What would make you enjoy going to chapter instead of, as T.J.Sullivan says in his keynote, drink bleach?!

If you see something wrong or different or maybe just not as good as it could be...CHANGE IT! You have the power to make your experience exactly what you want it to be as a chapter member! You can suggest socials or express interest in a topic for membership education.

If you want to see change around you, you have to start it. Use the tools and outlets you have (or come up with your own!) and express your opinions!

Want to change the general mood of the chapter? Come to chapter in pin attire, on time, ready to focus and listen to sisters, volunteer, be engaged. Share your experiences, socialize with a sister you might not know as well! Choose your attitude - leave bio and economics, boyfriend troubles, and stress at the door!

It's up to all of us to help build the traditions and legacy of our chapter or any activity we're involved in...

Well...what are you waiting for?!?

No One But You

As college students, we have classes, homework, endless amounts of reading to complete. We have roommates and friends, our chapter sisters, boyfriends or loved ones, and of course our own families.

Each part of our college experience life is demanding. They demand our attendance at events, they have expectations for us, and they take up our time....a lot of time to be honest.

So what makes us get it all done? How do we tackle our pile of work? How as college women to we manage to have lunch with our roommates, read 6 chapters of economics (or A/P or Bio or math...or all of the above), write our QU seminar papers, call our boyfriends, go to the bank, the grocery store, and of course DUNKIN'? The answer is simple: motivation!

Dare I say, Greek women on our campus are especially motivated. We have chapter meetings, membership education sessions, starting next week recruitment practice every night, philanthropy events, committee meetings....the list goes on and on!

I often hear members of the Greek community say things like "I feel like I do this full time and go to classes to fill the rest of the space" or "Greek life is my full time job" - honestly I can't lie, sometimes I'm feeling the same way!!

So how do we get through everything we have to do?
1. It's mandatory ... .as much as we procrastinate, our QU papers will not go away. We can do them the night before or in advance but somehow they get done.

2. Expectations .... you barely have time to breath - but your chapter expects you to be at chapter every week. Wanting to or not, you're there.

3. You WANT to do it ... you enjoy spending time with your loved ones, you miss you boyfriend, or love being silly with your roommates. You might even enjoy your class or project enough to move it to the top of your academic to-do pile!

Yes, we all have days were our motivation is dead and we get absolutely nothing done. It's a fact. Everyone has an "off" day, and sometimes, we all need an "off" day.

What gets us out of bed every morning? What makes us start our engines?

If you know me, this answer is simple: caffeine!! (just kidding...but kind of serious)

We have to be engaged in what we're doing. We have to be there, in that moments, for class, for our families, for our sisters. The key to staying motivated is to compartmentalize - when you're at chapter, BE AT and THINK ABOUT chapter, when you're in the library think about Biology or History - one thing at a time. If all you're thinking about in chapter is the work you need to get done, you won't be taking anything away from your chapter experience. If you're in class or studying and let chapter meetings or calendar events stress you out, what are you retaining?

Sometimes we need motivation from others but most of the time it comes from within, we have to inspire ourselves and in turn be the inspiration for those around us.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It Only Takes A Spark...

What makes the relationships of Sorority sisters different from any other group of friends? How to we claim that the women that surround us are "sisters" when most of us meet during the Formal Recruitment process and have the chance to speak for only a few minutes at a time?


Sororities are social organizations. We strive to be socially excellent. That does just mean we go to parties or have lots of friends (although realistically, those these can both be true), it means that we strive to be political, engaged and involved members of our communities. We find each other (or should strive to find each other) through this engagement and expression of our values.

Roommates or best friends can go through recruitment together and end of in different chapters, how does that happen? While the values we share as members of the Panhellenic community may make us friends the common thread that ties us to one chapter over another are in fact our values.

I remember the "ah-ha moment" that I realized this is true:

Like many women in my chapter and other Greek women, I remember looking around and just wondering - how did you end up here too? We have little in common; we don't dress the same, talk the same, care about the same things....How are you a member of ADPi? How am I?

Then it hit me. It was our Bid Night on campus after our first Formal Recruitment. It had been a long process and an even longer week. Sisters were running on no sleep, lots and lots of caffeine! My vision as Formal Recruitment Chair surrounded us with Christmas lights, duct tape, glitter and yes, even a band saw! Spirit week was in full swing but there was so so much to be done before we would be ready for our first party!

Arts and Crafts scattered across our LC's apartment floor (@Jackie Mills), and just as I was on the brink of exhaustion in walked my sisters: sophomores, juniors, seniors - Jersey girls, Holy rollers, blondes and brunettes (the list goes on and on) - all carrying Dunkin' cups and all ready to go! "What do you need they ask?"

"I NEEDED YOU!!" was the only thought flashing in my head!

So 20 palm trees, a volcano, a 6 foot tall RMH logo and countless name tags later... Recruitment was on and there they were: our Alpha members!! The light at the end of this long process!!

Just when sister finally made it into bed....the first time in 3 weeks I might add.....RING RING RING

Something had gone wrong, a mass of confusion, miscommunication, and frustration; it was a hot mess.

Delta members ran back to the Student Center to assess the now looming situation. The FRC Mary couldn't keep it together and whiney, sleepy, hungry, angry Mary came out. What was going on? Who would do this? (It seemed as though a terrible prank had been played on us at the time - turned out to be nothing...)

Tears started coming. And, there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop myself.

But then again, "ah-ha" - the girls I couldn't image to have anything in common with me, the people who had plenty of attitude to dish out to me and everyone else - "You did great, we'll figure it all out."

That was it. I knew then, in that moment that she too was my sister. Like my real sister, we weren't exactly alike. We wore different clothes and cared about different things. We like different music and had different ideas, but what did we have in common: our values.

Like real sisters we fight, and disagree; we don't have the same experiences or perspectives on everything, but at the end of the day - our values, bring us back together. The common thread that our international officers found in each of us during our interview process, the shining light we saw in each of our new members.

As we begin the Recruitment process again this February, we must strive to find the women who will be our sisters - who will bring us coffee in the library, who will make sure we have something to eat after hours and hours of ADPi crafting, the ones who run over after a bad day, and yes, even the ones who have nothing in common with us but will be there to say "we'll figure it all out."