Having not written here since August, my poor blog is probably feeling neglected, and I find myself disappointed for not have better recorded this amazing experience. In thinking again and again about my experience (and lack of blog entries), I made a connection on this very special day.
Yesterday, Panhellenic women around the world celebrated International Badge Day 2013. This celebration is a part of National Ritual Celebration Week, a program sponsored by our Panhellenic sisters of Phi Mu Fraternity.
Yesterday, collegiate and alumnae sisters of all Panhellenic groups were asked to wear their sorority pins - to school, to work, to the bank, and the grocery store. We were asked to literally wear our hearts on our sleeves or as this year's theme asks "Wear your Letters on Your Heart." Established in 1997 by the National Panhellenic Conference, International Badge Day's purpose is to celebrate the Panhellenic sisterhood we share, and to show pride in our affiliation.
Alpha Delta Pi sisters across the country sing "I Love the Pin," with great regularity, a song that our sisterhood cherish, and uses to celebrate the literal and physical symbol of our purpose and organization. And I have to say... I do love the pin. My Alpha Delta Pi badge has changed almost as much as I have during my ADPi membership experience, and tells the story of the places I have gone and the sisters I have met and shared experiences with.
"What are all those things on your pin?" I am oh, so often asked. "They are dangles," I reply with great enthusiasm. A "dangle" is a charm, and each one has a different meaning. For me, they show my involvement, my trips, my lessons learned. At first what was just a black diamond has since become my timeline:
October 31, 2009 - I am pinned for the first time with the black diamond badge of Alpha Delta Pi during my initiation ceremony. As a founding member of my chapter, I was pinned with a "generic" badge, simple and plain, but special none-the-less. That night at our Installation Ceremony I receive my charter member dangle, and my first officer dangle for Formal Recruitment Chair.
March 20, 2010 - I pin my Diamond Sister during her initiation ceremony using my very own Alpha Delta Pi badge. My sweet sister would give me a Diamond Sister dangle later for my birthday.
April 25, 2010 - I was elected Chapter President, and again my badge would change... (elections happened in April since our Founding President was a senior >> Shout out to you, Kelly!!<<)
June 24, 2010 - My first international meeting, I was able to attend Leadership Seminar in Atlanta, GA with Sister Hannah. It was the first time our chapter would participate in a summer meeting. A dangle would come with too!
Now, dangles are all good and fun, but I will save you the recollection of my additions. This timeline would continue, and so too would the changes to my pin. As these additions came along so did my understanding and appreciation for the membership experience the black diamond represented. Each experience, each new interaction brought new friends, and ideas. My pin had been present at job interviews, at Panhellenic events, and even at my college graduation. Now my pin serves as a piece and symbol of my job. Working as a Leadership Consultant for Alpha Delta Pi I have the honor of a second guard on my badge; a symbol that for the rest of my life, will remind me of my membership in the sisterhood of the suitcase, and the culmination of everything I had worked for while in school.
Our pin is a symbol - a beautiful piece of jewelry, but a symbol of so much more. Our pin symbolizes the promise we made to one another during our initiation and the secrets we value as sisters of this organization. It symbolizes the challenges our membership presents - and how everyday we must strive to do and be our best. Our pin as a part of our brand - a physical reminder of the way we have chosen to live our lives and the affiliation we share with women across time and space.
Far too often, because of media, or the poor decisions of others, Greek affiliation can be something we hide. We don't want people around us to know we're Greek - it's easier than trying to explain the reality of our experience. What International Badge Day is all about is bringing us together, to those we had no idea we shared a common bond with, to express pride, and to dismantle the preconceived notions of others. So in celebration of National Ritual Celebration Week, "wear your letters on your heart" and show the world what membership in a Panhellenic organization means.
When I wear my pin, I feel connected to those women around me, and to the women back home. When I wear my pin, I feel proud and accomplished - I know that the skills and confidence I have gained while in college and beyond and deeply rooted in what that piece of jewelry represents. When I wear my pin, I am reminded of the eight wonderful women who have been brought into my life, the International Officers, Executive Staff members, and chapter members who have blessed me far greater than I can express.
What does your badge mean to you?
Cheers to the pin we all know and love, and to the sisters we have and those yet to come!
<3 Love and Loyally