By: Marla Ebert
Epsilon Zeta, Auburn University
Region 2 Traveling Consultant 2016-17
My time as an Alpha Chi Omega consultant began a little over three months ago and still, each day, I learn something new about the position and myself. With every new location there are new experiences, new faces and new opportunities.
As a chapter consultant, you will strengthen and gain skills that you can relate back to any industry. I constantly realize how similar my experiences and job responsibilities as an Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant are to those of my close friends who are now teachers, graduate students or working in finance. So, I decided to Google “Top 10 things employers look for in a résumé” and found an article titled “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want in 20-Something Employees.” It can’t get more perfect than that, right? All the skills listed in the article can be gained through the chapter consultant position! I decided to highlight the five I’ve noticed the most during my time in the position.
- Ability to work in a team
As a consultant, you have the opportunity to work with multiple teams in a day! This includes executive boards, committees, recruitment teams and many more. You learn the important skill of listening to these team members and respecting the ideas of everyone. Not only does working in a team include collegiate members, it also includes working with your fellow consultants! We work to help one another solve problems throughout the year and ask questions on a daily basis for which we alone do not have all the answers.
2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
Each day spent in this position presents a new experience, full of new problem-solving opportunities! You will learn the importance of being tactful with your responses when handling tough situations. When you come into contact with decisions that can impact an entire chapter, you will better understand the many parts that play into that decision and respect the discussions that get you there.
3. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
Entering this position, I would say I was very organized and knew how to prioritize my work. As a recent college graduate, I was familiar with balancing school and extra-curricular involvement! Despite this, throughout these past three months, my organization ability has reached an entirely new level. I quickly realized what prioritization tactics worked best for this job, and what wasn’t helping me complete my to-do lists! Luckily, my supervisor and fellow consultants helped by providing me with resources that led me to find what was best for me and my working style. As a consultant, it was great to have a multitude of positive examples surrounding me!
4. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
At times this job can be hard to put into words, and even tougher to explain to someone who is unfamiliar with Greek life. Headquarters staff did a wonderful job of explaining ways to describe the chapter consultant position in a universal way. This benefits us because we are able to communicate the importance and purpose of our work to university professionals, family members and anyone we meet in the airport! This is a huge tool to have when the time comes to relate your time as chapter consultant to a prospective employer during an interview.
5. Ability to analyze quantitative data
This is not an obvious skill or one you might connect to the position when you think of the chapter consultant job responsibilities. In this role, however, quantitative data can be a part of daily life. You will work closely with the VP finance position at some chapters when discussing chapter dues, financial suspensions or questions about the chapter budget. You also involve quantitative date when comparing a chapter’s total number of members to the chapter total set by the university. This is very important in the chapter consultant role because these numbers decide if a chapter should participate in continuous open bidding (COB). Even as a former finance student, these tasks have personally sharpened this skill!
These five skills are only a glimpse at the many things you will learn as a chapter consultant. The capabilities you will gain in this position will continue to serve you in all facets of life. Most importantly, you will make forever memories and create relationships that are un-wavering. Each day, I wake up and think, “Could I possibly love my job even more than I already do?” And each day I discover I can. It is hard to even call this a job, because there are many days it doesn’t feel that way! There is only one way to describe the experiences of a chapter consultant: a once in a lifetime opportunity!
By Arianna (Maggard) Bradley
Kappa Xi, University of West Florida
Associate Director – Consultant Training & Volunteer Support
Traveling Consultant 2012-13
As many of you are finishing up your time in college, you might be thinking, “There is no way I’m ready for this whole ‘adulting’ thing!” And when a problem or question comes up about insurance, 401Ks or job interviews your first call is likely to your parents or family members. In my case, my mom – she is the SMARTEST lady I know and she always has my best interests at heart. So when I was considering applying for the chapter consultant position in 2011, I picked up the phone and asked my mom if she thought it was a good idea. As it turned out, she had a lot of great questions about the position, and talking about the opportunity with her helped me solidify my desire to pursue this career. She may not have known what in the world this job was exactly, but she asked all the right questions. And after reading materials on the website, social media posts and the Consultant Chronicles blog, I was prepared to answer them.
I was a first-generation college student, which means I was the first in my family to attend college. That also means that my parents were not members of a fraternity or sorority. This added an extra layer to our conversation about the position because I first had to help them understand what “big Alpha Chi” looked like before we could talk about the job.
The first question my mom asked was, “What even is a chapter consultant?”
[First, the “big Alpha Chi” breakdown.] I explained that Alpha Chi Omega headquarters is just like any other business. There is a board of directors (our National Council) and a hierarchy of staff members who keep the company running. Our collegiate chapters are like our organization’s franchises – locally managed by our collegiate members and alumnae advisory boards. And to my mom’s question: the consultant role in this analogy would be the staff members who work to ensure the franchises are all compliant with the mission, values, policies and standards of the company. They collect data through meetings and observations, analyze the information they receive and provide action plans for continual improvement. Our consultants even play a role in starting up “new franchises” when we start a new chapter on a college campus. Sometimes just putting the sorority and consultant role into business terms helps those unfamiliar with the Greek system really understand the work we do. I know this helped get my mom on board, in particular, because businesses and franchises were things she understood!
Then the next question came… “Is that a full-time position and a real job?”
My mom works for a law firm and so she got right down to business when talking about the consultant role: is it a full-time, professional job? I was pleased to share with her that, YES, consultants are full-time professionals who receive a competitive benefit package. What does the package look like? Well, the consultant position is unique. Not only are you compensated for the work you do, you also have your meals, lodging and travel covered by Alpha Chi Omega. Coupled with the personal and professional benefits of the job, this package was something I couldn’t refuse. My mom was so impressed that I would have the opportunity to not only build up my savings account with my living expenses covered in this role but also build my network across the country before moving onto my next position.
Now that she was on board with the notion that this really was a pretty great career move, she asked perhaps the most important question: “Well, why do you want to do this?”
Everyone has their own “why,” and it was important that I was able to articulate my “why” to my mom. I told her that I was passionate about my Alpha Chi Omega experience, I wanted to give back to an organization that gave me so much and I wanted to gain the skills that I saw other consultants bring to my chapter. The consultants who visited my chapter during my time as a collegian (looking at you, Kelsey Seitz and Laura Nelson Osepchuck) were rock-star young professionals and really cool women! I wanted to be just like them, and I wanted a job that would develop me into that kind of woman. They were confident, independent, hard-working and could problem-solve through anything. They were never afraid of a difficult conversation and could remain tactful and poised through any conflict. I knew that those skills would benefit me in any future profession because I would learn to sharpen by communication and critical thinking skills.
I’m sure my mom would agree that being a chapter consultant was the best first job I could have had; better than I had ever imagined. The consultant position helped me land a paid internship in California the summer before I started a graduate program. I received a master’s degree from Florida State University, where I remained connected to Alpha Chi Omega as a volunteer. My mom was thrilled when I told her I had the opportunity to return to staff in my current role. People always say, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” My mom knew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to follow my heart and continue my career with Alpha Chi Omega because I would be growing as a professional, while having a ton of fun working for an organization I care so much about.
Maggard-Bradley Wedding with AXO Consultant Sisters and Volunteers
Maggard-Bradley Wedding with AXO Consultant Sisters and Volunteers
This summer, my mom was able to meet my consultant sisters who traveled from near and far for my wedding. It was then that she realized that being a consultant wasn’t just the best professional job after college, but that it brought more joy, love and sisterhood to my life than any of us could have expected.
If you are considering applying for the consultant position, your family is likely part of your decision. I hope this post helps give you more information to share. Over the years, we have also had several parents write posts for this blog about their daughter’s choice to become a consultant. Here are some of their thoughts and links to those original posts for further reading!
“It was never easy, sometimes it was very difficult, but not once did we ever hear any doubt in our daughter’s voice about the decision she made, or the passion she felt about her job as a consultant for Alpha Chi Omega. As a matter of fact, we became more and more convinced that her decision to become a consultant was absolutely the right thing. Alessia’s growths personally, professionally and spiritually were apparent: we knew without a doubt that she could not have had a better opportunity as a new college graduate.”
- Anna and John Satterfield
Parents of Alessia Satterfield
Region 4 Traveling Consultant 2011-2012
Read more from the Satterfields
“It became a favorite family pastime to hear the stories she had to tell from the places she had visited. We couldn’t believe some of the challenges and firsts she was experiencing…After hearing all of the different skills she was developing as chapter consultant we knew that this role could take her anywhere, it was just a matter of figuring out where she wanted to be.”
- Valerie and Giancarlo Magliocchetti
Parents of Maree Magliocchetti
Region 1 Traveling Consultant and Nationwide Traveling Consultant 2013-2015
Read more from the Magliocchettis
“If Jennifer had the chance to do the consulting job over again, would we encourage her? ABSOLUTELY! With no reservations! She developed lifelong skills, experiences and friendships she will never forget and that will serve her well in the future. Every college graduate should pursue a job like this to give them the professional skills everyone needs in life.”
- Janet and Scott Harrison
Parents of Jennifer Vasquez
Resident Consultant at High Point University 2011-2012 and Region 3 Traveling Consultant 2012-2013
Read more from the Harrisons
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and use this time with family to talk about your future career opportunities! We look forward to receiving your submission. Start your application today!
Mary Kacmarcik Baker, Ed.D.
Delta Mu Chapter, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Alpha Chi Omega National Vice President 2014-16
Small Business Owner, College Quest Advising, Irvine, California
Before the days of cell phones and computers, I had the privilege of serving our Fraternity as a national collegiate field advisor, and I was so thrilled to travel the United States with three others that it still brings such great joy when I think about my first job out of college! I recall the large leather box-type of briefcase (which must have weighed 25 pounds) stuffed with folders with dozens of forms (carbon-copy style), along with my suitcase packed with preppy New England clothes, and that’s all I needed to get on the road for Alpha Chi Omega.
Okay, this was last century (literally), but I’m sure the awesome leadership development and training we received at our headquarters is somewhat similar to what goes on today, because one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the role and impact consultants have on every single one of the chapters they visit. It doesn’t matter if you travel to the Northeast or the Northwest, the South or the West, what matters most is the women you meet, the women you have the opportunity to help become better versions of themselves, the women you want to empower to help their chapter become the best they can be—that’s what actually makes you realize you can make a difference with those women, those chapters. And it certainly doesn’t matter if the chapter has 40 members or 400 members, if they’re housed or un-housed, at a large state university or a small liberal arts college, because the bottom line is, they are your sisters, and though you may never have met them before, they are sisters you can inspire, motivate and challenge to be the best they can be.
If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to read the previous consultant blogs posted online, because I couldn’t agree more about all that was said. I don’t want to repeat their words of wisdom, devotion and achievement from those days they traveled, nor do I want to repeat the intrinsic benefits of taking a year or two to build your marketable job skills for your future. But I do want to give my accolades to these awesome recent graduates because they speak so eloquently about all the benefits of what they learned and how they have moved on in their career with the skills gained as consultants. I’m so impressed with these sisters – Heather, Kelsey, Maree and Carolyn – and I know you will be too.
There are, however, a few items of business I don’t recall hearing about, so I thought I’d share what “they didn’t tell me” about this job before I accepted the position. Please understand this is from my perspective only, so read at your risk of becoming more interested in this unique opportunity:
They didn’t tell me:
- I would save a sister’s life from a domestic violence situation
- I would be colonizing a chapter at Cornell University, and many years later discover that the chief marketing officer of Yahoo was in that founding class
- A retired national officer would tell me I was the first “national” person she met when I visited her chapter when she was a “pledge”
- I would be in the front line at recruitment events acting as a collegiate member to save a chapter that was about to close its doors because of numbers (BTW: That chapter is still going strong 30+ years later)
- I would become a “foodie” by tasting the best pizza and ice cream in the country on a weekly basis
- I would find my future graduate school where I earned a full-ride scholarship for my master’s degree because of my consultant job
- I would meet so many engaging alumnae from across the country who later became long-term mentors in my life
- I would become one of those engaged alumnae who love mentoring young women and volunteering in the community
- I wouldn’t earn airline miles for travel. Oh, wait a minute, airline mileage programs weren’t invented yet. I think you can keep your miles now.
- I would eventually reside 3,000 miles away from my home chapter because I found a new career focus after traveling and met my husband (a former fraternity traveling consultant)
- I would see and appreciate the backroads of America more than I ever imagined
- This was going to be the beginning of my Alpha Chi Omega service, which progressed through the years from being a chapter advisor, ritual advisor, national pledge guidance chairman, scholarship committee selection member, Foundation trustee, chair of the Foundation board and, most recently, a national vice president on the National Council
- My experience would lead to a career in higher education serving as a director of Greek life and student organizations, an assistant dean of students, a director of orientation and leadership, and an executive director of alumni relations and annual fund
- My skills and experiences as a result of having this job would lead to me starting a college advising business with my Delta Mu sister
No, they didn’t tell me all that and much more, and that’s okay. I’m glad they didn’t because I think I would have been a bit overwhelmed at age 21. But when I am asked today, “Would you do it again?” I say, without hesitation, “Yes…absolutely!”
The best advice I can offer, as someone who is old enough to be your mom, is that the consultant opportunity is a role you will treasure for the rest of your life. It will enhance your future career, it will provide you and guide you in your discovery of who and what you really want to be. Remember, you potentially could be working for the next 40 years, so taking one or two years to be an Alpha Chi Omega consultant is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It is one gift that keeps on giving! You have the rest of your life to pursue your dream career, and taking a year or two now to discover, appreciate and enjoy our beautiful country and meet hundreds of sisters, new members, fraternal friends and university administrators is only a good thing that will help you develop into a professional for any career. I honestly can say I haven’t met a consultant yet that said they regretted doing this job. In fact, it’s just the opposite; we all say we wish we could go back and do it all over again!
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Please check it out. Call me. Have your mom call me. I am accessible 24/7 at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call my cell at (714) 614.2801. Good luck!
By: Emma Brown
Alpha , DePauw University
Former chapter consultant 2007-2009
Director of Community Relations at 55,000 Degrees
We’ve all heard the buzz words around 21st Century skills and the demands of employers. In today’s working world, employers are looking for more than just content knowledge or thinking skills. They’re looking for individuals who have the ability to navigate complex, global worlds. One of the skills employers look for today is adaptability, or flexibility.
Let me tell you this, there is no better way to learn adaptability than being a chapter consultant. As a consultant, flexibility starts with managing delayed or canceled flights and an evolving schedule of travel. In my two years as a chapter consultant, I was on a plane every three or four days of the semester which leads to a lot of delayed flights. Sometimes, your only option is to be patient but other times you have to work with your airline to get to your recruitment visit on time (recruitment doesn’t stop for delayed flights!). In these moments, you’re learning to deal with adversity and navigate complex systems – a valuable skill in your future career.
When not in the air, you’re spending your time talking with chapter members and officers, getting to know them and the culture of their chapter. This often means learning new customs of each chapter and finding the commonality that makes us all Alpha Chi Omegas. While talking about planning sisterhood events doesn’t always translate in an interview, as a consultant, you’ll be able to talk about understanding and balancing diverse views to reach workable solutions (aka any CRSB meeting). You’ll have real world experiences of effectively working in an ambiguous setting while adapting to new job responsibilities, priorities and schedules.
When I finished being a chapter consultant, I knew I wasn’t going into higher education and I was a little nervous about how to translate that experience to other industries. I’ve now worked with nonprofit organizations for ten years and I still talk about my time as a consultant. I love sharing the story of visiting the University of Vermont on a Monday and the University of Arizona on a Thursday – talk about flexibility and adaptability!
Being a consultant shaped my professional career in ways I never imagined, all while providing me amazing experiences to travel the country and meet my sisters in their homes.
If you’re thinking about being a consultant but not sure, you can contact me – I’d be happy to talk about my experience and what it meant to me!
Don’t miss the opportunity to start your application to become a chapter consultant today!
By Carolyn Winebar
Traveling Consultant, Region 1
Gamma Mu, Ball State University
August 4, 2016 is a day I will never forget for it was the day that began my journey of self-improvement, insight and opportunity. It was the day headquarters released the consultants from our five-week training into Alpha Chi Omega-land. On August 4th I took my first ever solo flight, my first connecting flight and had my first interaction with collegians as a chapter consultant. As a collegian myself, I idolized the consultants who visited my chapter. They were sophisticated, professional and well-spoken women. They always had the right answer to every question, never doubted themselves and knew who they were. This intimidated and inspired me. These women packed up their lives each week to set out on a new journey with a new chapter. How could I ever do that job? Well, these are the top ten things I’ve learned as a consultant so far, and you could learn as a consultant too.
10. Consultants are advocates. We do this job because once we, too, had a consultant who did it for us.
9. Adaptability, willingness to ask for help and commitment to Alpha Chi Omega’s mission of enriching the lives of members through lifetime opportunities of friendship, leadership, learning and service (Alpha Chi Omega Mission Statement) are fundamental to the chapter consultant position.
8. Flying over 15,000 miles in two and a half months has taught me the value of airplane etiquette.
a. First, respect other airplane passengers. Do not push in front of them and roll over their feet with your bag when de-boarding a plan. Everyone is going out the same door and will encounter each other again.
b. Second, have patience when waiting for luggage at the baggage claim. Yes, everyone is tired and wants their bags as well, but there is no use making a fuss. The bags will arrive when they arrive, and until then we will all avoid eye contact.
c. Finally, one day, you will fall asleep and wake up to another passenger watching you. This is normal, do not freak out. Close your eyes and rest once more, you deserve it.
7. Being a chapter consultant will empower, challenge and enrich your life. Every day you will wake up grateful that this is what you do for a living.
6. Occasionally, or maybe a lot, collegians will believe you are much older than twenty-two or twenty-three. Take this as a compliment for this means they see you as capable, knowledgeable and confident. And you are.
5. Having the opportunity to be a collegiate member of Alpha Chi Omega is a privilege and a benefit. Being a chapter consultant will further deepen your understanding of the intricacies of this organization, and you will appreciate every moment you may have taken for granted during your college years.
4. Positivity has the power to change every facet of your life and will foster strong feelings of sisterhood.
3. You will begin to feel personally connected to the Founders and wonder if you could have the courage to begin something so phenomenal.
(The answer is yes, you could and you will, if you believe you can.)
2. When you begin this journey, you will wonder if you will ever be able to positively impact anyone. But what you won’t realize, until you begin traveling, is that it is each woman you meet will be the one creating the impact, and this is what truly matters.
1. Alpha Chi Omega women are unlike any others. They are strong, independent, intellectual women who have the passion and means to change the world. And I feel honored to call every woman in this organization, sister.
Check out our consultant Instagram page @axocc to follow along on our journeys this year, and visit the Becoming a Consultant page for more information about the position.
By Holly Pyper
Beta, Albion College
Resident Consultant – IUPUI
As I’m sitting on a plane on my way to New York the man sitting next to me asks, “So where’s home for you?” Great question.
I’m a resident consultant, so I spend most of my time in Indianapolis working with the Kappa Omega chapter. I moved to Indy from Michigan in August, and I’m falling in love with the city and the incredible people. I am very comfortable where I live and I’ve found a great routine. Indianapolis has the Midwest atmosphere that I grew up with and a fun, young city vibe.
But I didn’t realize what home really meant to me until I got off the plane in New York and was greeted by my consultant sisters. I had never been to New York before, it is not home to me. Things were different from what I had been used to in the Midwest, but it felt more like home than anywhere I had been this year.
I was nervous going into consultant training in June. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to relate to women who came from completely different experiences from those that I had. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to have a close bond with these women because we are coworkers. I was worried I wouldn’t have close consultant friends. Instead, what I found was true sisterhood. The bonds that this group of 18 women made in just a few shorts weeks are a testament to the strength of the sisterhood in Alpha Chi Omega.
New York felt like home because I was with the people who felt like home. Even FaceTiming or calling a consultant sister gives me a sense of home, no matter where I am. I’m so thankful to have such close bonds and such supportive sisters.
This past week nearly the entire consultant team was back in Indianapolis for training. It was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders just by being with them. I was myself, I was supported and I felt so loved. For that week, Indianapolis was home.
To answer your question, home is wherever I am with my consultant sisters.
By Haleigh Roberts
ΔΖ (Central Michigan University)
Resident Consultant, Syracuse University
October has arrived, and aside from it being one of my favorite months because of homecomings, hockey season, the changing of leaves, Halloween and the seasonal drinks at Starbucks, there’s also a pretty special holiday that always leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I am, of course, talking about Founders’ Day – October 15th – the day seven women changed the course of over 200,000 lives for the better.
Let’s just take a moment to think about the sleepless nights spent creating memories with women who will be in your life forever, about the ice-cream runs, the funny Snapchats and the moments spent wishing that the best four years of your life never end. Take a moment to think about every fun sisterhood event you’ve been to, every leadership position you’ve held and all of the money you’ve helped raise. Take a moment to think about all of the women you call sisters—the women who have stood by your side through tough times, through your successes, and who will stand by your side in your wedding or when you get that big promotion.
I can’t say for certain that Amy, Anna, Bertha, Bessie, Estelle, Olive and Nellie could have foreseen the vast impact their love and devotion to each other and this Fraternity would have on each of us today, but I know they’d be proud. I know they would be proud to see that over 200,000 women have vowed to uphold the values they held so dear to their hearts, and I know they would be proud that bonds continue to form in the name of Alpha Chi Omega.
Sometimes it is easy to feel removed from women we’ve never known, but our Founders are reflected in the very women who surround us today. Each and every Alpha Chi Omega is the result of what our Founders worked so hard to create, and that is something we should be thankful for every day.
I was just blessed with the opportunity to help re-colonize the Lambda chapter at Syracuse University. When I look at our new members and see the eagerness in their eyes, the fire in their hearts and the utmost desire and dedication to create a legacy that will benefit the lives of women now and in the future, I can’t help but think that this might just be the same passion that was felt by the seven women who started it all.
The next time you send a funny Snapchat, go on a late-night ice cream run or laugh for hours in your chapter room with the women you call sisters and think about how lucky you are, also take a moment to realize that the spirit of our Founders lives on through all of us. We owe them every thankful thought, but more than that, we owe them the responsibility of continuing to build upon the foundation they created for women to come.
So for this Founders’ Day, I encourage you all to think about the continuous foundation you are setting for your chapter. Let’s make a promise to continue making Amy, Anna, Bertha, Bessie, Estelle, Olive and Nellie proud.
To give back to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation and contribute directly to one of the programs the Foundation supports, Take the Challenge today!
By Abby Rittenhouse
Zeta Sigma, Missouri State University
When I think of Founders’ Day, the first thing that comes to mind is the beautiful legacy seven determined and passionate young women created in Alpha Chi Omega. Seven women who decided to create the first and last musical fraternity one fall day in October. That one chapter of seven women has turned into 143 chapters and colonies full of real, strong women doing service, raising awareness and developing leaders. I owe everything to those seven women. They are my sisters, my role models and my Founders. Founders’ Day is so special to me because although Alpha Chi Omega has grown tremendously over the years, our values and Ritual have stayed the same. We still proudly wear the lyre badge, the colors of scarlet red and olive green, and continue daily to seek the heights.
I currently serve as a student trustee for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation and chapter president for the Zeta Sigma chapter at Missouri State University. Being chapter president has been one of the greatest experiences of my college career. A chapter of 285 women can be overwhelming at times, but with a hardworking executive team and dedicated, loyal members, there is a constant sense of sisterhood. I find no greater joy than seeing the accomplishments of my sisters, whether on campus, in a new career or within Alpha Chi Omega.
Our chapter typically celebrates Founders’ Day with a celebration at our chapter house involving refreshments and a lot of cookie cake! We reflect on the history of Alpha Chi Omega by reflecting on our Founders, symbols, traditions and Ritual. We encourage members to partake in acts of service and friendship in the days surrounding Founders’ Day as well. This year, we are trying something new: a “carnation pass.” We will have seven carnations and will pass them around to sisters throughout the day to celebrate our founding.
In addition to our Founders’ Day celebration, we enjoy participating in the Founders’ Day Challenge benefiting the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. This year, chapters will have the ability to decide where they want their donations to go, which creates an even more personalized experience.
By having our chapter participate at 100 percent, it means that every single woman wants to make a difference. They want to make a direct impact on initiatives such as domestic violence awareness, Leadership Academy, the Global Service Initiative, educational programs or other programs of their choosing. Every single woman wants to create a better collegiate experience for her sisters and a better community for all. Every woman wants to continue to support the Foundation so Alpha Chi Omega can continue to shape us as leaders, advocates and sisters.
When it comes to having a conversation about giving, I think the most important thing is to explain to members where the money is going. When some people hear “the Foundation” or “Founders’ Day Challenge,” they may not know what that means. The conversation starts with discussing the Foundation and the direct impact it has on all Alpha Chi Omega members. Without the Foundation, we would not have educational programs for chapters or initiatives for domestic violence awareness. The Foundation is such an amazing entity of Alpha Chi Omega, and every chapter member should be aware of it.
The conversation continues with the direct impact of donations. Last year, collegians raised $54,000, which was more than half the total amount raised during the Founders’ Day Challenge. We can make a difference, and we do make a difference. We discuss the personal impact the Foundation and Alpha Chi Omega have made in our lives. Something I am going to incorporate into the conversation this year is pictures of sisters volunteering at the Global Service Initiative, attending Leadership Academy and participating in other educational programs. None of those experiences would have been possible without donations from people just like us.
Just the small amount of $18.85 can make such an amazing impact. $18.85 is a few trips to Starbucks (I know I already went to Starbucks twice today, so I reached that limit), two trips to Panera, a new dress from Forever 21 or the newest Beyoncé album on iTunes. The conversation is not something to be feared; the most important thing about the Founders’ Day Challenge is having a meaningful conversation about the Foundation and bringing awareness to the great causes it supports.
“I support the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation because of the opportunities and experiences that arise because of the Foundation’s contributions,” said VP philanthropy and Global Service Initiative participant Jayne Sokolich. “If it weren’t for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, I wouldn’t have had the honor and privilege to attend the Global Service Initiative in Jamaica that impacted me so deeply. The Foundation offers resources to further members’ knowledge and awareness about the issue of domestic violence. The Foundation offers scholarships for my sisters who may not be able to easily have access to a college education. I support the Foundation because it helps foster learning experiences, helps foster new friendships, holds Alpha Chi Omega’s values to heart and helps every member reach their potential of being real, strong women.”
The 2016 Founders’ Day Challenge launches this week – check out this year’s event here!
Chapter: Delta Rho, University of Arkansas
VP Philanthropy: Shara Thames
Name of events: Volley Against Domestic Violence, percentage nights at local restaurants, Pizza Pie with Alpha Chi and leftover budget money
Amount raised: $18,000
Shelter that will benefit from the donation: Peace at Home Family Shelter
Tell us more!
1. Please provide a description of your philanthropy event (did you partner with other organizations on your campus or in your community? How long did it take you to plan the event? What were some of the highlights?)
Delta Rho did several events within the past year to help raise money for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation and the Peace at Home Family Shelter. Our most successful event was Pizza Pie with Alpha Chi. For this event, we served pizza, salad, cookies and a drink, all for just $5. We invited the entire community – Greeks, non-Greeks, alumni, professors and even parents – to come out to have a great meal and support domestic violence awareness. We also had a silent auction for guests to bid on items as they were enjoying their meals. We normally start planning this event over the summer, and it takes place in October, so it does take some time to organize.
Another event Delta Rho hosted was Volley Against Domestic Violence. We invited the entire Greek community to come out and play volleyball against each other for a small fee to help raise awareness for domestic violence. To encourage our Greek community to play for the cause, we provided the winning organization with a prize of $200 for their philanthropy and a free function (date party) with us.
In addition, we hosted several percentage nights at popular restaurants in the Fayetteville community. Chipotle was our biggest success when it came to percentage nights because they give 50 percent of the night’s earnings back to your philanthropy. The others we hosted still had a great turn out, though! We promoted our percentage nights on social media and by letting other organizations know about them in advance via email.
Last, but not least, a number of our exec board members had leftover money in their budgets. Instead of just putting this money aside to be used later, we decided it would be more impactful to the families at Peace at Home, so we added it all together and used it to help us reach our goal of $12,000 for Peace at Home this past spring.
2. In your opinion, what made the event so successful?
Our events were successful for many different reasons. First of all, our Greek community is super supportive of one another, so that definitely helped a lot. Also, we promote our events a lot on campus, through things like table marketing in front of our student union, visiting other chapters, chapter meetings and social media. In addition, it is always important that we make our events fun. We are always brainstorming ways to make our event atmosphere more inviting and fun for our guests.
3. Why did your chapter choose to make the gift through the LPI process?
Delta Rho chooses to donate using the LPI donation process because it is the best way to ensure that we are donating not only to the Peace at Home Family Shelter, but also the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation.
4. Why does your chapter value giving to both your local shelter and the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation?
Delta Rho values giving to our local shelter because a lot of our women volunteer weekly at Peace at Home, and the women and children at the shelter are more than just our philanthropy or a charity opportunity to us; they are our friends. Also, this past summer we witnessed another local shelter almost get shut down due to a lack of funds. This really helped us see the importance and impact our donations make.
We also find it important to donate to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation because that is the way Alpha Chi gives back to us. Without personal development opportunities like MyJourney and REPRESENT, we would not be the women we are today. It is important to us that Alpha Chi Omega keep giving us these opportunities to grow and better prepare ourselves for life after graduation.
By Claire Emmack
ΓΜ (Ball State University)
Resident Consultant, Florida Gulf Coast University
With The Chainsmokers blasting through my headphones and the city lights below me, I do my best thinking. I feel like I can solve all of life’s problems from 30,000 feet above. But then the fasten seatbelt sign comes back on and the pilot starts to talk about the weather in my destination city, which means it is back to reality. So what happens to all of those thoughts and ideas?
This past year, flying has become a normal mode of transportation for me. As a traveling consultant last year I was on a plane about once a week and this year, as a resident consultant, I am on a plane at least once a month. I still get puzzled at why people tend to rush the gate as soon as the gate attendant says the word boarding and I have almost memorized the flight attendant safety message. I know where all of the Chick-Fil-A’s are located in the Atlanta airport and I know which window seat on the plane to pre-select depending on where I am going to get the best view. I also know that I have done my best thinking in these airports and on these airplanes. There is just something about being surrounded by people going this way and that, reuniting with loved ones and leaving them for other adventures that inspires me.
When I am 30,000 feet in the sky, with my phone on airplane mode and surrounded by clouds I feel invincible and everything seems clearer. The conflicts, problems and worries of my 5-foot-5-inch-self seem trivial and silly. Flying above it all gives me a different perspective, and it helps me to really wrap my head around a situation. When we land and I am back in the muck of everything, it gets harder to have that perspective. Now I understand that flying is quite an expensive coping mechanism for those stressors in our life and not everyone has the opportunity to be on a plane once a week, or month, so next time you are stressed out just think of yourself at 30,000 feet. Maybe go pick up some Biscoff cookies, if that helps you set the scene, and just breathe. What would airplane passenger you think? Looking down on the situation, would it be that big of a deal or can you just shake it off and continue to go on living your best life?
When I am not on a plane and my problems get to be too much, my sisters act as that 30,000 feet experience for me. They support me and remind me of what is important.
My little, Alex, is my saving grace and honestly during college I think she taught me more than I ever taught her. She gave me clarity through all the silly drama, and always supported me through the ups, downs and everything in between.
My chapter sister Allisyn is one of the kindest and most welcoming people I know. She could make friends with anyone in minutes, and she reminds me not to take myself too seriously. She is energetic and vibrant, and life is more fun with her by my side.
My consultant sister Haleigh is just one of those people that makes you want to be your best, most genuine self. She is all about setting and reaching goals and being an overall “girl boss.” She makes me believe that I can do anything I set my mind to!
These are just a few examples of sisters who help me feel like I am invincible and flying at 30,000 feet. I know you all have sisters who do the same for you so I encourage you to tell them how much you appreciate them. Sometimes we don’t always tell the people who mean the most to us exactly how we feel, and we really should! Life is too short not to lift those up who continue to lift you up. So that is my challenge to you: Think about those sisters who give you the 30,000 feet perspective and thank them. I promise, doing it will make you feel as happy as it will make them feel!
(And yes, I most definitely wrote this blog post on an airplane).