October 22, 2012

Collegiate Perspective: 'Tis the Season...

No matter how you define autumn—whether it’s the season of midterms or time to start thinking about a Halloween costume—there’s one thing every Alpha Phi can agree on: it’s the season of BIGS and LITTLES! You might already have your little sister for the semester or maybe you’re anxiously waiting for her to find out that you’re her big sister. Either way, we all know that the big/little relationship is one that nobody else can recreate. It’s our responsibility as big sisters to help our little sisters develop a love for our Fraternity, and we not only serve as their mentors, but also as friends for the rest of their time in Alpha Phi (we all know our littles will be at our weddings someday).
One of the ways to make your little feel a closer bond is, of course, all the fun crafts and gifts you give her (Pinterest anyone?). After my little’s initiation last spring, my big sister and I made family t-shirts to wear with her. This was not only a fun way to remember such a special day in her life as an Alpha Phi, but it was also a great way for our “family” to bond together. Picture frames, candle holders, blankets and bags are also fun to shower your little with and help her get excited about Alpha Phi. Within the next few weeks after big/little reveal, it’s a good idea to plan a sisterhood event for your whole chapter where bigs and littles can craft a matching item (picture frame, pillowcase, coffee mug, etc.) This is a great way to create time where bigs and littles can start to bond together.

It is important, as a big sister, to be a role model for the values that Alpha Phi holds. In the time between reveal and Initiation, it is vital that bigs are constant reminders of the love and unity that Alpha Phi stands for. My big took me out for lunches to catch up, talk about Alpha Phi and life in general. She was (and is) always there for me anytime I needed a helping hand, advice or someone to celebrate with. I do everything that I can to make sure that my littles have the same experience with me as I did with my big sister.

A final tool for big sisters (and directors of new member education) to utilize with their little sisters is the AMAZING new member website that Alpha Phi International developed. I took about 30 minutes to explore the site last week and was amazed with all the fun information and tools available. The website has all the individual collegiate chapter logos, wallpaper designs for phones and computers, and information about Founders, the Foundation and service & leadership (just to name a few!). On each page of the tech-savvy site, there is a reflection question and a dialogue box where members can post their answers and feelings. This site is a great tool to get the new members to interact with Alpha Phi and is an indispensible tool in the new member process. If you haven’t taken a look at the website yet, I highly recommend doing so. I promise that you will spend at least a half-an-hour wishing that you had it during your new member process!

Happy season of Bigs and Littles!

Atlee Mathews is a collegiate member at Epsilon Delta (Northern Illinois). Read her bio here.

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