With the new executive board structure being put into practice by Alpha Phi chapters internationally, a few vice presidents/directors are lucky enough to hold some of the brand new positions that encourage our chapters to get more involved in campus events and the local community. My chapter at Northern Illinois University (NIU) is more excited than ever to have a vice president of campus affairs position and a director of community service position. No matter where you live, there are ALWAYS fun and unique community service opportunities to take advantage of, and this new position is a great way to put Alpha Phi’s mission and values to action in our local communities!
At NIU, all Greek organizations partner with an athletic team as their “sponsor” for the season. Epsilon Delta chapter is paired with the NIU men’s baseball team, and we are currently planning a community service event together. Last year we hosted a sock hop at a local nursing home with one of the fraternities on campus, and after being excitedly invited back by the management staff, we have chosen to host this event with the baseball team this year. Pairing up with non-Greek organizations is a fantastic way to get excited about community service because it gives the women of your chapter the opportunity to meet new people and spread the word about what Greek life is like.
Now—back to this sock hop! My sisters and I decorated all the common areas of the nursing home, helped serve refreshments, played games with the residents and danced the night away! Our sisters dressed up like pink ladies with poodle-skirts and the fraternity we partnered with dressed up like t-birds and greasers. At the end of the night, we even found out that one of the residents of the nursing home is a sister of Alpha Phi from another school, and another resident’s daughter is an alumna from our chapter. Getting involved in your community can give your sisters some memorable stories and create ties that you will cherish forever.
Establishing annual events with businesses and organizations like the Grand Victorian nursing home is a really simple process, but there are a few things to keep in mind. After doing your research, e-mail the business' PR department or business manager to set up an in-person appointment. In-person meetings are much more effective and result in more successful events. It always helps to wear your letters to this meeting (of course!) and show the business that you are excited to help their cause with your sisters. You would be amazed how many local organizations need volunteer help and are simply waiting for eager individuals to reach out!
One of the other great service events that my sisters and I have to look forward to this upcoming semester is co-sponsoring MLK Jr. Week at our school. This is a week-long service event where Epsilon Delta will be reading to children at public libraries, helping out with a canned food/clothing drive and helping plan civic engagement discussions. In order to make your presence known during service events like these, utilize your stellar marketing department and come up with a fun t-shirt that sisters can wear to the events to show your chapter’s presence! Most universities have a student involvement office that has information about events like our MLK JR. Week, and if you reach out to the head of this department, I promise that you will get a HUGE list of fun community service events for your chapter.
Good luck with your community service next semester and remember, any great event is just a phone call (or an in-person meeting) away! It just takes the right women to show initiative and desire to make a difference on their campuses! I call all sisters to stand up, utilize this amazing new VP position, and change your communities!
Atlee Mathews is a collegiate member at Northern Illinois University (Epsilon Delta). Click here to read her bio.