I will be the first to admit that leaving college at Syracuse was much harder than I anticipated. Saying goodbye to my beautiful campus, our chapter house (my home for three years) and the most incredible friends in the world, was unimaginable. I had formed a bond with my initiating chapter that was irreplaceable. I knew that I could never let go of Alpha Phi, which is largely why I applied to be an Educational Leadership Consultant. Just as Alpha Phi changed my life in college, it has done the same as an alumna.
In just two short months, I have visited eight chapters and met hundreds of inspiring Alpha Phis. I have watched chapters progress in countless ways; from perfecting a banner to increasing recruitment strength. None of our success would be possible without the dedicated collegians and alumnae who I have been lucky to meet.
There is no feeling like witnessing a chapter succeed. There is an overwhelming sense of pride when you see that a light bulb has gone off in an officer’s head, or when you surpass what seemed to be an unreachable goal. After spending several weeks with the Delta Epsilon (Iowa) Alpha Phis for work week and formal recruitment, I was lucky to experience my first bid day as an ELC. As our 52 beautiful new members ran towards the chapter house with huge smiles; to be greeted by hugs, photos and welcome signs, I found myself holding back tears. Yes, I had experienced success as a collegiate officer, but knowing that I was a part of the work that went into this incredible day was unparalleled. Our long nights and perseverance resulted in 130 elated young women.
My initiating chapter will always have a special part of my heart, but now, it will be joined by others. When I look at the Quarterly, my eyes won’t just be drawn to one place, but to all of the chapters I have visited. Now I will scan my Facebook newsfeed for updates from all of these hardworking chapters across the country, and eagerly await news from each of them. It is true that as an ELC, each visit changes you for the better.
Life on the road is exciting, busy and full of surprises. No two days as an ELC are the same, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I could share any advice to Alpha Phi alumnae, it would be to reach out to our collegiate chapters and get involved in any way possible. I am so fortunate to have worked with our passionate Alpha Phi officers and volunteers who will stop at nothing to see a chapter progress. Working with a chapter as an alumna will challenge you in the best way possible and leave you with invaluable memories.
Katie Madden (Alpha-Syracuse) is a first year Educational Leadership Consultant.