February 25, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Always Alpha Phi

You’re in your last semester of undergrad, and you’re finally about to graduate. You’ve come a long way and worked really hard to get to this point. You still have a fun filled calendar full of Alpha Phi events and activities. However, you no longer have a position, and are beginning to feel that because of this, you are losing touch with the chapter. You may also begin to feel that it’s hard to relate with some of your younger sisters, as you are older and approaching a different phase in your life. If this sounds a little bit familiar, you are not alone. Luckily, there are many ways you can still be involved! 

  1. Be a mentor: You most likely already have your fair share of younger members of your Phi Family, which means you most likely won’t be getting any more. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and spend time with younger members. As a senior member, you have experienced a lot through your time as a collegian. Offering advice and guidance will help members discover their true leadership potential.
  2. Join a committee (or two): You may not have an official position, but if you’d like to still contribute in a more concrete way, you can join a committee. It can be for your chapter’s Red Dress Gala, or a fraternity’s charity event. This also gives you another way to spend time with your sisters, whether they’re in your graduating class or have just joined! 
  3. Apply for other opportunities within Alpha Phi: There is an incredible opportunity that has recently emerged for upper year collegians that I have been lucky enough to be a part of. Along with being a Collegiate Perspective Blogger for this semester (which is open to all years), I have nothing but incredible things to say about Alpha Phi’s Leadership Fellow Program! I had the chance to meet empowering women, improve my professional skills, and further strengthen my relationship with Alpha Phi.

On the flip side, you may be an executive member of your chapter and are experiencing challenges keeping your seniors engaged in chapter activities. This is not uncommon, but does need attention. It is true that seniors do need some space to figure out what their plans are for after graduation, but it is important to maintain contact and encourage continued participation. You could introduce an award recognizing a senior for their contribution to the chapter over the years. Or maybe initiate an event that will soften the transition from senior to alumnae life such as an alumnae brunch or a professional women’s panel (both events all members can benefit from, regardless of their grade). You may reach out to upperclassmen members themselves and ask them what they think will help them continue to feel involved in Alpha Phi!

I myself have had a hard time adapting to being a “general member,” but it has helped me grow and appreciate Alpha Phi even MORE – for what the organization is, and what it stands for. I’ve chosen to become an Alpha Phi whole-heartedly, and that doesn’t mean just for the first few years. It means all the way through my collegiate years, and far into my years as an alumnae. 

Cassie Caranci is a collegiate member at Western University (Theta Eta). Learn more about Cassie by clicking here.

February 23, 2015

On the Road: I’ll Be There For You

As my journey as an ELC comes to an end, it feels similar to the series finale of your favorite TV show. One of the best things about the finale is when they include a “look back” at the journey the characters have been on to get to the end point. Here is the brief “highlight reel” of my 2014-2015 ELC journey.

Training: Walking into the Executive Office with each of our names on a bed in the bunk room. I remember giving each of the other consultants a hug as everyone arrived. Sitting in the conference room with our name tents, pens posed to jot notes about everything from BillHighway to Social Media Contracts. Seeing all of our faces photoshopped on a BeyoncĂ© picture for “phi-erce” ambassador training, and struggling to get our emails set up on our computers.

On the road: I remember the first time I was at a chapter on my own with collegians packed in a room listening to a polish week presentation. Looking out at the crowd and telling myself “you can do this” before giving a workshop and feeling relieved with a reaffirming nod of a head in the audience. I remember the feeling at my first Bid Day as a consultant and knowing that the lack of sleep was worth the smiles beaming from the new members’ faces.

The Lasts: Seeing my last schedule, sending my last visit notices, or working with Kim to book my last set of flights. The feeling of how quickly this journey has come to a close and how much I have changed as an individual. The feeling of the last time I will submit a bid list, the last time attending Bid Day or the last time I will hear “Never Alone.”

Flashbacks of my amazing journey as an ELC bring a twinge of sadness that it is the season finale. The best part is seeing the awesome transformations and lessons learned on the road throughout the year – learning to be prepared for anything, surprised by nothing and appreciate everything! And most of all knowing that the friendships found on this journey can never be replaced.

Brie Strimbu (Beta Gamma-Colorado) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Brie by clicking here.

February 20, 2015

Featured Product Friday: The Social Life Headbands

Choose from five different color options of these pre-designed Cabobandz exclusively for Alpha Phi. Perfect for adding a little flair to your class outfit or to your beach getup! Order just one for yourself or order in bulk to get special discounted pricing.

Price (for one band): $12. Click here for details and discounted bulk pricing.

February 19, 2015

Planning Your Chapter’s Frances E. Willard Day of Service

March is quickly approaching, which means that the month to hold your Frances E. Willard Day of Service (FEWDS) is right around the corner! We want to make sure that you have a plan in place for your chapter to participate in Alpha Phi’s 5th consecutive year of this meaningful initiative.


  • Contact your campus/student life office and research organizations that provide service to women in your community, nationally or globally.
  • Contact your local alumnae chapter to collaborate efforts or invite them to join in on your service activity.
  • Select a women’s organization that is open to working with your chapter.
  • Find a date in March that works with the organization you've selected and when the members of your chapter are available.
  • Finalize the date, time and location.
  • Send out a communication to all your members with the specifics they need to know about participating in the event. Make sure you have everyone wear their letters to volunteer!
  • Take the pre-FEWDS survey to let the Executive Office know what your chapter is up to.


  • Participate in FEWDS with your sisters!
  • Take “action shot” photos while you are participating in the service activity.
  • Post to your social media channels using the hashtag #APhiFEWDS.


  • Send a thank you note to the organization where your chapter volunteered your time.
  • Recognize the members of your chapter that participated and recap what you accomplished as a chapter by donating your time.
  • Submit all of your accomplishments and photos through Chapter News so Alpha Phi International can share it with all our members.
  • Take the post-FEWDS survey and share the details of your successful service activity!
If you have additional questions, please contact Beckie Maday at bmaday@alphaphi.org.

February 18, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Achieving the Balance

In “sorority world,” the lines between public/private, work/home, and professional/fun easily disintegrate in a storm of glitter. Passing through this storm, I have learned you can never know a leadership position’s full range of responsibilities until you tackle it yourself. General membership can keep you very active—striving for academic success, staying on top of attendance, and meeting community service requirements—but toss a demanding leadership role on top of it all and the level of commitment only increases. When you take on a position, your experience in sorority world—and the relationships that define it—evolves. You relate to advisors, administrators, alumnae, PNMs, and, of course, your sisters in new and sometimes intimidating ways. Inevitably, your perspective, your opinions, and your actions change. Sometimes the glitter storm feels like a monsoon. In the midst of the shimmering downpour—in class, at work, or on the weekend—you are always representing your organization to the people around you.

Separating “chapter business” from “personal business” is a notable accomplishment, especially when your sisters are also your roommates, friends, and classmates. Sometimes in these contexts sisters will second-guess what they say or how they act around you, wondering whether or not they can be completely open with you. You might question if it’s possible to be both a good leader and a good friend. I've realized that most of us want to be both leaders and friends. It’s great when the two overlap. The reality is, they’re not always going to. You hold your friends to your own personal standards, but you hold your sisters to Alpha Phi’s standards—that’s part of your responsibility. As long as you remain consistent, your friends should understand that part of being a good sister means supporting your loyalty to your leadership position. What matters is that we’re able to work together to achieve the same goals. At times we need to remind each other what those goals are. Embodying professionalism as a peer leader doesn't have to mean you’re anti-fun. It just means you need to find a healthy balance between being fun and being focused.

In sorority world we compartmentalize professionalism, but the popular saying tells us that we’re always wearing our letters. Like it or not, being a leader of your chapter is a round-the-clock job that will require you to rebalance your schedule. When I was Chapter President, I answered 3:00 a.m. phone calls from sisters and attended 9:00 a.m. classes in spite of them. I rearranged my study schedule to hold judiciary hearings during finals weeks. I made a commitment and I took it seriously. Whenever you drop the ball, as a member or a position-holder, it doesn't just go away—it rolls into someone else’s court. Your success as a leader and your ability to achieve professionalism in that role sometimes depends on what you are willing to sacrifice. That being said, leaders can sometimes bite off more than we can chew; we instinctively take on too much.

One huge misconception in “sorority world” is that being an impactful leader is mutually exclusive with holding a position. Positions aren't the only way to develop professionalism. We all have concerns we want prioritized, and we don’t need titles to voice them. Being an active rather than passive member of Alpha Phi will ensure that each of our chapters will continue to strive for improvement rather than become stagnant.

Alina Walentowicz is a collegiate member at SUNY/Plattsburgh (Theta Psi). Learn more about Alina by clicking here.

February 13, 2015

Inside the EO: Dakotah Lindsay

What is your name? Dakotah Lindsay

Where are you originally from? Outside of Dallas, Texas

Where did you attend college and what chapter were you a part of there? The University of Southern California - Beta Pi (Fight On!)

What was your major in college? I majored in Policy, Planning, and Development, and I minored in Law and Public Policy and Marketing.

What was your plan post-graduation? I originally planned to stay in LA and to work in fashion marketing… clearly my plans have changed!

Why did you decide to work for Alpha Phi International Fraternity? I originally applied to be a ELC on a whim, but once I started traveling, I fell in love with working with our chapters.

What is your job title? Program Coordinator of Collegiate Recruitment

How long have you been working for Alpha Phi? I traveled as an ELC from 2012-2014, but I just started my new position at the beginning of January.

What is your favorite memory of Alpha Phi—as a collegian, alumna, or staff member? It is incredibly hard to pick one! A lot of them have been centered around recruitments, while I was in school, as a consultant, and as a volunteer. One of my favorite experiences has definitely been the entire experience of working with our Iota Kappa chapter at Dartmouth. I have loved working with them and building a relationship with them. I’m currently in the middle of my fifth Dartmouth recruitment, and I’m so proud of their improvement. I also had the chance to be a part of starting our chapter at Harvard, which was such a cool experience!

What do you like best about working at the Executive Office? I really enjoy working with great people to help improve and support our chapters. I loved working with our staff, volunteers, and chapters as an ELC, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to do so.

What are some of your goals for the next few years? Personally, I want to explore and get to know Chicago. I would also really like to better adapt to the cold weather (and get a warmer jacket)! My main goal workwise is to continue to provide the best support possible to our collegiate chapters.

Do you have any advice for current collegiate members? Enjoy every second of your collegiate experience. It goes by so quickly. Also, stay involved with Alpha Phi after you graduate! I loved my collegiate experience, but I have loved my post-college experience even more.

February 11, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: Informal Made Easy

The informal bidding process is something that can allow a chapter to reach goals it never has before. However, it takes strategy and planning to make it work. For my chapter at Western Michigan, COB took our chapter from 75 members to 83, the largest our chapter has been in years. Our new member class reached a whopping 42 members, and I was lucky enough to add not only one but two new member to my Alpha Phi family! I was Director of COB when our chapter was growing, and I was determined to get us to campus total. I had a couple weapons in my arsenal that allowed me to accomplish this goal:

  1. Educate. Sometimes it can feel like the Director of COB is the only one who really cares about the process. This isn't going to help anyone. Boosting chapter morale and educating your chapter on the importance of COB will make the job easier in the long run. COB is no different than formal recruitment in that these are women who can be potential roommates or even a little sis (I snagged my second little sis through COB), so everyone should be interested and invested.
  2. Go neutral. Typically, after inviting women to our home and giving them a tour and such, I found it beneficial to take them to Starbucks or Froyo. Doing this takes them to neutral ground and can take some of the nerves away after being in a huge house with 50 loud strangers. It can be intimidating. Take this time to get to know these women, what they want out of your chapter, why they’re deciding to go Greek now, and other things that they’ll feel comfortable answering somewhere neutral.
Theta Delta's latest new member class after their pinning ceremony

COB isn't easy, nobody ever said it was. But if you work hard at it, it can lead to great success. Finding what works well for your chapter on your campus is key. Sometimes you have to make the wrong move to see what the right move is. And who knows, you just may find the other missing piece to your Greek family.

Gianna Petan is a collegiate member at Western Michigan (Delta Theta). Learn more about Gianna by clicking here.

February 9, 2015

On the Road: Parts Unknown: University Edition

As an ELC, I don’t get a lot of time to watch television but when I do have time one of my favorite TV shows is Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. For those that are unfamiliar with the show’s premise, the host “travels across the globe to uncover little-known destinations and diverse cultures.” The show’s host, Anthony Bourdain, is an outspoken, uninhibited, middle-aged man who keeps his viewers engaged with his radical immersion into the cultures of the places he visits. Although I am far from a middle-aged man and have yet to travel to Tangier or Thailand, sometimes I feel like Bourdain as I immerse myself into the little known cultures of some well-known universities. I thought it would only be appropriate to share some of my favorite discoveries I have made over the course of my ELC career thus far.

Louisiana State University: LSU is located in Baton Rouge, LA, which is less than an hour from New Orleans. Having never been in Louisiana before, my only association with it was it being the ultimate Mardi Gras destination. I quickly came to learn that Mardi Gras is more than a party; it is a historical tradition that binds Louisianans together. There are dozens of parades which give diverse groups a time to celebrate their heritage in this state. There is also a special Mardi Gras cake – King’s cake to be exact. It is something like a cross between a cinnamon roll and a frosted filled doughnut, and is pure deliciousness.  But it’s not all fun; there is a small baby figurine hidden in this cake and if you find it in your slice, you have to buy the next one!

University of Alabama: Tuscaloosa, AL is the ultimate college town. Every local business emanates crimson pride. I knew Alabama was a big football school, but I had no idea the extent of how it shaped each student’s college experience. I was able to take part in cheering on Alabama during their away game against Tennessee. Although half the school made the road trip to watch the game live, the second half remained in town, singing Dixieland Delight wherever they were congregated (I’ve picked up on most if the lyrics by now). It is a tradition that if Alabama wins the Tennessee game, men smoke cigars as a symbol of victory. Sure enough, as the game ended 34-20 Alabama, men were filing out to the patios to have their cigars – many of which are the only cigars they’ll smoke all year.

University of Wisconsin: Madison, WI has a little something for everyone. Although it has a reputation as a notoriously “college” college-town, many do not realize the dignified state capital building is just a few blocks from Greek row. Campus is on an “Isthmus”, or a body of land between two lakes, which makes for more than just a beautiful view. Fraternities have “decks” extending into the water which are coveted destinations in the humid summer months. The campus Memorial Union has a feature called “The Terrace”, which overlooks the lake and hosts hundreds of picnic tables that are occupied by students and locals alike. When I visited the terrace something caught my attention: the rainbow collection of chairs, which I quickly learned are highly in danger of being stolen as a symbol of Wisconsin pride.

University of Pennsylvania: Knowing little about Penn other than its Ivy League status and intimidating Wharton school of business, I was anticipating a campus engrained in academia with little time for anything else. My first surprise at Penn was how integrated it was into Philadelphia’s metropolitan atmosphere. This realization supplemented the fact that Penn students are just as social and active as the students on my other visits. The dynamic of being incredibly intelligent, yet a normal college student didn’t just surprise me but I admired it (these students truly are the definition of “work hard play hard”). Diversity at Penn goes beyond a few international students sprinkled throughout your classes; it is a fundamental aspect of the university. Men and women from all across the world make up the fraternities and sororities on campus which makes for a delightful mix of philosophies and accents. Lastly, there is a restaurant on campus that has addicting green smoothies coined “groothies” – you can’t leave Penn without trying one.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have adventures in cities that many people may never visit. I have met people so much different from myself, but who have changed my perspective for the better. This job has validated my extreme wanderlust and love for experiencing cultures different from my own. Being an ELC has launched me into a life of traveling, learning, and growing through experience. But I have also learned that when I travel the globe, in awe of new people and places, I will never forget my home. These universities have captivated me in their unique ways, but Arizona will always have my heart.

Anita Shannon (Beta Epsilon-Arizona) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Anita by clicking here.

February 8, 2015

Meet the Spring 2015 Collegiate Perspective Bloggers!

Cassandra Caranci (Theta Eta-Western University): Cassandra (Cassie) is a senior at Western University double majoring in family studies and psychology. She works as a Social Media and Web Intern on her campus, contributing to the school’s Instagram, Twitter and website. Cassie has held multiple positions in her chapter such as Director of Philanthropy, Vice President Campus Affairs, and Director of Ceremonies among others. She has loved every moment of being an Alpha Phi, and has taken on as many opportunities as she could during her collegiate years. With alumnae life fast approaching, Cassie plans on staying close to those she has crossed paths with thanks to Alpha Phi. She hopes to enlighten collegians and soon-to-be graduates on how they can stay engaged and love Alpha Phi as much as she does.

Jamie Chamberlain (Zeta Delta-Iowa State University): Jamie is a senior at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where she studies marketing and management with a minor in community leadership and public speaking. When she’s not volunteering at her local animal shelter, she is actively involved in the newly installed Zeta Delta chapter at Iowa State. Jamie is also a member of the Society of Human Resource Management club, the Ski and Snowboard club, is the Marketing and Public Relations Co-Director for a non-profit student organization on campus, and serves as a student associate for the Office of Admissions. She is honored to be a part of both cyclONEnation and Alpha Phi! She loves glitter, animals, country music, and her new Alpha Phi family!

Gianna Petan (Delta Theta-Western Michigan): Gianna is a sophomore at Western Michigan University. She is studying to earn her degree in English, while she likes to joke and say Alpha Phi is her second major. However, her dream job is to be a professional speech writer. Gianna has served as the Director of Continuous Open Bidding and is the current Vice President of Membership Recruitment for her chapter. She is absolutely thrilled to begin planning her chapter’s recruitment for the fall. In her free time Gianna enjoys finding more pink to add to her room, exploring Pinterest, and doing her sisters’ hair and makeup!

Rachel Pustejovsky (Iota Sigma-Carnegie Mellon): Rachel is a founding member of the Iota Sigma Chapter at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a senior directing major in the School of Drama. Rachel served as her chapter’s first President and is currently the Philanthropy Chair for Greek Sing, an annual musical/charity event. Rachel loves her Alpha Phi sisters, Mexican Food, and her 100 pairs of shoes!

Taylor Skansi (Chi-Montana): Taylor is a senior at the University of Montana earning her dual degree in creative writing and psychology. As a senior she does not currently hold a position in her chapter, but was most recently Vice President of Chapter Operations. Taylor is the president of her school’s chapter of Order of Omega, the all-Greek honor society, as well as an advertising representative for the campus newspaper, the Montana Kaimin. She says, “my family is my everything,” and loves the beach, traveling, squirrels, laughter, a good cup of tea, and believes firmly in the “3 R’s": reading, writing, and running.

Alina Walentowicz (Theta Psi-SUNY/Plattsburgh): Alina is a senior at SUNY/Plattsburgh studying English, journalism, and religious studies. She has been involved in the editorial production processes of the campus publications Saranac Review Literary Journal and Cardinal Yearbook. Additionally, she has been a featured fiction writer in ZPlatt, the school’s student-run literary magazine. She will forever be grateful for the equally challenging and rewarding experience of serving as Theta Psi’s Chapter President in 2014. Currently, she holds the position of Director of Academics. In her free time, Alina can be found shaking it off at Zumba classes and catching up on Downton Abbey with her cat, Yoda.

February 6, 2015

Featured Product Friday: Navika Girl Slouchy Pullover

This 3/4 sleeve pullover is super comfy but also flattering. Great for wearing around campus, studying, or any time you want to show off these sparkly Alpha Phi letters! This design is available on tanks and tees too!

Price is $34.95. Click here for details.

February 2, 2015

On the Road: Dress for Success

From recruitment, to presentations, to meetings with University staff, ELCs have to be prepared for anything. Whether you’re preparing for your first interview or getting ready for Leadership Conference, here are a few tips from your ELCs to inspire your professional wardrobe:

  1. Do your research When attending a conference or walking into an interview, do your research on what to pack and how to dress so you’re not putting together an outfit at 11pm the night before. It’s important to dress on the same level, or even a step above, your peers. Dressing too casually could cause you to lose credibility from others. Let them know you take things seriously! Make sure to check the attire for the weekend or meeting well in advance to ensure you show up looking professional.
  2. Maximize your outfit combinations ELCs live out of a suitcase and it’s a great way to learn how to piece together lots of outfit variety! Especially when packing for a conference or convention, choose pieces you can mix and match. A neutral skirt and blazer are great to mix up with fun blouses. Don’t forget your staple black dress to layer with cardigans or a blazer for a different look.
  3. Layer As an ELC, I have traveled all over the country. I visit hot and humid environments as well as bitter cold areas and one thing I cannot live without is layers. They allow me to add variety to my outfits as well as easily adjust to my surroundings. Conference centers, hotels, and businesses do not allow you to adjust the temperature, so be prepared for anything with cardigans, blazers, and light scarves to keep you comfortable while you impress.
  4. Make an impression Whether you are attending Alpha Phi Leadership Conference or meeting your new boss, first impressions matter! Dressing for the part is important, but it’s only a piece of a first impression. Make eye contact, use a firm handshake, and smile. One thing people don’t tell you is the best way to make a great first impression is to ask questions. Asking questions indicates that you are interested and that you have come prepared. Dazzle your peers and future bosses with your intellect and dedication!

Alpha Phi provides so many opportunities to develop successful woman. Through programs like ELI, the Fellows Program, Leadership Conference, and Convention, we can learn how to rule the board room and rock an interview. Alpha Phi taught me so much about the successful person I want to be, and I am honored that as an ELC I can help other women develop themselves!

Gina Forneris (Iota-Winsonsin) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Gina by clicking here.