Time To Be Thankful

Suzannah Grubb

The season of Thanksgiving is upon us!

Thanks to my ability to multitask between work and Facebook (shhhh…don’t tell Melissa Beaupre!), I have seen a new trend that I am LOVING! For the month of November, people are posting each day why they are thankful. What a great idea to keep us all grounded and remember how blessed we all are in this life.  Everyone goes through rocky days and times, but this little status update forces you to take the time and really think about the good things.

Traditional stacked photo, of course, in Central Park, NYC

So here is my challenge to all Sigma Kappas, what are YOU thankful for today?? Still not convinced that this is a great idea? How about this, I’ll start…

I am thankful for the Sigma Kappa friendships that have long surpassed our college days.

Take a look at this picture of my sorority family, the Elephants, and our recent reunion in NYC!

Pictured from top to bottom, Suz’s Grand Big Katie Hooper, Big Lindsey Hammond (left) and Twin Katie Ludvigson (right).

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New Members, Crazy Weather, and Theta! Oh my!

Suzannah Grubb

What a busy semester the Theta chapter has had, so it’s time they got a blog post!

After recruitment, Theta at University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign,
was proud to receive the largest new member class on campus with 83 women! The chapter is literally bursting at the seams with members and excitement! I was lucky enough to visit the chapter for their first weekend of recruitment, getting to know officers, chapter women, and local and national volunteers.

Theta VPNME, Ashley, and Suz

The VPM, Ashley, and I really got to know each other through the long days, late nights and keeping the chapter motivated! Before I left town, thanks to the VPNME, Juliana, I got to take a look around the beautiful Fighting Illini campus.

Suz and the U of I Alma Mater

University of Illinois has a lot to be proud of including the largest Greek community in the country. The university is continuing to  increase their fraternity and sorority presence with the largest recruitment EVER in their school’s history, 1,500 potential new members!

After recruitment ended, bid day executed, and Big/Little Sister Reveal unveiled the chapter was off to a roaring start for the semester before my second visit.  I was excited to get to know the chapter better through their sisterhood game night event.  We stayed up for hours playing Wii Just Dance, eating Pokey Sticks (my favorite!), and just hanging out.

Not only was the chapter off to a ‘roaring’ beginning, but so was the weather during my October trip. On a daring afternoon, the President Molly, EVP Shelly, and I braved the elements to get a bite to eat for lunch.  Multiple times Molly’s umbrella flipped inside out and I finally gave up on the umbrella all together.

Theta President, Molly, singng in the rain!

Needless to say, I looked like a wet cat after our outing. That evening, a few of the house women and I settled down and watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  It was a perfect end to the day after the wild weather we took on!

I am now preparing for my last trip of the semester to Illinois. I am looking forward to visiting for initiation and saying goodbye to those studying abroad in the spring. Such motivated and determined women belong to Theta and I can’t wait to see them again!

“Thanks for calling 1-800-WE-ARE-AWESOME!”

On the morning of October 8, I awoke from a short slumber to two very excited members of the Upsilon chapter at Oregon State University shaking me. Thankfully, they realized that texting me was not an effective way to wake me up since I sleep like a rock.

Upsilon awaiting their new members!

Naturally, I was in a zombie-like state when I walked into the guest room and unable to anticipate the exciting news that awaited me. The door was shut behind me and Mary Phillips, collegiate recruitment specialist, shared some of the most exciting news of the year with the women of Upsilon. The chapter matched 54 women during formal recruitment, meaning they got quota plus two! All of the chapter’s hard work during pre-recruitment and formal recruitment could be seen in this incredible number.

Throughout the week, the women were supported by phone calls and emails from Sigma Kappa members all over the nation. The chapter was so excited to receive an encouraging email from Sara Chacon, national vice president for membership. They also had the chance to hear from Past National President Angela Guillory for a pump up speech before preference round. Earlier that day, Mary called Angela and she answered the phone with, “Thanks for calling 1-800-WE-ARE-AWESOME!” in response to the performance of the women thus far. She was incredibly encouraging to the chapter and they loved hearing from her.

Chapter Members Before Round One

Spending nine days with the Upsilon chapter for recruitment was full of lots of excitement. As any visit with this chapter, it was filled with laughter and laugh crying, new YouTube videos, late night fast food, tweets with #win or #winning, and lots of music – I think Mary and I know all the words to the Today’s Hits Pandora station, no lie. The girls have a long recruitment process, all of which takes place during their second week of classes. The chapter was so positive throughout the entire process. Their energy, excitement, and preparedness attributed to their successful recruitment. I’m excited to return for Founder’s Day and meet all the new members!

xoxo,

Elizabeth

What is ritual?

Elizabeth Scott

Ritual is ceremonies, white clothing, memorizing songs and speeches, and absolute silence. Ritual ceremonies welcome our new members into the sisterhood and send our seniors on their merry way at the end of their collegiate experience. Every other week, ritual dictates the format of our chapter meetings. Is there more to ritual?

Like many sorority women, this is what I thought about ritual during my collegiate experience. Until I went through leadership consultant training, I did not think of ritual in any other way. I knew our ritual ceremonies were very important and by following the ritual book we were staying in line with our founders and the standards they set 137 years ago. I also realized that by following the ritual ceremonies, we were in line with the rest of the national organization. Let me tell you a secret. There is SO much more to ritual.

During training, we read Edward King’s The Secret Thoughts of a Ritual (excuse my notes and underlining). This article really opened my eyes to the importance of ritual and how it can be used. It gave me a new perspective on my approach to ritual. Here are the two main things I found:

  1. Ritual is a day to day activity. Living our sorority values should be the constant goal of all of our collegiate chapters. As a member of Sigma Kappa, I should uphold our ritual with all my actions every day. From interactions with my Sigma Kappa sisters to how I prioritize my life, my Sigma Kappa ritual should be seen. Ritual should not just be a five to six times a year deal. It’s an everyday activity and others should be able to see my values through my actions.
  2. Ritual should hold members accountable. Think about your ritual. Does it encourage you to undermine your fellow member? Does it give you permission to only be involved your first two years of membership? Does it encourage disrespect? Does it promote risky behavior or breaking rules? Of course, “no” should be the answer no to all of these questions. Using ritual as an accountability tool is a great way to help chapter morale and keep all members on the same page. As initiated members, we all took the same oath. Why not use it to make our chapters stronger?

With “initiation season” among us, think about how your chapter uses ritual. I challenge you to make ritual a main focus of your chapter year round, not just during inspiration week. Alumnae, think about how you live your ritual. Even if you are not in an active chapter currently, you can still exemplify Sigma Kappa’s ritual in your day to day life.

At the end of September, I had the privilege of returning to the Alpha Gamma chapter at Washington State University during their inspiration week. The night before I left, I helped the women prepare for their upcoming Initiation. As I said above, it is refreshing to be at a school clear across the country and hear those same words that I said during my initiation. I listened to the words with new ears and thought about how easy it is to make that oath a part of my life. I challenge each of you to live your values each day and show Sigma Kappa’s ritual through all you do. Obviously, we will still keep certain things a secret for members, but we can show the system of values our ritual is based on through our actions each day.

xoxo,

Elizabeth

The Art of Shaking Hands

Kassy Pierson

Well, hello, sister friends!

I’ve been working with Lindsey Farrow in Boca Raton, FL to recruit and colonize a chapter of Sigma Kappa women for the last month and it’s been such an incredible experience. It has also made me think about how many times we interact with other individuals in one single day – especially via handshakes!

Quick break at FAU to take a picture of our amazing laptops! 🙂

Now I’m going to be frank with y’all – there are some pretty horrendous handshakes out there! I say this because my poor hand has been through many of them. I learned at Phired Up some of the terrible types of handshakes they’ve seen including, but not limited to: the dead fish, the 4 finger, the wet one, and the bone crusher.

I think the worst to get is the dainty little 4 finger handshake many ladies happen to give. Ladies, listen up: DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET IN THERE AND SHAKE SOMEONES HAND! Just because we are women does not mean that we should have a weak handshake. In fact, when I was a cheerleader in high school (back in the days of Kassy being in shape and flexible) we went to this fabulous Champion Cheerleading Camp and they called us Beastly Women! Now you don’t have to be a beast who is a ‘bone crusher’ that squeezes your opponent’s hand to death but there is something to be said about those ladies who have a firm handshake!  It comes in handy not only during recruitment season but also later in your life so practice with another sister to see how well you shake hands! No shame! 🙂

So moral of my blog post: Have confidence in your handshake!

Shoutout to my ladies at Phi – My visit to y’all was a truly special one full of fun and productivity! I’m missing the itsy bitsy but ever so enchanting state of Rhode Island and the office, a.k.a., my bedroom! See you ladies in a few weeks!

Going to lunch - this cute little place was featured on TV!The Bamboo Forest! SO COOL!Hello Rhode Island ❤

Ready to Change the World?

Michelle Garber

While visiting the Founder’s Award winning chapter Beta Zeta, University of Maryland, this week I had the opportunity to attend an event sponsored by their Panhellenic Association. The event was a speaker, Ginny Carroll, who came to talk about the Circle of Sisterhood.

Ginny is a former sorority consultant (woot woot) out to change the world. Her charity, the Circle of Sisterhood, harnesses the power of sorority women to change the lives of little girls around the world. The goal of the program is to give girls the means to stay in school so that they can avoid the tragedies that befall women in those countries due to poverty and oppression.

Why is this important? Check it out:

The Girl Effect

The Circle of Sisterhood is only a little over a year old but has already done amazing things. In their first year they impacted women in 7 countries on 4 continents. Countless Panhellenic Councils, Universities, and individual chapters have gotten involved through fundraising efforts. After her speech, the University of Maryland Panhellenic Council presented Ginny with the largest check the organization has ever received! The money this organization receives from the efforts of sorority women goes a long way; did you know that it only costs $27 for a girl to have everything she needs (tuition, workbooks, uniform, and school supplies) to attend school for one year in rural Tanzania?

So what can you do? Go check out the Circle of Sisterhood website!

Get your chapter or Panhellenic Council involved, sign up for their newsletter or to be a volunteer. Several of our own Sigma Kappa sisters are already leading the way. Karyn Nishimura Sneath, former National Vice President for Programming, sits on the Board of Trustees for the Circle of Sisterhood and National Headquarters Staff members Jenna Martin Pendry and Mary Phillips are volunteers.

I believe that sorority women are ready to CHANGE THE WORLD. Do you?

-Michelle