Omega Phi Alpha: National Service Sorority

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The first ever Kennesaw State University Relay for Life is right around the corner!!! (Friday, April 13th @ 7:00 pm – Saturday, April 14th @ 7:00 am) All together, we have already raised $19,327 for the American Cancer Society!!!!! I can’t believe it- we have already gotten so close to our $20,000 goal. 🙂

Omega Phi Alpha’s team is definitely doing their part- our team has raised $3,298 so far!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO proud of all of my sisters and the time and effort that they have already put in for this great cause. I absolutely can’t wait for the night of the event, and it is not that far away! KSU Relay for Life is THIS Friday, April 13th @ 7:00 pm on the Green on KSU’s campus.

As Omega Phi Alpha’s team captain, I have been working toward Relay for months now- there is so much to do! First, we had to vote on Relay as an official service project for the semester and work with our Service Director to decide how service hours would be earned. There are tons of opportunities for girls to earn credit for this project! Registering online at ksurelay.org and donating $10 is one hour, and each $10 increment raised on their personal fundraising page past that original $10 is one hour toward their personal hours (not our minimum required 25 hours per semester for active status). Hours could also be earned by donating other various items like signs, decorations, drinks, etc. Then, there are lots of hands-on hours to be earned! If girls registered before March 15th, they have the opportunity to earn hour-for-hour up to 12 hours. If they register between March 16th and the day of the event, they can get hour-for-hour up to 6 hours. If they do not register, they can come to the event and earn hour-for-hour with a max of 2 hours. More girls than I expected signed up for the entire 12 hours, and I am very excited to spend the entire night with them! Some of us- definitely me- will be there for MUCH longer than that as set-up for the event begins at 3:00 pm on Friday, and I will probably have to stay later on Saturday morning to clean up.

We also held a yard sale to raise money for Relay that make $630!! Yes, you read that correctly- $630!! 🙂 (Girls could receive service hours for their donations to this project.) While we received lots of great donations from sisters, the yard sale would not have been the great success that it was without the generous help and donations from Caitlin’s parents. The yard sale was at their house, they donated most of the things that we sold at the yard sale, and they were an amazing help donating their time and talents to this great cause! Thank you so much, Mr. and Mrs. Amick! 🙂

In the past couple of weeks, I have been working on getting donations for our on-site fundraiser. We have a popcorn machine and supplies from Parker’s aunt, cupcakes from the Publix bakery where Allie works, and cookies from Jillian’s mom at Cookie Chic. These are going to match our carnival theme, and they are going to be amazing!! Here is a preview:

So, getting everything finished for Relay is this week is going to be very busy! I still have to make some signs (Caroline is going to help me in TRAC on Tuesday morning), attend Bank Night on Tuesday night to turn in our team’s final money, pick up participant t-shirts for our team members who raised at least $100, and choose our campsite on the Green. I also need to purchase bags for our popcorn and face paint this week. Oh, and finalize everyone’s schedule- I have a huge spreadsheet with everyone’s task assignment color coded, individual time assignments to hand out to sisters at the event, and sign-in sheets for each station. I want everything to be as organized as possible so that things run smoothly at the event.

I will be back with more Relay info as soon as I can update.


Walking to class this morning, I saw my friend and (almost) sister, Lauren P. I was listening to my iPod, and she was on the phone, but we still acknowledged each other. We smiled, waved, and blew each other a kiss at the same time. Ok, I realize that this sounds really corny and could be possibly disturbing to some of you reading this, but in that moment I was extremely grateful to have my sisters in my life! KSU is such a big school with tens of thousands of students, and it is extremely too easy to feel lost. That is where I was at my freshman year, before I found Omega Phi Alpha. Now, I see my sisters around campus, like Lauren P., and I feel connected. It truly is the small things that make a difference in my day.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog about Omega Phi Alpha this semester, and the positive support that I have received from my sisters has made it worth my while! I want to send a big THANK YOU shout out to all of my sisters that I love so much! Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me, not just in my blog, but in everything!

Here are some of the responses to my blog that I have received from my sisters in just the past day…

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“I feel like your blog is awesome and u went above and beyond on each post but thats just me. 🙂 Are you going to keep blogging after its due? Please do!!”

“I finally got around to reading you blog and it is amazing!!!”

“Teigan!!! I am SO proud of you – I have SOOOO enjoyed reading your blog this semester 🙂 You are, without a doubt, one of the most beneficial pieces of Alpha Zeta. You have such a positive influence on your fellow sisters and your constantly upbeat demeanor is such an inspiration. Love you sweet girl!”

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Wow!! These comments meant so much to me ladies. All I know to say is THANK YOU!! Again and again, my sisters have blessed me with kind words and compliments. As Holly Getty says in her post on T.J. Sullivan‘s Hungry Leader Blog, Learn to Drink in the Compliments,  “… If you can accept compliments, even for small things, you will attract more compliments. If you say positive words about the way you look or what is on your body, you will attract more positive words.” I am going to keep the chain going- positive karma leading to more positive karma and hopefully we can make the world a little bit brighter. Like this morning when I say Lauren P.- I know that the smile was still on my face after we crossed paths, and, hopefully, someone else saw my smile and they smiled as well. (Smiles are contagious, you know… You were supposed to know that already!)

Along these lines, I loved reading Talin‘s post, Laughter Is The Best Medicine. This quote spoke to me because it reminds me of our sisterhood, one big family, and I want to leave you with it to think about…

“We should learn to love each other as one big family of our world, we should learn to live and let live, we should focus our energy on laughter, the good things in life, and maybe just maybe we would hear good news on our television sets, and these newscasters would spread around goodness instead of the bad. Its been a long time I have heard any good news from these news broadcasters. Wouldn’t it be nice to see good news and more love around the world? I believe in peace and harmony and I believe that we can all make a difference one person at a time.”

 

 


The end of the semester… 

Just because the semester is ending, does not mean that our service has to! Most or all of the service that we do as sisters of Omega Phi Alpha is completed through group service projects, but this is a reminder that that does not have to be the case. I am going to try to make an effort to do more service on my own, and I would like to encourage everyone else to do the same. Here is a quick list of things you can do over the break from The HandsOn Blog:

  • Make artwork for a local senior center or retirement home—they will love the colorful wall decorations!
  • Organize a canned food drive at home, school, neighborhood, or place of worship. Donate your collected canned goods to a local food bank or shelter.
  • Donate unwanted stuffed animals to a local shelter— there are many children who would love to have an animal to snuggle with this holiday season!
  • Donate your family’s holiday party leftovers to a local shelter or soup kitchen
  • Gather your old clothes and shoes to donate to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other donation center.
  • Play board games at a senior center.
  • Donate your old books to your local library— there are kids dying to read your books!
  • Donate your old backpack there is a child who would love to have a new friend to carry their school work in!
  • Have a hot chocolate and cookie stand in your neighborhood and donate the money to your favorite cause.
  • Hold a toy drive for kids in a shelter or hospital.
  • Take a bag of dog or cat food to your local animal shelter.
  • Pick up trash in your local park or neighborhood.
  • Grow a community garden.
  • Start a recycling program in your community if there is not one already.
  • Plant a tree.
The end of the calendar year… 
Next year there are a lot of things that I will accomplish. Omega Phi Alpha will still be a large part of my life, and I will continue to update this blog! I am planning on proposing an amendment to our local constitution at our spring retreat, and I am contemplating running for an Executive Board position next year. I also have goals to accomplish in my school work as I move closer and closer toward graduation in May 2013, and personal goals as we move toward my wedding on June 1, 2013!! 🙂 There are a lot of exciting things coming up in the next few years.

And the end of the Etas pledge period!!

This Saturday, December  3rd, the members of the Eta pledge class will become active sisters of Omega Phi Alpha- it is activation! I am so excited for all of the Etas, especially my littles, Mei Mei and Jennifer. They have worked so hard, and this is well earned for them. I am also excited for my big and grand-big to attend activation, and for my first activation as an active. I wish that I could say more, but it is a secret ceremony, and I can’t release any details! The Etas will just have to wait to see what we have in store for them. 🙂


As a follow-up to Light the Night, I received the nicest thank you note from Stacy! I couldn’t begin to paraphrase it, and I figured that by typing it, the words would lose some of their authenticity, so here is a scanned copy of the note…

Maybe it was an emotional day for me, but this note had me in tears. Thank you, Stacy!! Receiving this note from you really meant a lot to me, and I know that the other people you sent thank you notes to felt the same way that I did when I found it in my mailbox.

Light the Night is truly an Omega Phi Alpha memory that I will treasure always. “Why?” you might ask, “Wasn’t it just a walk?” Well, yes… It was “just” a walk, but it was SO much more than that. I loved meeting your family, especially your mom, and I was so happy that they were all able to attend this service project. The personal connection really made the project special to me, making it one of my favorites. Also, the amount of people involved and the amount of money raised by all of the teams is simply astonishing. This was in the email sent by Light the Night on November 10th:

Thanks to you we have raised over $1.2 million for blood cancer research and patient services!

Also, I am excited to do this project again next year and the next and make it an Alpha Zeta tradition! 🙂


I am very excited to report that as a team, we are much closer to our fundraising goal: We now have over $650! My grandbig, Liz announced our project at the Omega Gamma alumnae meeting this month, and our team website went out in the minutes. I hope that from this we can raise some more interest from our alumnae, both Alpha Zeta and other chapters around. Already, Liz and another Alpha Zeta alum, Jessica, have donated to our team’s page! I am very excited because my big, Kelly, and Liz are both planning on attending Light the Night. Hopefully both my littles will be able to come as well. It would be so awesome for my whole family to be there! (On a side note, last night we had a family dinner at a restaurant in Marietta! Unfortunately, Liz could not come because she came down with a cold, but the rest of us were there, and we had a great time.)

In order to raise more interest and awareness about Light the Night as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I sent out this message via Georgia View Vista to all of my classmates and instructors in all of my classes…

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“Hi, everyone!

I wanted to let you know about a service project that I involved in through Omega Phi Alpha, a service sorority on campus. This year, we are participating in Light the Night through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of one of our sister’s mothers who has been diagnosed with Amyloidosis and Fibromyalgia. This year alone she has endured more than five surgeries, and she continues in her battle against these diseases. To read more about this cause, check out my blog: https://omegaphialpha.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/getting-ready-for-light-the-night/

If you feel led to donate, please go to this address: http://pages.lightthenight.org/ga/Atlanta11/TMcIntosh. Every dollar helps!

Thank you so much! Please let me know if you have any questions.
-Teigan McIntosh”

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Surprisingly, I received some immediate positive feedback! Here is what one girl in my ENGL 3035: Language and Linguistics class replied: (This message was sent to all students and instructors as well.)

“Just as a side note: this is an amazing foundation that I work with on a daily basis to help my patients with funding of their chemotherapy treatments. They also help with daily life expenses, too. This foundation is amazing – support it! As someone who regularly uses them to get the support needed for my patients, I can honestly say they are the best.”

From my ENGL 3241: Technology and Digital Media in the English Language Arts Classroom class, I got this reply from one of my group members:

“Thank you for sending this, Teigan! My sister-in-law was diagnosed with 2nd stage lymphoma close to 2 yrs ago. Within the same wk, she also found out that she was pregnant! She started chemo in her 2nd trimester. My niece was born 10/1/10. She was told she would be unable to have anymore children and then in May she found out that she is now currently pregnant with twins! Because of her current pregnancy she is unable to know if the cancer has come back; we pray it has not. I think that this is a great service project and I will check out the link and donate what I can! Thanks.”

Also, in class, someone else told me that they were going to look into the organization and the event and that they would probably be able to donate to my page. I was overwhelmed with the positive response that I received from my classmates! Even if people are not able to donate, I am pleased that people actually read my message on Georgia View, and that they know what we are doing as a service organization. Also, this has already helped me get to know a couple of my classmates a little bit better- I had no idea that someone I talk to everyday has been so closely affected by this disease.

Another avenue that we are pursuing in trying to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, is by creating a partnership with a fraternity at KSU, Delta Chi. (They are a relatively new fraternity at KSU, so, in my opinion, this is a great time to start connecting with them!) A couple weeks ago, three of us went to their chapter meeting and presented our ideas to them about this service project. They seemed interested in the cause, and they expressed to us that they would be willing to help if they could, either now, with this specific project, or in the future with other service that we do. My little, Mei Mei, got the contact information for their Philanthropy Chair, and she emailed him more specific information today, along with a link to my earlier blog post regarding Light the Night, and our team’s homepage. Hopefully these conversations will result in a partnership. I think that this connection, and hopefully others to follow, will be vital for Omega Phi Alpha’s success- in all realms, whether that be service or fundraising. I have talked to other girls who were involved in sororities at other schools, such as UGA, and they said that the reason their fundraisers worked was because various organizations worked together. For example, if we were able to successfully build this connection with Delta Chi, we could attend their fundraisers and they could attend ours. We could collaborate on service projects and social functions. Unlike other social organizations, I am not looking to party and have “mixers” of any kind! That is not what Omega Phi Alpha is about. I am simply saying that building connections and fostering a professionally based community with other organizations on campus could only benefit those parties involved.


Saturday, October 15th was Alpha Zeta Chapter’s 5th birthday! We celebrated with our annual Founder’s Day festivities, but the night was extra special this year thanks to our amazing Sisterhood chair, Thi. She did a great job- I really enjoyed everything that she planned. She even prepared cute gifts for everyone who attended!

NOTE: With so much talk about the “alums,” I decided to look up the proper terms and found a great outline here. Apparently, we should not use the term “alums” for either men or women. This website says, “Use “alumna” for a woman. Use “alumnae” for a group of women.” So, I will try to follow this guideline…

Since this is my first active fall semester, this was my first time attending Founder’s Day, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I witnessed that night. There were so many beautiful actives and alumnae present that night! I was so grateful that all of them were able to attend- especially my grandbig, Liz! Hearing her tell the founding story was really cool. I will probably mess it up and leave out a lot, but I am going to try to recall what I remember of the story…

Liz loves Hanson. When she was younger, she had a website devoted to the group, and she had friends online that followed her website. Then, one day, she was able to meet up with one of her Hanson friends in person. Later, this friend, who attended Georgia Tech, started to tell Liz about a really amazing service sorority that she was involved in- Omega Phi Alpha. Liz thought that it sounded like something she would like to do, and she hoped that other students would be interested too. She got in touch with the Vice President of Expansions on the National Executive Board who told her that Omega Phi Alpha was not a good fit for Kennesaw. Convinced that she was wrong, Liz decided that she would keep trying. She was not going to take no for an answer! Finding that other students were, indeed, interested, she gathered a group of girls who wanted to start OPA at Kennesaw, and sent the list along with some facts about the KSU campus and community- KSU was no longer the Junior College of the past!- to the VP of Expansions.  After quite some time, Liz got the go-ahead and continued her mission. Along with the other girls interested in OPA, she organized an information night for students to come find out what OPA was all about! The night was a success, and they got a whole list of girls who wanted more information! After this night got the ball rolling, Liz and the other founding mothers started to fulfill all of their colonization requirements. They had a lot of service projects to do, and they just kept working till everyone had filled their service requirements. With a lot of hard work and a lot of time, OPA was finally starting to take shape at Kennesaw State University!

I am so incredibly proud of my grandbig and founding mother, Liz, and all of the other founding mothers and alumnae for all that they have done! Without them, I would not be a part of OPA. It meant a lot to me to be able to attend Founder’s Day in order to honor them and celebrate our chapter.

I really hope that I will be able to get to know the Alpha Zeta Alumnae better through our service projects and sisterhood events. It meant so much to me that my big, Kelly, and my grandbig, Liz, were able to attend Big/Little Reveal, and that I was able to see Liz again at Founder’s Day. Also, I believe that both of them will be able to come to Light the Night on November 5th! I am probably most excited about that. I want to make sure that the night is a great success, for Kelly, Liz, and any other alumna who attend, because I want them to want to come to more service projects. I think that this will be the best way for the active sisters to connect with the alumnae. I would love for the alumnae to be a bigger part of our sorority, and I know that other sisters feel the same. After all, we are not really actives and alumnae, we are all sisters!!!