Fall Retreat went so well this year! I am truly blessed with an amazing group of actives. 🙂
Since this was the first time that I would actively be serving as president in front of everyone, I was suffering from a mild case of stage fright. I was so nervous about what I had to say and how I would say it… I kept trying to rehearse my lines to myself and my other EB members. I was so afraid to mess up in front of everyone… Needless to say, my fears were NOT necessary! All of the actives are so sweet and understanding; they offer me nothing but support! Once we got going, I couldn’t believe how nervous I had been… or how lucky I am to be surrounded by such beautiful young women.
Of course it was a little awkward at first- especially with all of the motions for voting and such- but once we got going, it was fine. 🙂 One of the first things that I had to tell everyone was that we did not have a chapter room yet. (At the time, I was still working out our reservation with the Student Life office.) I thought that everyone would freak out or blame me or something, but they took it very well- I was shocked! Their trust in me gave me confidence, and I thank them for that. This may seem silly to anyone who has not dealt with a large group of young people (I am thinking back to my days in church youth group), but one of the most shocking realizations of how awesome my girls are happened when the pizza was late. They didn’t complain, and when it did arrive, they formed an orderly line and got their pizza… It is truly the little things in life! 🙂
In the following two days, business continued to go very smoothly! All but one of our amendments passed. We did not raise the mimimum required service hours for active sisters to 30, it remains at 25 hours. The first few amendments that passed were not very exciting- we simply moved the officer descriptions from our constitution to our bylaws, added, “Update all service records and forms at least once per semester,” to the Service Director position description, added, “Update all membership records and forms at least once per semester. These forms should include but are not limited to our roster, contact list, and family trees,” to the Membership Director position description, and added, “She shall attempt to collect new contact information from alumnae once per semester,” to the Alumnae Liason position description. We also took out the fees of an LOA semester, because we do not charge them. Then, we voted on some exciting amendments! The first is about our drug and alcohol policy:
Change to Read: (Bylaws) Article II Conduct
Section 1) No sister shall wear the letters of Omega Phi Alpha when engaging in the consumption of alcoholic beverages or engaging in any activities in which the principles of Omega Phi Alpha are not upheld. No sister shall attend any Omega Phi Alpha function while under the influence of any alcoholic or illegal substance. No sister shall post photos on any online platform of herself while engaging in any of these prohibited activities alongside photos of anything related to or including images of OPA events, letters, or insignia.
Rationale: We are a dry sorority, and we should not associate our organization with the consumption of alcoholic beverages or any other activity that does not uphold the principles of OPA. This amendment is saying that sisters are not allowed to post pictures of themselves drinking in the same album that contains pictures of OPA activities, letters, etc.
We raised our local dues to include the cost of Retreat:
Change to Read:
Section 2) Sisters on Active Status shall pay local dues of $120 in addition to the national dues of $50.
Rationale: The update in our local dues reflects the inclusion of a $60 retreat cost. Retreat is a mandatory event that all sisters should make every possible effort to attend each semester. Therefore, retreat is a cost that all members should expect to pay as a sister of Omega Phi Alpha, but may be surprised by because it is not included in the dues that we advertise. By including the price of retreat in our dues, we do not withhold any information from potential members. I feel that this inclusion (stating that dues are $170) is more straightforward that what we are doing now (stating that dues are $110, but you also have to pay $60 for our mandatory retreat). In this way, the price does not sneak up on our members, and they will know how much they are required to pay per semester.
We also added some conditions to our honorary membership status:
Change to Read:
(Bylaws) Article III Elections Section 11) Honorary members can be nominated by members or self-nominated. She will be able to wear OPA letters, attend meetings and functions if invited by the president, and receive a copy of the Chevron.
- To become an honorary member, a sister will complete a one year provisional period in which she must show active interest in the chapter with a minimum participation in three events per semester including chapter meetings, service events, and sisterhood events. After this year long provisional period, the chapter will vote on the sister’s honorary member status. A two-third vote is required.
- If the sister is rewarded honorary member status, she must sign a contract stating that she will continue to fulfill her honorary member duties and responsibilities through her graduation date. If the sister fails to participate in a minimum of three events per semester, her honorary member status may be revoked with a two-third vote by the chapter.
- This does not include our first advisor Louise Lawson
Rationale: Right now, there is nothing in our constitution about what we expect from our honorary members after they are awarded this status. Honorary members should continue to show interest and commitment to OPA throughout their college career, just as any other sister would. This amendment ensures that we will hold our future honorary members to a high standard- worthy of the right to wear letters and associate themselves with OPA.
We included our wedding tradition in our Bylaws:
Change to Read: (Bylaws) Article VIII. Chapter Traditions.
Section 2. On the occasion of a sister’s wedding, all Omega Phi Alpha sisters in attendance may perform the following ceremony for the bride; at some point during the bride’s wedding day, her Omega Phi Alpha sisters shall form a circle around her, sing “Yellow Rose,” and present the bride with yellow roses.
We limited the number of waivers that a sister may receive:
Change to Read: (Bylaws) Article I Section 4 Clause 1. G A sister may only receive a full waiver once throughout her active semesters. In case of extreme financial hardship, she may apply for further full waivers with supporting documentation.
Rationale: Our chapter cannot afford to continually waive dues for multiple sisters each semester. There are other options available for sisters who cannot afford to pay such as payment plans, partial waivers, and LOA semesters.
Changed the responsibility of determining fundraising points and the minimum at which they may be set per semester:
Change to read: f. Attain minimum fundraising points as set by the Fundraising Chair and Treasurer and approved by the chapter at the beginning of each semester with a majority vote. Fundraising points must be set at a minimum of four points each semester. For a fundraising project to pass, it must be presented to the chapter and voted on by a majority. If a sister votes yes to a project, she is required to participate in said project.
Finally, we updated the way that we determine our sisterhood points to match the way that we determine our fundraising points:
Change to Read: g. Attend the minimum requirement of sisterhood events each semester as set by the sisterhood chair and approved by the chapter at the beginning of each semester with a majority vote. Sisterhood points must be set at a minimum of four points each semester.
I know that everyone doesn’t feel this way, but I enjoy the amendments! I think that proposing and voting on amendments is a great way for sisters to become involved in the leadership of our organization.
While business is the main purpose of Retreat, we also had some fun! Of course, we played signs, the birthday game, the egg/chicken/gorilla/elvis/enlightened game that I can’t name right now, and I painted as many nails as my sisters would let me! 😉 Oh, and of course we can not forget the annual traditions of mattress surfing down the hallways and late night truth or dare. I love my sisters SO much, and I wouldn’t trade our experiences together for anything! While this was my last Fall Retreat as an active, I didn’t let myself get sad- which means I didn’t even let myself think about it while I was there- and I hope that I will be able to return as an alum. I never want Omega Phi Alpha to leave my life! 🙂
Well, it is that time of year, and I can hardly believe it! This year has gone by so quickly; it seems like just yesterday that we attended fall retreat, and we were talking about NEXT fall retreat at chapter last night… Crazy!
I have definitely enjoyed this year, and made some awesome new friends! I love all of the Etas, especially my littles Mei Mei and Jennifer, and I am so thankful that they were able to enjoy OPA with me. 🙂 Banquet was great, and I think that it was the perfect way to finish up the year. Our sisterhood chair, Thi, did an amazing job with our fun-filled, Cinco de Mayo celebration. We did things a little bit differently this year in that we were allowed to bring guests. I brought two- my fiance, Troy, and our friend, Zack. (Troy is on the right in blue, and Zack is on the left in green.) 🙂
As a chpater, we have accomplished some amazing things this year! As of last night at our chapter meeting (and JB is still not completely done counting…) we have 2,675 service hours this semester!! For the whole year, we have 4,205 hours!!! That is SO amazing, and I am incredibly proud of everyone for all of their hard work. Many sisters received awards at banquet for “over 40 hours” and “over 50 hours.” I am proud of all of the girls who met our new 25 hour requirements, and impressed that so many doubled or almost doubled this requirement! Maybe we can raise our requirement to 30 hours per semester at fall retreat…. 😉
Over this year, I have seen our chapter grow, and I know that we are on our way to bigger and better things. We grew in number, but I also think we grew in friendship, leadership, and service. I know- corny… But I really think this is true! I thought that the chapter grew closer than it ever had during spring of last year, but I think that this spring has fostered even more frienship and sisterhood between the sisters. I can truly say that my sisters are some of my best friends!
At Banquet, I got awards for perfect attendance, over 50 service hours, and, most importantly, Miss OPA! 😀 I was so surprised and honored to be chosen for this award- it truly means the world to me! The other awards were given to Caroline, Miss Service and our future Service Director, Sydney, Miss Friendship, and Priscilla, Miss Leadership. Here we are:
Our chapter meeting last night, the last chapter of the semester, was also the time for our officer transition ceremony. I was happy that my grand-big, Liz, as well as other alums and our District TLC, Megan Johnson, could attend. This was a very special and memorable night for me because I was officially sworn in as the new Alpha Zeta President!!!!!!!!!! 😀 Tegan Y. even handed down our OPA presidential gavel- this proves I am important now. HAHA 😉
And in OPA fashion, we took TONS of pictures. 🙂 Here is the old EB and new EB together:
And the members of the new EB:
Service Director: Caroline, President: Teigan (ME!!), Sisterhood Chair: Tiffany, Secretary: Emily, Membership Director: Thi, Treasurer: Ann, and Vice President: Heather
These are some wonderful, amazing, and beautiful ladies. I absolutely cannot wait to serve on next year’s EB with them; it is truly and honor and a blessing to be chosen as next year’s president. Even though I feel like I have said it a thousand times, I will say it again… I want everyone to know that I am very excited for the new year and all of the great things to come. THANK YOU, sisters! I LOVE YOU!!
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!
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!!!