Dear Theta Phi Alphas,
Happy Founding Day! Today marks 111 years since Theta Phi Alpha was founded!! I am thankful for our Founders’ and the commitment they had to our great Fraternity.
As the excitement of the new academic year falls upon us, I would like to use my blog this month to update you on what is happening at the national level of Theta Phi Alpha. We are halfway through the biennium and there are many exciting updates to share. That makes my blog a longer read than past months. I hope you find a positive return for the time it takes to read.
Strategic Priorities for 2022-2024
These priorities were set by the Grand Council at our September 2022 meeting.
Strategic Priority Number One: Define the Theta Phi Alpha Membership Experience for all Stages of Membership
We have developed a vision statement that will guide us as we develop the membership experience - Theta Phi Alpha aims to create an experience for our members to live their individual truths, grow their self awareness, and cultivate lifelong friendships. This statement will help us define What it means to be a Theta Phi Alpha. We are now working on weaving this vision statement into our membership experience, starting with the collegian experience. Experiences and learning are being connected to our competencies that are found on the job descriptions for officer positions, while keeping our core values of justice, friendship, and truth in the forefront. This will allow our members to see the connection between their sorority experience, volunteer positions, and life after college. New programs and initiatives that will be a part of the membership experience are already being developed and some were rolled out at Officer Leadership Training for our collegiate members. We are currently working to roll out this new membership experience model, as well as communication around the competencies that our programs align to. Members can expect to see this new membership experience framework rolled out ahead of our 2024 Convention.
Strategic Priority Number Two: Create a Plan to Achieve Financial Stability
Theta Phi Alpha, along with the generous support of the Theta Phi Alpha Foundation, has partnered with Phired Up to provide leadership and recruitment education to our chapters, provide technology to help our chapters manage the recruitment process, and provide education and training for our national officers who work with our chapters in the area of recruitment. Our partnership with Phired Up is off to a great start. Phired Up was a large part of our Officer Leadership Training (OLT) that was held at the University of Maryland in July. Our keynote speaker at OLT was Bonny Shade whose presentation titled “She Belongs Here!” addressed belonging in the sorority community, being intentional, having hard discussions, and taking small steps towards big changes within the chapter, Bonny shared tips for deepening connections outside the chapter including building relations and friendship first regardless of membership. This was followed by time for chapter members at OLT to discuss these topics and how they can be applied to their chapter. Bonny’s presentation and the tools provided through Phired Up will help prepare our chapters to engage with each other and potential new members during recruitment. As Phired Up states, people join people, not organizations. Our investment in Phired Up is for the following reasons.
- In the past 5 years we have seen a 20% decline in the number of collegiate members.
- The financial investment by the Fraternity and Foundation will help our chapters grow in size which will then help the financial situation of the Fraternity.
Convention is the most expensive event the Fraternity holds. Feedback from our members resulted in examination of all aspects of the Convention. This includes how to save costs for our members and the fraternity that allows us to conduct the business of the Fraternity, and to create an experience of sisterhood and celebration that our members will want to be a part of. This spring we went through a Convention improvement process where we gathered information to help define and visualize the problem from a variety of stakeholders that included representation of staff, the Grand Council, Past National Presidents, Board of Trustees, Theta Phi Alpha Foundation, Ritual, DEIA, alumnae, and collegians. The information gathering was followed by a Convention workshop with an extended workshop team who analyzed our current state of Convention, identified pain points and bright spots, developed an ideal future state of Convention, and prioritized and developed countermeasures that can be addressed for Convention 2024. A result of this process is the establishment of the Convention Standing Committee. This committee will ensure that the work toward the ideal convention state will continue year after year. Members of the committee are based on elected, volunteer, or staff roles in Theta Phi Alpha and how the position is connected to Convention. The committee is now meeting monthly to implement the countermeasures for the 2024 Convention. A big thank you to Jenn Klug who led us through this process. Jenn is our National Parliamentarian and works in change management as her profession. We are very excited about the incremental positive change that this process will provide for us at the Convention.
We continue to work with the Theta Phi Alpha Foundation to determine areas of the Fraternity that our members can support through targeted donations to the Foundation, and to develop a plan to best share this information with our members. Currently there are several ways our members can support the Fraternity through the following targeted donations to the Foundation:
- Donations designated to leadership education to support leadership development resources.
- Donations designated to programming to support our partnership with Phired Up, technology for our Membership Experience, and our new partnership with Active Minds to provide a new workshop and mental health awareness resources to our members.
- Donations to DEIA (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, and Access) to purchase additional DEIA curriculum.
We appreciate the financial support of our membership. Your unwavering generosity is what allows Theta Phi Alpha to provide the support necessary for our members to thrive in a world that is constantly evolving. There are costs that the Foundation is unable to fund, which give our members the opportunity to donate directly to the Fraternity through alumnae dues and additional donation amounts.
Committee Work for 2022-2024
Our Committees for 2022-2024 have been meeting and working to complete the charge of their committee. There are several other committees in addition to the Convention committee.
- The DEIA standing committee represents a variety of chapters and generations. This committee plays a crucial role as we examine our documents and procedures to ensure we are looking through a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. The committee reviewed our updated National Policy and Procedure Manual that was made available to our members on the website in June, and was shared with our collegian members at OLT. The DEIA committee has representation on other committees and will review documents as requested by the Grand Council.
- The National Constitution and Bylaws committee continues to examine items that were out of scope for the initial rewrite of the National Constitution and Bylaws. The committee is examining topics that are important to the operation of Theta Phi Alpha such as Action Without a Meeting, and Declaration of Emergency Actions.
- The Ritual committee is meeting and examining our rituals for accessibility, inclusion, and relevance for all generations. Thank you to everyone who completed the Ritual Survey for the committee. The information collected in the survey will be used by the committee as rituals are reviewed.
- Our first Collegiate Advisory committee ended their term in May. The committee chose the topics they wanted to focus on and invited various staff and volunteers to their meetings for information sharing and guidance. The topics included communication, recruitment, chapter officer roles, wellness/social aspects of chapter life, support for chapters from national Theta Phi Alpha, and Theta Phi Alpha life after college. Committee members virtually attended the April 2023 meeting of the Grand Council to share their work and ideas. They were also instrumental in improving the application process for the 2023-2024 committee. The 2023-2024 committee consists of 7 collegian members from various chapters. 5 of the 7 members were at OLT which allowed for these members to meet each other and work has begun in this committee. We appreciate the important perspective that is provided by this committee.
I would like to say thank you to the over 200 National Officers and volunteers who give their energies, abilities, and talents to Theta Phi Alpha. Also, I would like to thank you for reading this update and my blog. Our members are our most precious gift. I believe that Theta Phi Alpha has given me more than I could ever give in return. If you find yourself with time to give, please consider completing the National Officer Interest Form.