I had the distinct pleasure of sharing space with the women of Alpha Chi Omega, at their annual Leadership Academy in January 2019. Now, as the name-tag suggests (but is also pretty clear if you know me), I am not a member of Alpha Chi. Though, as a Panhellenic sister, one can truly appreciate the amazing work of sisters across badges. And let me tell you.. I appreciated all of it!
The offer made me nervous at first. Coming from a fairly small fraternal community (small in notoriety, for lack of a better word), I never anticipated that I’d be selected to guide collegiate leaders, women selected by their sisters, entrusted with critical leadership roles through the formative stages of their officer journeys.
Now, for those of you who know me well – facilitation feels natural for me. The only thing that feels more natural than talking to and thinking critically with people, is policy – specifically surrounding risk management and safety and well-being. Fast forward to the part where I find out I’ll be a Breakout Facilitator alongside an amazing Alpha Chi, who serves as a Risk Management Specialist (read: all-knowing risk encyclopedia. read again: MY DREAM.) and now I’m over the moon. The Vice-Presidents, Risk Management play an important role in the chapter. Why, might you ask? Because the safety of our membership is our TOP PRIORITY.
As a former Risk Management Chair for my chapter eons ago, I did get giddy over creating a policy for evacuating unsafe situations and check-ins/safe locations. In fact, my heart is overflowing with joy as I recall this little project I took on in 2013. This opportunity felt meaningful because I thought I had so much to offer these young leaders.
I’d be lying if I said these women learned nothing from me, but the most notable part of that experience was what I learned from them. I gained new perspective on campus life, the challenges women today are facing to be firm about their boundaries regarding safety, the damaging effects of peer pressure from other groups (especially other women’s groups) who engage in risky behaviour, and the hope these women have for the future of their chapters, with their patience, their care, and their concern for their sisters. These women are hopeful that they can create change, in their own way, in their communities.
If anything can get you through one day in this scary world, knowing that these real. strong. women. want to put all of their energy into protecting each other adds a bit of light onto this long, dark road.
If you want to learn more about Alpha Chi Omega, the phenomenal work their members do in domestic violence awareness, and how to give back to their Foundation that helps provide amazing leadership, learning, and development opportunities… give generously of your attention, and your dollars if you can!
Filled with Panhellenic love,