I am not going to lie- I don’t understand sorority alumnae who disappear off of the face of the planet, never to be seen again. I understand that not everyone wants to be involved to the degree that I and others are (and I am nowhere near the “limit” of alumnae involvement), but is there no middle ground? Everyone needs a break sometimes. You can’t continually push yourself in one area without breaking in one way or another. However, from what I’ve seen, most members who disappear immediately upon graduation were not pushed to that brink. Most are just gone without a trace.
While not everyone has time to hold an alumnae or advisor position, or even commit to monthly meetings, I find it hard to believe that someone wouldn’t have time to come to an annual reunion day, or an initiation, or a casual dinner, or a BBQ along the way. Alumnae groups are largely striving to be diverse and accommodating to as many schedules and lifestyles as possible. We have dinners and wine tastings and brunches and go to cultural events and philanthropic walks and exercise and just regular meetings. And not one of those things appeals to you? I find that most groups that I am in contact with are fairly flexible with accommodating “new” people who want to be included.
Yes, these organisations mean something different to everyone- it would be unrealistic to think otherwise. However, I cannot comprehend how it goes from being meaningful in April/May when you are student, and invisible when you convocate/graduate out of your chapter. Perhaps this is because of the members who join for a purely social reason. While I don’t share this opinion, if your sole reason for joining a Greek organisation was to party and connect with others socially, I suppose that that aspect will come to an end as an alumna. If this is the case with the majority of members, I think that we need re-examine how alumnae life is presented to PNMs, New Members, and Collegians.
We had a visit this year from an absolutely wonderful Alpha Gam Leadership Consultant who told us that when you recruit, you should be considering them as your sister and your friend and an officer, and an alumna. This hit home for me- sure, you can’t see the future to know what kind of person they will be in 3-4 years, but you can probably get a feeling. I think that NPC organisations need to start including information about alumnae life in recruitment. By no means am I advocating that an entire night should be devoted to alumnae programming, not even close. But during philanthropy, perhaps you highlight the chapter’s events and alumnae events that happen. Maybe during sisterhood, you speak about alumnae brunches and events. Bring up International Reunion Day (or whatever your reunion/founder’s day is called) and explain that it is a fantastic chance to get to know alumnae. Plant that idea early.
Maybe some organisations are doing this, but I think that having program meetings and information about volunteering, advising, and alumnae opportunities throughout a collegian’s years in their undergraduate chapter would also go a long way. Junior Circle spends a great deal of time educating Alpha Gams on what is available in our own organisation. We are happy to do it, but it is usually too little, too late. They’ve already excised it from their life and are done with Alpha Gam. Other than your own advisors, it’s not always clear what the different options for alumnae are. Perhaps there could be a dedicated document or magazine that members receive in their third and fourth year, earlier than their last term when they are focused on finishing school and potentially applying for jobs and graduate schooling. Plant the idea early, so they already have one thing “figured out” or at least know their options. I completely understand that not everyone stays in the same place and that there aren’t alumnae groups everywhere. It could still be useful information to a lot of memberes, though.
Each of our organisations has some incredible members volunteering and serving. I have had the pleasure of working with two absolutely amazing Recruitment Specialists, Klazina and Suzanne could not be better at their jobs. When I first sat on Executive Council, our Chapter Advisor was brilliant- she is experienced, level-headed, patient and understanding, and could not have been a better advisor. These women are a credit to Alpha Gamma Delta, and we are lucky to have them. Our organisations would not continue to thrive and grow without members like them and I believe that we all need to do our part along the way. Also, for those of us that do stick around- most of us love meeting other sisters. While we are probably going to always spend more time with our core group of sisters, it’s still fantastic to meet and connect with other sisters.
Collegians, why do you or don’t you want to be involved as an alumnae member?
Alumnae, are you involved as an alumnae? Does your organisation have any place in your life now?