Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"On the Road Again"

On the road again … Goin' places that I've never been!

It's a new year, and soon I will be back on the road to start the second half of my time as Leadership Consultant. January and February bring many new places and some old ones too:

Blue Stars - Previous Visits; Yellow Stars - Repeat Visits; Red Stars - New Visits

Tulane University - New Orleans, LA
McNeese State University - Lake Charles, LA
Lamar University - Beaumont, TX
Franklin & Marshall College - Lancaster, PA
Alpha Delta Pi Executive Office - Atlanta, GA
Ripon College - Ripon, WI
Northern Illinois University - DeKalb, IL
District IV Leadership Conference - Indianapolis, IN
University of Memphis - Memphis, TN

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pick Me Up Playlist

An important part of any traveler’s manifesto? A good playlist.

Music is one of my favorite things in the world.  What else can make you dance, cry, smile, remember one moment in your life, and reenergize your day in three minutes and thirty-two seconds?

Let’s face it. Not every day is the best. Whether or not you’re 7 and Jimmy just stole the only light blue crayon left in the box or 47 and you didn’t get the promotion … But that’s what music is for, and everyone should have a pick me up playlist. No matter what songs fill your one to ten it should go a little something like this... 

  1. Sometimes it seems like nothing is going your way
  2. And it's OK to be angry
  3. But everything happens for a reason
  4. And the only person in control of you is you
  5. And you're pretty awesome
  6. And so are the friends that love you
  7. And the family that will always be there
  8. So just dance
  9. Then sing out of tune
  10. And never forget everything you have to be thankful for

Stay tuned for more playlists! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Semester in Review: Part II

My trips to the University of Central Oklahoma and Tulane University were longer than my trips to the other six universities in Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and California, but they were all equally exciting in different ways.

At the University of Memphis I attended Gamma Eta's annual sisterhood retreat and led a workshop on time management. There are many strategies out there on how to best manage your time, but in the interest of keeping it simple below are five steps to improved time management for collegians:

  1. Identify your top 5 time wasters. How much time do you actually spend watching Breaking Bad on Netflix? An episode a day or six episodes until you realize you have to wake up in 4 hours?
  2. Create a semester schedule. For the most part those papers, tests and group projects are scheduled from the beginning of the semester and working incrementally towards the finished project will minimize your stress later on. 
  3. Assess and plan your workload each week. Think about what you have to do that week: class, student organization meetings, work, homework, meals, hanging out with your friends. Estimate how long each will take and choose the day you wish to accomplish each item.
  4. Adjust your plan each day. 
    • Write your daily schedule around the same time each day. Would you rather unwind at night and plan out tomorrow or write out a schedule with your morning cup of coffee?
    • When designating times for homework pick a time during the day that you are most productive. If you're not a morning person, don't force yourself to wake up and read a couple extra chapters of "Principles of Financial Accounting" (admittedly my worst class at The U... I can't even think of a joke involving some clever accounting pun). Instead, snooze an hour more knowing that you will stay up an hour later. 
  5. Evaluate your schedule. 
    • Reflect on your day. How much did you accomplish? How much time did you spend deviating from your schedule and what were you doing? How does that affect tomorrow?
    • Be realistic. You can only do your best - no more no less - and you should be honest with yourself about what constitutes your best so as to not limit yourself or burden yourself. 
I am pleased to say that I evaluated my schedule at Memphis and built in some time to visit Graceland! Below are some pictures! 

Knoxville, Tennessee is beautiful and having lunch in Market Square and watching some street performers drum on upside down buckets creating music reminded me of home. The hills in Knoxville, particularly on UT's campus, are punishing, and I would not be surprised if first-year students lost fifteen pounds instead of gaining the infamous Freshmen 15. 

I spent a great deal of my time in Alpha Kappa chapter's beautiful new sorority house. Mainly, I was there for Diamond Days, which are the three days celebrating the initiation of new members. Planning Diamond Days involves several logistics - who is going to be where when and how we can organize it in the most efficient way while preserving the importance of Alpha Delta Pi traditions. 

Another part of my visit included meeting with any collegians interested in running for positions since applications were due a couple days after my departure. It is incredibly rewarding to give a collegian advice on how to improve the chapter in her position of interest then see her mind run wild with 50 more ideas. This visit reminded me that we are all in control of our own experience and sorority women of every organization have the opportunity to get as much out of their collegiate years as they would like. In life - not just sorority land - it is easy to pass responsibility onto others, but it is more important how we analyze, respond to and take control of our environment. 

Mississippi gave me the opportunity to work with three other Leadership Consultants, Haley Massey, Logan Sparks, and Senior LC, Jessica Johnson. LCs generally travel alone when we visit chapters, so it is important to recognize the change and switch from independent LC mode to effective support consultant. My visit to Mississippi State University and Ole Miss were only five and three days long, respectively. At MSU, Haley and I prepared for initiation and served as risk managers at a social event while Logan, Jessica and I ran elections at Ole Miss, met with Panhellenic Executive Officers, and began preparation for officer training.

Sorority life at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX is different from other campuses I visited because there are only three NPC sororities: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, and Zeta Tau Alpha. Sorority women have the responsibility to not only improve their chapters, but to grow and strengthen their Panhellenic community. Panhellenic Councils at every college differ in terms of officer structure, involvement with chapters, and programming priorities, but they all have one thing in common. They strive to unite the campus community often times through educational programming. Whether or not it's a career building workshop or alcohol education, Panhellenic communities have the ability to shape well-rounded leaders. At every campus I visit I meet with the Fraternity Sorority Advisor to figure out how Alpha Delta Pi can best support the community and to provide suggestions for strengthening it. 

Last, but certainly not least, I had the privilege of traveling to the West Coast! My dad is originally from the West Coast, but I haven't been west of Kansas since I was about seven when we took a trip to Lake Tahoe in Nevada of which I only remember a bear brushing against our tent - that really happened. My allegiance will always lie on the East Coast, particularly New York City, but Santa Barbara was  absolutely gorgeous. My Semester in Review has given you a glimpse into what my actual duties as LC entail, but I cannot forget about how lucky I am to travel the United States and see all kinds of cities. Many students at UCSB live on the cliffs that overlook the beach and the campus is less than two hours away from Los Angeles. Below are some pictures from the beach! I can't wait to see what is in store next semester.

View from the plane
Collegians actually live on that cliff, and I thought Miami was awesome!
Dipping my toes in the Pacific!

West Coast sunset!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Semester in Review: Part I

The first semester of my travels have come to a close and I am now sitting at home watching too much Netflix to unwind from a busy few months. 

I have traveled to eight universities in six states for a total of 108 days on the road. In Alpha Delta Pi terms I have traveled to four of our six districts: District 5, 2, 1, and 6. Every school and state brought a new set of objectives and a new backdrop. Each District is headed by a different International Officer and is comprised of other volunteers that are experts in their field - alumnae relations, philanthropy, recruitment and marketing, you name it. On top of separate leadership in each district comes a variety of campus norms at each school and unique chapter dynamics - just enough to keep me on my toes.  

Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, California, Oh My! 

My journey began on August 10th in Oklahoma. 

Oklahoma taught me that chapters in their first year of operation can put together an outstanding recruitment. It was key to balance the ideas of collegiate chapter officers, the chapter members as a whole, chapter advisors, International Officers, and myself as a Consultant. It is no easy feat for a chapter to put something together of which they have no firsthand experience. The pressure was on to recruit to quota and continue to establish ADPi's legacy on this campus.  It took hours of conversation practice and learning various recruiting strategies on top of developing an attention to detail in regards to presentation, but the women at the Theta Xi chapter came together and had a successful recruitment. 

On top of that, Oklahoma City is actually quite pretty and I was surprised by how much I loved it. Hopefully I will get to visit again... maybe see a Thunder game.

Most of my time has been spent in New Orleans at Tulane University with the Lead Colony Consultant, Courtney Fields. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of reinstalling the 5th oldest chapter of Alpha Delta Pi. Colony marketing and recruitment involved learning the best ways to reach out to students at Tulane University and share with them what it means to be a founding member of Alpha Delta Pi. Once we had members, they operated in committees since there was no officer leadership yet. After juggling 11 committees ranging from finance to social and risk management, we met with each member to discuss their desire to run for a position.

Then on November 10, 2013 Epsilon was installed as the 147th active chapter of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and 84 women joined our sisterhood. The celebration was perfect and a group of members brought many of us to tears with an a cappella performance of Chantal Kreviazuk's "Feels Like Home."  While driving home, Courtney and I - along with another LC, Grace Brodrick - were overjoyed that an entire semesters worth of hard work had come to fruition and when our favorite song came on the radio we rolled down the windows of our Toyota Corolla and graced the city of New Orleans with our singing and/or screaming of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball."

Speaking of, what a better backdrop than the city of New Orleans. Don't be fooled, however, my version of Bourbon Street was PJs Coffee Shop on Willow meeting with colony members from 10 to 6.  I loved every second of it - even the stressful ones - and in a few weeks I will be back in New Orleans helping put together Epsilon's first formal recruitment! 
Stay tuned to hear about Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and California on Wednesday! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Traveling the Good Old US of A: Oklahoma City

Most days of being an Alpha Delta Pi Leadership Consultant are filled with meetings, workshops, and excessive trips to Wal-Mart, but occasionally I do get to see a bit of the cities I am visiting.

When I was at the University of Central Oklahoma I was lucky enough to have some Theta Xi sisters willing to show me around town. I went on a campus tour, ate at some delicious restaurants, and had the opportunity to see the Oklahoma City Bombing National Memorial & Museum.

Campus Tour

Fun Fact #1: University of Central Oklahoma’s campus is on track to be considered a botanical garden! The campus is covered with many different kinds of plants and flowers, and although I had no idea what everything was, it was pretty cool seeing some cacti on campus!

Fun Fact #2: The clock tower [right hand side of the picture] is the oldest sandstone building in Oklahoma.

Fun Fact #3: UCO has 5 outdoors classrooms! Some professors take their students outside to sit amphitheater style and learn! [Bottom middle of the picture.]

Eating My Way Through Oklahoma

I must say I have been pretty spoiled with delicious restaurant options growing up in New York City and living in Miami. So it came as a surprise to me – no offense, Oklahoma – that Oklahoma has some really great restaurants! I went to a ton of places, but my two favorites were Pops and S&B’s Burger Joint.

Pops is famous for having hundreds of different kinds of soda (yes, I am from the Northeast and do say “soda”) and for their huge soda bottle outside! Some flavors were cookie dough, maple smoked bacon, and “Barack O’Berry.”

S&B’s Burger Joint was amazing. Before I dive into describing the deliciousness, on the top left of this picture is a strange – but intentional – picture of ice. All of the Oklahoma restaurants I went to had tiny circles of ice instead of big cubes or chips. As an avid ice-chewer – sorry, dentist – this was awesome. Anyway, so at S&B’s we ordered Thanksgiving Fries – sweet potato fries with melted marshmallow and craisins! I will definitely attempt to make these this Thanksgiving. For my burger, I had the Elvis Burger. It appears to be a normal burger – beef patty, cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, bun – but the sauce on the burger was… melted peanut butter! It sounds weird and I was hesitant to order, but I figured why not?! It was definitely a good choice, and if I’m ever in Oklahoma again, I can’t wait to try their other crazy burgers. 

Always Remember

On a more serious note, I visited the Oklahoma City bombing memorial and toured the museum during my visit. On April 19, 1995 at 9:02AM, 4000 pounds of explosives sitting in a truck right outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was detonated. As a result, 14 buildings were taken down and 168 people died. It was later discovered that Timothy McVeigh was behind the attack (read more here).

The memorial and the museum are a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives that day.

Some memorial features include a reflecting pool, the Field of Empty Chairs (pictured below), and the Survivor Tree. The chairs represent the people that died and the height of the chair represents whether or not the deceased is an adult or a child. The Survivor Tree is a tree on the north side of the Memorial that survived the blast and continues to thrive.

This picture tells a sliver of Miss Baylee Almon’s story. Baylee celebrated her first birthday the day before the bombing. She was at the America’s Kids Day Care Center when the bomb went off.
The museum is set up to take the attendees through the events that day and the immediate aftermath. First, you go through a room about history of the Murrah Building. Then you sit in a room and listen to an actual recording of a hearing taking place on April 19th at 9AM. Two minutes later, at 9:02, you hear the explosion and the reaction of the people in the room. The doors open to your right, you walk through the rest of the museum and experience a taste of the aftermath. You see damaged personal items from the day of, read about survivors and family members of the deceased, and watch old news footage from around the world. 

The museum is carefully designed for each attendee to feel a part of the tragedy that happened on April 19th. As you exit the museum, a wall reads, 

“May those who leave here know the impact of violence.”

I am thankful for having the opportunity to see the museum and learn more about the Oklahoma City Bombing. It is important for all of us to remember those lost due to terrorism on more days than just anniversaries and to make strides to understand the impact of violence.

Thank You

Thank you, Oklahoma City & Theta Xi sisters, for a wonderful visit. I hope to see you again! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

People Don't Take Trips, Trips Take People

Here are the places I have traveled and will travel to during the month of October! If you know of any fun things to do around Beaumont, TX; Starkville, MS; Memphis, TN; Knoxville, TN comment here! 

Also, if there are any past ADPi Leadership Consultants or current IFC/Panhellenic Consultants in the area I'd love to get together :) 

As John Steinbeck once said, "people don't take trips, trips take people." It has been a great few weeks of traveling and I can't wait to see what's in store at these Universities! 

Tales of Tulane: Part 2 - Bid Day

Welcome Home, Alphas, to Alpha Delta Pi at Tulane University! I could not be more happy to have such an amazing founding class and I cannot wait to see what this year will bring for these new members. To celebrate our new members we went to City Park to eat some food and get to know each other.

It ended up being a fun afternoon considering it was a whirlwind putting it together. Buses were late, the food wasn't ready at Wal Mart [even though I called in the morning to confirm], I dropped a vegetable tray [which they kindly replaced in under 5 minutes], and some racoons ate our turkey wraps. If I have learned anything so far this year it is to roll with the punches.

Until I leave for the University of Memphis, I will be helping the Lead Consultant here plan weekly Colony meetings and Colony Retreat. Colony meetings are more involved than regular chapter meetings because the colony has to go through new member education, learn about chapter operations, work in committees before officer elections, and prepare for formal recruitment in January all at the same time.

Being in a sorority is a lot of fun, but there is certainly lots of work to be done regarding marketing, recruitment, fundraising, building Panhellenic and Inter-Fraternity Council relations, and working on internal chapter relations - also known as sisterhood!