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Unpacking the Reality of "It's Not Four Years, It's for Life" - Opportunities as an Alumna

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Hey sisters! My name is Hannah, and I am on the intern team for Her Sorority Journey! I’m so excited to share some opportunities I have had as an alumna. But first, let me introduce myself!

group of sorority women at a National Panhellenic Conference convention

I am an alumna of Alpha Xi Delta and graduated from The University of Toledo in 2021. I am continuing my education by working on a Master of Education in College Student Personnel at Ohio University; where I currently serve as the Panhellenic Advisor. I am from Michigan, but after graduating, I moved four hours away from home to become a house director for Alpha Omicron Pi at Ohio University. This is what re-sparked my passion for sorority life and showed me what being an alumna can mean.


Sorority is for life. Not just the three or four years you spend as an active member. As an alumna, I have had many opportunities I would have never considered.


National Volunteer

Every organization has different names for its national volunteers, so I will focus on position names that I am familiar with. Most national organizations will have very similar positions; they will have their unique name for them.


I currently serve as an Area Facilitator for Alpha Xi Delta. In this position, I support Chapters and their Advisory Boards to ensure they follow policy and procedure from Fraternity Headquarters. I also ensure each chapter I work with has a well-functioning advisory board and is trained to help collegiate officers. I also work with National Fraternity staff and other volunteers, and I even mentor my Little, who is also in the same position!


Outside this role, alumnae can also become Chapter Advisors, Chapter Specialists, Territory Directors, Area Directors, or National Directors. These roles will typically specialize in one or a few areas and become a primary resource for collegiate officers. Specialists or Directors will typically oversee a few chapters or an entire region. They might collaborate with multiple volunteers or staff at headquarters to ensure a chapter stays on the national standard.


Typically, chapter officers will reach out to their advisory board first, and then depending on the issue, they will either direct the question or problem to an Area Facilitator or a Territory Director, who will then escalate if needed to Area or National Directors.


Alumnae Associations

In my opinion, Alumnae Associations are the easiest and best way to continue strengthening a bond of sisterhood. Many Alumnae Associations are structured similarly to a collegiate chapter. From what I have seen, they typically will have an Executive Board, pay alumnae dues, hold activities, go to Conventions, and even hold Ritual Ceremonies.


When I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I joined an Alumnae Association. At the end of 2021, I was elected to be our Vice President for 2022. In my Alumnae Association, we have held fundraisers for a local organization that helped college women get resources they may not be able to get otherwise (home essentials, feminine products, clothing, etc.); we have had two or three annual sisterhood events, and we also have monthly meetings. This is the best way to connect with sisters in a new area after graduation or with sisters who were active generations ago and had a different experience than you did. However, you are still bonded by the sisterhood and the ritual you committed to four years ago or forty years ago.


selfie of three sorority women in front of a greenery backdrop

Alumnae Specific Programming

For Alpha Xi Delta Alumnae, specific well-being programming is sponsored by Fraternity Headquarters. It is called “A Clear Vision of Life” and focuses on five aspects of well-being. Each branch of well-being has its own challenge, which changes a few times throughout the year. Each time a member completes a challenge, she can then report it and be entered to win a prize. These challenges aim to help alumnae members ensure they maintain a well-rounded aspect of well-being.


Attending Chapter Events

Many chapters host yearly events to welcome back their alumnae. This could be a homecoming lunch, Founder’s Day breakfast, or coming back for initiation when a family member joins your organization. These events are a great way to stay connected with your chapter without having a full-time volunteer commitment. They show what a lifelong sisterhood truly means, and by attending, active members can meet and hear from members who came before them and even learn new things about their specific chapter. When these events take place, it gives the alumnae a chance to see the legacy they have left and allows them to help younger members.


Large Alumnae Networks

Did you know there are over 400,000 women who are active in sororities right now? Being in a sorority can provide so many opportunities for you through networking, collaboration, or leadership experience. Alpha Xi Delta alone has over 162,000 initiated members. This means 162,000 people hold similar ideals and values as you do. So many alumnae are willing to help other sisters gain experience in a work field, land a new job, or even provide support when a life event is happening. By being in a sorority, you can benefit from all of the things alumnae networks have to offer.

sorority woman posing in front of school building

Professional Opportunities

Being a sorority woman, you can open a new door of opportunities in the job field. Currently, I serve as the Ohio University Panhellenic Advisor. I am knowledgeable about the sorority experience and want to spread the knowledge to more women. Possible careers you could gain from sorority life include working for a national organization, working in a Fraternity & Sorority Life office on a college campus, or becoming an advocate and educator for the greater sorority community (like Cassie from Her Sorority Journey!).


Each of these opportunities can be unique but usually has a common theme. People in these positions are generally passionate about the Greek experience because of the experiences they had during their time as active members, and they want to continue building their network of sisterhood and creating connections that can last a lifetime.


National Conventions & Conferences

As an alumna, I have had the opportunity to attend conferences, and this week, I will be attending my first Alpha Xi Delta National Convention! Alumnae can expand their sorority and fraternity network outside their school and organization by attending conferences. Alumnae can attend the conferences and learn more about how to support collegians, but they can also speak at conferences by doing a keynote session or facilitating breakout sessions.


two sorority women posing in front of fairy lights

Being a sorority member has meant so much to me. As an undergraduate member, my sisters were there when life was fun and exciting, but they were also there through hardships. I gained leadership experience that has made me successful today. As an alumna member, I have only increased my sisterhood network and learned much more about what it means to be a part of a sisterhood. As cheesy as it is, it’s not four years; it is for life and I am so lucky to spend mine as your sister.


Roses,

Hannah


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