As happens every year at Convention, spirits are renewed, drive is restored, and expectations for the upcoming year are set. It is always great to meet new sisters and reconnect with others; to reflect how the Sorority has developed since our founding; to set goals for our future. However, one of our favorite parts of Convention is the Butterfly Banquet and accompanying awards ceremony where we get to celebrate and reward our sisters and chapters for their accomplishments throughout the year. With the launch of Flutters & Flights, we are now able to share these accomplishments with all of you.
Monarch Award for Faculty Advisor Contributions
Candice Powell, advisor for the Alpha Chapter at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill works as a retention specialist, helping UNC students who struggle academically. Her expertise in this field, as well as her devotion to Theta Nu Xi, made her an ideal faculty advisor for the Alpha Chapter. In this role, Candice has served as teacher, coach, and supporter. Chapter member, Kyrié Joyce remarks that Candice has demonstrated to the chapter the “heart, hope, and strength flowing through” the Sorority and our members.
Mekea Harvey, advisor for the Alpha Lambda Chapter at Worcester Polytechnic Institute has been committed to this chapter from its very beginnings. Mekea served as an advisor to the interest group that would later become the chapter’s founding line, and she served as the chapter’s Expansion Team Leader and first Dean of Intake. Under her guidance, the Alpha Lambda Chapter has won regional and national awards within Theta Nu Xi, from their college, as well as from the Northeast Greek Leadership Association. With her support, the Alpha Lambda Chapter came away from Convention 2012 with awards for Most Outstanding Philanthropic Contributions and the Undergraduate Sister of the Year.
GAP Dean of Excellence – Carley Wyche (for Xi Lambda)
Carley Wyche, Dean of the Xi Lambda Chapter in North Florida, has truly led by example. In her role, Carley sought new ways to increase the visibility of the chapter in their community. She was able to do so by participating in events like the Florida State University Graduate Orientation and establishing the ONE Book Club, a monthly group of chapter and community members who convene to discuss books with strong multicultural themes. With grace, she coordinated a meaningful intake process for Xi Lambda’s newest initiates, all the while extending herself in support of other area chapters.
Courtney Brown, Dean of the Zeta Chapter at Georgia State University, is an exemplary chapter member and officer. Even while serving two terms in the demanding role of Dean of Intake, Courtney demonstrated what it means to live the values of Theta Nu Xi. She maintained a high GPA, gave of herself as a volunteer for numerous Atlanta area charities, and contributed her exceptional event planning skills to the chapter. Described as a “beautiful soul,” one of her greatest strengths as a Dean has been her ability to communicate the values of Theta Nu Xi both to her fellow chapter members and to the aspirants.
The Zeta Chapter’s award-winning program, Rumor Has It: Greek Stereotype Panel, provided a vehicle through which Georgia State University’s fraternities and sororities could address the harmful stereotypes that are prescribed to Greek-letter organizations. Hazing, drinking, partying, poor grades, racial selectivity are all destructive judgments made about these organizations and their members. Rumor Has It brought together representatives from the North American Interfraternity Council (NIC), National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the campus Multicultural Greek Council to share their experiences and dispel misconceptions. Participants came away better understanding the importance of being held accountable for one’s actions, and to remember that they must be positive reflections of their respective organizations.
Zeinab Kahera is described first and foremost as a role model. After graduating from Georgia State University where she joined the Zeta Chapter, Zeinab remained active within Theta Nu Xi by joining the Xi Epsilon GAP Chapter in Atlanta, GA where her contributions grew exponentially. As a devoted member of her chapter, Zeinab completed 50 hours of community service last year, coordinated three Xi Epsilon service projects, served as the chapter’s president, chaired the Southeast Regional Conference Committee, and served as Southeast Regional Officer of Intake and Expansion. As a Muslim woman, Zeinab has contributed an important perspective and education about the Islamic faith to her chapter and Theta Nu Xi at large. On her tremendous capacity to give to the Sorority, she remarks, “I do what I do for [the Sorority] because I believe in the vision of Theta Nu Xi. I believe that our organization can change lives, inside and outside of the Sorority.”
Zhixin “Hara” Wang, one of the founders of the Alpha Lambda Chapter at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has made significant contributions to Theta Nu Xi in her first years as a member. She served in seven chapter positions and six campus leadership positions as an undergraduate. As the primary coordinator of two annual Multicultural Language Nights, Hara led the Alpha Lambda Chapter to win the Amy Vojta Impact Award from the Northeast Greek Leadership Association and recognition for Outstanding Diversity Program. In her role as chapter fundraising chair, Hara led the chapter to nearly $4,000 in revenues that benefited Project Have Hope (Uganda), Women’s Skill Share (Kenya), and Girls for a Change—Theta Nu Xi’s national philanthropy. Under her direction, the chapter entered into a partnership with Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) which brought in $100 per month in recurring donations for the charity. This partnership also yielded international benefits for Theta Nu Xi, as the Sorority is publicized through LiNK’s global tour. Having graduated from WPI with a 3.86 in Chemical Engineering, Hara will be starting graduate school this fall at Stanford University.
The Corinne A. Ahrens Award for Distinguished Service is regarded by Theta Nu Xi to be a lifetime achievement award, as it can be presented to a member only once in her life. It is awarded to members who have extraordinarily represented the Sorority’s tenets for an extended period of time. This year, the award went to Jennis Watson who, in her eight years of membership, has served on eleven national committees and in three National Board offices, spearheaded the establishment of three chapters, and pioneered the regionalization process that produced the present day national Sorority structure. Jennis is known for her extensive knowledge of Theta Nu Xi history, processes and procedures, as well as for her unyielding dedication to the mission and tenets of the Sorority.
The Xi Lambda Chapter in North Florida has spent the past year increasing their awareness and experiences through diverse events like Tallahassee PrideFest, where the chapter volunteered with the intent of spreading acceptance and equality for the LGBT community. Chapter members also participated in Safe Zone Training to understand negative and hurtful stereotypes and learn the skills needed to establish an inclusive environment. In addition to being awarded GAP Chapter of the Year, Xi Lambda also received the award for Most Outstanding Service Hours in recognition of the 455 hours chapter members contributed through activities like the 2nd Annual Domestic Violence Vigil, Tallahassee 1st Annual Ready Rally, and Xi Lambda’s Adopt-a-School program. The members of Xi Lambda attribute their success to a communal vision of the tenets of Theta Nu Xi and a collective purpose in promoting them.
Undergraduate Chapter of the Year
This year, two chapters tied for Undergraduate Chapter of the Year, the Alpha Iota Chapter at SUNY Plattsburgh and the Alpha Alpha Chapter at the University of Florida.
The Alpha Iota Chapter’s motto this past year was “Student First.” The chapter members made a commitment to each other that they would be open about their academic struggles and support each other in their studies. The result of their hard work was receiving the Most Improved GPA Award from their Greek Life office. Their sisterly commitment not only made them better students, it also led to the chapter receiving the Excellence in Friendship and Sisterhood Award at Theta Nu Xi’s Northeast Regional Conference, in recognition of their tremendous attention to sisterhood. Programming has been a continued strength of the Alpha Iota chapter, and over the past year, the chapter hosted their 2nd Annual Academic Triathlon, Who Taught Me How to Love, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a forum about aspects of leadership, and they hosted The Black Girl Project, a documentary film that defies stereotypes of black women as victims or victimizers. However, their biggest event of the year was the ONE Swab, ONE Life, a bone marrow drive that drew hundreds of participants, particularly people of color whose donations are most needed.
The Alpha Alpha Chapter is a high all-around achiever. This past year, the chapter held the highest GPA among all sororities in the Multicultural Greek Council at the University of Florida. Demonstrating their powerhouse-style, Alpha Alpha completed 706 service hours by participating in events from Adopt-a-Street to visiting senior citizens at Sterling House. Upholding their reputation as campus leaders, members of the Alpha Alpha Chapter held leadership positions in fifteen organizations, leading to a chapter member Whitney Hughes being named Emerging Greek Leader by the UF chapter of Order of Omega. Alpha Alpha’s impact on their campus also includes a strong commitment to multiculturalism. The chapter accomplished 514 diversity hours wherein they celebrated all the ways that people are diverse. The efforts of Alpha Alpha led to the chapter receiving Best Greek Collaboration at the campus’ Greek awards ceremony.
We also like to take the time to thank our national committee members for all of their hard work and the many thousands of hours they have volunteered to Theta Nu Xi during the 2011-2012 year.
Shauma Brown, Co-Chair
Zemen Marrugi, Co-Chair
K. Necole Workman
National Standards Committee
Gina Alemán, Co-Chair
Denaa Griffin, Co-Chair