Fostering Friendship: Building relationships between alumnae and collegiate chapters

Eta Theta Chapter (Missouri University of Science and Technology) and the Long Beach, CA Alumnae Chapter understand what it takes to keep the promise, and both received the Alumnae-Collegiate Relations Awards at Convention 2022 for their commitment to it.

“We want to stay connected with our alumnae and make sure they can still interact with us,” said former Eta Theta President Lauren Moersch. “We have alumnae who advise our chapter, advise other chapters and are involved as National Officers. It’s awesome to see women from our chapter continue their ZTA experience after college. They definitely leave an impact.”

Eta Theta Chapter: These sisters received a Silver award at Convention 2022 for the way the chapter engages its alumnae in a longtime campus tradition for St. Patrick's Day.

Eta Theta utilized the unique campus tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to provide opportunities for alumnae to reconnect. The chapter held a ZTA luncheon at the chapter house that weekend, so alumnae could reminisce and get to know members during their visit. When a career fair brought over 250 employers to campus, Eta Theta invited visiting Zetas to the house for tours and a chance to meet collegians. “I spoke with a Zeta alumna from a company, and we were able to bond over that,” former Vice President I Tatum Shaver recalled. “It made me immensely comfortable because she was the first person I talked to that day.”

Former Long Beach Chapter President Anna Kroesen Dow (Theta Omega Chapter, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona) understands the relationship also requires consistent effort from both sides. Anna likens it to building and maintaining a bridge. “Does it need to be maintained? Does it need to be rebuilt?”

Alumnae in this chapter are very intentional about creating programming with local collegiate chapters. The chapter was recognized with Silver at Convention 2022 for its success in this area.

Planned programming is the foundation of this relationship. The Long Beach alumnae have found success by prioritizing the needs of the local collegiate chapters and planning chapter events to maximize collegiate support. The General Advisors for Delta Alpha Chapter (California State University Long Beach), Theta Phi Chapter (California State University, Fullerton) and Theta Omega Chapter are all members of the alumnae chapter. “That makes it easier to know important dates like recruitment and philanthropy events,” said current Long Beach President Sylvia Contreras (Theta Phi). Alumnae members have also contributed school supplies, baked cookies and provided support when a chapter experienced the unexpected loss of a member.

Both Silver-winning chapters also provide ways to help their members transition after graduation. Eta Theta ensures members receive information about local alumnae chapters, how to become an advisor and how to apply to become a Leadership Consultant. Long Beach also hosts senior brunches to connect multiple southern California alumnae chapters with graduating seniors and ensure members are aware of their options if they leave the Long Beach/Orange County area.

Effective communication ensures these events are successful. Both chapters send members a calendar for the year or semester. Long Beach alumnae also use a Facebook group to share key dates and call members about volunteering or attending alumnae-collegiate events. Eta Theta spreads the word to their alumnae via a newsletter. “We include our accomplishments, such as our GPA, in addition to events,” Tatum said. “We get a lot of positive feedback and support from alumnae who subscribe to it.”

At the heart of it all, the key to maintaining strong alumnae-collegiate relations is remembering love as the foundation precept of ZTA. Understanding that bigger picture motivates Sylvia to give it her all, and she can imagine great things in store for the collegians she helps. “It’s really enhanced my alumnae experience,” she said. “We’re helping them, knowing they’re going to become leaders. The thought gives me shivers, but, one day, maybe that collegian I worked with becomes the person who wears the purple surplice (as National President).”

Outstanding Alumna

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