Martin, TN: Alumnae Chapter Feature

Throughout the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged ZTA's alumnae chapters to recruit and engage members in new ways.

The Martin, TN Chapter was a top-recruiting chapter in Area I, with 120 out of 249 potential members joining the chapter this past fiscal year.

Once Zeta Tau Alpha members graduate from college and become alumnae, they might find themselves in a new location far from sisters or other people they know. The bond of ZTA has the ability to connect sisters together past our collegiate years.

Alumnae chapters, like the Martin Area Alumnae Chapter, or “MAAC” as members call it, aim to connect sisters within their area and become a support system, no matter what stage of life members are in.

Chapter President Taylor Wade Williams (Delta Mu Chapter, The University of Tennessee at Martin) loves leading her alumnae chapter and enjoys learning from both older and newer members of the alumnae chapter.

Both Taylor and Autumn Sullivan Smith (Delta Mu), VP I/Programming, say their favorite part of being in an alumnae chapter is meeting people they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Their chapter has what they call the “Crown Signal” where a member can send a crown emoji in their group chat along with a message saying “Let’s do something,” or “Let’s grab lunch.” This kind of accessibility, typical of a collegiate chapter, is something an alumnae chapter can replicate.

“I love having that back. You always have somebody there,” Autumn said.

The chapter has hosted “Virtual Turquoise Tuesday” events to build connection and foster sisterhood during such a trying time.

One of these events was an at-home paint party. A sister in a different alumnae chapter led the virtual painting event, and each member got to follow along to create the same picture.

“We were laughing so hard,” Autumn said. “It was neat to watch all of us paint the same picture and it look completely different. It was a lot of not knowing what we’re doing and a lot of laughter. We all got a little piece to put in our house.”

With chapter members spanning approximately a five hour distance, virtual events are a way for members to stay connected, even after the end of the pandemic. In recognition of the chapter’s recruitment efforts, National Council gifted the chapter a premium Zoom membership for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to help them continue offering successful virtual events.

Virtual events like the paint night helped the chapter keep members engaged; but, how did the chapter recruit 120 out of 249 alumnae from their Potential Member Roster during such a challenging year?

The key was the personal touch they added to all their invitations.

Both Taylor and Autumn credited Rima Block Duvall (Delta Mu), their chapter’s Vice President II/Membership, for always going the extra mile to make sisters feel included and welcome at all events the chapter organized.

When potential alumnae chapter members reach out, Taylor emphasized that the chapter aims to get them involved with the alumnae chapter that best fits their needs and personality, even if it’s not the Martin, TN Chapter.

Facebook groups continue to be a successful way to promote and spread the word about alumnae chapters. The MAAC encourages other alumnae chapters to take advantage of social media platforms to connect with potential members and grow their membership.

“All of our EC members try to reach out to people that they know in their inner circle and try to get them to come to things, even if they don’t want to join right then … just to see what we have to offer,” Taylor said.

Interested in joining the Martin, TN Chapter? Visit its Facebook Page here.

To find other local ZTA alumnae chapters near you, visit the Chapter Locator. Your sisters are waiting for you!

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