Northern New Jersey 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 Northern New Jersey Chapter had a high percentage increase in dues paying members, growing its membership from five members last year to 30 members this year—a 500% increase.

Deeply-rooted in ZTA tradition, the Northern New Jersey Chapter continues to welcome new alumnae into a very interconnected circle of sisters. The Executive Committee’s team effort led to the chapter’s success in increasing its membership number this past year.

Vice President II/Membership Natalie Kenny and Vice President I/Programming Meredith Bronocco, both 2019 graduates, made it a priority to reach out to younger alumnae and encourage them to join the chapter. They used their personal connections from college and reached out to alumnae in the surrounding area who also recently graduated.

“We used ZetaBase to download the report of young alumnae in the area so that we could reach out to them personally,” Natalie said. “That was one of our main areas of focus.”

Acting Treasurer Janet Jaeckle Bronocco and President Mary Ellen Arcidiacono Raiti took the lead on reaching out to members who were active in the chapter in the past and invited them to re-engage and start attending events again. Once those members started interacting with the chapter again, many of them decided to renew their membership.

“I think that the Facebook page was also a big connection piece there,” Mary Ellen said. “We were able to engage with a large number of Zetas who follow us, and many started reaching out—messaging or commenting on activities—and I think that really started to draw some people back.”

The chapter’s EC met often at the beginning of the pandemic to discuss how the chapter could move forward and continue to create an impactful experience for its members. The officers sent out a survey to gauge members’ comfort levels in regard to the types of activities and events they would feel comfortable with participating in throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Once we got that understanding, we were able to develop events for everyone’s comfort levels,” Natalie said.

In an effort to create events catered to members’ wants and comfort levels, the chapter hosted a cookie decorating event over Zoom during the holiday season as a fun way to connect while staying home and staying safe.

“I think Zoom events gave a lot of members who might not have as much flexibility or who really want to participate but can’t travel as far something to look forward to,” Mary Ellen said. “It’s definitely worth adding it to the survey next year and gathering feedback on if some of those events should be continued.”

One of the Northern New Jersey Chapter’s most beloved events is their annual holiday ornament exchange. Each year after their Thanksgiving get-together, the members all pick out their ornament for the exchange that occurs a few weeks later.

The chapter also values its relationship with collegians in the area. During a typical year, the alumnae enjoy meeting up with collegians to attend New York Giants games. Last October, collegians and alumnae participated in a COVID-19-friendly breast cancer awareness event, which took the form of a drive-by event rather than its traditional walk. Zetas and other members of the community cheered on breast cancer survivors parading in their cars.

“I love seeing the collegiate members come join us and work together on a service project for something that is so meaningful to all of us,” Mary Ellen said.

Janet also cherishes the sense of community that comes with being in an alumnae chapter. When she moved to New Jersey without knowing anybody, she immediately got involved with the chapter. She had instant access to a group of encouraging women around her as she got settled into the area, and when she had children, she had a group of built-in babysitters.

“It’s a small circle,” Janet said. “You realize how close everybody is once you start meeting people in the Zeta world.”

Interested in joining the Northern New Jersey Chapter? Visit its Facebook Page here or reach out to Natalie Kenny at

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


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