Valdosta, GA 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 Valdosta, GA Chapter had a high increase in dues-paying members in Area I, growing its membership from 18 members last year to 79 members this year.

With 18 members last year, the chapter wanted to increase its membership, especially with the 50th anniversary of Eta Iota Chapter (Valdosta State University) on the horizon.

Alumnae from other nearby chapters are looking forward to celebrating the collegiate chapter’s 50th anniversary, but past President Justin Jacobs says that the relationship between Eta Iota collegians and Valdosta alumnae is a special one. A few times a year, the chapters will come together to show support or celebrate Eta Iota’s achievements and growth. Beyond that, VP II/Membership Allison Taylor and the other current Executive Committee members and Justin all joined ZTA at Eta Iota.

“There are lots of differences between my college years at Valdosta in the mid-90s and today's collegiate experience," Justin said. "It's been great reconnecting with current collegians and seeing the positive differences in the chapter.”

With membership numbers on the rise over the 2020-2021 year, the chapter utilized resources such as Zoom and Facebook Groups to navigate virtual communication during the COVID-19 pandemic and push events out to current and potential members.

“ZTAlways gave us the basis of how we can reach our members during the pandemic because they were already a virtual chapter,” Justin said. “We were able to modify some of their processes, so of course we incorporated Zoom and other online resources.”

The chapter also experimented with new and unique recruitment methods. As an incentive, Allison created ZTA-themed pillows for new members who paid their dues. Allison intends for the pillows to be a daily reminder of the ways that Zeta Tau Alpha can play a role in your life long after the collegiate years.

“The first 50 to sign up get a pillow and I’m going to take them to our 50th anniversary and hand them out there. For anyone who isn’t going, I’ll mail them out,” Allison said.

Marketing handmade pillows may not seem like the conventional route for recruiting new members, but perhaps that’s why it was so successful: Sisters could see the love and thoughtfulness that went into creating the pillows, which was a reflection of the love and thoughtfulness that would go into providing an enriching membership experience.

“My goal in this is not just to have warm bodies,” Allison said. “It’s to have this be a really great, fun, enjoyable thing to do as an alumna.”

Allison, a 1974 ZTA initiate, has continued working with the Valdosta, GA Chapter even after moving out of the area.

“One of the unique things about our EC this year is that we are all remote. No one lives in Valdosta,” Allison said.

In explaining why so many alumnae stepped up to lead the chapter remotely this year, Allison reflected on one of the most life-changing experiences she had during her time working for the Fraternity as a Field Consultant (now known as Leadership Consultants): meeting ZTA Founder Ruby Leigh Orgain.

Allison saw the bigger picture of ZTA when Ruby explained what the Founders envisioned for the future of the organization.

“When she’s explaining to you why they did this, it was not meant to just be a college experience. It was meant to be your life experience,” Allison recalled. “It was to be the road map. You walk away from that thinking ‘all of this makes sense now.’”

In leading their alumnae chapter, Allison and Justin both found Ruby’s vision to be true. “You’re going to get to know sisters you never knew existed,” Allison said. “You’re going to want to be a part of this.”

Interested in joining the Valdosta, GA 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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