Service Equals Personal Growth

By Melinda Henry Oates

Service is very important to members of Birmingham Alumnae Panhellenic. As sorority women, we are used to participating in philanthropic service. During our collegiate days each of us were encouraged and expected to give back to the progress of mankind.

Each year as an organization we participate in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.  We encourage each of our alumnae chapters and associations to participate by donating a tax-deductible donation to the Birmingham Alumnae Panhellenic. We then go out and purchase items for little girls, as our hope is that one day the gifts that she received will make a difference in her life and she will grow up and become a Greek woman who has a heart for philanthropy herself.

When you give back, you are helping people with their future development, and you yourself will grow as a person when you are emotionally aware of all walks of life. You then see the importance of all philanthropic endeavors. It has also been proven that people who volunteer are healthier physically and mentally. There is no greater feeling of purpose then giving back and volunteering your time to contribute to make a better community and overall a better world in which to live in.

If we did not have volunteers, think of the things that would not ever get done in the middle of some of our worst disasters in this world. As we reflect and remember the height of volunteerism that we saw and experienced 18 years ago on September 11, 2001 when, for days and months after that day, you saw the impact that giving back can have.  After a year or so, when things settled back to some sense of normalcy, we saw the surge of volunteerism begin to fade. We do not need to wait until there are tragedies in our own lives or in our community or even country to volunteer – it should be something that should be part of our moral compass and not be forced upon us by the circumstances around us.

If you are looking for ways to volunteer, one suggestion is to support what you are passionate about. Everyone has things that they are passionate about, and if you are passionate then you will enjoy your experience and you will stick with your volunteerism more than if you just volunteer to be doing it just to be doing it. Make sure that it fits your interests and abilities. There is no set amount of time each month that you are required to volunteer – just making that first contact and then making a hour a month is a great start. You will start making a difference in the lives of others and you will be happier and healthier for it.

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Sorority Recruitment: You Are Enough

You are enough, you always were enough, and you always will be enough

By Rachel Burchfield

Sorority recruitment is exciting. It is miserable. It is hot. It is invigorating. It is empowering. It is aching feet. It is oversharing. It is answering the same question 25 different ways. It is my cheeks hurt too much from smiling. It is wonderful. It is awful. It is an emotional roller coaster. It is over-perfumed. It is a fashion show. It is meaningful. It is a beginning. It is an ending. It is complex. It is confusing. It is a lot.

But let me tell you one thing sorority recruitment most certainly is not: A definer of your worth.

Sweet girl, listen. And listen closely. Some of you are going to have the sorority recruitment you’ve dreamed about since you were five. Some of you are not. (Heck, some of you just decided 10 minutes ago to participate. You weren’t thinking about this even a month ago.) Regardless. Regardless! You are enough. Just as you are.

Your sorority letters – or, in some cases, lack thereof – do not define you. Only you can define you. Your sorority letters do not provide your worth, your inherent value, your meaning, your purpose. Sorority life is everything you think it is and more, but if you’re coming to sorority recruitment to get validated, you’ve come to the wrong place. You must find that self-worth within yourself. No letters – even if they are “the best” letters – will ever be able to give you true inner confidence, value, and worth. You alone are the keeper of those keys.

You are already a complete person right now, unaffiliated with any sorority. You don’t need a sorority to complete you. You are complete. You are beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, hilarious, irreverent, talented, athletic (well, unless you’re me – then you’re definitely not that), witty, and everything good in this world today, and the opening of an envelope on Bid Day will not raise or lower your stock in life. Your value does not increase or decrease based on a Bid Day jersey.

So many times we as women think “oh, well if only I can a.) date the right man, b.) pledge the right sorority, c.) fit into the right dress size, d.) get the right job, then I will be enough.” NOPE. You already are enough right this very moment, just as you are. You do not need all of the above add-ons. They are the sprinkles on top of an already delicious, fabulous, incredible cake.

As you enter sorority recruitment, be yourself. Your imperfect, raw, real, irreverent, true self. Let the right women fall in love with the real you. Just like when you go on dates, you should always be yourself (there are so many parallels between sorority recruitment and dating that I could write a book on it) – what’s the point if the man you’re dating falls in love with someone that isn’t really you? How far is that relationship really going to go? Same with sorority recruitment. If you’re not who you really are, how will you find your tribe? Show them the unashamed you that so many people already love and adore.

You are enough. You are worthy. And sorority life – let me tell you, it’s wonderful. I wouldn’t change one thing about my decision to join my chapter and become a Panhellenic woman. But that said, if all I had to hang my worthiness on were my letters, I’d be in a mess of trouble. I – and you – have so much more than Greek letters to define us.

I hope you have the most magical sorority recruitment. I wish you happiness and peace about your decisions and calm and unfettered joy and everything good. But the truth is, I don’t know one person who has ever had a sorority recruitment turn out 100 percent the way they thought it would. Not one.

But the good news is – it always turns out how it is supposed to, and it always turns out better than you thought it could be.

Walk in there a confident, complete woman, be yourself, wear your letters with pride, but realize that with or without letters, you’re everything and more, and raise your head and walk like the queen that you most certainly are into each sorority recruitment event and into each and every room you enter from now until the end of time.

You are enough, you always were enough, and you always will be enough.

Enjoy this moment. (Even the aching feet.) And in that moment of sorority recruitment when you feel like quitting – let’s be honest, we all have that moment – remember what I said, adjust your invisible crown, and continue to shine.


International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day! Joining a sorority is an excellent way to meet and learn from many interesting and inspiring women. As a collegiate member, sorority women work together to host fundraising events benefiting their philanthropy, excel in academics, and support their universities. As a sorority woman, you learn skills that can be used throughout your life and career such as leadership and teamwork. After college, many alumna volunteer with local chapters or their national or international organization. Sorority women have gone on to become Congresswomen, astronauts, business owners/leaders, scientists, educators, etc.


Congratulations 2018 Scholarship Winners!

Each year, the Birmingham Alumnae Panhellenic Association awards scholarships to women who are currently collegiate members of a Panhellenic sorority and in good standing with her chapter. This year, we were able to provide two scholarships. Meet the winners and read about what Greek life means to them.


Nicole Sullivan
Alpha Omicron Pi – Tau Delta / To Dragma Reporter
Birmingham-Southern College

Three years ago when I ran home on bid day, I had no idea how big of an impact both my sorority and the overall Panhellenic community would have on me. I was timid, shy, and didn’t have much confidence in myself nor in what I could accomplish. This has all changed for the better with the constant support and encouragement from my sisters. Being a sorority woman means that I have a constant support system that sticks with me through both the ups and the downs. I also get to support some of the most amazing women I know. Although I initially did not plan to go through recruitment freshman year, I can not imagine what my life would be like had I not joined the Panhellenic community.


Divya Desai
VP of Campus Activities | Panhellenic Executive Council
Birmingham Southern College

Being a sorority woman helps me live out my core values each and every day. I strive to work to be the best person I can be, and also have my sisters’ support in everything I want to accomplish. Being in a Greek organization gives you a support system that you can rely on and have when you’re needing someone to talk to. My letters do not define who I am, but they make me a better person. I strive to represent Greek Life in the most positive light so people can understand the good the Greeks do instead of always focusing on the negatives shown in the media.