Displaying 1 - 10 of 329 entries.

Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on November 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…Jacqulyn King

November has arrived, a month where Americans traditionally reflect on thankfulness. I am truly thankful for this sisterhood and wish to acknowledge my appreciation.

I am so grateful for my Alpha Phi collegiate Chapter, and for all the sisters and wonderful life long friendships I have made there. Also, thank you to all the sisters who serve on the Chapter’s CAB and on the Housing Corporation. You are the reason this Chapter has grown and is thriving, making it a wonderful place for Alumnae to come home to.

The West Michigan (formerly Grand Rapids) Alumnae Chapter has been an active and vital part of the community for 65 years, and I’m so thankful they were here to take me in when I was a stranger. These women have been my rock and I cherish each member old and new. I am especially grateful that these sisters made it possible for my own daughter Kilee, to become a Tri Sigma through Alumnae Initiation. Kilee was a nontraditional student who did not engage in the typical college experience, but thanks to this Chapter and to National’s Alumnae Initiation program, Kilee and I are able to share this special bond.

Later this month I will be participating in an Alumnae Initiation with the Central Michigan Alumnae Chapter, where another sister’s daughter will enter our circle. This gifted young woman is like a breath of fresh air to this Alumnae Chapter, and I am so pleased that she has chosen to become a part of our sisterhood. Her mother along with the entire Alumnae Chapter could not be more grateful.

I am so thankful that I paid my Life Time dues soon after graduating from college. At the time there were no Alumnae Chapters in my area, and I did not make a lot of money, but I have never regretted this decision. I am also grateful that my daughter is a Life Time Member. Come what may, wherever Kilee goes she will be able to be as active in Tri Sigma as she chooses, without the worry of paying National dues.

Since retiring my husband and I have become snowbirds and divide our time between homes in Michigan and Florida. Thanks to all my Sigma sisters in the sunshine state this has been an easy transition. The Southwest Florida Alumnae Chapter welcomed me with open arms. It was also my privilege to vote for Marni Dilsaver Sawicki, who became the first women Mayor of Cape Coral, FL. Marni is not only a Tri Sigma, but was initiated in my home chapter of Alpha Phi. She was the best candidate by far and I appreciate Tri Sigma’s influence on this next generation of leaders.

Our National organization is so fortunate to be lead by such accomplished and articulate women.   Across this country there are so many members who unselfishly volunteer their time and talents to our order. Sisters who believe that to receive much, you must give much. It is a true blessing to be part of this wonderful sisterhood with its focus on friendship, character and conduct. I am thankful to be a Tri Sigma, and I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Jacqulyn King (Alpha Phi) is a retired high school Library Media Specialist, and she and her husband Mark divide their time between homes in Michigan and Florida. She belongs to the West Michigan, Central Michigan and Southwest Florida Alumnae chapters. Her blog Confessions of a Sigmaholic runs the third Tuesday of every month.

The Success of Failure

  • Posted on November 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

By: Beth FisherBeth Fisher Race

I have always said that you can learn a lot about a person’s true character through failure. I believe having character in failure is about accepting your accountability in the situation and allowing yourself the vulnerability to heal in the process. Accepting accountability for your actions is one of the most difficult things to do in life. It’s about being honest with yourself because at the end of the day, you are the judge and jury. I can guarantee this; we are all going to experience some sort of failure in life but it is how you handle yourself through that time that defines you and your character.

This concept is very fresh in my mind as I recently set a goal in spring 2014 to complete my first half marathon. Over the course of the past 12 weeks, I spent a decent amount of time training for what would become a difficult challenge for me. It was a challenge that, in my mind, I was determined to overcome.

The experience of running began as something to do with my twin sister, which is very special to me. Through her encouragement, I officially began running in January 2013 as a way to become more active in my life. If any of you know me, I am not the type of person that you look at physically and would think, “She is a runner.” I am 5 feet 4 inches with a curvy build; I often refer to myself as a non-runner runner!

I’ll be honest. At first, running was not fun. For the next 8 months, I would waiver in my personal commitment to training for various races. Because of this, it took me to my third 5K in September 2013 to run a race in its entirety. But it was that day that something changed in me. When I crossed the finish line at a race in New Hope, Pennsylvania, I experienced a wave of emotions that I had never felt before; a feeling of pride in accomplishing something I never thought was possible. The pride I felt for myself was true and genuine. It was that moment that planted the seed of confidence to potentially take this personal challenge to the next level in the future.

Fast forward to Sunday, November 2, 2014… I competed in the Princeton Half Marathon. Through the hills of Princeton, New Jersey along with wind gusts of 20 mph and temperatures in the 30s, I made it to mile 9 but found myself behind the race pace. At that point, I was bumped from the course as race organizers could only hold the roads closed for a certain amount of time. It was with disappointment that I climbed into a van with a handful of other runners. It was a moment that I felt the feeling of personal failure as I realized I would not be completing a race I spend so much time thinking about. I wanted to relive the feeling of accomplishment I experience back in September 2013. As much as everyone congratulated me on my accomplishment of 9 miles, I could not help but feel disappointed. My disappointment was more about knowing that, if given the chance, I could have finished the race. Ultimately, my goal was to cross the finish line of this 13.1 mile race, which didn’t happen that day.

After processing the race for the last two weeks, I realized that I (my personal judge and jury) was being too hard on myself. While to this day I still can’t fully celebrate the 9.11 miles completed, I am proud to look back and know that I gave it my best that day. The non-runner runner me of January 2013 would be celebrating. The runner me of November 2014 knows that at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. The Princeton Half Marathon is something that I desire to complete. I guess you’ll know where to find me this time next year!

Photo: Me (right) with members of my family that came to support me at the Princeton Half Marathon on Sunday, November 2, 2014. Missing: my twin sister as she was the photographer.

Beth Fisher (Zeta Rho) has more than 12 years of experience in higher education, student development and event planning. She has served Tri Sigma in various volunteer roles including Collegiate Coordinator, Extension Director and currently serves as a College Panhellenic Coordinator for Region 1. Her column “The Success of Failure” regularly appears the first and third Thursday of every month. 

Being A Great Sister: Diversify Your Friends

  • Posted on November 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

By: Amanda CrossAmanda Cross

In Tri Sigma, there are so many things to be involved in and it’s better to be as well rounded as possible. In order to become a better sister it is important to dedicate yourself to becoming a well-rounded Sigma, one that reaches out past your friend group and tries to get to know other sisters.

Some ways that you might try to diversify your college experience:

  1. Go to a variety of events: If you go to a lot of intramural events, try going to a social event. If you attend a lot of sisterhood events, try going to a study group. Different people attend different events based on their availability and preferences. Not everyone will be interested in every event, or go to a ton of those events. If you find yourself in a rut, try mixing up the events you go to on a weekly basis.
  1. Find a lunch buddy: If you have a sister who you don’t know very well–invite her to lunch. If you find that you don’t know many sisters, take the initiative to step out of your friend group. Something as simple as a lunch could be a great education tool on what sisterhood means to them, what activities they are involved in, etc. It is a great opportunity to learn more about your sister, your Chapter, and your University.
  1. Hang out in your Chapter house: If your sorority has a house or a common area that you can all meet in–go to that common area at different times of day or between classes. If you have a few hours, head to your sorority house. You never know who will be there and you may be able to bond over some awesome stuff.
  1. Work On Small Talk: Getting to know your sisters is a big part in diversifying your sorority experience. Practice small talk in a mirror or gather up some random questions so you always have them in your back pocket when you need to speak with people you don’t know. It’s important to always have a topic on hand that you can bring up to start a conversation. This skill will also be handy when you need to network!
  1. Gather groups for activities: One great and easy way to meet people is to do a group activity together. Having more than one person there might help you connect to them all better if you connect with one better than others. Being able to depend on one sister and integrate the other sisters into the conversation might help you become better involved with all the sisters on your group activity.

With anything related to getting to know your sisters or becoming a better sister you have to be really dedicated. You have to go to events, participate, and try your hardest to get to know other people and put yourself out there. It’s so important to get to know others to make a good impression.

Grateful For My Panties and So Much More

  • Posted on November 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

By: Molly Schroeder Steadman

The leaves are turning and Starbucks is pushing Pumpkin spice like Michelle Obama is pushing kale. At our house that means turkey crafts and candy rations. I am a suburban mom with first world problems; I can’t get the house picked up for the cleaning lady and get the girls to ballet on time. The Whole Foods ran out of the organic coffee beans we like and I had to buy ground coffee for our French press. These are not tragedies, I have it pretty good.  And even though I like to complain about my not such a big deal problems, one of the values I need to remember to put on each day is gratitude. We all come from different places, but as women in America we have a lot to be thankful for.

Here is my list:

I am thankful I can drive. Saudi Arabia has a ban on women drivers. That means when you are desperate for an InStyle Magazine and a carton of Ben and Jerry’s you have to find a guy to take you to Walgreens. I can assure you this would be a hard sell at my house. And even if my long suffering husband agreed to take me, he would want to share the Chunky Monkey. I am so thankful I can drive!

I am thankful for indoor potties. A friend of mine had to potty trained her kiddo in Italy where a hole in the floor is not uncommon. That might have killed me and all the butter soft Farragamos in the world would not have kept me off a ledge. Kidding aside: lack of sanitary waste disposal leads to the preventable deaths of 1400 children worldwide every day. Think about women heading into the bushes, after dark in a culture like India where rape and sexual assault is commonplace. I am thankful for my potty.

I am thankful I can read. We live in a country that not only encourages girls to go to school but requires it. And unlike the 540 million illiterate women and girls in the world, I can visit a free public library, access the internet and literally read information that can save my life. I usually get the latest Nora Roberts book, but the point is I could read something important. Right now there are 31 million girls not in school. Some stay home because of violence directed at them and their families. Others stay home because educating girls is not important in their culture. But girls that lack education are more likely to be child brides and the victims of abuse. They are sentenced to a life of poverty for themselves and their children. I am so grateful I can read.

Finally, I am grateful that I live in America, where with each of my pregnancies I chose to give birth in a hospital surrounded (truly, how many people can you squeeze into a delivery room!) by trained health care workers. 800 women still die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every day. In Africa, in 2013, the lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth was one in 40. The midwives, if they can find one, do their best, but are often illiterate, untrained and unequipped. Bush medical facilities lack running water, electricity and even the most basic supplies. For lack of a clean sheet and a safety pin, they are dying.  Say what you will about healthcare in America, I am thankful that I gave birth in the developed world.

That’s my list and it is nowhere near complete, but I hope it will give you pause so you can think about how good we really do have it. I don’t have solutions to any of these problems, although I am sure a google search will bring you any number of amazing organizations that are working on these issues and others like them. I am not above complaining about my own petty troubles now and again but right now, in this moment, I am grateful.

Leave me a note in the comments and share what makes you grateful right now.

Molly Schroeder Steadman (Chi) is a former chapter officer, local and national sorority volunteer, and National Headquarters employee. She recently moved back to Kansas with her husband and three children. Join her in supporting the future of Tri Sigma with regular donations to the Foundation, preferably the Chi Scholarship fund. Her blog, “Is everybody wearing panties?”, runs the first Friday of every month. Values aren’t something you are born wearing; like your panties, you have to put them on every day before you leave the house.

 

Doll Design: One-of-A-Kind Representations of Each Tri Sigma Chapter

  • Posted on October 29, 2014 at 9:07 am

One of the first Sigma traditions we learn about as new members is the doll collection at the Mabel Lee Walton House.  Most of us know that each chapter has a unique doll, dressed according to the style from the time the chapter was colonized. Less of you likely know what your chapter’s doll looks like, and even fewer have ever seen your doll. The dolls are one of the most unique traditions of our sorority, and celebrate the individuality and history of each chapter. The National Archives Committee recognizes the importance of these dolls, and hopes to restore, preserve, and properly display them so that everyone who visits Walton House can see their chapter’s colonization represented beautifully.

Since preserving the dolls is one of our biggest tasks at the MLW House, the Archives Committee wanted to find out a little more about them. We surveyed women who were members of colonies, most from 2000-2012, to hear what they remembered about choosing an outfit for their doll and found some interesting trends. Multiple sisters said they remember just trying to find something they would all wear to class—casual clothing with common accessories such as Alpha Omicron’s Starbucks cup, and others wanted to showcase their geographic location, such as Zeta Epsilon’s Miami, Florida inspired swimsuit!  Each story revealed something special about each the chapter, demonstrating the varied personalities of Tri Sigma women around the country.

Greta Ertzgard, historian at the time of Alpha Delta’s re-chartering, explained how their doll’s outfit was chosen to represent their school and its locale. The doll is dressed in a leather jacket and black dress to match the Philadelphia fashion of the time, with a Drexel University “Welcome Back Week” pin attached to show some university pride.

Alpha Omicron did pick an everyday outfit for their doll, the mini skirt and polo reflecting the popular 2008 style. But Desiree Paulhamus, AO, also gave a good tip: their chapter chose to make two identical dolls – one for the Walton House, and one for their chapter room.

Michelle Hallet, Epsilon Eta, shared her chapter’s attempt to imitate their chapter’s president by obtaining a doll with red hair.  She remembers trying to cut it to make it spiky was difficult, especially since they were so “crazy trying to do all that was necessary for the chapter installation”!

You may not know it just by looking at it, but Theta Gamma’s doll was dressed with a lot of symbolism.  Caitlyn Westfall, Theta Gamma, revealed how their doll tells the unique history of her chapter through her clothing. The doll wears pearls as Sigma’s jewel, and a purple gown with beads and feathers to represent the Tri Sigma and McKendree University colors. The Tri Sigma Colony paid homage to the legacy of their local sisterhood at McKendree through the feathers. The original interest group referred to themselves as “Sisters Without A Name,” or SWAN, and adopted a swan mascot.

These stories are just a brief glimpse into the history behind the many dolls stored at the Walton House. The Archives Committee hopes to uncover more about the dolls and other aspects of our history and traditions over the coming months.  If you have information about your doll, please fill out our survey!  Unfortunately at this time, we cannot fulfill requests to send digital images of dolls to chapters or individuals, but we hope to have images online soon!  To keep updated with our progress, watch for more Archives blog posts, and follow us on Twitter @TriSigmaArchive. Contact Liz Johns, Archivist, at archives@trisigma.org for more information.

Beliefs of Character

  • Posted on October 24, 2014 at 9:08 am

By: Kristen Gay

I have been blessed to be a part of the Character Education Advocate team with Sigma Sigma Sigma since the initiative began. Since that time I have been challenged to discover my beliefs relating to character and specifically, my character. One important thing I’ve learned is that every person has to discover their beliefs about character and strive to carry out those beliefs on a daily basis. This can be a lot harder than it seems. Character is made up of minute by minute decisions throughout your day, from donating time for volunteering to returning your shopping cart at the grocery store – every choice you make defines your character.

One of the things that has impacted me most is the list of character beliefs from Michael Josephson. I even have the list posted on the desktop of my computer as a reminder! Whether I’m working on assignments or checking email after work, I glance over and see the list of reminders. This helps me remember to take a moment to be thankful for the positive parts of my day and think about something I could do to improve someone else’s day. These beliefs listed below are encouraging, challenging, and inspirational. I hope that by sharing these, others will be able to use Josephson’s list to challenge their character and be a positive example to others.

  • I believe I’m a work-in-progress, and there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.
  • I believe every day brings opportunities to learn and do something meaningful.
  • I believe the true test of my character is whether I do the right thing even when it might cost more than I want to pay.
  • I believe no matter how I behave, some people will be mean-spirited, dishonest, irresponsible, and unkind, but if I fight fire with fire, all I’ll end up with will be the ashes of my own integrity.
  • I believe life is full of joys and sorrows, and my happiness will depend on how well I handle each.
  • I believe pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, and if I can control my attitudes, I can control my life.
  • I believe kindness really matters, and sarcastic comments and badly-timed criticisms can cause lasting hurt.
  • I believe there’s joy in gratitude and freedom in forgiveness, but both require conscientious effort.
  • I believe what’s fun and pleasurable isn’t always good for me, and what’s good for me isn’t always fun and pleasurable.
  • I believe no one’s happy all the time, but in the end, I can be as happy as I’m willing to be.
  • I believe the surest road to happiness is good relationships.

What do you believe?

 

Kristen Gay, RN-BSN

Sigma Sigma Sigma, Epsilon Phi

RESPONSIBILITY

  • Posted on October 23, 2014 at 9:07 am

By: Arlene Ballprofile pic

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE RESPONSIBLE?

Our responsibilities change throughout our life paths. We are responsible in college when we go to class, study, and hold positions in our chapter. In the post college years, if we pay our bills, hold down a job and meet the needs of our families, we feel quite responsible! And all of those responsibilities are important!

But is there more to responsibility than that?

Do we hold others in our chapter responsible for their actions? Do we have those difficult of fierce conversations? Or do we just let things slide, because we don’t want to “rock the boat”. It is not easy to speak up.  Sometimes because of the sudden freedom and atmosphere of the college campus and all the temptations, poor choices are made, some of which could put our sisters in danger. Are we being responsible in helping to keep each other safe? Do we watch out for each other, or turn a blind eye, thinking it is none of our business and it is their personal choice?

Of course we are always responsible for our own actions. No one can make us do something we shouldn’t do, despite the intense peer pressure. But sometimes we need a little help from our friends and sisters to help us realize we may be heading down a dangerous path.

This dilemma continues out in the real world post-graduation…. in the workplace…..in our families…with our friends.  Situations arise, where it is a challenge to speak what needs to be spoken. Being at the Holocaust Museum this summer with the Labyrinth Leadership Experience really brought this question home to me. Will I be brave and have those difficult conversations? Will I speak out for those who may not be able to? Will I take my sense of responsibility to a higher level?

“Ever strive to higher rise”.

Arlene Reid Ball  has discovered through the years that there is so much more to Tri Sigma than the couple of college semesters in which she originally thought she would participate. She urges all Sigmas to stay active, join an alumnae chapter, support the Foundation/ Walton House and volunteer! Being on the CAB of the BT chapter since 2000 has been one of her Sigma joys along with assisting with Officer Academy 2013 and being part of Labyrinth Leadership Experience 2014. A retired elementary teacher, who lives in Michigan and Florida with her husband, has 2 daughters, one who is also a Tri Sigma and a precious 9 month old grandson. Her sister is a Tri Sigma as well.

There is an “I” in Trustworthiness

  • Posted on October 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

By: Kara MillerKara

Piglet slided up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I have the privilege of being a guest blogger for Character Counts! Week. My pillar is trustworthiness. You would likely agree that trust is important, even foundational, to any relationship. Family relationships, significant others, work relationships, and as a proud Chihuahua owner I’ll even go so far as pet relationships. After all, Cooper Miller trusts that I will come home and let him out at the end of the day.

Trustworthiness is something I greatly value. I’ll use a synonym for trustworthiness and call it dependability.  If I tell someone I will do something, I do it. If you email me, I will reply-and usually pretty quickly-because to me that is following through and building trust. And in moments or situations where I have not been dependable, it creates a really unsettling feeling within me.

So while all that above is important, what I want to challenge you to do is to trust yourself. I think that might be discussed a little less. I am going to generalize here but I think that sometimes as women, we doubt ourselves whether it is our abilities, our appearance, or our voice in certain situations. I hope the thing that you take from my post today is that the next time you are in a similar situation-one of personal doubt-trust you.

A quick Google search tells me that trustworthy means: worthy of confidence, able to be relied on to do what is needed or right. I want you to be that woman.  Be confident in your talents and abilities. Apply for that student leadership position you think may be just above your reach. Tell yourself you’ve put in all the work and studying, and you are going to succeed on your next test. Speak up when those around you are making decisions you do not think are right. Give input when the chapter is making decisions. Reach out to the friend that you know in your heart is struggling. Because as my friend Pooh also says, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Kara Miller currently serves as an Assistant Dean of Students in the Office of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living at Cornell University. She is a proud volunteer for Sigma Sigma Sigma, specifically with the S.A.F.E. Team and Women of Character retreats.  She also volunteers for the Northeast Greek Leadership Association (NGLA) and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA). Kara is a former chapter president for the Epsilon Delta chapter at Gannon University in Erie, PA.

A Legacy of Caring

  • Posted on October 21, 2014 at 9:10 am

By: Christina MillerXtina  Lincoln

I feel so lucky to be able to write for the value of caring during Character Counts! Week. The women on the CC! Initiative could tell you, from day one, which values are their “favorite”, or in other words, which value speaks the most to them. Mine is caring. In some ways I feel that caring encompasses all the other values. You show you care when you respect another person for their individual beliefs, you exhibit kindness when you act fairly towards others, you show compassion when you take part in service projects to benefit others, etc.

One of my (many) part time jobs is as a server at a sports bar and grill. I have waitressed on the side for many, many years, and while I find I have a love-hate relationship with the food service industry, I have had many opportunities to spread caring to others in my time as a server.

One such opportunity came to me recently. I was scheduled to close at the Lamplighter (the restaurant I work at) and it had been a fairly slow night for me. Our kitchen closes at 10 pm, so I had been hoping that if it remained slow, I could close early and go on to do something else with my Friday night. But of course, around 9:25 pm, a group of four high school aged boys came in for some half-off appetizers. As they sat counting their dollars bills and loose change to determine what half-priced items they could afford to purchase, I had a choice to make. I could act the way I felt: annoyed, wishing that they would have chosen the McDonalds Dollar Menu instead or very easily, I could make their night.

Judging from the little pouches of coins filled with quarters that they had saved up, I guessed that their choice to splurge at the Lamplighter was something of a special occasion for them, so I did what I could to make it just that. I used my knowledge of the menu to let them know what would be the best bang for their (few) bucks, and made sure their glasses of Mellow Yellow and Shirley Temples were always full. In the end, I did have to stay later than I had wanted to, and they left what I believe was a very generous tip for them ($4), but even for that small, seemingly inconsequential act, I was able to pass some kindness on.

I’m embarrassed to admit that the choice I made that night to exhibit caring instead of annoyance and impatience is not always my first choice. As a waitress, I often have to deal with some people who don’t see the importance of acting with caring, or patience, and it takes a toll on me. It is easy to get caught up in negativity and turn around and share that same feeling of unfriendliness. One of the most important things that I have ever learned is the impact that my words and my actions can have on others. Your words and your actions are a part of your legacy, and they will be passed them on, either positively or negatively. It is your choice how you want to shape the world and those around you. So, if you’re like me, sometimes it’s easier to let impatience get the better of you and react in a not-so-caring way, but for Character Counts! Week, let’s try to make an effort to change that. We can change our own behaviors by making different individual choices and we can help others to do the same by sharing kindness instead of meanness, or even indifference. You have ability to make the world a better place, so what will your legacy be?

I’m a born and raised Minnesota girl from a family of ten kids. I’m a professed history buff with a love of live music and adventures! As a collegian in the Epsilon Rho chapter at Tri Sigma, I was extremely involved in Tri Sigma and around campus. I have been fortunate to attend many different Tri Sigma and Greek conferences and institutes, most recently the Labyrinth Leadership Experience, and look forward to always being involved in an organization that has come to mean so much to me!

Choosing to be in a Community

  • Posted on October 20, 2014 at 9:05 am

By: TC Crogan KrajnakTC head shot 06-14

We are all part of so many different communities and we are a part of these communities for a variety for reasons. How we define ourselves and the impact we want to have on the world can affect our life and the lives of others.  A citizen is defined as someone who is a part of a political community. To me being a “good citizen” is more than just voting, not littering and paying taxes. Being a good citizen involves living your life in a way that touches on many values and your own life experience.

While writing this piece I realized that I am an active in so many different communities….my city, my state, my country, my neighborhood, my church, my children’s school, my sorority, my volunteer activities, even within my own home with my family. I wear many “hats” at different times, but I choose to be an active contributing member in all of these communities.

The idea of being a part of many communities became even clearer with a recent activity my daughters participated in. I am the mother of three wonderful, thoughtful, funny, smart children. I am my twin girls’ Girl Scout troop leader. Recently they decided to pursue an award which would require the help of assembling a team and determining a project in the “community” that would make the world a better place. Together this team would create a plan and execute that project. As I prepared for the meeting, I thought of a few ideas for them to consider within our community with just in case I was met with blank stares when I had them start brainstorming. We gathered the small group of 11 year olds gave them some markers and flipchart boards and had them start a list of concerns or issues they saw in their “community” in the hopes of selecting their award project. What quickly became evident was how they were defining community. I defined community in a much larger perspective. Their community revolved almost exclusively around their classmates, teachers and school. They don’t yet have the perspective that they are all a part of several, bigger communities. The project they chose will be wonderful and fun and it will be perfect for them to stretch their wings but it had me thinking about the “bigger picture”.

Being a part of a community can be by choice or it can be by circumstance but being a helpful participatory citizen is a decision I consciously make. Each day I make choices to actively engage or not engage in the communities I am a part of at home, within organizations, at work and around my city, state or country.

To this day, what sometimes feels like a bazillion years ago, I chose to become a part of Tri Sigma and joined our special community. To this day, I still choose to be an active Tri Sigma and uphold our standards. I choose to participate in the experience. I choose to play by the rules, volunteer and try to do more to make our Greek community a better place along with the world we live in.

To truly make the world a better place we need always be incorporating the pillar of citizenship in our lives. I try and do this in my daily encounters by sharing smiles with strangers, holding doors, and not littering. I am doing my best to teach my children how they need to be responsible and aware of their place in their communities and even at their young age, how they can participate, engage and be a voice. I continue to find ways that I can volunteer to help make things better or just lend a hand when needed. In the bigger perspective, I always embrace my opportunity to vote, follow the laws and begrudgingly pay my taxes. I choose to be a good citizen.

I challenge you to look at your communities and the role you play. Are you participating? Are you striving to make your community better? Are you “showing up” and being present? If you are, together we can change the world.

TC Crogan Krajnak has a passion for writing, conversations, public speaking and making the world a better place. As a life-long Wisconsin resident she has spent time traveling around the country meeting people and seeing the sights. In 1991, she officially joined Tri-Sigma and she says her life was forever changed. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a degree in PR/Advertising she has volunteered for Tri-Sigma in many local and national capacities. Her love for the sorority continues to this day. In addition to her career she spends time volunteering with several organizations, including Girl Scouts. She currently lives in southeastern Wisconsin with her husband John and her fabulous trio, Maggie, Abby and Joey.