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Years in Review

Three and a half years ago, I was recruited into the Alpha Omega Chapter of Sigma Alpha. With only being a month away from becoming an alumna member, I can not help but look back and remember all the people that made this organization what it is today. The Alpha Omega chapter celebrated its 15th year as an organization last April. Over the last 15 years we have had 24 pledge classes find their home in this organization. The chapter recruits on the principles of building a sisterhood and a bond between young women with a passion for agriculture. All while giving them the resources needed to succeed academically and professionally.

This past weekend I went to the AFA Leaders Conference in Downtown Kansas City. The theme this year was Cultivate your Roots and Beyond. I took this to heart when thinking about all the changes and ideas that have been thrown around this past year. I have watched as 22 MCs (now new actives) bring ideas to the table that have really been exceptional. I have watched as 15 active members chose to take the next step in serving the chapter in an officer role. The future of the chapter is very bright and I can not wait to watch it develop through the years. As I transition to an alumna member, I want to leave you all with four tips so that you can continue to cultivate the chapter’s roots.

1. There are no short cuts to places worth going

I have watched as we turn down great ideas because “they are too much work." I encourage you to strive for bigger events and make those industry and campus partnerships. It is not going to be easy to partner with other organizations on campus or industry partnership. It is challenging to plan an event with multiple viewpoints, but this is what makes an event better. Everyone has different perspectives that can bring something new to the table. Put in the work and I know the events will succeed.

2. Adopt a big picture perspective

We focus so much on just getting through the year that we forget to plan for the next. I encourage you ladies to plan and think long term. We get a lot of ideas all at one time and its important to know that those might take a few years to implement. As a chapter work on creating a five-year plan to implement some of those goals over the next few years. Whether that is a new points system, study hours, alumnae involvement, or bigger events. Be a member of vision committee and I promise you can gather a big picture perspective. This chapter is what you make it.

3. Support your Sisters

The first step to supporting your sisters is to make sure you build a sisterhood. I have seen the officers and members take great strides to providing a place that a sisterhood can grow. They have planned sisterhoods that not only provide a place to get to know each other but provide an environment to relieve stress from school. Don’t forget to talk about more than just Sigma Alpha. Everyone has their own challenges that they are facing. We saw this when Stand Up for Your Sister came and met with us. Support them through encouraging texts, inviting them to dinner, or asking if they need help in a class you’ve already taken.

4. Stay Connected

Transitioning into the workforce or even higher education can be stressful and lonely. You might be moving away from Manhattan and away from all of your friends. Something that they talked about this weekend ways of staying connected with those relationships along the way. Maybe it is having video chat lunch dates, meeting back up in Manhattan, or something as simple as a snap or text every once in a while. By staying connected with your sisters and alumnae members, you will have more people to be able to answer questions about careers and provide support through the next phase in your life. I hope to start up an alumnae chapter to help bridge the gap between the active chapter and our alumnae. I will need the actives chapter support in helping to keep the active and alumnae connected through Founder’s Day or other alumnae activities.

I wish you all the best of luck as you move forward in your college careers. I encourage you all to continue to set big goals, plan ahead, and build a sisterhood that stays connected. This chapter is what you make it and what you want it to be. Enjoy your time as an active member it will be over before you know it. Stay in touch!

In Sisterhood,

Bryn Swearingen

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