By: Melissa Solano
Franciscan University of Steubenville’s sorority, Theta Phi Alpha, is back in action this semester, and members are excited for another year and the opportunity to welcome new members.
“We strive to better ourselves as women through our three pillars – service, sisterhood, and scholarship,” said the president of Franciscan’s chapter, Elizabeth Nixon. “We hold our faith very near and dear to our hearts.”
The girls strive to achieve these goals through different activities, such as attending Mass together as a group, bonding through Big Sister/Little Sister pairings and retreats, and volunteering for many different organizations such as Lay Apostolic Ministry for the Poor and Camp Friendship.
“I think other women should look into Theta Phi Alpha because you gain amazing skills that benefit you for your whole life,” said Nixon. “I personally have gained incredible leadership skills, a heart for service to others, and a family. As chapter president I have had the opportunity to attend the national convention, where I learned how to better my organization, my community and myself. I have learned so much about what it means to be a leader, I’ve learned how to be a team player, how to organize and plan different events, how to budget, how to follow Robert’s Rules (of Order) in business meetings and so much more.”
She also said that the bond of sisterhood between the girls is incredible. They all support each other in all they do. The girls also bond through their weekly Monday night business meetings and fun sorority events, like spa nights, wing nights and group Zumba classes. They aim to help one another grow spiritually in their faith, in wisdom and philanthropic endeavors.
Many girls wonder what the difference is between the sorority and the households on campus, and whether it is possible to be an active member of both. The main difference is that Theta Phi Alpha is a national organization. They also incorporate more scholarship into their chapters. There are ten scholarships given out every year to active members of the organization across the nation. Last year one Franciscan student received a scholarship.
“Some of our alumni were members of both,” said Nixon. “As long as commitments don’t overlap, it can definitely work. All in all, both are very beautiful organizations.”
In order to qualify to become a member of the Theta Phi Alpha sorority (a collegiate member), girls must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and attend a Big Sister/Little Sister retreat in mid-October. There are also semester dues that are required; $175 for the fall, and $75 for the spring. Once you are a member, you are considered a sister for life. There are many alumni reunions where members can meet other women who were in sorority in their respective universities all across the nation.
“My favorite part is having sisters that I’ve never even met that are all over the country,” said Nixon. “Even though I had just met them, it was like we had known each other forever. I have made incredible connections, personally and professionally, that will help me throughout my whole life. I couldn’t have asked for a better organization.”