Alumnae Spotlight: Julie Mayfield

We are so excited to continue our alumnae spotlight series here on the blog! This spotlight goes to the Birmingham Alumnae Chapter’s president, Julie Mayfield.

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“I moved to Birmingham almost four years ago. I only knew a few people here. I was in this big city and I felt lost. Then my Themis arrived and I saw the contact information for AL/MS Zeta Day. I reached out and everything changed for the better. Now I’m serving my second year as President, just attended my first convention as an alumni and can’t wait for our monthly get togethers with my sisters.”

College & chapter: University of Tennessee at Martin, Delta Mu
Class of: 2002
Favorite zeta memory: “participating on our Step team and serving as New Member officer. I loved teaching new members the history of zeta and showing how wonderful zeta is.”
Advice to collegiate zetas: “document every moment, cherish your sisters, reach out to other Zetas, and remain ever loyal to the Fraternity.”
What does Zeta is forever mean to you: “It means a lifetime of sisterhood and service. Zeta gives us the opportunity, on the collegiate and alumni level, to give back to our community, to leave a impactful footprint in this world. We always want to leave it better than we arrived. Zeta is an amazing avenue for that.”

ZTA Convention 2018 Recap

By Brantley Taylor

A couple weeks ago I had the honor of attending the National Convention for Zeta Tau Alpha in Orlando, FL. I was accompanied by our recruitment chair, Alexa Wagner, and one of our upcoming leaders, Jenna Anderson. Going into the week I had no idea what to expect being surrounded by so many women from such a variety of backgrounds, but all tied together by the common thread of Zeta. It ended up being one of the greatest experiences I have had through our sorority.

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If you don’t know what Convention is, I’ll try and paint a picture for you. Imagine hundreds of women ages 18-80+, lots of cheering, even more crowns, and the celebrities of Zeta themselves, the national council. I soon realized that Zeta might be the most extra sorority when I saw that even the room keys were specialized to have the convention logo on them. Putting aside all of the bells and whistles though, convention helped me to realize how blessed I am to be in charge of the Delta Psi chapter.

I’ll be honest, I was intimidated going into the week based on the fact that there were huge state schools like FSU, Alabama, and Georgia in attendance and I didn’t know how a small private Christian school like Samford was supposed to stack against them. However, I quickly learned that it’s not the size of the school or the chapter that matters, it’s how your chapter is run and the quality of the girls in the chapter.

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Delta Psi ended up winning an Academic Achievement Award for our overall chapter GPA, a Quota Award for reaching quota set by nationals the past two years, and a Major Donor Award for reaching Founders Club Level by donating over $25,000 to our philanthropy. On top of these awards we also won Crown Chapter Award! We have been blessed enough to have received this award for the past couple years and are so proud to continue the streak. This helps prove to us that what we do matters and every event we have is worth it in the end.

The single greatest moment, however, was the night of the Silver Awards Banquet. Silver Awards the highest esteemed awards given to chapters across the nation for exceeding expectations and being the best of the best chapters in a variety of areas. Delta Psi hadn’t won a Silver Award in the past 10 years, so going into the night I admittedly was more excited for the dinner being served rather than watching all of these other chapters winning awards while we clapped graciously. Then came a moment that really blindsided me. Just about the time when they were reading off the description of the chapter who was winning 1st Runner Up for Collegiate Public Relations I was thinking, “Hey that’s not fair we do all of the same things that this chapter they’re about to call does.” Of course right after that thought crossed my mind, they called Delta Psi, Samford University up to the stage as the winners. We all just sat there at first not recognizing that we were indeed the winners, until Jenna said, “Hey! That’s us!” and we all ran to the stage to accept it. This is a huge milestone for Delta Psi, breaking a decade-long dry spell.

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I am so thankful to be in charge of a group of girls who work harder, do more, and seek to be better every year. It’s moments like those that give you clarity into why you do what you do. Convention also taught me the meaning behind, “Zeta is forever”. Being in college it’s hard to imagine the sorority itself being something that’ll last you past the four years you’re in it. The friendships, yes, but the sorority? Well, let me tell you Convention puts it all into perspective. You see that Zeta is so much bigger than just your own chapter. It’s easy to get so narrow-minded and focus solely on what you are doing, but when you zoom out of that view and see what the other 170 collegiate chapters and 238 alumnae chapters are doing as well you get a better appreciation for Zeta as a whole. You’re able to realize that Zeta matters, what we do in our sorority matters, but what we contribute to the overarching organization matters even more. We are young women, given the opportunity to make a difference. I’m beyond proud of my chapter and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for Delta Psi long after I’m finished being president. I’m also so proud I get to call myself a Zeta Tau Alpha.

 

A Zeta’s Guide to Studying Abroad: Greece

Who: Kylee Shanaghan
Where: Greece
When: Jan Term
Course: Greece: The Crucible of Civilization

The Class:  “This was an option for me to take as a humanities course, it was actually less expensive to take the abroad class than take a humanities class on campus during Jan Term (plus I wanted to go because of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!). The actual course material gave a lot of backstory to the places we were going, so we knew what we were looking at. One thing that is really amazing about this particular trip is that you get to see so much of Greece. In many abroad programs, you are living in one place for the duration of the class, but with this course, you are only in one place a max of two nights. For us, we started in Athens (which is kind of like a REALLY old New York City), and after that we constantly moved around to new places. We split our time between the main land locations and the little islands off the coast.”

 

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Favorite Spots: “My two favorite places by far were the little island of Aegina (pronounced egg-in-a), and the seaport town of Nafplion. These two places are both quaint little locations that have less tourists and lots of breathtaking views of the water. In Aegina, you MUST try the pistachio butter that the venders are selling at the port. I was apprehensive and only got a small jar, and now I’m crying because it’s all gone and it was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted in my life (so get the big jar). In Nafplion you should wander around (it’s small and very safe) to see what fun things there are going on. After dinner one night we stumbled upon a street carnival and played bumper cars! It’s one of my all-time favorite memories, but you won’t find that in a travel brochure so you need to explore in the places you go! Another really fun thing we did was eat at this family-owned restaurant where they taught you all the Greek dances. We ate incredible food family style, then we danced for hours as everyone smashed plates and yelled “OPA!”, there are lots of these kinds of places in Greece, and you should definitely do some research to find one while on this trip!”

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Best Foods: “My top favorite foods I ate while in Greece would have to be the Pistachio butter, the fried feta cheese, and the gyro sandwiches. Let me tell you, if you are a fan of Greek food, after this trip nothing in America will ever measure up to the real thing. Some tips I would give about going on this trip is to pack layers, it’s hot during the day and super cold at night! You also need to be prepared to hike up a mountain one of the days (don’t wear a wool sweater like me). If you are worried about looking cute in pics on days where hiking is involved, bring some extra stuff in a backpack to put on for the pictures! You need to be prepared with cash as most places do not take card, you also need to keep in mind that you cannot split the check when eating in groups at restaurants. One person will need to pay the bill and the rest of the group will pay them back, so keep groups small! In general, I did not have to pay for many meals, we ate as a group most days and that fee is paid with the program tuition. I paid for maybe 8-10 meals on the 3-week trip. Technically they say you can get away with bringing no cash on this trip, which I guess is true, but you want money for souvenirs and last-minute things (like bumper cars!).”

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“Overall, this trip was the best experience of my life. I went into it knowing absolutely no one, and came out with some of the most meaningful friendships in my life.  So, whether or not you know anyone on this trip, or know anything at all about Greece, this trip is sure to be one of the most incredible experiences of your life!”

 

Creed Devotional: To look for the good in everyone

Not going to lie, it was hard to sit down and write this one. Not because I don’t believe that this is important, but because looking for the good in someone can be a hard thing to do sometimes.

“To look for the good in everyone” ZTA Creed 

As a kid, when I was told to look for the good in people, I thought it meant not to call them mean names. But as I grew up, and as my relationships grew up with me, I realized that thinking the best of someone isn’t just to contradict bullying, or keeping someone’s feelings from getting hurt (though valid reasons). When we think badly of someone it isn’t always an intentional, mean thought. We don’t go around criticizing everyone we see, but we do analyze their words and actions towards us.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:31 – 32 ESV

I don’t think we usually set out to think poorly of someone. Actually, I don’t think we even realize that we are doing it. It’s almost as if we start on the defensive- guarding ourselves against this person who has yet to do anything wrong. Most of the time we don’t even realize that we’re doing it.

Usually, this stems from feelings of rejection and hurt. At some point in our lives we learned that not everyone will like us or be kind to us. And from these lessons, we changed how we react to other people. We started to operate out of a place of hurt and rejection rather than love and acceptance.

One of my favorite authors, Lysa TerKeurst, wrote:

“To love God is to cooperate with His grace. And since I’m so very aware of my own need for grace, I must be willing to freely give it away. Each hole left from rejection must become an opportunity to create more and more space for grace in my heart.” Lysa TerKeurst, ‘Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely’

So how do we change our perspectives and begin to live with grace in our hearts?

By being intentional with not only our actions towards one another (let’s not forget the golden rule now) but also our thoughts.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
“And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear.”Isaiah 11:3 ESV
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”Proverbs 4:23 ESV

Let’s look for the good in everyone. Let’s stop the cycle of judgment and fear. And most of all, let’s see others how God sees us; with grace, love, and kindness.

 

A Zeta’s Guide to Studying Abroad: London

When I first enrolled at Samford, I already knew that I wanted to study abroad. Studying abroad can be a once in a lifetime experience that grows you and changes your perspective on the world. Luckily, Samford has a pretty amazing list of study abroad programs for you to choose from.

Already signed up to go, but don’t know what you want to see while you’re there? Don’t have any plans yet, but need help deciding where to go? Just interested in learning about new places? This blog series is for you!  Throughout this series, zetas who have studied abroad all over the world will share their experiences and tips with you.

We’ll start our trip around the world in…LONDON!

Who: Ashley Steiner
Where: London, UK
When: Jan Term 2018
Class: Arts in Society

Favorite Places:
1. Notting Hill: “THE cutest London neighborhood with storybook houses. Bring your camera and go on Saturday to visit the Portobello Market. Cath Kidston is my favorite store in the area but there are tons of local vendors set up at the market.”
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2. High Tea: “A London MUST. I went to The Orangery at Kensington Palace (yes, tea at the palace!). It was magical, that is all.”

 

3. Borough Market: “A really good food market with homemade grilled cheese, artisan coffee and tons of fresh produce (great lunch place!)”

4. Art Museums: “There are so many! The Victorian and Albert, Courtauld Institute of Art, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and more!”

5.  Ride on the Tube (London Underground): “It’s such an easy way to get around London and it’s fun!”

6.  The Shard: “A Super tall (like super, super tall) skyscraper with incredible views of the city.”

 

7. Covent Garden: “Really nice shopping area (Cambridge Satchel Co. is my favorite store!)”

8. Harrods Department Store: “It’s massive! Gotta see the chocolate room…. spent two hours in there, oops.”

9. Abbey Road: “It’s a real road with real cars. Real cool, but don’t get in their way haha.”

10. “Walk around the side streets and swoon at the houses in Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea- you’ll want to move in ASAP.”

11. Buckingham Palace: “A London staple.”

12. Red Phone Booth: “Like did you even go to London if you didn’t take a picture with one?”

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Food: “The food everywhere is amazing- Paul, Pret a Manger, Brown & Rosie, Kensington Creperie, and anything that looks local were my go-to places. You seriously can’t go wrong! Waitrose, the neighborhood grocery has great food too if you’re looking for a low-cost meal at home.”

Weekend Travel: “I went to Paris one weekend and it was so easy to travel there and back in a short 48 hours.”

Tips for studying abroad in London:
1. Bring converter electrical plugs
2. Have a credit card for international travel that doesn’t charge international fees
3. Get an international phone plan to use while you’re out and about during the day
4. Use Google Maps to figure out which Tube stops to take

“I could honestly go on and on forever about London. It is one of the dreamiest places I’ve ever been to! It was amazing to live in London’s best neighborhood (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) for 17 days!”

 

 

Creed Devotional: To seek understanding

Happy finals week everyone!

It’s officially time for all-nighters in the library, drinking obscene amounts of coffee and trying to balance studying with packing. Through this busy season, it can be easy to lose sight of why we are in college.

To seek understanding that we might gain true wisdom

We are in college for a degree, yes, but also to grow as women of academia and character. Between studying for finals, try to remember that knowledge is secondary to wisdom. (i.e. your grades don’t define you!)

 “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” -Proverbs 4:6-7

Knowledge is what we learn in class, but wisdom is what we learn by being a student. It is knowing when to say no, and study. It is learning how to recover from bad grades and try your best. But overall, it is the ability to, despite the circumstances of school and social life, recognize that the quality of character triumphs over the quantity of good grades.

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding.” -Proverbs 3:13

This is my encouragement to you: getting good grades is important (you’ve got this!), but how you act about those grades and grow from these moments is what will shape you.

With that being said, good luck on finals! You are all intelligent, capable women who are more than able to walk away from this week triumphantly.

Semi-Sweet! Spring Semi-formal 2018

Calling all sweet tooths!

Last weekend, Delta Psi held its annual Semi-formal function. The theme: Semi-sweet. Cue all the Willy Wonka feels.

 

 

 

 

The event, which was held at BridgeStreet Gallery and Loft, was a hit! Between dancing and making trips to the chocolate fountain, everyone enjoyed this semi-sweet end to the semester.

 

 

 

 

Alumna Spotlight: Lauren Cooksey

Graduation is in less than two weeks away for our senior sisters- cue feelings of nostalgia.  Coming in as a freshman, four years may seem like an eternity but ask any college graduate and they will tell you it flies by almost too fast.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by finals and wondering if those touch classes will ever end (and considering dropping out for the hundredth time- yeah me too) take it from recent Samford alumna and past Delta Psi president, Lauren Cooksey: Hold on tight to the memories.

“I cannot believe it has already been a year since graduation. Time has gone by too fast. While the transition from college to the “real world” came fairly easy to me, there isn’t a day that goes by where memories from Samford and Zeta come to me.

Everything about our campus is so special. Even if friends don’t live on campus, they likely live a mile away at Wildforrest, you are close to everything you need to survive, and Samford does their best to ensure there is something for everyone. Then you blink and it’s over. Friends now live hours away, everything is no longer at the touch of your fingertips, and you have to start over finding things to get involved in. I’m not saying that life after college sucks, but life changes and it’s always great to reflect back on Samford and Zeta during stressful moments.”

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Favorite things about Zeta:  “Obviously, the best thing that I got from Zeta was friendship. I have never found such genuine relationships with people than I have with people from Samford and Zeta. I love keeping in touch with friends, but even more I love being reunited in person. This year I’ve had great reunions with friends during Homecoming and Step Sing. We had parties at my apartment for both of those events and it warms my heart to be near to all the people I love the most at one time. Events and things I’ve found myself missing the most this year without Zeta are family events, (Big/Little reveal, family picnic in the chapter room, etc.) tailgates, Sisterhood week, and Initiation…jokes! 🙂 Also, congrats on 1st place during the Step Show! How awesome! I am always so prideful when I see Zeta accomplishing big things on campus! Keep up the good work!”

What Zeta has taught me: “In Zeta I held quite a few leadership positions. The greatest thing Zeta gave me, after my friends, of course, was my leadership skills. I was able to see what did and did not work effectively and see how different people respond differently with leadership. Most of us probably don’t think that your leadership in a sorority would help you in your career after college but it really does if you take your role seriously and you’re passionate about growing and developing. Without my leadership experience in Zeta, I would not be near as effective in leading the people I do now. In fact, I’m not sure I would even have the job I have if it weren’t for Zeta. If I were to give anyone advice for college, it would be to make sure you are involved and hold leadership in at least one organization. You learn so much about yourself and others. You see all different types of people and perspectives and it really helps you broaden your horizons. Of course, I would suggest Zeta for leadership, but I know it is not realistic for 170+ people to have a position. I would challenge you though, even if you’ve applied and did not receive a position, apply again or seek ways that you can enhance and transform the sorority without having a title. Not all leaders have titles! In fact, some of the best leaders I have seen in Zeta didn’t have titles at all, they just decided to be leaders in the way they lived their lives.”
Love,
Lauren

Creed Devotional: To prepare for service

By Camille Brown

When we hear the word “service” many of us solely think about service in light of specific duties or obligations. We continue to ask ourselves “how and when can I serve?” Thus, we place limitations on our actions. We make serving a waiting game, meaning that we wait for a charity to ask for money, only donate clothes when they are ripping at the seems, or even go to a food drive event only to receive credit or add something to our resumes. While getting involved in community announced event, philanthropy service drives, or volunteering at a homeless shelter during holidays are honorable and perfectly worthy actions, service should never stop there.

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Smaller scale service is just as noble, for service is the act of putting someone else before yourself. We are called to look at every individual as beautiful gifts from the Lord. In thinking in such a way, we can enter every instance with a servant heart by asking someone how their day was, carrying something to their car for them, sitting with someone that looks lonely at lunch, writing others notes of encouragement, etc. If you feel that you could do something to make someone’s life a little happier or just to see a smile on their face, that is service. God, creating us in the image of Christ, planted within us a genuine heart of servitude. A heart of servitude that lives within each one of us every waking moment of our day to day lives. It is our job to recognize this empathetic gift and not put it to waste. In this way, we begin to view service not as a task, but rather a lifestyle, in which we put others before ourselves.

“To prepare for service and learn the nobility of serving, thereby earning the right to be served. “

Going through college, people ask you many questions about how you want to serve in life such as, “what is your passion?” or the even more loaded question, “how are you going to change the world?” These are valid questions and ones that we need to focus on; however, you must remember that your passion, your future, and your ability to change the world starts this second. Not tomorrow, next week, not when the diploma is placed in your hands, or in the next five years, but this very second.

The beautiful power of service is that you do not need any qualifications to do for others.

We can breathe a sigh of relief because service does not require a degree and can come at any time. At times, college can seem selfish with no free time for anything but test, papers, projects, and internships.

However, do not let a busy schedule distract you from empathetically looking out for those around you. It’s easy to get this wide picture in your head that for service to count, it must be on a grandeur scale. However, never forget the impact of even the smallest amount of service. Buy a friend lunch, write them a note of encouragement when you know they are having a difficult week, fold their laundry for them, help them study by quizzing them for ten minutes, make their bed for them, or even include them in your prayer list.

Service should be a part of everyone’s God-given purpose. Whatever moment you are currently in, whether your swimming upstream or barely treading water, your Heavenly Father planted you there for a specific reason. More importantly; however, our Lord surrounded us with people to cheer us on in victory and to carry with us when we are wallowing in defeat. As our creed states that we are to “prepare for service and learn the nobility of serving, thereby earning the right to be served,” we must remember that to receive is first to give. This means that in order to receive the fulfillment that life has to offer, we must give it our whole hearts. Whether it’s going door to door asking for canned goods for the less fortunate and picking up trash while you are surrounded by animals, like last weekend’s event, or just asking a friend if they need help carrying stuff to their car. God created you worthy to receive the eternal blessing of His passion, giving you a community of brothers and sisters also created in His image. Remembering that in order to love as Christ loves:

Each of [us] should use whatever gift [we] have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace” (1 Peter 4:10).

 

Samford Gives Back 2018

Samford Gives Back is a tradition where students spend part of a Saturday serving at non-profits across Birmingham. This is a way to let students see the great opportunity to serve while letting them give back to a community that gives them a city to call home.

Samford Gives Back allowed Zeta Tau Alpha to split into two groups to serve at different locations this year. One group cleaned the Birmingham Zoo while the other organized at Grace Klein Community Center.

The women at the zoo scrubbed pollen off from picnic tables and trash cans so families could better enjoy their time together. Once the tables and trash cans were clean, they toured the zoo with trash bags in hand to pick up trash scattered near the exhibits.

The other group serving at Grace Klein drove around Birmingham communities to knock on doors and ask for donations of canned goods and other non-perishable items. The collected items were brought back to the community center and packed in boxes. Then, some girls helped clean up the community center while others wrote notes of encouragement on the cardboard boxes where the canned goods and nonperishable items were packed. These boxes will be given to different families who benefit from Grace Klein.

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