Share SPG so we can grow!!! by Debbie Henize, International Historian

January is the time for thinking of new beginnings and starting over.  But for Sigma Phi it is the time to start thinking of Province Meetings.  Our Province Officers are working hard to get ready.  Some of these Officers are nervous because it is their first time serving.  Others are veterans ready to help.  No matter in what capacity we are serving, we are all here to serve our Sigma Phi Sisters and our communities.  

As I think about what Sigma Phi means to me, I think back at one of my early Province meetings.  Liz Oleksak was our visiting International Officer.  This is Liz Cochran for those of you who may not know.  She taught us how to say her name phonically.  Just a small thing but a big memory.  I remember thinking about how I could do that someday.   (I mean serve on Council, not sound out her name.)  In my early years in Sigma Phi many Officers and members were much older than I was and sometimes I wondered how I fit in, especially at International.  Liz was a young face and someone that I could relate to.  Liz probably never knew how she influenced me many years ago.  You may be that person to someone else.  Find that new face in the crowd and sit down with them.  Share your love of Sigma Phi with current and potential Sisters.  It may make a big difference to someone.  It did to me.

You probably have your own fond memories of Province time with your Sisters.  Many of your Sisters would love to hear your stories of what sorority has meant to you.  Potential members might find your stories interesting as well.  Please share them in a Blog post or at your next social events.  The more we share sorority the more we grow.

TWO NEW AWARDS AVAILABLE FOR HONORING YOUR SISTERS! by SPG International Advisory Committee

Women join Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority for countless reasons, and underneath it all most members are motivated by what they get to do when serving others. When members know their time and energy are appreciated, and that they are valued by other Sigma Phi Gamma members, they really commit themselves to the ideals of the organization. SPG members also want to know that their service is helping the greater good for individuals and communities —that together we make a huge positive impact in other people’s lives. And, through our mission we are changing the world for the better. Therefore, member recognition is one of the most powerful ways we can highlight all that is good and thank our members for their efforts.

Several years ago, realizing that 25 years is a LONG time to wait to be recognized, the International Council added 5, 10, 15, and 20-year certificates to our member recognition program, to be presented at the Chapter and/or Province levels. (You’re taking care of these recognitions each year, right?!) So, why not think about other ways of recognizing strong and hardworking members!

The International Advisory Committee acknowledged the need for recognizing the impact of our members’ service work during the development of our strategic plan. We wanted to honor members, no matter how long they have been with SPG. We created two new awards:

The New Found Treasure Award recognizes the efforts of a member who is new to Sigma Phi Gamma and has hit the ground running! This woman’s performance is so outstanding that it merits recognition at the Chapter, Province, and/or International levels.

The Hidden Champion Award recognizes the efforts of a member who embodies the Sigma Phi Gamma principle to help where needed. The member is available to provide above and beyond support for special projects, ongoing tasks, and supports Sigma Phi Gamma projects at the Chapter, Province, and/or International levels. The member’s outstanding service has a positive impact on Sigma Phi Gamma and merits recognition.

Each Chapter may nominate one member for each award every year. The nomination forms, with the full criteria, are available on the Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority website and are due by April 15 to the International Vice President. 2019 will be the inaugural year for these new awards … help make history and recognize your Sisters! Who will your Chapter nominate?

We look forward to recognizing a large group New Found Treasures and Hidden Champions at our International Convention in Wichita, Kansas! 

SPG International Advisory Committee

Deb Juracich, Chair; Donna Collins, Liz Cochrane, and Cindy Stath

Let’s Think Like Middle Schoolers! By Deb Juracich, International Counselor

My journey back into teaching this school year has been a rewarding whirlwind.  Times have changed since I taught seventeen years ago.  Teaching at Metro Early College Middle School is a dream come true.  Metro is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) school.  As a requirement, the students participate in a Design Challenge.  This year the Challenge is focused on Smart Columbus. Students are challenged to use their imagination to create a transportation system that provides access to everyone.  Students use the Stanford Design Thinking Process to prepare a written component, build a prototype, and create a presentation of their solution.  Students have to understand empathy, putting themselves in the shoes of those who have no access to transportation, and develop an authentic solution.  

WOW!  I have been blown away with their imaginative, creative solutions to providing smart transportation for everyone!  The students problem solve freely, are open-minded, and have no constraints.

This got me thinking.  What would happen if we as SPG members thought like middle schoolers to provide and implement authentic solutions to the membership and growth of our organization?  What would Sigma Phi Gamma look like in the future?  If our responses to the questions are anything like the solutions generated from the Design Challenge at Metro, I bet SPG would be thriving!  Let’s try to tackle our growth and expansion with an open mindset.  Like those imaginative, creative, problem solving middle schoolers!