Monday, August 13, 2012

Inspired by Convention: Wisdom, Devotion, Achievement Part 2

Welcome to the sixth post in the "Inspired by Alpha Chi Omega Convention" series. Thank you, Jessica Mace, for her generosity in providing a three-part series, themed Wisdom, Devotion, Achievement, including part two today: Devotion. 

Right after I graduated from college, I moved to a small town in North Carolina that didn't have an alumnae chapter. The closest one was a little over an hour way, so it wasn’t really in the cards to do much with it right away. As I slowly went batty from lack of things to do (did I mention that my husband deployed as soon as we got here?!), I went on the Alpha Chi website and looked for volunteer opportunities. I saw one that seemed intriguing—Volunteer Placement Coordinator. I immediately applied and was delighted to receive the position. I figured I’d do a little bit to help, and that’d be it. I had no idea the opportunities I'd be given to  grow, connect, and develop.

One such opportunity came up this spring: My very first convention, and I was asked to present a session called Volun-Tour with my counterpart, Laura Sanders, the Training and Recognition Coordinator. Our goal was to give people a look into what volunteering is like-both at the national and local level.

Jessica (right) with her counterpart, Laura
(left) and Kassie Kissinger, Director of Life-
time Engagement (center).
I won't lie, I didn't think we'd have many people come to the session. I thought that since it was an intro to volunteering, most people would either a) be in the chapter president sessions, b) already be a volunteer and not feel the need to attend, or c) attend one of the other great sessions that were planned. Imagine my surprise when our little room got more and more filled...resulting in my nerves getting the best of me at the beginning of the presentation. As I was discussing structures and placement processes, I felt the calm setting in. I helped create this process, I'm the only volunteer coordinator Alpha Chi has had thus far, it's not like someone was going to jump out and call me an imposter!

At the end of the presentation, we had a Q&A session with a panel of experienced volunteers. As they talked, the thought crossed my mind about how different we all are: alumnae from all over the country, all different initiation years, all different experiences! Yet all these women come together in support of what we all have in common—the thread of sisterhood, and the commitment to give back.

You see, as a volunteer you’re not just saying “I’m an alumna now and it’s sort of expected that I give back since I did _____________________ in college.” You may be saying any number of things, from “I just moved to a new town and I know I have at least one thing in common with these women” to “I’m still living in the same town I went to college in and this works for me." The common thread though, is all of us are saying “This experience means a lot to me.” Because, why else do you volunteer? You volunteer because the cause means a lot to you, because you experienced something great and want to provide that to the next group of people.

I took the chance and got involved, and in two years I've gone to a national training, a National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) Alumnae Summit, and Alpha Chi Omega Convention. I’ve met countless sisters I would have never interacted with otherwise. I've met women from NPC groups who serve as constant inspirations. Yeah, I gave back and gave my time. But what I've received has been so astronomical I couldn’t list it all without breaking Amy’s blog. Take a minute, and commit to volunteer with Alpha Chi here.

Stay tuned for tomorrow and part 3: ACHIEVEMENT

Jessica Mace is an initiate of Gamma Tau chapter at Oklahoma City University. A certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, she currently serves as Volunteer Placement Coordinator for Alpha Chi Omega, and Vice President of Pi Sigma Pi, Stars and Stripes Alumnae Chapter. Follow her on twitter at @JessicaAMace, and ‘like’ her on facebook at

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