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Successful Officers Are Made in Kindergarten

(Education, Leadership) Permanent link

By Marla Williams, Director of Education

Marla Williams 

How many of you remember that first day of kindergarten? The anticipation of meeting new friends, finding out where you were going to sit, carrying a backpack and meeting your teacher? Little did you know that what you learned that day would become the foundation to be a successful leader in your chapter or association. According to Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, “It doesn’t really matter what you believe – it only matters what you do.” As leaders, it isn’t what you say that counts—that’s not enough. What you do and the actions you take matter the most. So, what should you do to be a successful officer? You already know, because you learned it in kindergarten:

Share with Others
Whether a toy, half of a sandwich, or information, sharing always makes both parties feel better. Sharing information with members is just as important as sharing it with other officers. The more others know, the more involved they feel. Meetings are long enough without endless announcements so look for creative ways to communicate: a photo reminder on Instagram, a creative newsletter, or a mini poster taped to the bathroom stalls.

Don’t Take Things that Aren’t Yours
Don’t take credit for the work of others. One of your main jobs as an officer is to build up others to take on future leadership roles. As you delegate, guide your committee members and ask for help, but make sure to give credit and praise their work out loud to others.

Clean Up Your Own Mess

If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize and work to fix the problem. Things don’t always go as planned and sometimes things just happen. It’s not a matter of fault; it is a matter of cleaning up the mess so that someone else isn’t left with the problem.

Get to Know Your Table Station Friends

Take the time to get to know the other officers on your team. Sit next to someone new each meeting and really get to know them. Find out what they like to do outside of Kappa. Celebrate their achievements and offer support when they are down. The better you get to know the other officers, the better you will work together as a team.

When You Go Out Into the World, Watch Out for Traffic, Hold Hands, and Stick Together
It’s not always popular being an officer. There are hard decisions that have to be made and sometimes those decisions aren’t always met with thunderous applause. Remember to stick together when a decision has been made. As officers, it is critical that you stand behind your choices as a unified group, whether you agreed with the decision or not.

Take Turns
Remember to find a balance between talking and listening. While it is important to share your opinion and ideas, it is also important to hear what others have to say. If you find you are talking more than listening, make a concerted effort to ask questions and sit back and really listen to the ideas of others.

Live a Balanced Life
Being an officer can be overwhelming at times, and during certain points of the year, you might feel the weight of all that there is to do. Finding a balance among your duties as an officer, studies, work, family and friends is a necessity. Make checklists, manage your time and delegate to your committees. And above all else, remember that it is important to take time out to just relax and enjoy the company of your sisters.

And finally at the end of a long day, when all your officer duties have been fulfilled, remember that warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.


Studying Down to a Science

(Education, Scholarship) Permanent link

By Catherine Roebuck, Social Media and Communications Specialist

With school comes studying and, let’s face it— sometimes the subject is daunting, sometimes we just can’t focus, and sometimes we will find literally anything to do with our time besides study. But when it comes to big tests and earning a degree, studying couldn’t be more important. For Academic Excellence Month, we’ve (well, scientists) boiled studying down to a science to help you become a KKGenius.

1. Start Early: Ever heard of the “curve of forgetting”? This phenomenon, according to the University of Waterloo, shows that after attending a one-hour lecture, you lose 50–80 percent of what you learned within the first day. By day 30, you only remember 2 to 3 percent! Thwart this knowledge loss by reviewing the material within 24 hours: Spend just 10 minutes reviewing and you will remember almost 100 percent of the material. By day seven, it only takes five minutes to retain the material and by day 30, you only need two to four minutes to remember. So start early, review for a maximum of 10 minutes (per course) a day, and save yourself a lot of time and headaches come midterms and finals.

2. Disconnect: According to a study by The Ohio State University, multitasking during studying doesn’t help. Though you may feel more socially satisfied with a smartphone nearby, you aren’t being cognitively satisfied— you aren’t getting all you can out of studying because of the distractions. That same study also reports that when students need to study, they actually multitask more, even though it reduces the success of their studying. So disconnect and really focus on studying. Being on your phone or watching TV while studying only hurts you.

3. Have a jam session: Unfortunately, you’ll have to put Beyoncé on the back burner for this tip. A study from Stanford University Medical Center suggests you’ll be better off listening to obscure 18th-century composers. Research showed that music engaged the areas of the brain that help us pay attention and update what is happening at that exact moment in memory. Furthermore, they found that musical techniques used by 18th-century composers help the brain organize information. So even though Taylor Swift may tickle your fancy, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf’s more likely to leave you without a “Blank Space” in your study session.

4. Don’t study too much: While it may seem counterintuitive, repeatedly studying material you already know is actually ineffective. It’s called overlearning, and according to a study by the University of South Florida and the University of California, San Diego, you don’t get much bang for your buck when you overlearn. The benefits of overlearning only last less than a week, so instead, spend that time on a different subject.

5. Take a break: We’ve all done it. Studied for hours upon hours right before a major test. We’ve crammed the information into our heads hoping that, by the grace of the test gods, we would come out on the other side with a decent grade. However, the University of California, San Diego found that cramming is actually a terrible idea. Rapid learning is a perfect recipe for rapid forgetting. Space out your study sessions and you’ll actually retain the information much better than if you cram. Not to mention, stress can negatively affect how you perform on a test.

So fear not, Kappas. You can find even more study tips on our Kappademics Pinterest board that will help you become the KKGenius we know you are.

Kappademically yours,

50 Random Acts of Kindness

(Friendship, Leadership, Philanthropy) Permanent link

By Collett Rangitsch, Wyoming, Director of Standards


In the fall of 2012, I was staring down the big 5-0 that was approaching in eight months.  I’m not one for parties or celebrations, but I wanted to celebrate this one in a big way (for me). I wanted my celebration to be something meaningful, not in an in-your-face kind of way, but something that could include others and be a true challenge. Then one day I stumbled upon someone who was doing random acts each day of her 50th year. While I’m dedicated, I’m also realistic. With eight months to do 50 random acts–“I can do this,” I told myself.  
So I made a list of 50 friends and relatives (I’m a list maker and need constant reminders) and started the search for something to give to these friends to remind them of the challenge I was about to begin. As luck would have it, I found Pay-it-Forward bracelets made by the Oregon company Nashelle. The tagline on the card: “Believe there is good in the world— start locally and watch the world begin to flourish.”

I gave one to each friend that I asked to join me in the 50 Random Acts Challenge. Each member of the Fraternity’s chapter team was given one and in January 2013, I set out to document my journey. At first my acts were less random and more intentional— the challenge, the bracelets, paying for a cup of coffee for the person behind me. Then one day I realized I was no longer just intentionally doing acts of kindness, but I was simply being more kind to others. I was holding the door, making eye contact with strangers, saying good morning. These little things made me feel good both physically and mentally. I managed to complete my goal of 50 acts by mid-June, and soon realized that I had forever changed my habits, completing random acts of kindness without even thinking about it.  
In August 2013, for the eighth year in a row, I spent my birthday at Fraternity Headquarters with my Kappa friends.  We went out to a great dinner and I was thrilled that there was no big deal made about it being a big day for me.  Upon returning to HQ, I got the surprise of my life when the chapter and Leadership Consultant teams showered me with their own acts of kindness.  The chapter team created a special book for me, each writing a page of what the challenge meant to them and some of the acts they had done.  The cover – “Believe There Is Good in the World” – is perfect; the words inside are one of my most treasured gifts.
They spoke of stepping out of their comfort zone to do something for others, they mention how sometimes those on the receiving end aren’t as receptive to the act, and they spoke about being inspired.  
Their finale was reaching out to a Reading Is Fundamental program near my home in Wyoming. Each donated a book in my name to a local school.  I can’t describe the emotions that I felt at that moment. Books, something that I myself love dearly, were donated in my name, all because I challenged others to join me on this journey!

So, as National Random Act of Kindness Week begins today, consider doing something special for a random person and be the good in the world.

Editor’s Note: Feb. 9–15  is International Random Act of Kindness Week. Join in the celebration by doing your own random act of kindness and step out of your normal routine. Share your acts using #RAKweek and #KKG and you may be featured on Kappa’s official social media channels.

From Academic Excellence to KKGenius

(Education, Scholarship) Permanent link

By Mary Pat Rooney, Drake, Academic Excellence Chairman

Since 1870, Kappa has consistently focused on importance of academic excellence. As time moves forward and the pressures of college life change, Kappa looks for new ways to challenge our members, provide support and build excitement around academic achievements.

Enter Academic Excellence Month.

Following the lead of the National Panhellenic Council and their Month of the Scholar, Kappa has been observing Academic Excellence Month each February since 2011. AE Month seeks to highlight the scholastic facet of chapter life, from exciting ways to show off a chapter’s academic achievements on campus to celebrating the dedication of its members—there are many ways to participate. Here are the top four ways to get involved:

1. Up for a challenge? Enter the 2015 Chapter Study Hours Challenge! Track your chapter’s study hours and tabulate the total number of hours for the month of February. Divide by the total number of members in your chapter and submit the average study hours per member to me by email: kkghq@kkg.org. A prize (and year-long bragging rights) will be awarded to the chapter with the highest average per member.

2. Create an academic excellence sign or banner to display outside your chapter facility or at your school’s campus center to show your scholastic pride to your college or university.

3. Plan an academic-themed event for your chapter. Organize a study date with great snacks, host a dinner for your favorite professors, or reward members for their achievements at a chapter meeting.

4.Throughout the month, share your academic photos, descriptions and details with Kappa on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using hashtag #KKGenius. The most inspiring, exciting and original will be shared on the Fraternity’s official social media channels.
Kappas can continue to positively influence their campuses, workplaces and communities through their academic achievements. Showcase your #KKGenius and relish the opportunity to flaunt it!


Mary Pat

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