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Going to Beautiful Lengths

(Leadership, Philanthropy, Sisterhood) Permanent link

For some of the more than 6.9 million women around the world who are diagnosed with cancer, hair loss is the first outward sign that the cancer they were diagnosed with is real. Other side effects, such as weight loss and possible infertility, can be covered or kept personal. But for a woman who has lost her hair, it is the first public display of the disease, a feature that becomes the most noticeable.

“For most of us, hair is just another accessory,” says Alex Hamilton, Event Chairman at Eta Xi, UC Merced. “But for women who are going through or have gone through chemotherapy and cancer treatment, hair is a part of their identity.” So Alex and her sisters decided to grab the scissors and show how giving and receiving this part of a woman’s identity means more than the strands themselves.

Beautiful Lengths

Partnering with Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, UC Merced held its annual Beautiful Lengths event on campus March 18. “By making the cut, we wanted to help a woman get part of herself back and giving her a chance to feel beautiful and empowered once again,” she says. “We partnered with the ladies of Main St. Girlz Salon and hairstylist Alison Nicole to ensure that whoever wanted to donate could do so.”


According to the American Cancer Society, the estimated number of women who will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. in 2014 is 810,320. During their event, members of Eta Xi were able to gather 32 ponytails from participants, which will be made into about five wigs. UC Merced student Jessica Roque noted how great it felt to donate her hair to someone who needed it more than her. Others left feeling like a million bucks. “We know that this will become a tradition for many years,” says Alex. “We always exceed our expectations with participants and the amount of support we receive!”

Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene® and the American Cancer Society®, the largest nonprofit health organization committed to saving lives from every cancer and improving the quality of life for people facing it. So far, Pantene has donated 24,000 real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute wigs to cancer patients.

Leadership Beyond Four Years

(Leadership) Permanent link

–By Guest Blogger Ali Gilbert, Central Florida

Leadership Guest Blog

When I joined Kappa Kappa Gamma 10 years ago, I was looking for the college experience. Not knowing many people on campus and looking for friends, I decided to go through Recruitment.  Not only did I gain a group of best friends, but I learned a lot about leadership that I now use at my job, as a parent, and in everyday life.

So what can a 22-year-old learn from a sorority experience? During my second year as a Kappa, I was elected chapter Registrar, a position which required logging chapter history and maintaining the roster. I took pictures at our events and did behind-the-scenes work to keep the chapter in order. The following year, I was elected Vice President-Organization. At the time, I was unaware of the impact that these positions would have later in life.
These positions gave me three key skills that continue to improve my day-to-day life:


First, I learned that being organized is essential, from my course schedule to my binder full of Kappa paperwork to homework–everything! It’s not always easy, but being organized helps me save time and be more professional.

Time Management

While it may seem like a simple notion, as a student with a full load of college courses it wasn’t always easy getting everything done without a few Red Bulls and all-nighters. Throwing a leadership position into the mix made it a requirement to manage my time efficiently. I learned to schedule my entire day, from meal times to class agendas, and then map out extra time to get everything done for Kappa. With a handy calendar and a stick-with-it attitude, I learned to manage my time well. Now, as a mother who works full time, runs a household, runs to meetings and tries to sneak in a workout every now and then, I am glad I learned early how to manage my time.

People Skills 

Let’s be honest, in a chapter of more than 150 women, you have different personalities, and you don’t always get along with each and every one of them. I had to learn to compromise and practice patience and kindness with my sisters. I learned that everyone handles and reacts differently to situations.  Just because someone does something differently than I would does not make their way wrong. This lesson was by far the most important thing I learned about leadership.  In my current job, I deal with people with all types of personalities and my leadership experience prepared me for this.

These are just some of the many things I learned from Kappa Kappa Gamma. I am so grateful for the experience I had and how it helped me become the leader, coworker and friend I am today.

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