Holiday Ideas For Your Fraternity

rush week tips

It’s officially the holiday season! And before everyone heads home for the holiday break, it’s important to bring in some Christmas cheer to your fraternity organization! Here are a few fun ways to incorporate it into your house. 

Decorate- I know it seems like a simple one, but walking into a house with a Christmas tree and garland around the banister is sure to lighten anyone’s mood and remind them of the great season we are in right now. Especially during finals week! 

Go Caroling- There are plenty of other college students that would love some holiday cheer from a fraternity showing up on their doorstep singing some Christmas tunes! Even if it’s not all in tune! 

Fundraise for your philanthropy- Through the winter can be some of the toughest times to have everyone’s needs met. Consider some type of fundraiser to help your philanthropy through these hard times. 

Holiday activities- They don’t have to be every single day, but it can be a great idea to have your activities committee plan a few things here and there with all of the members to have a quick break from studying and enjoy time together. 

Christmas Countdown Chain- Or maybe a finals week countdown chain? Either way, it’s something to look forward to and can bring a lot of hope and cheer during a stressful time! 

What activities is your fraternity participating in this holiday season? 

#GoGreek Interview: Samantha Jennings Willan

#gogreek interview kappa beta gamma

Welcome to our #GoGreek series! This blog series focuses on interviewing past and present members of sororities and fraternities. We are able to learn more about their experiences and ask them questions to help others learn more about the Greek world, bust stigmas, and find out if Greek life is right for you. 

Today we are interviewing Samantha Jennings Willan from Kappa Beta Gamma at Humber College located in Ontario, Canada. 

Samantha chose the organization that she did because KBG is a non-panhel international sorority, so she’s been able to make friends all over Canada and the United States, and their philanthropy was something she really connected with. She was also drawn to Greek life because of the community it creates. 


What was your philanthropy and what effect did serving this philanthropy have on your life?

“Our philanthropy is the Special Olympics. I love being able to come out, support the community and give back! The Special Olympics is such a positive organization and each year I still participate in their fundraising events.”

If you could go back, would there be anything you would change about your experience?

“I’d honestly just soak up every moment more! You don’t realize when you’re in it but those are the memories you’re going to cherish and hold onto. I would go on each sisterhood trip, every retreat, etc!”

How has your experience helped or shaped your life beyond college?

“Each sister has made me want to be the best version of myself and I am so grateful for that! These are lifelong connections and it doesn’t just end after 4 years. You’re sisters for life. You always have someone to lean on, talk to, grab coffee with. It’s made me become more confident!”


Samantha’s advice for someone looking into Greek life is to just go for it! Jump right in and enjoy it, it will help you get out of your shell and grow as a person if you do. 

Thoughts On Kid’s Extracurriculars

Back in February of 2019, I saw Mary’s post about placing her kids in activities and her formula for whether or not they should be in them. Here’s what she came up with, 

“Stress of making activity happen > benefit of activity = CANCEL regret-free!” 

When I read her post, my oldest was not even two years old yet so we were not even thinking about extracurriculars yet. However, I made a mental note about it to remember for the future. 

So far in the last two years, my kids have participated in swim lessons, soccer, dance, tumbling, and a handful of others. Every single time we’ve gone through an activity I have the same thought process, “what is this activity’s worth? Are the stresses of making this activity happen worth it?” 

Soccer? Nope. It was not worth it. But we learned and moved on. 

Swim lessons? Because of the nature of the private swim lessons we did, it was definitely the most commitment, the longest drive, and the most stressful. But having my kids become water safe and able to self-rescue in the water before they were a year old? Worth it. 

Dance? It didn’t interfere with any meal times, it was an easy time of the day to go, and it was close enough for us to walk. But my daughter protested it each week, and that alone made it not worth it. 

Tumbling? Easy time of the day, the location was close, and my daughter loved it and was learning so much. Yes. Worth it. 

Even at our preschool, I try every year to keep it in close proximity to our house and within decent times that are doable for us. 

And I have to say, I love it! I don’t feel like I’m spending all of my free time in my minivan acting as a chauffeur and my kids are spending more time in my backyard and in our playroom with neighbors and friends instead of buckled into their car seats rushing to the next thing. They are getting a great dose of unstructured play because of this handy formula that Mary created. 

And just because the video that Mary shared in her post was so perfect, I wanted to share it again here. 

Do You Also Hyper-Focus On Your Child’s Ability To Retain Rote Memorization?

The pressure of learning in early childhood is real and unnecessary. I’ve written articles on this exact topic and I’ve done my own research on it as well! But still… it’s real. It’s there. The ideology that children should be able to name colors, shapes, numbers, letters and more all before Kindergarten seems wild and academic-minded instead of development-minded. However, even I have fallen into the trap of this thought process!

We were wrestling with the decision of sending my daughter to Kindergarten the year she met the cut-off or holding her back one year. The idea of sending her the year-earlier came up and my first questions were,

Does she know all of her letters though?
I know for a fact that she doesn’t know all of their sounds yet.
She’s pretty good at the numbers 1-10, but what about 11+?
How is she supposed to be reading if she doesn’t know her letter sounds?

I quickly fell into the trap of “kindergarten readiness” and thought that my daughter wasn’t going to be ready in time because she didn’t know enough yet. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s currently November 2021 and she won’t even start kinder until September 2022!!

Once I took a deep breath and realized what I was doing, I pulled up an old post that Mary write about kindergarten prep and a list of what you truly should be focused on when deciding if a child is ready for school or not:

  • Feel capable and confident, and tackle new demands with an “I can do it” attitude.
    Check.
  • Have an open, curious attitude toward new experiences
    Absolutley she does.
  • Enjoy being with other children.
    YES. It fuels her extroverted soul.
  • Can establish a trusting relationship with adults other than parents.
    Check. Again, I’ve got an extrovert on my hands.
  • Can engage in physical activity such as walk, run, climb (children with handicaps can have a fine time in kindergarten if school and parents work cooperatively on necessary special arrangements).
    All day every day.
  • Take care of their own basic needs, such as dressing, eating, and toileting.
    The most independent soul I know.
  • Have had experience with small toys, such as puzzles and crayons.
    Yes.
  • Express themselves clearly in conversation.
    Yes, well enough for a 4 year old.
  • Understand that symbols (such as a stop sign) are used to provide useful information.
    Check.
  • Love books, stories and songs and can sit still to listen.
    Oh, yes.

So when you also inevitably find yourself getting caught up with your child’s knowledge on rote memorization (yes, that’s all learning letters, shapes, etc is.), take a deep breath. Realize that it’s normal to have this thought process, but there is more to it. And then come back to this list and remember the important things that your child really needs to know when they go to school.

Tri Delta’s Women of Achievement: A Story We All Need To Hear

tri delta women of achievement story

Have you heard of Tri Delta’s women of achievement? Each year Tri Delta spotlights women of achievement. This year, their women of 2021 were incredibly exceptional women that absolutely deserved the spotlight. 

Tri Delta put a spotlight on Kara Barnett, Duke, Carol Hallett, Oregon, and Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne, Pennsylvania. Each woman came from a predominantly male background in fields of study but is paving the way to show women power. 

Kara Barnett is an arts leader, innovator, and producer. Tri Delta made this statement about her-

“Kara Medoff Barnett was appointed Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre, America’s National Ballet Company, in February 2016 following nearly nine years as a senior executive at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. At ABT, Barnett has advanced innovation and inclusion, supporting a robust slate of new productions and increasing diversity in the training pipeline. Since 2016, the Company has performed in Paris, Muscat, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Singapore and Hong Kong, bringing extraordinary art to audiences worldwide.”

Tri Delta Organization

Carol Hallett is an aviation industry leader, trusted advisor, and elected official. Tri Delta commented this on Carol: 

“Carol serves as counselor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She served for eight years as president and CEO of the Air Transport Association of America (now Airlines for America or “A4A”), which represents the chief executive officers of U.S. and foreign flag airline and cargo carriers. Following 9/11, Carol helped craft and pass legislation to save the domestic aviation industry from bankruptcy and took the lead in the redesign of airline security policies and practices. She was twice named to “The Business Travel Industry’s 25 Most Influential Executives.” Her areas of expertise include international trade and commercial aviation issues.”

Tri Delta Organization

Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne is noted as a changemaker, investor, and champion. Tri Delta states,

“With more than 30 years of Wall Street, technology, philanthropy, training and professional speaking experience, she is unique in her global experience and knowledge and one among few African American women to start a venture capital firm. Gayle is a highly sought-out content expert in matters of innovation, tech trends, finance, investing and entrepreneurship. She also works with groups to demystify how to invest wisely and with impact.”

Tri Delta Organization

You can read Tri Delta’s full story on their 2021 women of achievement here. 

Making Kindergarten Decisions

kindergarten decisions

Late last winter I wrote a post about when I should send my late summer birthday daughter to Kindergarten and how hard the decision was for us. From what I’ve gathered, it’s a fairly common debate parents have when their children are late-summer birthdays. One of the hardest parts is that there are so many pros and cons that go into the two different options, and you never will be able to know what the better decision is because you can’t choose them both and compare and contrast the situations. You just have to dive right in with what you feel is best and go with it! 

It was one day after my daughter came home from preschool with a few extra letter activities from the days she missed school that my husband and I really started talking about it. We had participated in plenty of discussions up until that point, but watching her sit there and carry out what she was excited to call “homework” as she wrote her letters to the best of her ability, really made us dig deep to discuss it. 

I had always been leaning towards holding her back and instead of sending her to kindergarten, filling her days with other enriching activities like preschool and tumbling classes during that year instead. However, after seeing her excitement and love for learning, it helped me feel better about placing her in a classroom a little sooner. My husband had always leaned towards the same as I, but I think his perspective was changed as well at that moment. 

Another hard part of the decision-making process was that she is our first child, and we have other children with late summer birthdays in our family to consider as well. If we sent her next year to kindergarten but ended up holding our son back a year from school, it would make them 3 grades apart in school, but only 2 years apart in age! There are just way too many factors to take into consideration! It’s stressful! 

And my last biggest worry was…. Will she be ready for kindergarten next year? 

Both Mary and I have written multiple articles on kindergarten prep and why we need to stop buying into the idea that our kids aren’t ready because they aren’t ready academically. I’ll link a few. 

How Kindergarten Prep Frenzy Changed My Teaching Perspective

10 Signs That Your Child Is More Ready for Kindergarten Than You Might Think Spoiler alert: none of these have to do with letters, numbers, or writing their name! 

Reading Before Kindergarten- Is It Really Necessary?

However, even though I know this information is out there and the research behind it stands strong about how our children should be learning and growing at this age, I still have that parent guilt that I’ve bought into. The second the possibility of my child attending kindergarten near year came up, my first thoughts turned to letters. She can name the majority of the letters, but not all. And as far as what sounds they make… yeesh. Not sure about that! Also, she has a LONG name and she can only write the first half of her name unassisted! And what about numbers? I actually don’t even know if she can identify her numbers… Is she even going to be ready?! 

Okay, deep breaths. 

First, it is currently November, meaning the school year is not even halfway over yet. She still has so much time to continue learning and growing in preschool. And on top of that, she can still go into kindergarten with the knowledge she currently has academically, because her social/emotional skills are there. Her ability to play with others and independently is where it needs to be. She knows how to pick up a book and turn the pages the correct way, even if she can’t read it yet. She can get her shoes on and off by herself, use the bathroom on her own, take care of her own jacket and backpack, and more. She’s more ready than I will EVER give her credit for. 

I’ve said from the day she was born, “If there’s any child that’s going to walk early, it will be her.” and when she took her first steps at 9 months old, walking independently by 10 months old, she proved me right. 

“If there’s any child that is going to ride her bike early, it’s going to be her.” and just a few weeks shy of her 4th birthday, she was taking off on her two-wheeler! 

“If there’s any kid that is going to excel and do great at kindergarten, regardless of her age, it’s going to be her.” and I absolutely know that to be true. So at last, we have come to a decision. Our daughter will be starting her journey to school in the 2022-23 school year, and she’s going to do amazing. I can already tell. Even if she doesn’t know all of her letters and numbers yet. 

Teaching The History of Thanksgiving: Are We Doing It Right?

Growing up I was taught the history of Thanksgiving in school, just like many of you. The stories were about cornucopias, planting corn, peaceful dinners, and interactions of the Native Americans (referenced as Indians at the time) and the Americans. It was a great story that left us all feeling satisfied and happy with the ending, understanding why we all sit around the table every Thanksgiving Day with our families and eat food. 

And then one day I learned more about the true history behind Thanksgiving, as I’m sure most of you did too. If you haven’t yet, just do a quick Google search and it’ll give you a deep dive of information. I distinctly remember that day in my college class when I learned the true, brutal history of Thanksgiving and how betrayed I felt learning that I had been withheld from the truth. It made me think of the reason behind the misinformation given. Here were the few I came up with. 

  1. Because my teachers were genuinely misinformed. They hadn’t taken the time to research it themselves, they just trusted the curriculum placed before them and went with it. And we can’t blame them for that! Have you ever thought about researching long division and questioning if it really works or the history behind it? No! 
  2. Our schools teach American Exceptionalism in their curriculum. They want students growing up thinking we as a country are the most exceptional and incredible at everything we do. So this means hiding history. 
  3. I think in a way it’s also their mindset that they are “protecting” students by shielding them from the violence and bad things of the world. That if we teach only good things, that’s how our society will continue to act. 

But is this the right way? Information is incredible for teachers, it would be beneficial to research the history before teaching it. And it’s okay to admit that our country isn’t the best at everything! For example, if you Google search “Which country has the most advanced health care?”, you’ll get multiple lists all with various answers, but it’s important to note that The United States is not even in the top 5 of the majority of these lists. It’s okay to admit that we aren’t the best in health care (or education, or transportation, or anything else!), because it’s a good learning opportunity for our country to receive information from those that are better at it than we are. 

And is it really doing our students any good to protect them from the truth? I know for me, it didn’t “protect” me from anything, it just made me feel betrayed and lied to once I did learn the truth. There’s power in learning about our harsh pasts of the country because we as a society can recognize the mistakes and learn from them so they aren’t repeated again. 

This video does a great job of giving a quick (real) history of Thanksgiving:

What are your thoughts on teaching the true history of Thanksgiving in classrooms?