Alpha Phi was originally founded at Syracuse University in New York in 1872. Internationally, there are 173 Alpha Phi chapters with more than 200,000 active members, and every year nearly 9,000 women join an Alpha Phi chapter. This year in 2021, Alpha Phi Internationals will be celebrating 150 years. Alpha Phi's headquarters are in Evanston, Illinois. The main purposes behind Alpha Phi are promotion of character growth, unified feelings, affection between sisters, and social community created amongst our members. Alpha Phi members have come together to improve each other and search for truth, while altogether seeking “the highest ideal of womanhood.”
The founders of Alpha Phi were the first female students on campus at Syracuse University. They made attempts to join the men’s fraternities and were denied, and as a result they created their own fraternity for women. At a time when most women’s academic opportunities were very limited, Alpha Phi’s founders created a support system for women in education. The ten founders of Alpha Phi were:
- Clara Bradley Wheeler Baker Burdette
- Hattie Florence Chidester Lukens
- Martha Emily Foote Crow
- Ida Arabella Gilbert DeLamanter Houghton
- Jane Sara Higham
- Kate Elizabeth Hogoboom Gilbert
- Elizabeth Grace Hubbell Shults
- Rena A. Michaels Atchison
- Louise Viola Shepard Hancock
- Clara Sittser Williams
At the University of Arizona, the Beta Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi was founded in 1926. Currently, there are over three-hundred active members. Every year, each pledge class contains about 100 women. To become a member of Arizona Alpha Phi, women must participate in recruitment at the University of Arizona which happens at the beginning of every school year. Recruitment is run by the Panhellenic Council, and every potential new member has to go through a week-long process. This process is where they visit every chapter at the University of Arizona and go through a daily selection process. Every potential new member essentially ranks their favorite chapters, and they go back to the ones they connect with the most each day. Potential new members will receive a bid on the last day of recruitment, and if they accept their bid, they will be a new member for that chapter. There is a massive “Bid Day” celebration held on the final of recruitment to welcome all the new members into the chapter. The new member process lasts for several months, and the potential new members are considered “pledges” until they are initiated in mid October and become active members. The initiation ceremony usually takes a couple hours, and it is a very secret and sacred ceremony. All the members are required to wear white dresses for this ceremony.
Specifically at the University of Arizona, Alpha Phi is one of fifty-two Greek chapters. The Phi house, located on Greek row, is home to sixty-six Alpha Phi members and one “house mom.” The house has a recreation room, a living room, a round room, a tanning porch, a chapter room, and several bedrooms and dayrooms. There is also one sleeping porch, where thirty girls all sleep in one room with twelve bunk beds. There is also a laundry room, as well as a fully-staffed kitchen. The kitchen staff serves lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday, with just brunch served on Friday and dinner on Sunday. All of the food is served buffet-style and there are different menus every week. The menus are uploaded to an Instagram account, @alphaphimenu, every Sunday night.
Alpha Phi is an organization largely centered around philanthropy. Alpha Phis are passionate about advancing not only the lives of our sisters, but the lives of women around the world. Whether it's initiating community service efforts, raising awareness for heart health, or navigating the unique and challenging issues facing women on today's college campuses. Alpha Phi at the University of Arizona has three main philanthropy events each year. The Red Dress Gala in the fall, Sweetheart's week, and Alpha Phi Heartthrob in the spring. For the Red Dress Gala, all Alpha Phi’s wear red dresses to bring awareness to heart disease. All of the proceeds from this even are donated to the Alpha Phi Foundation, which supports women’s heart health. Sweetheart’s week takes place during the week of Valentine’s day. Sweetheart’s week works to raise awareness of cardiac health. There are various events hosted throughout the week, including a blood drive. Then, the week ends with a soccer tournament called Alpha Phifa. Alpha Phi Heartthrob is the last philanthropy event each year, where men from different organizations at the University of Arizona compete to be crowned our “Heartthrob.” The winner essentially becomes a part of the Beta Epsilon chapter for their year. The week prior consists of challenges, games and quizzes. The Beta Epsilon chapter has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of women’s heart health. The blood drive’s done each year during Sweetheart’s week have helped to save many lives here in Tucson as well.
Scholarship is also very important for the Beta Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi. Study hours are hosted twice a week at the house, and there is also an academic mentor program with older girls in the chapter. There is a minimum grade point average for new members, as well as active members. Leadership is another important value for the Beta Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi. Several active members serve on an executive board and essentially run the sorority in various positions. The Executive Board consists of Chapter President, VP of Health Wellness & Accountability, VP of Membership Recruitment, VP of Member Education and Member Experience, VP of Diversity Equity & Inclusion, VP of Marketing, VP of Finance & Housing, Executive Administrator, and Panhellenic Delegate. The entire Executive Board and advisors are sent to a Leadership conference hosted by Alpha Phi Internationals. This conference allows the Exec Board to meet other Alpha Phis from different schools and learn new things that can impact our chapter. At the end of each year, a few members from Arizona Alpha Phi are interviewed and hand selected to be Educational Leadership Consultants after they graduate. This is where they travel to other Alpha Phi chapters and lead them through the formal recruitment process at various universities internationally.
Alpha Phi's values offer the special sisterhood, a spirit of generosity, high expectations for character, and a drive for innovation. These high ideals of membership define what it truly means to be an Alpha Phi. Beta Epsilon's sisterhood created the lasting bond between each member and their pledge class. Sisterhood begins from the day each member receives their bid on Bid Day to the day they graduate from Arizona. To create this lasting bond, Alpha Phi hold many different types of sisterhood events. This falls under the VP of Member Education and Member Experience cabinet. There is a Director of Sisterhood position that is in charge of planning these events. Events that Alpha Phi host are the annual Disneyland trip, workout classes, trampoline parks, roller skating rinks, cooking classes, arts & crafts and so many more. They are also in charge of planning Big Little Week, Senior Week, Homecoming, and Spring Fling.
Women's Heart Health
The Alpha Phi foundation’s goal is to improve women's heart health and has supported education and research since 1946. Through the generosity of many alumnae and donors, The Alpha Phi foundation funds research and educational programs that support the overall advancement of women's heart health. The annual Heart to Heart Grant awards around $100,000 to the medical professionals to gain a better understanding of heart disease in women such as symptoms, treatment needed and prevention for the future. The grant has funded over 30 projects that are focused on improvement of women's cardiovascular care.
The Symbols of Alpha Phi-
There are several things about the Alpha Phi organization that make it distinct.
The ivy leaf is the most recognizable symbol of Alpha Phi. The ivy is reflected in any new member pin and is part of the crest of Alpha Phi. The Ivy leaf symbolizes the interwinding of intellectual, philanthropic and social pursuits. It also represents the intertwining with every Alpha Phi sister as they become friends and sisters in Alpha Phi.
The Coat of Arms is the fraternity crest of Alpha Phi coat of arms, which was adopted by the Convention delegates in 1922. The shield is Bordeaux with a scroll and ivy leaf above it. The colors of Alpha Phi are Silver and Bordeaux are Alpha Phi's which are known to be very distinct colors. Inscribed on this scroll is the public motto, “Union Hand in Hand” . The bar of silver even crosses the shield from left to right; the upper half being the shield that contains A Roman Lamp in silver and the lower half, Ursa Major.
The flowers of Alpha Phi are the Lily-of the-Valley and the sentimental Forget-Me-Not. The blue and gold of the forget-me-not remind us of our fraternity's original colors. This flower also reminds Alpha Phis to always remember their sisters.
Our mascot is the "Phi Bear," whose name is taken from the Greek words "Ursa Major," or the "Great Bear." Alpha Phi International adopted the Phi Bear as its mascot in 1974.
The purpose of Alpha Phi-
“The objects of our fraternity are the promotion of growth in character, unity of feeling, sisterly affection, and social communion among our members. In all that we do, we try to obey God’s principles of justice and right. We have banded ourselves together to improve our minds and hearts, and we seek to aid each other through a constant watchcare always given in love. We believe in ourselves to be sincere searchers for truth. We seek the highest ideal of womanhood, and we try to gain this ideal by cultivating not only the power and passion for seeking intellectual development but, also, the spirit of love and charity. And we who are thus united are under a solemn pledge to lend a helping hand to one another.”
-Constitution of Alpha Phi International Fraternity, Inc., Article II.
The Beta Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi in Tucson, Arizona has over 300 current members and was founded in 1926 at The University of Arizona. The beta Epsilon chapter house has 66 women living inside where improvements on the house are constantly being made. In order to become a new member, you must hold a minimum grade point average of 2.5. Additionally, we appoint a Director of Academics who works with each member to tailor a plan for academic success. Scholarship is one of the most important values for an Alpha Phi member. Because first and foremost we are students, our first priority is always academics. Our chapter holds each sister up to a higher academic standard, and in order to provide a focus on this, we have initiated several scholarship programs in order to help improve grades and study habits. In order to live in this house you must also gain live in points which you gain through study hours, being involved on campus and attending all meetings at the house. The Alpha Phi house was built in the 1930s and has recently gone through a update and renovation to the interior, as well as adding a chapter room, tanning porch, and extra bedrooms to house a total of 66 members.
Arizona Alpha Phi's Social Media
Tik Tok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeyvVQm1/
"AzAlphaPhi." Alpha Phi. www.azalphaphi.com
"Alpha Phi." Alpha Phi. www.alphaphi.org