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Alpha Phi

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Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups
Alpha Phi
Zeta Phi Chapter
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Type: Sorority
Established: 1984
Size: 119
Website: http://aphi.mit.edu/
National Site: https://www.alphaphi.org/Home

Alpha Phi is a sorority at MIT. Founded in 1984, the Zeta Phi chapter was the first National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sorority at MIT. About half of the Alpha Phi sisters live in the Alpha Phi house in Kenmore Square, Boston; the others live in dorms across campus. More information is available at the Alpha Phi website, our website, mitalphaphi.com.

Contents

House

In 1994, two connected brownstones in the heart of Boston's Kenmore Square became the home of Alpha Phi. With room for up to 61 sisters, a large portion of the sorority has the opportunity to live together, and the house serves as a popular hang-out location for all sisters. Dinner is shared five nights a week in the dining room and is prepared by the house chef, Justine.

Other popular activities in the house include hanging out on big comfy couches in the TV room during study breaks and using the large common rooms for study groups or department meetings. The house is renowned for the excellent baking skills of the residents, and visitors can often find many sisters baking together in the kitchen. The kitchen is always stocked with breakfast, lunch, and snack foods as well as baking supplies.

Kenmore Square and the surrounding areas afford sisters plenty of opportunities to explore Boston on study breaks and weekend adventures. The house is close to Fenway Park and popular Boston shopping locations like Copley, the Prudential Center, and Newbury Street. It is only three blocks from the Massachusetts Avenue bridge and is easily accessible by the MIT Saferide shuttle.

History

International History

On October 10, 1872, 10 forward-thinking women at Syracuse University founded the Alpha Phi Fraternity. The women were 10 of the first 20 women admitted to Syracuse University. They recognized the need for a social center for women, a tie of sisterhood that would unite a circle of friends, and thus created Alpha Phi.

Since the founding, Alpha Phi has flourished and grown to include over 150 chapters and 200,000 members throughout the United States and Canada.

Chapter History

The Zeta Phi chapter of Alpha Phi was founded in 1984 as the first NPC sorority at MIT. In 1994, Alpha Phi found a home in Kenmore Square in two connected brownstones to allow half of its sisters to live together.

Philanthropy & Service

Homecoming

Homecoming is the Zeta Phi chapter's annual fall philanthropy event. On the day of the last home football game of the season, the sisters holds a tailgate barbecue where they crown the MIT Homecoming King and Queen and encourage students to attend the game. Groups on campus — including athletic teams, dormitory floors, and other Greek chapters — can nominate a student within their group to be Homecoming King or Queen. Nominees compete for the title of King or Queen by collecting donations toward the Alpha Phi Foundation, recycling cans and bottles through our booth on campus, and bringing fans to our tailgate barbecue and football game on the day of Homecoming. This year, nominees could earn more points by participating in the first annual dodge ball tournament on the day of Homecoming; in the first year of this event, over 20 teams participated! The King and Queen are crowned on the day of Homecoming and Alpha Phi has raised over $6,000 annually through this fun event.

King of Hearts

Alpha Phi's King of Hearts, one of the most entertaining philanthropic events on campus, is hosted in the spring. Fraternities, living groups, clubs, and sports teams are invited to nominate one representative individual to compete in this 'male beauty pageant.' Each contestant puts his best skills and talents forward while competing in swimwear, evening wear, talent, and interview sections. The acts range from serious to comedic and are judged by the presidents of the six sororities at MIT and our Panhellenic Association President. Prizes are awarded to the King of Hearts winner as well as the sorority and fraternity with the best attendance.

Candy Grams

The week before Valentine's Day, Alpha Phi has a booth inside MIT's Student Center where Candy Grams are sold to everyone on campus. For $1, students, faculty, and athletic coaches can buy a bag full of candy with a Valentine's Day message attached. Each bag and message is delivered to the dormitory, living group, fraternity, or sorority of the recipient on Valentine's Day. Candy Grams are a fun way to brighten someone's Valentine's Day and help support the Alpha Phi Foundation.

Alpha Phi Foundation

All proceeds from the Zeta Phi Chapter's philanthropic efforts are directed to the Alpha Phi Foundation. The Alpha Phi Foundation was formed by the women of Alpha Phi International Fraternity to support women and others in need, in the philanthropic spirit of the group's founders. The foundation's mission is to support programs that emphasize women's cardiac health, to provide educational and leadership opportunities, to encourage and recognize superior scholarship, to educate women about the value of philanthropy, and to assist women in need.

Since the formation of the foundation, heart disease has become the number-one killer of women in North America. Alpha Phi has collectively donated over $1 million to support the cardiac health initiative. The Zeta Phi chapter is proud to have raised over $10,000 annually for this cause through philanthropy events. In the past few years, the chapter has received awards from MIT and the Northeast Regional Office of Alpha Phi International for its efforts.

Community Service

While the Zeta Phi chapter has no community service requirements, it provides events at least once a month to encourage sisters to participate in the community, often pairing with another sorority or fraternity to participate in community service events together. Some past events include the Jimmy Fund Walk, Relay for Life, hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to support Make-A-Wish, and hosting underprivileged students at MIT for a day (and playing kickball with them!). Individually, many Alpha Phi sisters are involved with organizations in the community and/or at home.

This past year, Alpha Phi started an afterschool program at a local elementary school (Cambridgeport) where sisters tutor 5th-8th graders in a Math Olympiad program every Monday. Teaching over 30 students, the sisters enjoy interacting with and teaching the children. The teacher who coordinates the program through the school has said, "[The] girls are role models for our children. They are inspired by [their] intelligence and want to be just like [them]!". Currently, the sorority is looking at ways to expand the Math Olympiad program to include a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum.

Leadership

The Zeta Phi chapter is composed of friendly, ambitious, and talented women. Individually, the sisters boast incredible personal accomplishments, including academic, athletic, and philanthropic endeavors. They are driven leaders, scholars, and contributors in the classrooms and community. Alpha Phi-Zeta Phi sisters look to bring out the best in themselves and each other.

Alpha Phi's can be found all over campus and in the community, as they are involved with over 70 clubs and activities on campus — as executive members for a majority of these activities. Alpha Phi's are very active with research at MIT, whether UROPing during the semester or over the summer; over 60 percent of Alpha Phi participates in research. Additionally, Alpha Phi's are on 13 of MIT's 14 varsity women's athletics programs, with 8 current captains across many sports. Sisters are encouraged to find new opportunities on campus and to drive themselves to succeed in whatever they do.

Besides being recognized by Alpha Phi internationally and regionally as an outstanding chapter in all areas, Zeta Phi sisters boast individual accolades. In the past year, sisters have won grants for student service projects, MIT's IDEAS competition, the Burchard Scholarships, and been named Rhodes and Truman Scholarship finalists, to name a few acheivements. From numerous members of the month at the gym to 12 student-athlete awards to track All-Americans, Alpha Phi sisters are known to perform well athletically. These accomplishments in a variety of areas are a testament to their well-rounded nature and ability to challenge themselves and succeed in whatever they set out to do.

Alumni

Alpha Phi's 700+ alumnae compose the largest alumnae network of any MIT sorority. While some alumnae act as mentors to current sisters, others volunteer time as members of the House Corporation Board and actively help to upkeep and improve our house.

There are various events and opportunities to meet and interact with alumnae throughout the year. During philanthropy events or even just times when they are in town, alumnae visit the house for dinner and networking opportunities. Every spring, Alpha Phi hosts a weekend-long reunion for all alumnae. Alumnae are kept updated via newsletters highlighting current sisters' community service, sports achievements, and summer or IAP accomplishments every semester.

Joining Alpha Phi

Recruitment at MIT is held at the end of orientation before classes start. MIT has six sororities, all of which attract girls every year and continue to grow. MIT is also a Panhellenic school, meaning that recruitment is a carefully structured process. A girl must look at all six sororities before ultimately choosing one at the end of the recruitment period. For this reason, it is important that all girls interested in recruitment sign up through the Panhel site. Going Greek in general is often a difficult decision for girls, since they might not know much about Greek life. Over half of freshman girls last year decided to go through recruitment. The benefits of going Greek are endless: most sororities at MIT offer living options off campus, providing a close-knit group of friends and a personalized living environment. Getting to know upperclassmen through a Greek organization also has social and academic benefits — mixers help introduce Greek groups to each other, and upperclassmen can often help younger students through classes they have already taken. In fact, the overall Greek grade point average is a 4.3 on a scale of 5, compared to the non-Greek average of 3.9. For more information on Recruitment, visit MIT Panhellenic's website, panhel.mit.edu.

Social Events

With such a rigorous course load, it is easy to become completely submerged in academics. It is incredibly important to find the balance between social life and studying. Alpha Phi hosts 3 largely anticipated social events each year as well as various mixers with fraternities and sororities. The group tries to have events every two to three weeks to make sure sisters have a break from the intense academic atmosphere of MIT.

Winter Semi (Silver Semi)

Winter Semi-Formal celebrates the end of the first semester of each year. It is traditionally held on the last day of classes of the semester. Sisters and their dates get dressed up to have a night of fun before finals begin. In the past, this event has been held in places such as the Hyatt and Improv Asylum comedy club.


Mister for your Sister

Mister for your Sister is a blind date event held in the middle of the spring semester. Sisters set each other up with dates and then attend a dinner with their new member class. Everyone meets at the Alpha Phi house before dinner to find their respective dates. People are creatively matched up using things like song lyrics, sports teams, or famous couples. After everyone has found their date, each new member class departs for their dinner at various classy restaurants in the Boston area. In the past, sisters have dined at Charley's on Newbury, Boston Beer Works, Bertucci's, and Island Hopper.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux is Alpha Phi's most anticipated social event of the year. This event celebrates not only the end of the semester and of the academic year, but also honors our seniors and all the contributions they have made to Alpha Phi throughout their time at MIT. Sisters and their dates dress in fancy attire to dance the night away in some of Boston's coolest and classiest clubs and lounges. In the past, Bordeaux has been held in places such as Ivy and the Estate. The night ends with a slide show dedicated to the seniors and the crowning of Alpha Phi's 'Bordeaux Beau' and 'Best to Wear.' The Bordeaux Beau is the boy that has been most helpful to the sisters and positively represents Alpha Phi throughout the year. The Best to Wear is the sister who think best exemplifies the ideals of Alpha Phi and who the chapter is most proud to see wearing the APhi letters. All in all, Bordeaux is the biggest — and definitely the most exciting — social event of the year.

Mixers

In between these three main events, Alpha Phi holds various mixers with fraternities and sororities on campus. Mixer activities range from watching popular TV shows to community service events to barbecues and bowling. Alpha Phi tries to vary the activities and brainstorm new and innovative ideas. Future plans including ice skating at Frog Pond with different fraternities.

Internal Events

In addition to this variety of external events, Alpha Phi holds many activities throughout the year to bring the chapter closer together. The largest internal event is the annual chapter retreat, held in the fall to celebrate the new member class and kick off the school year. Past retreats have taken Alpha Phi all over the state, from apple picking in Western Massachusetts to throwing a sleepover in a local hotel. In 2010, the chapter explored Georges Island — one of the Boston Harbor Islands — to enjoy a barbecue, bonding events, and relaxing with all of the sisters. Other internal events include a variety of study breaks and get-togethers, both at the house and on campus. Events during the 2010-2011 academic year included everything from taste-testing a bunch of cakes at the house to getting together to paint nails before Bordeaux.

Academics

The sisters of Alpha Phi, Zeta Phi Chapter are committed to academic endeavors. Alpha Phi girls represent nearly all of MIT's 21 Courses and are tomorrow's engineers, scientists, and world leaders. The chapter is proud of its sisters' accomplishments inside the classroom and the opportunities they receive due to their commitment to excellence. Summers lead APhi girls all over the world, from helping a community in Tanzania to working in the defense industry on the West Coast to interning in research labs in Paris. With the house open to sisters in the summer, girls who stay in Boston interning with great firms or working in labs at various hospitals can enjoy the great location year round.

The house features many common areas available for group coursework including the parlor, chapter room, dining room, TV/ living room, and pink room lounge. For quiet work, the sisters use the house study, which features beautiful woodwork, long tables, its own library collection, and a technology center with five Macintosh and PC computers, three printers, and a scanner. The house has access to the MIT Wi-Fi and network, so psetting and working at the house is simple.

At Alpha Phi, sisters are always ready to offer a helping hand. Sisters teach review sessions before tests, organize regular dinners with professors, honor academics in an annual Scholarship Banquet, and continue to contribute to the chapter's extensive collection of past years' school coursework. Being the oldest sorority on campus gives Alpha Phi great connections to the largest sorority network of alumnae on campus.

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