Hi folks, my name is Taylor Outler and I’m gonna give you some Hivelights today. 

So you may be wondering what are Hivelights. 

So recently, about a year ago, OPA decided to take a new approach with engaging with our active chapters and part of that was the creation of the chapter health team. So it’s a transition from chapter support to chapter health to make sure we are constantly in a state of maintaining healthy chapters, which us at Chapter Health call Hives, we’re trying to make sure that all of our hives are filled with wonderful busy bees that are constantly thriving and have the support they need to create and implement wonderful opportunities for all of their members. So since this is new, we wanna make sure that we’re also being transparent with all of you, our alumni, our other actives that are maybe wondering how we’re engaging with other chapters since this role is so new.

So we’ve decided to do some Hivelights. 

So let’s back up a little bit. Let’s talk about what is new with Chapter Health. So we have our chapter health specialist. It started out with two, myself and Stormy Scott and now there are three, Stormy Scott is still one of our chapter health specialists and we’ve added on April Carroll and Jenna Zielinski, all three of which you’ll hear from as well to give some highlights about their chapters and the amazing work that they’ve done. So there’s them and they work closely with our endangered chapters and chapters who are at risk of being endangered. So they might just need a little extra support that’s more intensive so they have someone that they can immediately work with, can improve some of the processes and operating procedures that they have or they just need someone to be there, be intense, give them support, give them encouragement, and so that’s what they’re there for.

On the other side of Chapter Health, you have the chapter health manager, which is me. Hello! I work with all of our chapters to make sure that they’re maintaining healthy status. So for all of our chapters, they might have a little hiccup in the road, they also just might need additional support, they might need some motivation themselves. And that’s what I’m here for. I provide a lot of different things, which I’ll cover throughout this video to talk a little bit more about what I actually do for them because it’s super important and it’s something that needs to be highlighted. 

So that’s chapter health and then this is the intro for our little highlight special and you’re gonna get to hear from all of us today.

April Carroll

Hi sisters and siblings. My name is April Carroll, I’m a chapter health specialist and I’m here to give you a chapter health specialist update from me. 

I have three chapters currently, Alpha Theta at Penn State University, Alpha Gamma at Oklahoma State University and Nu, which is at Georgia Tech. So those are my three chapters. They’re all very diverse and unique in their own sense and so I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to meet all of them at convention this past July and it was amazing being able to meet so many sisters at convention number one, but number two sisters that I would be working with throughout the rest of this year and potentially into next year. And I am so excited that that is the way that we got to kick off our time together. 

In September I was able to fly to State College to see Alpha Theta in person and to help lead them through an executive board retreat.And to see the growth just in one day and one weekend was really, really amazing and I’m so grateful and blessed to be able to do this on the side. And I just love this experience so much. 

In terms of Alpha Gamma, I have had the fantastic opportunity of getting to know Alpha Gamma very, very well this past year or these past few months and just to help them get their chapter going again, their chapter,healthy again and we are so excited at the progress that they are making down there at Oklahoma State. 

Same thing with Nu. I’ve been grateful to get to know the sisters at Georgia Tech to get to know them and their personalities and everything. Abby, the president is doing fantastic work down there.

So I’m so excited to see what all three of my chapters Nu, Alpha Gamma and Alpha Theta get the opportunity to do this year and to see them grow and succeed and really crush their service and recruitment goals, which they’re already doing. I am just so honored to be a chapter health specialist and I am so excited to continue to work with these chapters this semester and next semester and just so blessed to be a part of the best sisterhood in the country, which is Omega Phi Alpha.

Jenna Zielinski

Hi everyone, my name is Jenna Zielinski and I’m an alum of the Omega chapter. 

I recently joined the chapter health team as a chapter health specialist where we support healthy chapters or hives as we like to call them. So I’m gonna go into a little bit about what I’ve been working on with my chapters this semester so far. 

First is Alpha Xi. They are very on top of communication, emails, and forms. I hardly have to remind them or ask twice for something and when I check OPAportal, everything is on there already. They also do an excellent job of utilizing OPAportal in all of its features. They utilize the calendar for events and it really helps them with being organized and with overall accountability. 

My other chapter is Alpha Delta. They just had an amazing recruitment where they doubled their chapter size with their new member class. They tabled constantly and they were handing things out to get the word out about Omega Phi Alpha on their campus. Their events were also really service centered, which I think was why they were so successful. I also had a semester kickoff retreat with them. At this retreat we went through different workshops and presentations that different members of the national team have done in the past. We revised their constitution, we talked about different commitments we can make for meetings and events and just worked on improving overall processes in their chapter. I thought it was a really productive day. We got a lot done that’s gonna help them grow and become stronger and all of the members found it really valuable, the information we talked about and they were really excited to implement changes with both of my chapters. 

I’ve helped my chapters create executive board and officer contracts as another tool of accountability. I utilized the template that was previously created by the chapter health team and I used each chapter’s chapter, assistance plan, their constitution and bylaws, role-specific information and goals to create this contract. They both really enjoyed the idea of it and they plan on using it in the future with Officer Transitions. I also created a recruitment training worksheet. This worksheet provides information that I have covered in different presentations and workshops that I have done for the national organization. It’s kind of all in one place on this little cheat sheet that membership directors can use with their active members for training. And that way active members have something that they can refer back to. It goes over a conversation guide as well as just best practices, tips and tactics for an overall successful recruitment. 

Now that we are winding down on recruitment though, I helped the chapter health team create a recruitment recap, review worksheet. The chapter health team is planning on meeting with each chapter to talk about each chapter’s recruitment, how it went and start planning for next semester. It’ll be a good time to reflect and discuss. 

Finally, September was suicide awareness month. So I sent out an email to my chapters just reminding them that it’s okay not to be okay, that they can reach out to their fellow members and myself for any support. I provided them with different resources as well as a guide for action. 

Well, that’s it for my highlights. I’m really excited to see what my chapters are going to continue to do this semester and beyond.

Stormy Scott

Hi, my name is Stormy Scott and I am a chapter health specialist with the chapter health team. And I currently have the pleasure of working with the Mu, Tau, and Gamma chapters that are filled with rich tradition and it is wonderful to work with them and see them grow and blossom as leaders. 

Today I’m just gonna give you a little snippet of what I do as a chapter health specialist and in particular what I’ve done currently this semester with my chapters. 

First things first, all of these chapters have been placed on a chapter assistance plan and this is a very detailed plan that nationals creates with very specific goals for each of the chapters to achieve by the end of the semester. And so as the semester goes on, I work with each of the chapters and make sure that they are completing their chapter assistance plan.

By the end of the semester they get monthly reports listing what has been completed and what hasn’t. And this has been a very big helpful tool for them because it kind of gives them a track and accountability to what is expected of them as a chapter. This semester I created a recruitment checklist for all of my chapters to use and it is over a three-month span. That way the chapters are not scrambling at the last minute to plan recruitment and it allows them a lot more time and thought to go into the recruitment process. All of the chapters have used this and it has been really, really successful this year. So I’m excited for them to continue to use it next semester for winter. 

I’ve also, for all of my chapters, added the national due dates and reminders into the Google Calendar for them and invite the officers to those events on the Google Calendar. That way they’re getting constant reminders, reminders and notifications of when the due dates for national deadlines are. 

I have also created a founder’s day checklist for these chapters to use because a lot of them are hit hitting really big birthdays and so you know how else are they know how to celebrate and a lot of that for them it’s their first big Founder’s Day celebration and they don’t know where to start. So this Founder’s Day checklist has kind of helped give them some like a guideline of what to do to plan the events and how to space it out in a timely fashion, not only for them at to plan it, but also for them to let alum know about it. 

I also have all of my chapter treasurers pulling their bank statements on a monthly basis and filling out their annual financial reports on a monthly basis, which has been a huge helpful tool because now all of these chapters are very, very aware of the amount that they are spending and what is in their bank account and being more open and honest with the chapter on what the spending limits are and being firm on those spending limits.

And it’s wonderful to see that happening. In particular with each chapter I have been working on particular items that they need assistance with. 

For example, with Mu we’ve been doing a lot of conflict resolution workshops. We currently have been using mediation in a box, which they love it so much that they’re gonna buy the game. So in the future when they have to do mediation in a box, they get to play the game with Gamma Chapter. During their executive board retreat, they worked on setting boundaries and expectations workshop, which is really helpful for the officers because yes, as officers you’re always usually on call, but knowing when to set boundaries and having healthy boundaries like not getting phone calls at midnight, that’s totally understandable. And having that communication I think really helped them as officers respect each other’s time and make it more effective during that time period when they have to meet.

With Tau, we are currently working on time management, not only as individual members of the Tau chapter, but also of Tau chapter’s time management and trying to be a little more proactive with planning events and spacing things out so that it’s not colliding with the beginning of school or midterms or finals because all of those things are important and they have to have time to study. But if you plan your events around those times, it makes it difficult. 

So that is a little snippet of what I do as a chapter health specialist and what I have done this semester with Tau, Mu and Gamma Chapters. Thank you.

Taylor Outler

Now let’s talk a little bit about my role. 

So as you all know, the chapter health manager is a new role that started this year. So I wanna tell you a little bit about what I do, what I’ve started in this role and how it really connects to the overall envisionment of chapter health. 

Anonymous Feedback Form

So to start, let’s talk a little bit about the anonymous feedback form. So on OPAportal for all of our active members, we now have an anonymous feedback form and it holds two purposes. 

One, to make sure that if something is happening within the chapter and they feel like they don’t know who to go to, they have that form. So then it’s a red flag for us as a chapter health team to then reach out and figure out what’s going on. And if it is anonymous and they don’t want us to contact them, we can then contact the exec board to then get a little bit more information about maybe what’s going on and help put out any fires that might be happening behind the scenes.

Two, it actually serves as a way for us to get feedback on the chapter health team to make sure that we’re constantly engaging with our chapters the way they would prefer and if they have feedback for us that we’re actually taking it, absorbing it, and getting better over time as we’re trying to engage with them and make their chapters sustainable. 

Officer Report Form

I also want to highlight our officer report form. This looks a little different. It’s now for all of our officers on exec board from one form and it’s tailored for each of their positions. So for example, our vice president, they might have questions relating to chapter standards board, while our membership directors might have questions relating to recruitment and then to the new members’ experience getting their education and the whole process with that. So that goes live the 15th of every month so that they’re able to give us an update on what’s happening.

This includes all chapters, so whether endangered or not everyone is expected to do this monthly report. Next let’s talk a little bit about the monthly workshops for chapters. 

Healthy Hives

So we started a new monthly lesson and the bulk of it is called Healthy Hives, A Guide to Building Strong Chapters. So in chapter Health we like to call all of the chapters hives because we want them to be filled with honey and sweetness and they’re gonna be busy bees that are really out here changing the world. And so to do that they need to be healthy hives. 

So these workshops are monthly lessons and each one has a different theme that’s tailored to the needs that we’re really seeing that active chapters might need. So for example, for August the theme was a successful semester toolkit. This made sure to prepare them everything they needed to start their semester off right.

So for example, in the presentation talking about how they can utilize strategies of project management to really get ahead and prep for the semester coming. And then also we highlight the monthly lesson. 

We also pin some forms documents that we think will be really, really helpful for them as they’re trying to get in this mindset. So for example, for August we pinned the exec board retreat planning guide that I created so that all of our chapters know the proper way to have an exec board retreat, what can be included and our suggested layout of that event. We also included managing expectations presentations. As everyone knows it can be a little challenging balancing being a leader, a sister and a student. So how can you manage those expectations? We included a presentation so hopefully make it a little bit easier for them, whereas in October, the monthly lesson was keys to Success Active Alumni Engagement.

So if you’re an active watching this, we got a lot of feedback that you guys really weren’t certain of how to engage with alumni or even where to start. So this was really helpful for you and if you’re on alumni watching, we got a lot of feedback that your active chapters weren’t reaching out to you. We dug a little deeper, we found out they really weren’t certain how and so they didn’t. And so we wanted to bridge this gap and to do that we focused on it in a monthly lesson. So in this video I did more of a laid back approach. We had an actual Tea Time with Taylor’s session and gave them some advice on how to engage with actives and alumni, that engagement and what it can look like and also encourage them to take the first step and to reach out to all of their alumni.

And then we also pinned a lot of documents that we thought were super helpful. So for example, I created a Founder’s day celebration guide. It really gives them some concrete examples of what they can do and for how grand of a scale. So if it’s a one-year founder’s day, if it’s a 10, a 25 what they can do and how that varies is all listed in that document. So it’s super helpful and will allow for them to really plan a great Founder’s Day event. We also pinned an alumni engagement guide that I created. So then it allows for them to know and have some concrete examples of how to engage with alumni since that can be really scary when you’re trying to take that first step. And it focuses in on our pillars. So how can we engage with our alumni service-wise through leadership and then through friendship and sisterhood.

Finding Lost Alumni

Next let’s talk about finding our lost alumni service project guide. This was a collaborative effort with Alexa Forbes, our national service director and Alyssa Bernhardt, our managing director. They created this project guide that active chapters can use to for their members of the sorority project and try and get that contact information for some of the alumni who have graduated and lost touch. That way we can make sure we are constantly and forever in connection with our sisters. So it’s a really great project not only for the chapter but also for us at a national organization. 

We want to always be connected to you all so we can connect you with any opportunities, make sure you’re okay, and also be there for you. 

National Team Guide

This is something that we updated to make sure it really reflected all of the new positions, the shaping of how it goes, everyone’s contact information, and also any expertise that they have so that if any active chapter would like to request a presentation from us, they already know who they’re requesting from, makes it a little bit easier for them and they know what we can do.

So it really helps connect us and builds a little bridge. 

What’s New in HQ?

Lastly, I want to highlight “What’s new in HQ”.

So this is a monthly newsletter that I started to send out to all of our exec boards for all of our active chapters. So I’m gonna share my screen and I’m going to show you two of the What’s new in HQ videos. 

First I’m gonna show you August. So as you can see, this one starts with our Healthy Hives Guide to building strong chapters. It always is gonna start with a monthly lesson and then it goes then and it highlights important things for them to know for the month. 

So Officer Leadership Academy, if you didn’t know, I’ll talk a little bit about this as well, but we had our first programming event titled Officer Leadership Academy that really focused on giving specific training to all of our officers.

Part of that was we needed them to come so we promoted it really heavily to get them to register and to attend the event. 

Monthly Reports

Next, just reminder of the monthly chapter reports, how they do the 15th of each month. If you’re active watching this, don’t forget. We also highlighted about the payment plan for dues in Golden Chevron, our anonymous feedback form if folks need social media guidance, reminding them of merchandising best practices announcements on OPAportal, I post those the first of each month as well as send out this newsletter just to constantly remind them of what’s upcoming and what’s important to be on their radar.

Tea time with Taylor

So Tea Time with Taylor is actually my office hours. I hold them weekly. They take place every Tuesday, five to 8:00 PM and it’s just built in time that if chapters need to meet with me, they know they can, they can set up an appointment on my calendar link.

We also promoted the recruitment assistant application and then also if they were interested in planning for 2024 conventions since we were hot off of 2022 convention and we just got back and they were excited and eager, we wanted to also highlight them. And then every month we also show key dates for that semester. So this is always sent out to them as well. Next I would love to show you the October one, the most recent one and show what’s been put on there, the monthly lesson. Yeah, so let’s dive into that one. So this one, as you can see festive, I love Halloween. So this one due dates for October for the monthly lesson keys to success, active alumni engagement as I mentioned. 

As I mentioned we did chapter recruitment check-ins, so we’re doing those now.

We wanted to give them a heads up about hosting accessible events. OPA 101, how that’s been updated. 

New chapter induction

We’re trying to really encourage and promote for our active chapters to really support and wrap their arms around our new chapters that are coming in, which is so exciting. And so we wanna encourage them to attend to maybe purchase items off of their wish list to send them letters to make them feel welcome and loved as they’re coming into this OPA family. 

We talked about chapter gifts. So that is something that we also are doing this semester. We’re getting each chapter that signs up a chapter gift. And so it’s things that are practical usage that they can utilize to build and grow their chapter. So having things such as a cool wagon that they can utilize whenever having to lug around a lot of recruitment things or service things. I know everyone remembers having to carry a ton of heavy things across campus for recruitment or for a really big service event. So that’s something super practical that everyone can utilize. 

We also did some banners if they wanted that. OPA flags, if they just needed like more things like for Bid Day for example, to really make people excited to be there, that was something that could be utilized if they need big wooden letters. That was also something since we know some chapters don’t have those. And so all of those were just some of the gifts that chapters could get. 

Planning Guides

Next we can focus in on the planning guides. So this is actually something that is a really big part of my role. So I create planning guides for events and then also anything that might be needed. So as I mentioned earlier with the monthly lessons for those, I create those guides.

And then also for any specific events, like the founders day one that I mentioned, but also the formal planning guide I created and the bid day planning guide. I’m still in the process of creating even more each month I do more just so it’s easier for actives to be actives and students. It can be really difficult, especially with COVID. They did not have the same framework that a lot of us did. It’s different when you’re just reading something that’s in a how to document and it’s like, okay, that’s totally fine compared to in past years when you’re reading it. But then the past officer was right there in chapter with you and you can go to them in person and get that kind of support that has been lost. So having these planning guides is super, super helpful to really rebuilding that back up and giving them a really good foundation to start from.

And then important reminders, always encouraging them to join the slack. If you’re an active member and you’re watching this and you’re not on the Slack, join now. Thank you. The monthly chapter reports, payment plans, anonymous feedback form, all of these great things.

So this is the What’s new in HQ. These go out on the first step every month and it’s really a tool for them so that they know what is going on. 

So this is some of the things that I’ve started in my role. And I hope to continue and keep blossoming out as I try and make it easier for actives to be a part of this organization to learn from each other, to have fun and to find their forever people. So yeah, that’s my role as chapter health manager.

Recruitment & Membership

Let’s talk recruitment and membership as a whole. 

So within Chapter Health we have the role of deciding our recruitment goals for each individual chapter. We base this on a 15% increase of membership. This is strategic goal set by the sorority. When we’re thinking about recruiting as a whole, this is something that we’re consistently engaging with. 

So for example, this past semester for a 15% increase from our last recruiting period, we would’ve needed 408 new members. We got 444. So we exceeded the goal, which is amazing. 

Our active chapters are phenomenal and that also includes some of our expansions groups. So a huge shout out to them and expansions for providing them with the materials that they need to have a successful recruitment. We also had a featured monthly lesson, which is something that I plan to highlight a little bit more later.

Something that I started to highlight with recruitment is we had a monthly lesson on recruiting and maintaining your members. Within that I created a presentation and had a video that I recorded and created a module on OPAportal that talks to the active chapters about great strategies in regard to recruiting, ways to prepare your chapter for recruiting. And then also how to have a really fun and engaging recruitment that makes sure members want to come back. And so that was also part of our recruiting strategy in regard to making sure chapters have all the items they need to be successful. 

Partnered with this, we also found and dug up some old guides and things like that that could also be helpful, updated them, included them as well. And then we also dug a bit deeper into the big and little interaction to provide some context and some suggestions with that as well.

Partnered with this, we sent the goal to each chapter to make sure we hit our number. We also are currently in the process of doing some recruitment recap, reach outs. So myself and the chapter health specialists were reaching out to every active chapter to do a quick little check in with them, to ask them questions about how they felt recruitment went, what went right, what went wrong, how was your active attendance at recruitment, was there anything you would do differently? Did you meet your recruitment goal? If not, why not? So questions like that. So we’re able to really get them to critically think about the recruitment process and also give a little plug for them to go ahead and start thinking about recruiting. 

So after that, we just make sure to track those goals and that’s something we’re going to continuously be looking at within Chapter Health to make sure that we can increase over time. So those are the big things for recruitment. Stay tuned to hear a little bit more.

In Conclusion…

So now you know all of the tea from Chapter Health over here. We are building healthy hives, we are creating new planning guides. We are making sure they know what’s new in HQ and we are making sure they are thriving. So we hope this was super helpful for you to be able to get some insight into what’s up with the new chapter health program, what are they up to, and how are we engaging with our chapters. 

So if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at chapterhealth@omegaphialpha.org and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have. 

Also, if you have any ideas or you wanna get engaged with the national organization, please let this be your reason why. And I hope to also have you email me if you have any questions, want to be engaged and are thinking about how we are here. Not only the actives, but also for alums. You’re still a chapter at heart. So we hope you enjoyed this and have a great one.