Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity (ΑΦ, also known as APhi) is an international sorority with 175 active chapters and over 270,000 initiated members.

Alpha Phi
FoundedOctober 10, 1872; 151 years ago (1872-10-10)[1]
Syracuse University, (Syracuse, New York)
ScopeNorth America
MottoUnion hand in hand
Colors  Bordeaux and
FlowerLily of the Valley, Forget-me-not
MascotPhi Bear
PublicationAlpha Phi Quarterly
PhilanthropyAlpha Phi Foundation[2]
Members250,000+ lifetime
Headquarters1985 S. Josephine Street
Denver, CO 80210

Founded at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York on September 18, 1872,[4][5] it is the fourth Greek-letter organization founded for women, and the first women's fraternity founded in the northeast.

Alpha Phi is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference, the governing council of 26 women's fraternities.[6] Alpha Phi's international headquarters are located in Denver, Colorado.

History edit

At the time of the founding there were only 666 women attending Syracuse; ten of them eventually formed Alpha Phi to create an organization "on the principles of the promotion of growth in character; unity of feeling, sisterly affection, and social communion among the members."[7] Although the actual founding date is September 18, 1872, Alpha Phi has been celebrating their Founders Day on October 10 since 1902, since many colleges and universities were not open for classes in mid-September at that time. Alpha Phi considers itself a women's fraternity because its founding date predates the invention of the word "sorority".[8]

Four founders of Alpha Phi, reunited at a national convention in 1922: Clara Bradley Burdette, Jane Sara Higham, Louise Shepard Hancock, and Clara Sittser Williams.

Founders edit

Alpha Phi's founding members were:[9][10]

  • Martha Emily Foote Crow – Martha "Mattie" Foote Crow (1854 – January 1, 1924) was an educator and writer. Born in Sackets Harbor, New York,[11] she played an important role in the development of higher education for women in the United States.[12]
  • Rena A. Michaels Atchison – She served as a professor at several universities. She then served as Dean of Women's College, Northwestern University from 1886 to 1891.
  • Clara Bradley Baker Wheeler Burdette
  • Jane Sara Higham
  • Clara Sittser Williams
  • Florence Chidester Lukens
  • Ida Arabella Gilbert DeLamanter Houghton
  • Kate Elizabeth Hogoboom Gilbert
  • Louise Viola Shepard Hancock
  • Elizabeth Grace Hubbell Shults

Symbols edit

Like many other women's fraternities, Alpha Phi recognizes multiple types of symbols, with the Ivy Leaf as their primary symbol.

The fraternity's official colors are bordeaux and silver. The colors were originally blue and gold; however, these colors were similar to those of Delta Upsilon Fraternity so they were changed.

The official flowers are the Lily of the Valley and the Forget-me-not.

Alpha Phi lists its ideals as "Sisterhood, Generosity, Innovation, and Character."

Alpha Phi's public motto is "union hand in hand".[13]

Badge edit

The Alpha Phi badge is the Greek letter Alpha (Α) resting on the Greek letter Phi (Φ), engraved with the Greek acronym (Α.Ο.Ε.) . It can be customized in silver or gold and may be adorned with only white jewels - pearls or diamonds. Prior to the adoption of the current badge in 1906, "each member [of Alpha Phi] went to the jeweler of her choice to have her pin designed."[1] The Alpha Phi badge is worn by initiated members, as there is a separate badge for new members before their initiation.

Other forms of badges:

  • Honor Badge – These pins are worn by international officers, and presidents of college chapters while they are serving their terms as president.
  • New member Badge – "In 1898 the Fraternity adopted a special badge to honor her newest members. The badge they selected is in the shape of an ivy leaf, set in silver pewter. An ever-growing vine, the ivy symbolizes the growth of the Alpha Phi sisterhood."[1]
  • Fifty-Year Pin – "The first fifty-year pins, silver circles with red stones, were presented at the 42nd Convention in 1958 to several alumnae who had given significant service to the fraternity for 50 years or more. These pins are replicas of the pins presented to the six living founders at the Fraternity's Fiftieth Anniversary Convention in 1922."[1]

Chapters edit

Philanthropy edit

In 1956, Alpha Phi became one of the first women's fraternities to establish a Foundation.[14] Alpha Phi officially adopted Cardiac Care as its philanthropic priority in 1946, which then became the Foundation's focus, along with awarding academic scholarships, upon its founding in 1956. The Foundation supports Alpha Phi's leadership training and programming, awards need-based and merit-based scholarships, invests in the advancement of women's heart health, and preserves Alpha Phi's rich and expansive heritage.[15]

The Foundation most notable program is its Women's Heart Health Program and Heart to Heart to Grant, a $100,000 grant awarded to medical professionals to better understand heart disease in women—specifically its symptoms, treatment, and prevention.[16] Since its establishment in 1993, the Heart to Heart Grant has invested over $1.4 million in women's heart health initiatives.[17] Collegiate chapters, alumnae chapters and individual members can nominate a local heart project for the Heart to Heart Grant. Self-nominations are also accepted. The recipient is selected by a team of medical professionals and the Foundation Board of Directors.

Starting in the early 2000s, many collegiate chapters of Alpha Phi host a philanthropy event known as Red Dress Gala, which often includes a silent auction, guest speakers, and a full dinner for sisters, alumnae, and family. Traditionally, the collegiate members wear red dresses and pins to represent their support for Women's Heart Health. Individual Alpha Phi chapters are encouraged to develop a relationship with a local cardiac care project in their community as well as to promote awareness of women's heart disease.

In 2021, Alpha Phi Foundation announced their $38 million comprehensive endowment campaign, Leading With Heart, the largest known campaign of its kind in the National Panhellenic Conference space.[18]

Past recipients of the Heart to Heart Grant [17]

Note: Texas Heart Institute has been awarded the grant twice, in 2013 and 2017.

Notable members edit

Local chapter or member misconduct edit

In 2013, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev was terminated from the Theta Mu chapter at Hofstra University for abusive hazing. At the time, Kazantsev was serving the chapter as head of recruitment.[21] Kazantsev denied being abusive[22] and maintained that her not attending a sorority hearing of her case resulted in her termination.[23][24]

In 2015, the Beta Mu chapter at the University of Alabama took down a recruitment video that was heavily criticized for its lack of diversity and the provocative way in which collegiate women were portrayed.[25]

In October 2016, the Iota Delta chapter at the University of Rhode Island charter was revoked for at least four years. On bid day, the sorority was accused of endangering the health and safety of new members and violating the university's alcohol policy.[26]

In January 2018, Harley Barber, a member of the Beta Mu chapter at the University of Alabama was terminated from the sorority and expelled from the university after posting videos on social media in which she repeatedly used the n-word and other profanities to make degrading comments about African Americans.[27] The incident gained media coverage across the country. University President Stuart R. Bell, the University Panhellenic Association, and Linda Kahangi, executive director of Alpha Phi International Fraternity, released statements.[28]

In January 2018, three members of the Iota Iota chapter at the George Washington University were removed from the organization due to what was deemed a racist social media post. The incident prompted criticism from national and international news sources and the university's Student Association received petitions to remove the chapter from campus.[29]

In September 2018, a document by a former recruitment chair of the University of Michigan Alpha Phi chapter surfaced with descriptions of how the chapter's membership selection process was based on selecting for certain physical appearances and assigned numbers to these women based on the judgment of the recruitment chairs and representatives from their international headquarters. The exposé described that Alpha Phi supervisors ordered her to give the Potential New Members (PNMs) an "External Prescore" based on pictures from their social media profiles. Throughout the recruitment process, active members in the sorority were also ranked on superficial qualities and matched with "stronger" or "weaker" PNMs.[30]

In the fall of 2018, the Alpha Phi chapter at Old Dominion University was suspended for one year from March 22, 2019 through March 22, 2020 and subjected to an organization assessment and action plan for intimidation, use or possession of alcohol, furnishing or distributing alcohol, and violation of university policy.[31]

In February 2023, the Theta Mu chapter at Hofstra University was accused of body-shaming inductees. At an event they held, they only had size small t-shirts. This chapter had also had a reputation of "only allowing thin girls" into the sorority.[32]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d "". Archived from the original on March 18, 2007.
  2. ^ "Alpha Phi Foundationi".
  3. ^ "Who We Are - Learn More About Alpha Phi".
  4. ^ "Greek Info Pages: NPC Sororities". Archived from the original on July 11, 2012.
  5. ^ "Blogger".
  6. ^ "Our Member Organizations". National Panhellenic Conference. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  7. ^ "Alpha Phi Bylaws 2012". Indiana University - beINvolved. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  8. ^ William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), showing Alpha Phi chapters". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved December 30, 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  9. ^ ", About us: Founders". Archived from the original on May 19, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2006.
  10. ^ [The Ivy Leaf, Introduction to Alpha Phi: An Official Publication of Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc.]
  11. ^ KM. "Martha Foote Crow Papers: an inventory of her papers at Syracuse University". Syracuse University, May 1990.
  12. ^ Rossiter, Margaret W. "Doctorates for American Women, 1868–1907." History of Education Quarterly 22, no. 2 (Summer): 159-183.
  13. ^ "Alpha Phi First Fifty Years 1872-1922 Page 22". Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  14. ^ "Philanthropy and Service - How Alpha Phis Make a Difference". Alpha Phi. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  15. ^ "About Alpha Phi Foundation". Alpha Phi Foundation. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  16. ^ "Women's Heart Health". Alpha Phi Foundation. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Learn about the Heart to Heart Grant". Alpha Phi Foundation. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  18. ^ "Alpha Phi Foundation Reaches $33.6 Million Raised through the Leading With Heart Campaign". Alpha Phi Foundation. March 2, 2021. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  19. ^ "Events of Heat – Sharing Honest Thoughts". Archived from the original on July 4, 2008.
  20. ^ Ipsum, Lauren (December 14, 2018). "Home | WomenHeart".
  21. ^ Hutchinson, Bill. "Miss America engaged in 'dirty pledging' at Hofstra University sorority: report - NY Daily News". Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  22. ^ "Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev Denies Hazing Allegations". Good Morning America. December 24, 2023.
  23. ^ Lauren Steussy (September 23, 2014). "Miss America Kira Kazantsev faces allegations of hazing". Retrieved December 24, 2023.
  24. ^ Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev (September 23, 2014). "The Reality of Miss America". Archived from the original on September 25, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Bromwich, Jonah (August 18, 2015). "Sorority Video Generates Charges of Discrimination". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  26. ^ "URI revokes sorority's charter following alcohol violation".
  27. ^ "Harley Barber's mom says daughter is degrading herself, OK with punishment". Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  28. ^ Eltagouri, Marwa (January 17, 2018). "She recorded herself making racial slurs on MLK Day. Her college expelled her". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  29. ^ "Racially insensitive photo sparks outrage at George Washington University". USA TODAY. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  30. ^ Reporter, Elizabeth Lawrence Daily Staff (September 28, 2018). "Letter detailing Nationals-sanctioned superficial rush process causes unrest in U community". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  31. ^ "Chapter Standings - Alpha Phi". Old Dominion University. August 30, 2022. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  32. ^ Armstrong, Madeline (March 28, 2023). "Panhellenic Council investigating sorority for body-shaming". The Hofstra Chronicle. Retrieved March 28, 2023.

External links edit