Always Phi Mu: The Senior Experience
Rachel Herring, Phi Mu Fraternity
Phi Mu Fraternity has developed an innovative new program, The Senior Experience, as an alternative participation option for college seniors. Coupled with Phi Mu’s “Always Phi Mu” Web site, The Senior Experience serves as a resource for emerging alumnae as they prepare for life after college, and for those who have recently entered the post-graduate world.
The program began when Phi Mu’s National Council noticed that senior members were losing interest and becoming less involved in their chapters. Andie Burchett Kash, Phi Mu’s Vice President of Communication and Extension said, “We recognized that as seniors prepare to enter the job force or pursue continuing education, they have different programming needs from our younger chapter members.”
The Senior Experience is designed to engage Phi Mu seniors by providing skills and resources needed to become productive and successful members of their chapter and their community after graduation. Women participating in The Senior Experience are expected to attend all chapter ritual events, their chapter’s monthly formal business meeting, and one senior experience meeting per month. They are encouraged and welcome to attend other chapter events, but attendance is not required. Each senior class elects a senior coordinator to facilitate the monthly senior experience meeting. The coordinator, however, does not take on full responsibility for planning the entire program. The meetings are planned by the senior class and can be tailored to their specific needs and interests. Meetings often focus on topics such as career goals, living on your own, relationships after college, and sisterhood.
“We want seniors to realize that going to Phi Mu meetings can still be fun and worthwhile,” said Kash. “We don’t want to waste their time.” Should the women want guidance in planning their program, Phi Mu has a resource manual which includes an outline of suggested meeting topics and formats, as well as various team building and facilitation tips.
On the “Always Phi Mu” Web site (www.alwaysphimu.org
), seniors can find additional meeting resource tools about careers, personal finance, work/life balance, social graces, and alumnae involvement. The “Always Phi Mu” Web site also serves as a networking resource for all Phi Mu alumnae. Each month, a Phi Mu thought leader contributes insight and advice on her area of expertise. Readers have the chance to network with the author as well as join related online groups to connect with women in the same career field or with the same interests. Recent topics on “Always Phi Mu” include an article on letting the Phi Mu Creed guide your actions at work by Jolisa Jones-Corey, Director of Human Resources for Fox, and an article on staying involved with Phi Mu after graduation by Toni Rhodes Leeth, President of the Phi Mu Twin Cities Alumnae Chapter.
“We believe The Senior Experience and ‘Always Phi Mu’ can really make a difference to our seniors and our young alumnae,” said Kash. “Phi Mu is a lifelong resource for our members. We hope by helping our collegians transition into their alumnae experience we reinforce the idea of staying involved and connected to their sorority as alumnae.”