The sisters of Theta Phi Alpha

“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring”


Submitted by: Theta Phi Alpha

Theta Phi Alpha on Bid Day 2019.

Katie Harrigan

For years, sorority life has given young women an experience that they will always cherish. Sisters of Theta Phi Alpha have enjoyed lasting friendships, guiding values and the opportunity to serve others for the good of their community. 

According to the AU website, Theta Phi Alpha was founded in 1912 at the University of Michigan. They now have over 100 chapters across the United States.

President of Theta Phi Alpha, Kimberly Gayhardt, said she was initially drawn to this chapter due to the range of different women and their acceptance for others.

The girls in TPA are diverse in their looks, majors, and beliefs…I felt TPA was different because not only was I encouraged to be myself, I was appreciated for my personality. The girls loved me for me,” Gayhardt said.

Theta Phi Alpha embraces all people and upholds six primary values including justice, wisdom, loyalty, faith, truth and honor.

“Theta Phi Alpha had a very genuine and authentic atmosphere, and I felt a sense of comfort whenever I entered the room. I think that is when I knew I wanted to be part of TPA,” vice president Jillian Chylinski said.

Theta Phi Alpha is unique from other sororities as they have three different philanthropies aiming to end homelessness. They include Camp Friendship, Glenmary Home Missioners and The House that Theta Phi Alpha Built. 

 Camp Friendship is a two-week program in Mississippi that serves children from underprivileged homes.

These kids develop teamwork skills, create new friendships and promote a sense of self-worth. TPA helps Camp Friendship through financial donations, supplies and volunteering at the camp…Last year we were able to raise over $10,000,” Gayhardt said.

Glenmary Home Missionaries is a Catholic organization that helps those in need residing in rural parts of the world.

“Through spiritual healing and material donations, they are able to help distribute food, clothing, and books to needy persons, and assist in providing medical care, job training and tutoring. Theta Phi helps Glenmary through financial and material donations,” Gayhardt said.

Through the House that Theta Phi Alpha Built, members of this chapter participate in several tasks to combat homelessness.

“The House That Theta Phi Alpha Built is one of the reasons I fell in love with TPA’s philanthropy,” Gayhardt said. “every chapter across the nation is able to cater towards the homelessness in their community or surrounding area. Chapters do this through volunteering at soup kitchens, shelters, clothing drives, food drives, and more.” 

Chylinkski said all these organizations “help underprivileged individuals get their feet on the ground and live their lives to the fullest potential.”

Sisters of Theta Phi Alpha learn more about becoming leaders in their chapter at EGLS 2020. (Submitted by: Theta Phi Alpha)

Theta Phi Alpha holds many events throughout the year to support their philanthropies such as ‘Hope for the Homeless Week’ and the annual Sapphire Ball.

 ‘Hope for the Homeless Week’ takes place in the fall and focuses on a different charity every day.

Gayhardt said within the past year, Theta Phi Alpha has been able to donate to Camp Friendship, The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, True Colors United, Safe Haven and Ashland Salvation Army Kroc Center.

“We love Hope for the Homeless Week because it is an opportunity for us to donate to our local organizations and see the impact directly in our community,” Gayhardt said.

Chylinski said the Sapphire Ball is an occasion where a dinner, silent auction and several raffles take place to raise funds for Theta Phi Alpha philanthropies.

Although COVID-19 has prevented FSL from holding in-person events, they are still finding creative ways to be active.

“Coronavirus has definitely put a damper on our events, but we have been able to have these events virtually through an online donation website called “Crowd Change,” Chylinski said. 

Even in the middle of a pandemic, sisters of Theta Phi Alpha remain optimistic and continue working hard by following their motto, ‘Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.’

 Chylinski said it can be easy to lose hope in these trying times, but this motto keeps her motivated to reach her goals.

“No matter what age you are, this motto is relevant to you. In order to get to your end goal, you must go through a series of trials and tribulations,” Chylinski said.

Gayhardt expressed that the beliefs Theta Phi Alpha stands for pushes her to persevere no matter what.

Theta Phi Alpha welcomes sisters home on Bid Day 2020. (Submitted by: Theta Phi Alpha)

“You will come across hardships but it is worth it in the grand scheme of things,” Gayhardt said. “It will be hard and you may question if it is worth it, but the amount of energy you will put into it will show through in the final product.”