Council Connections – February 2017
By National Vice President Erika McManus Bukva, Delta Rho (Chowan University)
There’s a lot I admire about Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler’s character on the TV show Parks and Recreation. (Don’t worry, I admire a lot of real women too!) Leslie is a professional public servant for her local government, like me, and she has a passion for some decidedly mundane projects. Her enthusiasm, leadership, and tenacity never fail to inspire those around her, no matter what big audacious goal she has in mind. But I most admire her extravagant commitment to her female friendships. Having Leslie as a friend means having a cheerleader and life coach always fiercely encouraging you to be your best. You could say that she wants her friends to excel in life.
While this month will see a lot of hearts and flowers as we celebrate romantic relationships, Leslie also takes the opportunity for “ladies celebrating ladies” on Galentines Day – February 13. This is when she goes all out to show her friends how awesome they are and how much they mean to her. Leslie understands that as women, our female friendships are important for wellness and that these relationships should be one of our main priorities.
Research has shown that the female instinct to “tend and befriend” in times of stress, instead of “fight or flight,” makes us healthier and more resilient. Literally, our girlfriends can add years to our lives. As lifelong members of Alpha Sigma Tau, we can all attest to the positive impact that these relationships have had on our lives.
Sixteen years have passed since I joined the Sorority. I have an ongoing group chat with five of my Chapter Sisters, where we can keep in touch daily. We commit to getting together twice a year, although we all have busy careers, families, educational goals, and service interests. We work hard to make one another a priority. We’ve had some joyful reunions, silly nights where we are crying from laughing so hard, wedding day meltdowns, misunderstandings, and been separated by continents on multiple occasions! There have also been times where we all had to drop everything and go to a Sister in crisis. We have assembled furniture, cooked meals, and rocked babies for each other. We call ourselves the EverlASTing Girls!
My Chapter Sisters and I have grown and changed so much as women since we met in college. Yet we have grown and changed together, with an appreciation for each other’s different paths and passions. My admiration and love for them fills my heart. The close relationships we forged as young adults, through the excitement and uncertainty of that period of our lives, cemented the bond of friendship to be a lifelong source of love and support. These friendships are different from those from childhood, the workplace, the parents of my childrens’ classmates, and even other AΣT alumnae relationships.
These lifelong relationships are just one of the ways we are connected because of the Alpha Sigma Tau experience . We are defined by our core values which include building and maintaining meaningful, sincere, and lasting relationships with one another. This month, as you celebrate the connections that are most important to you, reflect on the incredible women that the Sorority has brought into your life. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been in touch – and even if it hasn’t been – reach out and remind your Sisters how much you appreciate and admire them, Give thanks to Alpha Sigma Tau for the gift of lifelong Sisterhood!