Start A Chapter
Are you interested in starting a chapter of Theta Phi Alpha on your campus? Here is everything you need to know about the extension and colony process.
FAQ about extension
Q. What is extension?
Extension is the process and practice of establishing and evaluating the prospect of new chapters of Theta Phi Alpha on college and university campuses.
Q. How do we get extension "leads"?
There are several ways in which Theta Phi Alpha seeks out extension opportunities.
1. NPC Extension Bulletins - The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) Extension Committee periodically issues Extension Bulletins, which list campuses who have voted to invite one or more NPC groups to colonize on campus.
2. Contact (through NPC) from college/university officials - Colleges and universities who wish to add NPC sororities to their Greek system may send letters to each National headquarters. Most often, there are no NPC groups on the campus and the campus may have local sororities.
3. Theta Phi Alpha sisters transfer to another campus - Sisters who transfer to another campus to finish a degree often contact us to find out how they can establish a chapter on their new campus. The campus must be open for extension by the proper authority.
Q. What NPC Guidelines govern extension?
As a member of the National Panhellenic Conference, Theta Phi Alpha follows the same extension guidelines as the other 25 national sororities. There must be approval for a new sorority to establish on campus by the proper authority. If there are two or more NPC groups established on the campus, the proper authority is the College Panhellenic. If there is one or no NPC groups on the campus, the proper authority is a University Official. A local interest group or local sorority must receive the approval of the College Panhellenic or University Official before pursuing affiliation with any NPC member group.
Q. How does Theta Phi Alpha respond to leads?
If we received notification about the campus through a NPC Extension Bulletin, we are free to send extension materials about Theta Phi Alpha. Information is sent only after it is decided that the campus looks like it would be a good fit for our organization.
When we are contacted by women, local sororities or Theta Phi Alpha's who have transferred to a different campus and the campus is not open for extension, we provide the woman/group information on how to proceed. We are not allowed to send information about Theta Phi Alpha until there is permission from the proper authority.
Q. How do we decide if a campus is a good fit for Theta Phi Alpha?
Several factors are considered prior to pursuing an extension lead. These include:
- Size and location of campus
- Housing requirements for Greek organizations
- Area alumnae support
- Strength of Greek community on campus
- Campus policies, particularly on hazing
- History of sororities on campus
- Percentage of women on campus who are Greek
- Past recruitment statistics
Q. What happens after we send information to a campus?
After we send an extension packet to a campus, we must then wait for the campus to invite us for a presentation. If we are invited to give a presentation, the Grand Council takes a vote to decide if we will present. If the vote is affirmative, the Director of Extension/Vice President of Extension arranges the presentation. After the presentation, the campus makes a decision and Theta Phi Alpha is accepted or denied to colonize. If we are invited to colonize, a petition is submitted by the interest group, local sorority or campus and the Grand Council votes on whether to form a colony.
Q. What is a colony?
A colony is a group of women working together to meet the requirements to become a chapter of Theta Phi Alpha. There are several ways a colony of Theta Phi Alpha begins:
- A local sorority petitions to affiliate with Theta Phi Alpha.
- An interest group is formed to start a new sorority on campus and petitions Theta Phi Alpha to affiliate.
- Theta Phi Alpha recruits women to form a colony on the respective campus. Within six months to a year, a colony becomes a chapter.
Q. How are colony members introduced to Theta Phi Alpha?
A Colonization Weekend is conducted by members of the Expansion Team, to introduce colony members to Theta Phi Alpha. During the weekend our newest pledge sisters experience ritual, team building, sisterhood activities, history about the Fraternity, and learn the requirements of installation.
Q. Which National Officers support colonies?
Many National Officers support our colonies.
- The National Vice President of Extension oversees the colony program and is the liaison to the Grand Council for the other officers who work with colonies.
- The Director of Colonies plans colonization weekends, conducts formal inspections, coordinates installation plans and communicates with the big sister chapter.
- The Colony Consultant maintains contact with the Colony President and oversees the progress of meeting the requirements of installation and handles the day to day happenings of the colony. She also works with and trains the Colony Advisors throughout the colony period and serves as their national contact.
- The Colony Advisors are local alumna who work closely with the colony throughout the entire colony period and teaches the My Sister, My Friend New Member Education Program.
- Theta Phi Alpha has numerous Programming Chairmen who are available for support and ideas in specific areas.
- A faculty advisor, local alumnae and alumnae association may also support the colony.
- A LC or Leadership Consultant will visit the campus or reside on campus during the colonization program.
Q. How does a colony become a chapter?
To become a chapter, a colony must fulfill the nineteen requirements (one requirement for each pearl in the membership badge) for installation.
1. New Member Ceremony
2. Colony Workshop
3. Establishment of a Permanent School Address
4. Scholarship Program
5. Annual Budget
6. Colony Bylaws
7. The Compass Points to Membership Recruitment Education Program
8. Fund raiser for the Theta Phi Alpha Foundation and a colony fund raiser
9. Service project for The House that Theta Phi Alpha Built and Camp Friendship
10. My Sister, My Friend New Member Education Program
11. Reflections Membership Education program
12. National New Member Examination
13. Membership of 30 or campus total (which ever is greater), not more than ¼ graduating in the current academic year
14. Colony members maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA
15. Compliance with National Policies, University Regulations & Laws
16. Complete officer files
17. Submission of all reports
18. Payment of all fees
19. Plan installation details
Q. What happens at Chapter Installation?
There are two distinct parts of Chapter Installation. The Ritual of Initiation is when the colony pledge sisters are initiated as members of Theta Phi Alpha. The Installation Celebration is when our newest sisters are presented with their initiation certificates and the chapter is presented with its charter. A member of the Grand Council and area Theta Phi Alpha's attend the event.
Q. What happens to the alumnae of the local sorority that has now become a chapter of Theta Phi Alpha?
The National Vice President of Alumnae contacts alumnae of the local sorority and offers each woman membership into Theta Phi Alpha as an alumnae initiate, providing she has not been initiated into another NPC group. If a woman accepts, she is mailed a National New Member Handbook and exam to complete and return to the National Office. The alumna is charged an initiation fee. If the woman is able to attend the chapter installation, she may sign the charter as a charter alumnae member. If she is unable to attend, alternate arrangements are made for her initiation.
Q. How is the Greek letter name determined for a chapter?
Greek letter chapter names are assigned in Greek alphabetical order according to the date of installation.