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Volume XIII Issue VI Fall 2013

Omega Phi Beta’s National Sorority Magazine

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Table of Contents In Every Issue Letter from the Editor Meet the Contributors

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Letter from the AA President


Staying Connected to AA


Beta Cookin’: Autumn Flavors


Sunshine Corner


Beta Celebrations


Beta Mommies Updates


Beta Brides

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. Christopher Reeve


Sorority Highlights Welcome Neophyte


Chapter Highlight: Alpha Beta Chapter


Taking Awareness to the Next Level


How Did I Get Here... New Beta Business AMA Awards Multicultural Scholarships

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Feature Articles Fall Fashion Discovering My Passion for Compassion A Mother’s Love Reclaiming My Body

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Beta Resources Important Anti-Violence Resources Beta Yellow Pages Chapters and Collectives

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Contact us! We love to hear your feedback, tell us your thoughts, comments, concerns, kudos, shoutouts or submit an article! Email

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SubScribe to El Girasol

Letter from the Editor Love and compassion: although at times it’s hard to actually define what love is, we know we feel it: love for our friends, family, God, pets, a partner, our ethnicity, an organization, or even food and things. Compassion: empathy, concern, kindheartedness, consideration, and benevolence: is a main part of what Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc is all about. Through our dedication and commitment to womanhood, our culture, our philanthropic efforts and service to our communities, we exemplify compassion.

Selina Hernandez Alpha Beta, Fall 1999 Alpha Beta Chapter President

October is a month where many of our chapters and national leadership highlight part of the reason we joined this organization. Our stance on spreading awareness about violence against women is also showcased through events like The Ray of Hope Walk, the annual fundraiser cocktail event ENCANTO: Educando Nuestra Comunidad: a night of teaching and overcoming, and Ujima: Betas Give Back project, to name a few. The theme for this issue is love and compassion and will highlight the many things that our writers and our organization care about. As we transition into fall I encourage you to drop the layers that people tend to put up and encourage you to show what you love and are compassionate about. A life with love and compassion is a fuller life—even when it’s tested. Enjoy and thank you for reading El Girasol!

Selina Fall 2013 *El Girasol * 3

Fall 2013

Editor in Chief Selina Hernandez

Copy Editor Marielys Garcia

Managing Editor Amanda Crane

Design Editor Desiree Henry

Meet Some of our Contributing Writers...

Sujey Batista

Yvette Lopez-Colgan

Maria Rosa

Theta Chapter, Fall 2005

Theta Chapter, Spring 1998

Eta Chapter, Spring 2008

Education BA, Stony Brook University MA, Stony Brook University

Education BA, Political Science/English, Stony Brook University JD, Cornell Law School

Education BA, Health and Society, University of Rochester Degree In Progress MS, Integrated Marketing, New York University

Current Occupation Writing Center Coordinator, Manhattan College Currently Reading 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created Favorite Movie Coming to America Fun Fact I was an extra in the movie Die Hard with a Vengence

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Notable Accomplishments Mother of two with a bonus child Passing the NY Bar Exam Currently Reading Lots of Parenting Magazines The Strangler Biggest Risk Quitting my job and deciding to stay home full time with the kids Fun Fact I have been swimming with sharks and white water rafted down the Nile River

Current Occupation Administrative Assistant, NYU School of Medicine Notable Accomplishments Led planning for the First Ray of Hope Walk, Co-Led NST to two Championships Currently Reading And the Mountains Echoed Favorite Movie The Green Mile Biggest Risk Making a career-switch from Public Health to Marketing

Want to CONTRIBUTE TO El Girasol? El Girasol staff is always looking for Writers and Designers. Email us at to find out how you can become a part of the Girsol team!

Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it. ~Author Unknown~

Ana Verdejo Alpha Chapter, Spring 1993 Education Bachelor in Arts, SUNY Albany Current Occupation Senior Accountant Volunteer Activities School AdvisorCommittee for High School, Meals on Wheels, Volley Team Mom Notable Accomplishments 2013, Jessica P. Roman Dedication Award 2012, Employee Recognition Award of the Quarter Favorite Show on TV Scandal What is your inspiration? My kids...everyday I want to do better to provide them a good life.

A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done. ~Ralph Nader~

Alumnae Association Mission Statement: Omega Phi Beta’s Alumnae Association serves as the representing body of all non-affiliated alumnae of the sorority. Our mission is to engage our alumnae in the mission, vision, and goals of the sorority, create a sense of community, and support our alumnae in all areas of their lives.

Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, a NALFO organization member, is a Latina-oriented sorority founded on March 15, 1989, at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Seventeen women of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds came together to defy the injustices suffered by women, particularly women of color, in the academic, professional and political arenas. The purpose of OPBSI is to serve and educate people of diverse backgrounds through sisterhood, leadership, and guidance. As positive role models, we promote unity of all cultures, focus on the empowerment of our gender and raise the standards of excellence in our academic, social, and personal endeavors.

For further information visit:

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Letter from the Alumnae Association

“Before you can truly love anyone else you must learn to love yourself.” Those are words that I have heard and been told repeatedly, in fact I would tell myself this over and over. At times I’ll be honest I’ve also used it as an excuse as to why I chose to be closed off, building my personal walls higher than the “tower Excalibur,” because I have not yet made amends with myself over my past.

Amanda Crane Iota, Spring 2000 Alumnae Association President

I’m a person who considers herself one step below a perfectionist- I expect myself to master something the first time I do it, I expect myself to be able to juggle the multiple responsibilities and roles that I have in life with ease, and I expect myself to not exhibit poor judgment and make big mistakes. This mindset is one that has put undue stress on myself and enabled me to unfortunately alienate people. The one area where this did not quite apply was Omega Phi Beta. Maybe it’s because many of my sisters share a similar mindset, we are all driven women, or maybe it’s because we are a support network for one another- the reason doesn’t matter, what matters is I feel comfortable being my true self around these ladies. As the years went by I came to realize that what I was doing to myself was counterproductive and that it was time to pick myself up from my bootstraps and get on with actually living life. I may be my true self and love what I do with the sorority but that was just one part, of many, of my life. Sure I would go out and do things but I was missing a spark that I once had, my “lil Salvaje.” With a new drive I recently began to slowly change the way I behaved, thought, and treated myself. I began going to the gym to lose the weight I held on to, my second line of defense , and everything else has slowly started to shift into place. It’s only the beginning but I look forward to living life to the fullest and being my true self around everyone, Beta or not. If you’re feeling stuck or like I was, I recommend that you begin with baby steps so that you can eventually jump in body and soul. Try to regain that sense of joy or camaraderie you had shied away from because I can assure you- once you begin to love yourself amazing things will happen.

Amanda 6 *El Girasol * Fall 2013

Staying Connected



Once you become an alumna, you are removed from your chapter’s alias and only receive OPBSI emails if you elect to sign up for any of the following communication tools.

Do you Tweet? Follow us, @OPBSI_Alumnae, for the latest updates on AA activities! Share Photos on Instagram? Follow us, @OPBSI_Alumnae, for the latest updates on AA activities! AA Newsletter AA collects the emails of alumnae and adds it to their distribution list. Get LinkedIn with OPBSI! Job postings, virtual networking, and professional development opportunities. Join the Omega Phi Beta LinkedIn Group today! This is a closed group for sorors only. Monthly Buzz Stay connected with OPBSI National updates via the Monthly Buzz.

Sorors spending time together at the Alumni Affair at Jupiter Lounge in Berkeley, California at Fall National Conference 2013

Beta Hummer The Beta Hummer is a biweekly events newsletter that is published electronically on the 15th and 30th of each month. It’s main purpose is to keep the sisterhood informed of National and Local Events. The publication will also include links to our LinkedIn group for job postings and any announcements sent by individual sisters such as apartment hunt inquiries.

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Fall Fashion By: Sujey Batista, Theta, Fall 2005

I have a love-hate affair with the end of summer. I’m really going to miss having seconds, thirds (or fourths) at cook-outs, tan lines, frozen drinks and BYOB movies in the park. It’ll soon be time to welcome the changing foliage, venti pumpkin spice lattes, and my favorite do-it-all black leggings. Good-bye summer, it’s been real. Alas! It’s not all a sob story - just around the corner, to settle my woes, are the absolutely fabulous, anxiously awaited for, and credit-card busting fall 2013 fashions!

What does this fall’s trends have in store for us? Denim. Versatile and forever in style, denim is an always welcomed favorite of fall trends. Denim jeans, jackets, and shirts in all washes are wardrobe staples. Rock a boyfriend jean with your favorite heels, or boots for colder temps.

Eyewear. Eyewear should change along with the seasons. Invest in a quality pair that will stand up to any busy routine. The right eyewear can give any outfit the perfect pop. For fall look for pairs with earthy tones in orange, brown, green, and indigo.

Sweaters. Warmer layers seem like a no-brainer with chillier weather but fashion forecasts predict an eclectic variety of sweaters to hit stores this fall. They pair well with a diverse range of bottoms to suit any style and occasion. Look out for chunky knits, quilted patterns, and animal prints.

Confidence. Just as important as what you wear is how you wear it! Confidence in yourself and your sense of style transform any look into a runway worthy, showstopper. Whether your into feminine glam or boho chic, your Beta swag is really what makes the outfit!

Leather. Synonymous with fall, leather trends make a much anticipated appearance this fall in accessories, shoes, outerwear and in the cool and iconic motorcycle jacket. Try a vibrant color or intricate zippers for a modern feel or pair it with denim and statement jewelry for a feminine touch with an edge. Photo Credits: Val Garcia, Delta, Fall 2004 and Evelyn M. Felix, Theta, Fall 2004

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Welcome Neophyte

We want to warmly welcome the newest Sunflower to Cross into our Radiant organization during Summer 2013

Alpha Eta A liza U re単a

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa

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Chapter Highlight

Alpha Beta Chapter

Alpha Beta Chapter, located in the heart of New York City, has been working hard this year to get out into the community doing service, supporting sisters from other chapters and fostering relationships. These are just a few of the photos of their recent activities. Great job sorors!

Community Service

It’s My Park Community Service

Supporting Beta Delta Chapter Banquet

Alpha Beta’s All White Affair

Photo by Desiree Henry, Theta, Fall 2000

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Cocktails for a Cause

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Raising Awareness To the Next Level By: The Ray of Hope Committee

“You’re so stupid!” “Stop acting like such a whore. Who are you trying to impress?” “No one is ever going to love you but me.” “Can’t you take a joke? You’re making such a big deal out of nothing.” “Don’t leave me! No one else will love you as much as me!” Violence against women is a multifaceted issue. Being committed to raising awareness is of the utmost importance when this issue impacts so many of us, and so many of the women and men that we care about.

Why doesn’t she just leave? It’s the first question people ask. She stays because she hopes it will get better. Maybe they can get help. Maybe she will make him happy again. Maybe it will stop. She stays because she is ashamed that they have come to this, that she has allowed him to treat her this way, that she has taken him back so many times before. She stays because she doesn’t have enough money to start all over again. She hasn’t held a job before, or she doesn’t earn enough to support herself and the kids. She’s scared to try to make it alone. She stays because she is afraid. He has told her that she had better never try to leave him. He says that he will find her no matter where she goes. He says that he’ll take the kids and run. He says he will track her down and kill her. She knows that he means it.

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One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

Ways to support survivors:

That’s 5.4 million incidents of intimate partner violence that are reported each year in the United States. 1,300 domestic violence deaths annually— more than 3 deaths every day. Women who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Chances are we all know women who have experienced and are experiencing violence. We know the statistics, and we are committed to the fight.

Respect their truths.

Now what? Take it to the next level by being proactive instead of reactive. Helping someone make the move from being a victim of verbal, emotional, or physical intimate partner violence to seeing themselves as a survivor is a journey in which you can be a part. Become a support system to a survivor. Remember that Domestic Violence is something that can happen to anyone at any time. While October is the month during which we raise awareness of this issue, remember to stay educated, remain conscious and always be an advocate of women’s rights.

JOIN US for the Ray of Hope Walk this year on October 26, 2013! We come together once again this year to raise money for an organization that advocates for women all over the world.

Allow them to tell their story.

Let them know you believe them and want to hear about their experiences. Let them know you care about them and are concerned about their immediate safety. Support their right to feel a range of emotions (and don’t let your emotions overshadow the situation). Don’t deny any of their feelings. Respect the cultural values and beliefs that affect their reactions to the violence. Know that survivors do not need rescuing; their personal empowerment and freedom to leave is what truly matters. Help assess resources and support systems. Maintain contact. Physical and psychological isolation are powerful control tactics used by batterers. Repeat clear statements about their rights, such as “You don’t deserve to be treated that way.” “You are enough.” Stay away from “you” statements such as “you should”. Instead, use “I” statements such as “I’m concerned” or “I care about you”. Let the survivor know they do not have to endure it alone and they are deserving of love and support, regardless of the decisions they choose to make. Offer the survivor the telephone numbers of local resources. Call the SafePlace 24 hour Hotline (512-267SAFE) for information on their services and other local resources.

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How Did I Get Here... By: Selina Hernandez, Alpha Beta, Fall 1999

She’s been living this way so long she thinks she is to blame Like a shadow of herself bit by bit wasting a way

How did I get here, how did it all go so wrong You said you’d make me happy my whole life long You said things would get better but things just keep getting worse

Gets her kids ready for school doesn’t want them to be late Runs her errands as fast as she can so she’ll be back to fix his plate

You said you’d love me forever, but is love supposed to hurt?

In all her life all her dreams, never thought she’d be like this Made empty promises he didn’t keep but she thinks she deserves it and she says How did I get here, how did it all go so wrong You said you’d make me happy my whole life long You said things would get better but things just keep getting worse You said you’d love me forever, but is love supposed to hurt? Just got home from getting the kids and one of the shouts and laughs He wakes up angrily and reaches for one of them to smack He’s had a bad day so he yells, “how dare you wake me up!” She defends them and he slaps her for it saying “you are so dumb” She blacks out for a moment but when she wakes its so clear She must leave him soon or her end may soon be near

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She’s been up all night tossing and turning but feeling courage cause she knows As soon as he walks out the door she’ll take the kids and go She’s feeling stronger now because she’s made up her mind Yesterday was the past but today she starts a new life Fast forward been a year and now he’s in jail She volunteers at an agency helping other women prevail She can’t believe she waited so long but she wants you to know If you struggle like she struggled open the door and go How did I get here, how did it all go so wrong You said you’d make me happy my whole life long You said things would get better but things just keep getting worse You said you’d love me forever, but is love supposed to hurt? NO!

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By: Yvette Lopez Colgan, Theta, Spring 1998

I recently celebrated my 35th birthday and it inspired me to do some serious soul searching. I looked back on all that I had accomplished both professionally and personally, and I felt content. I was the first in my family to go to college and receive a degree and then I continued on to Cornell Law School. I got a great job at the Bronx D.A.’s office as a prosecutor out of law school doing what I thought I would love. It turned out that although fighting crime sounds glamorous, the reality is that your life revolves around the worst examples of humanity you can think of. From wife beaters, to child molesters I felt consumed and overwhelmed by the negativity and the pressure to “obtain justice”. After 3 ½ years there, I was burnt out and miserable, so I moved on to another job I thought I would love, but alas that wasn’t ‘the one’ either. I was starting to realize that I may just have taken a wrong turn down the path of life. I thought law was the right profession for me but I was realizing quickly that my bleeding heart, liberal, do-gooder, honest, creative self just didn’t really fit in. I felt like a fraud. The one good thing that did come out of my time at the D.A.’s office, though, is it is where I found my husband. Marrying him is what lead me down the path to finding my true passion personally. With him I

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Passion for Compassion my

created my two beautiful children and with them I have stumbled upon my true passion, professionally. I made a choice to stay at home with my children (which has unfortunately become a luxury in our culture) and because of this choice I learned so much about myself. My children taught me immeasurable patience, the miracles of the universe, delayed gratification, conflict resolution, multi-tasking, humility and so much confidence…and that was all in one day. It is the best job I have ever had but alas it won’t last forever (and doesn’t pay). They will grow and go off to school and what will I do? While I was overjoyed to take on the role of stay at home mom, I am not thrilled about the life of a Household Operational Officer. I’m not knocking the choice but what drove me to stay home was teaching my children and nurturing them to grow. When they aren’t around it will just be me and the house! That’s not my cup of tea! Anyone who knows me will tell you that when I start on the topic of childbirth and breastfeeding I just can’t be stopped. I am proud to say that I have helped many a soror and friend down the road to successful breastfeeding and helped many others off the ledge when they just couldn’t seem to get it right. After having children of my own I have realized the true value in simple, more natural living.

Whether it be what we eat, or how much we consume (and waste), our culture has gone far astray from what we were biologically and spiritually created to do. Unfortunately, we are beginning to reap the consequences of our misdeeds, as species of animals are dying, natural resources are depleting and many more of us are dying of cancer and disease. My sister, who is a do-gooder herself (and is traipsing around the world as I write this), sent me an email about a doula (pronounced Doo-lah) certification course. She forwarded it to me because I always joked that I missed my calling as a lactation consultant (LC) because of my rants about the benefits of breastfeeding. To be a certified LC, you have to have extensive medical training, so they are mostly registered nurses or midwives, so it wasn’t an option for me. However, being a doula just might be. If you are like me the first question is, “what the heck is a doula anyway?” You may have heard the term but the actual definition is very wide and all-encompassing. According to Wikipedia the definition of a doula is “a nonmedical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, as well as her partner and/or family, by providing information, physical assistance, and emotional support. The provision of continuous support

during labor by doulas (as well as nurses, family, or friends) is associated with improved maternal and fetal health and a variety of other benefits”. So, in layman’s terms I was already acting like a doula to everyone who would listen! I was so excited, but since I am still paying off my law school loans and don’t have a paying job I just couldn’t afford a second carrier. Luckily this course offered full and partial scholarships for their very intensive course. I started writing and luck will have it I got a scholarship! The woman who founded the program (www. was eager to help me realize my goals and it felt like the universe was finally pointing me in the right direction. It is a 20 week course, mostly online and you become trained as a birth doula, a post-partum doula, anti-partum doula, Parenting preparation and lifestyle coach, In home childbirth

educator and Family Lifestyle Professional organizer. It’s 6 certifications in 1! From the start I knew it was for me: The entire goal of the program is to empower women to make the right choices for herself and her family. We are told to check our opinions and judgments at the door and to support women to make educated decisions that are healthy for her and her family. We are raging against this “mommy wars” notion and becoming champions of inclusiveness and positive support. I am so astounded by how many people there are out there who believe in slower, more natural living! I am learning so much more about the miracles of birth and breastfeeding and am amazed at how a woman’s body was created and what it can do! We are learning not only about birth and child rearing but about positive body image and loving ourselves before,

during and after pregnancy/birth, without judgment. The one big takeaway from my studies is the realization that motherhood is the great equalizer! Black, white, yellow, young, old, rich or poor, when you have a child we are all on the same level as humans. We may choose different paths thereafter but it is an experience that will humble you and bring you back to your true purpose as a woman. Although I won’t be hanging up my legal talons just yet, I am blessed to have this new opportunity in my life and I am ready to ride that wave wherever it might take me. Ultimately, I hope we can all go on to accept and love each other for the beautiful, powerful creatures that we are and leave all the judgment and negativity at the door.


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smalles act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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B eta Cookin’

Autumn Flavors Here are some great recipes that are ripe just in time for the fall, full of flavor and fun. Remember you can always swap out some ingredients and give it your own fall twist! Be Creative! Try them out and let us know your thoughts. Send your comments to

Pumpkin Quesadilla Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients 2 cups canned pure pumpkin puree 1 teaspoon ground cumin 8 8 inches flour tortillas 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted 1/4 cup vegetable oil Directions In bowl, stir pumpkin and cumin; season. Spread over 4 tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese and nuts. Top with remaining tortillas. In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-low. Cook quesadillas 1 at a time, turning once and adding more oil between batches, until browned, 3 minutes. Cut into wedges.

The Tipsy Grape Makes: 1 serving Ingredients 9 large mint leaves 3 ounces bourbon 2 ounces concord grape juice 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, plus 1 strip zest 4 teaspoons pure maple syrup Ice Directions Muddle 8 mint leaves in cocktail shaker; add bourbon, grape juice, lemon juice and maple syrup. Fill shaker with ice; shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into chilled glass; garnish with lemon zest and remaining mint leaf.

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Whether you don’t feel like cooking or you want to bring something fabulous to a dinner party, we have something for you! Coquito $20 Start the holiday off right with some delicious coquito!


Creamy Baked Macaroni & Cheese with seasoned crumb topping $35 Brown Sugar & Rum Glazed Sweet Potatoes w/pecans $30

Sister’s Slammin’ Stuffing –with seasoned ground turkey $35 Honey Glazed Cornbread (made with real corn) $20 Pastelon $25 Sweet Plantain & sofrito ground turkey quiche *Additional items available upon request. Prices are pickup only


Cupcakes $24 per dozen Red Velvet Chocolate Velvet Carrot Cake Caramel Stuffed Brownies Coconut Macaroons $20 Sweet Potato Pie $17

Cream Cheese Flan $17

Vanilla Flan $17

(Or 2 for $30)

Pick up in The Bronx- or Manhattan Can be arranged for Thanksgiving Eve or Thanksgiving


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A Mother’s Love

By: Ana Verdejo, Alpha Chapter, Fall 1993

On May 24, 1995, I became a mother to a 7lb. 1oz. baby boy, Rae A. Diaz. I was a junior in college, young and ignorant. I did not realize how the birth of my son changed my life forever. The loss of my mother a year before the birth of my son made me appreciate the relationship of a mother and child more than I had imagined. I immediately became this overly protective mama bear. My goal as a parent was to provide my family with what my parents had provided me and more. Although my parents got divorced when I was 13, both my parents were very active in my upbringing. Unfortunately this was not the same case for my kids. Five years later, I had added two beautiful daughters to the family and made the difficult decision to become a single mother. It took me a long time to figure out that I had been in a toxic and abusive relationship. The idea of maintaining a strong and healthy core base for my family was tarnished by infidelity, lies and verbal abuse. It took some time and mental preparation for me to get the courage to become a single parent of three. This was by far one of the most difficult decisions that I had to make as an adult. It has been a hard road but very rewarding at the same time.

One of my biggest challenges as a single mother was to raise my son. Rae was very active and outgoing. My favorite expression during Rae’s childhood was, “he couldn’t be more of a boy”. Anything and everything that a little boy can get himself into, Rae did. Raising him was a challenge because of many factors but the biggest one was his dad not being close to him. I knew that I didn’t come close to being his dad or that I could provide him with the male perspective but the option of him living with his dad never existed in my

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book. My goal was to raise a respectable young man that knew how to respect women. Rae’s school experience was rough. Things started to become progressively worse during his last year of middle school. His attention span in school was very short. For many years I believed that his struggle in school was because he was purposely acting out or that it had something to do with him not having his dad around. It wasn’t until his junior year in high school that I realized my son might have a learning disability. I was so focused on the negativity that I couldn’t think outside the box for another alternative. By the time I saw ‘the light’ and eliminated the negativity from my life, it was difficult to convince the school that my son was struggling with grasping the material in school. His acting out in school wasn’t because he was purposely being disrespectful but because he was frustrated and he could not properly express himself. The pushback from school prompted me to get Rae someone to speak to about his issue. This definitely helped him but didn’t resolve nor explain his struggle in school. I have to say that it has been a long, hard and frustrating school experience, especially his high school years. I was afraid that he was not going to graduate on time because

his grades had suffered. Needless to say, during his senior year he saw a ‘light’ and worked hard to stay focused and on task. This gave me a sense of relief. The pressure of being on top of him to do schoolwork and/or homework was not needed.

On June 1st,2013, Rae graduated from high school. This was one of my proudest moments as a parent. It was a surreal moment. There I was watching my 18 year old son walk across the stage to pick up his diploma. I felt like he had become this young man in the blink of an eye. This milestone came and went so fast that I thought to myself, “Where did time go?”. I am very proud of Rae for everything that he has accomplished thus far. In September he will be entering the National Aviation Academy to become an Avionics Professional. Through this process, I learned something very important: I learned that not everyone is the same. As simple as this sounds, it took me time to learn and accept this concept especially when it dealt with my son. This helped me not to be so judgmental and think outside the box fo the sake of Rae’s future.

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness and generosity. Nathaniel Branden

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Sunshine Corner By Desiree Henry, Theta, Fall 2000

Love, hope, compassion...these are words that can have such a powerful effect on our lives if we allow them to. I’ll admit that there has been more than one occassion, especially over the last year, where a part of me gave up. A part of me couldn’t find the hope I needed deep inside, or the love I craved because I was so stuck on what wasn’t working for me, that I failed to see what was. I’ll tell you this much, it sucked! I didn’t like the feeling of thinking negatively, I didn’t like always thinking of what could go wrong instead of what could go right. I know I’m not the only one to go through this but since I have always considered myself a positive person, I felt like I was fighting myself. Fighting to get rid of a thought process that wasn’t getting me any closer to where I needed or wanted to be. I felt like I had given up but at some point, I had to stop being so hard on myself. So many times, I have told others to look at the bright side, remember that things will get better and to just keep having hope. Hope that tomorrow will be a better day, compassion for your own hardships and struggles and ultimately remembering to love yourself. We all share the love in our lives with others, but sometimes we forget to give a little bit of that love back to the person needs it most...ourselves. I knew that I was giving too much and not making enough time for me and that was creating a whole movement in the wrong direction. It’s still a work in progress but if I can make a little time everyday to dedicate to just me...whether it be reading a book, catching up on the show I never get to see, going for a run or even meditating...every little bit helps. If you are going through a rough patch, I challenge you to love yourself a little more, be compassionate for yourself and above all keep the hope alive that no matter what is going on in your world, it will get better. Put yourself in the moment, think about the now and don’t try to fix everything all at once. With love, hope and compassion...remind yoursef that it will get better and tomorrow is another day to get it right.

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22 *El Girasol * Fall 2013


Love is, above all, the gift of oneself. ~Jean Anouilh~ There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love,. ~Bryant H. McGill~ When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace ~The Dalai Lama~ You will find as you look back on your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love. ~Henry Drummond~ Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to anything done in this world. ~Lucille Ball~ Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. ~Helen Keller~ To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~ People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing - that’s why we recommend it daily. ~Zig Ziglar~ Let perserverance be your engine and hope your fuel. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.~

Booking inquiries: 914.837.6851

The Whole Event

Let us transform your home into a breathtaking venue that will wow you and your guests!

Need music or food? We got you covered!

Fall 2013 *El Girasol * 23

New Beta Business Soror Claudia Militec (Epsilon, Spring 1994) recently started her own children’s clothing line. Here is are excerpts from the article posted on With 35+ years of children’s clothing manufacturing in her family, it was only natural for Claudia Miletic to start her own line. Jason and Juliana (named for Claudia’s two children) is a high-end clothing line, made of Pima cotton from Peru. With her newly-started line gaining traction in New York boutiques and buzz among her network, Claudia discusses the many lessons on entrepreneurship and balancing family with business she’s learned in this exclusive interview. What inspired you to start your own line of children’s clothing? My grandmother was a seamstress [in Peru] and made dresses for little girls; she then opened a store to sell her dresses and make them available to a larger market. Years later, my dad and my aunt opened a store in Peru where they sold a variety of things: dresses, cloth diapers, blankets, bibs and children’s shoes – it was basically a children’s boutique. In 1984, my parents sold their share of the store and left it in the hands of my aunt and uncle. Through their hard work and determination, the small boutique flourished into a manufacturing enterprise. There was high demand for their products, and soon they began the business of exporting to the US under different brands, which can be found in stores such as Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and various other private labels.

S h o w ro o m by appointmen t . M a l ve r n e NY, 516.612.3494

j a s o n an d ju l i a n a .c o m

24 *El Girasol * Fall 2013

When I had my son Jason in 2008 and my daughter Juliana in 2011, I often felt torn between working full-time and the desire to spend more time with my children. I enjoyed working, I enjoyed putting my years of education and knowledge to work. Yet that constant pull between being a mom and a working professional was a struggle, and I wanted more time with my children. In 2012, when I lost my job, I had to make a choice – I either get another job or I dedicate my time to my children. I called my aunt in Peru and asked for her advice and guidance; I had her full support and we began brainstorming about the possibilities.

Daniel Corporan, son of Doris Corporan (Theta, Fall 2000)

I wanted to be prepared and have a better understanding of what would come in the months/years ahead. I heard about a course at Hofstra University, the Entrepreneur Assistance Program (EAP), and that gave me the foundation to put a business plan together. In January of 2013, I was able to travel to Peru and discuss the details of the line with my aunt and work on the other logistics. What goes into finding the right retailer for your product? The products are exquisitely made with high quality cotton, Pima, therefore it is something that I have to tread through carefully. The boutiques I’m targeting carry unique, trendy, cozy clothing for babies/ children, as well as some trendy boutiques that have a variety of gifts for all occasions. I want my products to be available to a larger audience; I’m keeping my prices comfortable and reasonable so that anyone can own some Jason & Juliana pieces. What’s been your best step so far in developing your business? The EAP course at Hofstra and the research necessary for that course gave me a clear idea of the components of starting a business. It sets the foundation of your journey and helps you see the path ahead. You have a choice to make; either

take one road where you decide that you’re moving forward with your business plan, or you take the other road back. There are several pieces to owning and running your own business! Right now, I’m the bookkeeper, the marketer, the salesperson, the publicist, the web designer. . . I have to do it all. It is timeconsuming but it’s also rewarding: because it’s a project I’m working on for me and my family. I also feel a sense of pride because it’s in my family, my family believes in me, and they are guiding and supporting me. Has anything been unexpected so far? The term WAHM (work-at-homemom) is an understatement. The kids are home with me every day and I love it. However, I have to carve out at least one hour each day to make calls or take calls, because everyone else is working a 9-5 kind of job. On most days I’ll put them to bed, and that’s when I organize myself and do all my bookkeeping, social networking, and research.

Jaxton Colgan, son of Yvette Lopez-Colgan (Theta, Spring 1998)

I am juggling things now more than ever; I want to be a mom who is present, I want to enjoy the kids and the moments I have with them. Their needs come first and the reason this whole business started is for them. I am thankful that I have my mom

close to me, and she’s able to help me with Jason & Juliana.

Sela Dedona, daughter of Amaris Dedona (Epsilon, Spring 1994)

What would your advice be for someone who wants to start or run their own business? It definitely is time-consuming. Use your resources, reach out to people in the industry, someone who can give you a different perspective. Be aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. I am not alone in this; I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful people who keep me going: my friend Monica Miranda who proofreads my web content and all text, my cousin Brian Echeverri who is a talented Graphic Designer and has done all of the Jason & Juliana graphics, Melissa Lennon who always thinks of me and promotes my line, Colleen DeNoto who has taken wonderful pictures, the instructors and director at Hofstra’s EAP, Mitch Tobol, Deb Miraglia and Judith Tyne, and last but not least, my amazing husband Jason Miletic, whom I turn to every day that goes by. As you can see, I truly am surrounded by the most supportive and amazing people. You can view the complete Jason and Juliana collection at You can also follow Jason and Juliana on Facebook.

Fall 2013 *El Girasol * 25

Reclaiming My Body

By: Maria Rosa, Eta Chapter, Spring 2008

I have honestly gone back and forth many times about writing this piece. I’m even handing it in late because I procrastinated to start it because of what writing this means to me. Last night, I finally came full circle on a thought that I had often told others.

Often times when giving advice, unless we have experienced it firsthand, we don’t ever apply it to ourselves. Even if we have experienced it, there are no two personal journeys and situations that are exactly alike. So I told myself exactly what I have told other women who have confided in me before- speak up! Even as I write this I am full of doubt but this is the exact problem- that no one ever says anything, that the cycle doesn’t end, that our stories are only spoken behind the comfort of closed doors, a space comfortable enough to let the words be released but private enough to be missed by the daunting reactions of society.

I decided that no matter how uncomfortable I felt I would tell my story and my journey. I would not let fear control me. I feel like for my whole life the world has been trying to take my body and this year I decided to end it.

26 *El Girasol * Fall 2013

A few months back and in the midst of an important period of personal growth in my life I thought, “WTF! Society has literally had no respect for me or my body since I was a young girl.” The way that I dealt with what happened to me was by suppressing ALL of these memories. One day, during my final and most emotionally trying semester of college it all came back to me. I remember sitting in my room on my chair by my desk. It was a warm and sunny afternoon. The sun was shining into my 9th floor room which was still bright despite the shade being down. I was sitting there staring at the window distraught about graduating, personal relationships, finances and my future. I swear that last semester was testing my resilience and perseverance. So I am sitting there thinking and all of a sudden, one thought came into my head and then another and then another. That was the beginning of my journey with reclaiming my body. When I was in 3rd grade, a close family member of mine abused me for a few months. I knew it was wrong, that I did not like what was happening and told the person to stop and they did. A lifelong effect

of this on me was that I had become very guarded when it came to bodily contact. I even sometimes fear touching people in casual ways because I associate touch with trust. While my mind knows who I can trust, my body does not. I would say I used to even live in fear of being touched, because for me touch meant abuse. When I was in 5th grade, a man showed me his private parts from afar TWICE in a park. As a young girl, I did nothing. I was in shock. The first time I looked away and continued playing with my friends. The second time I did the same. I know I saw the man a few times after that. There is something about looking into the eyes of that stranger that I knew meant harm that silenced me. Why I didn’t tell my mom I don’t know. As a young girl though (and thinking back on this I question if my mother went through abuse), my mother instilled the fear of men in me. She would say “Don’t play with boys” or “Little girls don’t hang around men.” When I was in high school, I was at a party dancing with a guy who felt it was okay to touch my vagina. I remember quickly removing his hand, finishing dancing the song with him but all in state of surprise and again, shock, at what

happened. I know I spoke up about it to my close friends but with such a sense of normalcy that looking back on it is scary.

Whatever gave this guy the notion that it was okay to touch me without my permission? I never confronted him afterwards. I went about my life as if nothing happened. Earlier this summer, I was at a happy hour with friends. I ran into a guy I knew from college and during our embrace he felt it was okay to touch my vagina because we had intimate encounters in our past. I was outraged and pushed him away. I know he feels ashamed; I made it very clear to him that what he did was not okay.

Yet still, what does making him feel like crap do for me when the damage has already been done? I am the one who feels violated and always will at the thought of this situation. It honestly doesn’t make me feel any better. With the exception of the last incident, I had already spoken to a therapist about these events. In 2012, I had reached a point in my life that writing down my feelings and talking to

friends just wasn’t cutting it. Therapy helped but didn’t get me to a place where I felt empowered and not scared to touch people. I know how amazing it is to be fully embraced in a hug, to share in intimacy with people you care about. The difference for me is that I sometimes hesitate unknowingly or think about it before I do so. The final step for me has been learning about other women who fight for me so that I may live in a safer world and in a world that knows that my body is mine. So I write today so that other women can find it in themselves to heal, reclaim their bodies, and speak up to those who disrespect us and our gender.

I stand up for women’s rights so that young girls and women do not have to experience what I did, so that my story can inspire you to seek help, start to heal and become a better you. I will speak up forever on these issues because I refuse to live in a world that even tries to take ownership of the one thing that is completely mine -- my body.

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.

Author Unknown

Fall 2013 *El Girasol * 27

B e ta Smarts , Celebrat ions and P rofessional A chievements Elsa Batista-Yzaguirre (Beta, Spring 1998) received a promotion at her job.

Congratulations to Jeanette Corona (middle) (Beta Mu, Spring 2012) on completing the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program at UC Berkley! She woule love to mentory any upcoming Juniors who are interested in applying. Please contact her at

Jessica “Ayari” Toro (Xi, Spring 2002) and Erica Diaz (Upsilon, Spring 2002) did Daiana Hidalgo’s (Epislon, Spring 2002) make and hair for her wedding and were published in HAIR’s HOW Magazine (Russia’s version, March 2013 issue). Their vehicle which specialized in hair and make up services for weddings was featured. Click here to view feature, page 172.

Valerie Jameson (Beta Mu, Spring 2012) is the first Latina in 10 years to be elected as the Academic Affairs Vice President of UC Berkeley. She will be in this position for the entire academic Year and her chapter, Beta Mu, is extrremely proud of her for winnng the student body vote as she effortlessly touched the hearts of each person she met during her campaign.

Region 7 woud like to welcome Ariel Eure (right) (Beta Lambda, Spring 2011) and Rita Phetmixay (left) (Beta Lambda, Spring 2011), to Oakland and Los Angeles, respectively this upcoming Fall! Congratulations to Isabeth Mendoza (left) (Beta Mu, Spring 2011) for completing her summer internship at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI)! She was elected to do an oral/visual presentation on her topic, which consisted of using fingernails as a method to measure Zinc contact in the body.

We will terribly miss Sabrina Goris (Eta, Spring 2005) and her fiance Joel as they have relocated to New York City! Your chapter hopes to bring some Cali Radiance to your new home!

28 *El Girasol * Fall 2013

Kenda Nunez (Beta, Spring 1997) just got a new job in the Admissions department at Monroe College. Johanina Soto (Beta, Fall 2000) was promoted at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a licensed permanet social worker in the NY Harbor Healthcare System-Harlem outpatient clinic.

American Heart Association Awards Multicultural Scholarships The American Heart Association and Macy’s have awarded 16 scholarships of $2,500 each to increase culturallysensitive, patient-centered care through The Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship Initiative. The scholarship is in its third year, and champions greater inclusion of multicultural women in medical, nursing and allied health studies to meet the need that racial minorities have of health care providers who understand important aspects of various cultures. The scholarship is designed to drive diversity in medicine and directly address important gaps in treatment that can lead to heart health disparities. Click here for more informationand the list of recipients. The on-line application process for 2013-2014 is now open and available through Dec. 31, 2013. Candidates must complete an application, personal essay and submit two letters of recommendation. The scholarship fund is part of Macy’s Multicultural Fund – which was created in 2009 to focus on increasing diversity in the medical field. Applications and scholarship requirements for the Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship are available on-line at Check the qualifications... Applicants must:

Application Deadline Dec. 31, 2013

• Be a female of Hispanic, African-American or other minority origin • Be a U.S. citizen/permanent resident of the United States • Be currently enrolled in an accredited college, university, health care institution or program in the U.S. • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA

Be a Beta, Be a Scholar - The OPBSI Book Rental! Stay academically inclined while saving up to 80% on book rentals. Rent your textbooks for school or start a book club with this great offer. Spread the word to friends, family, co-workers, classmates, and teachers. Anyone is able to take advantage of this great deal.

Rent your favorite books while helping your organization raise money. For more information visit

Fall 2013 *El Girasol * 29

B e t a Mommies J acqueline C amilo (Beta/Spring 2003) is expecting a new baby any day now.

B eta B rides Congratulations to Nicole Baker (Beta, Fall 2002), on her engagement to Mauricio Benavides. Congratulations to Nathalie De La Mota (Beta, Spring 2004), on her marriage. Congratulations to Marilyn Guzman (Beta, Fall 1999),on her engagement.

J ohanna Fernandez (Zeta/Fall 2001) gave birth to Jael Emilio on July 25, 2013.

Yade G arcia (Beta/Fall 2006) recently welcomed a baby boy.

D aiana H idalgo -Ravelo (Epsilon/Spring 2002) gave birth to her baby girl, Zoe, in September 2013.

Congratulations to Desiree Henry (Theta, Fall 2000), who is engaged to Luis Moya.

C laudia Ov iedo (Beta/Spring 2006) recently welcomed a baby boy.

Congratulations to Erica Miranda (Theta, Spring 2009), who is engaged to David Gomez.

C arolina P erez -G onzalez (Beta/Fall 2001) gave birth to her baby boy, Isaiah, in June 2013.

A na S arav ia (Beta/Spring 2004) recently welcomed a new baby. Veronica V izcaino (Beta/Spring 2005) recently welcomed a baby girl.

Welcome our

new Beta babies and congratulations to our expecting Mommies !!

30 *El Girasol * Fall 2013

Congratulations to Crystal Moreno-Zaragoza (Beta Mu, Spring 2011) on her marriage to Juan Zaragoza. Enjoy your honeymoon in Europe!

I mportant A nti -V iolence R esources N ational H otlines and O rganizations V-Day

A Global Movement to End Violence against Women and Girls

Hotline Phone Numbers Domestic Violence Hotline 800-621-HOPE (4673)

Crime Victims Hotline 866-689-HELP (4357)

Rape & Sexual Assault Hotline 212-227-3000

U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline


Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Hotline (24 HOUR)

(800) 978-3600

New York City New York City’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 621–HOPE (4673)

1-800-799-SAFE (7233) TTY 1-800-787-3224

Sanctuary for Families

Washington, DC

• • • •

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. Among its programs, RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at . This nationwide partnership of more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers provides victims of sexual assault with free, confidential services, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. These hotlines have helped over 1.3 million people since RAINN’s founding in 1994.

(212) 349–6009 •

Press 0 for general information and for information about shelter Press 1 for Clinical Program Press 2 for Legal Center Press 3 for Children’s Program Press 8 if office is closed and on weekends - Sanctuary is open from 9 am - 6 pm on Monday - Thursday, and 9 am - 5 pm on Fridays. Press 9 for Spanish

MADRE 121 West 27th Street, # 301 New York, NY 10001 USA

(212) 627-0444 Fax: (212) 675-3704 Volunteers

NY State Resources Additional Help in your area:

Florida Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119

Harbor House of Central Florida If you or someone you love is going through domestic abuse, PLEASE CALL US at 407-886-2856. Administration Office: P.O. Box 680748 Orlando, FL 32868 GET HELP: 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (407) 886-2856 (TTD) 1 (800) 500-1119 (FL) 407-886-2244 (main office) Safehouse of Seminole 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (407)-330-3933 (TTY/TDD) (800) 500-1119 toll free

Chicago 1-877-To-END-DV Domestic Violence Agencies by City

Safe Horizon 1-800-656-HOPE Washington DC

In New York State:

New York State’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 942-6906 (English) (800) 942-6908 (Spanish)

If you know of any resources in your local city, please share it with the membership. Email: and put “DV Resources” in the Subject heading

Fall 2013 *El Girasol * 31

B eta “Yellow” Pages C r eati ve


B e au t y S e rv i c e s

Jessica Ayari Toro Ayari Make Overs Karla Ayala-Quervalu Karla Samantha Photography

Erica Diaz, Daiana Hidalgo and Jessica Medina Your Best Event

F o o d S e rv i ce s Lupe Flores Sangria Anytime (917) 457-8650

Desiree Henry MOYA Creative Design Boutique

Selina Hernandez My Sister’s Creations (917) 348-8556

Stephanie Camacho & Rebecca Slivka The Sunflower Collection

Lydia Jimenez Stampin’ with Lydia

Ivy Roman IvySweetsNYC

P rof e s s i o na l S e rv i ce s

H e a l th / H o me S erv ices

Elizabeth Cano Sweet Craft Cakes

Jocelyn Tejada The Society of Professional Women of Color

Maria Jaramillo Birth Doula

Elsa Batista-Yzaguirre Stoles By Elsa


National Convention 2014

Happy 25th OPBSI!

Elbanery Lora Diana’s Cleaning Services (347) 564-6491

C l o thi n g Claudia M. Echeverri Miletic Jason & Juliana, LLC

March 13-16, 2014 Miami, FL For more information:

The Beta Yellow Pages is a free service designated to highlight businesses that are operated by OPBSI Sisters. If you would like to list your business information, please submit it to

32 *El Girasol * Fall 2013

Omega Phi Beta Sorority, inc. Chapters and Colonies

Collegiate Chapters Alpha Chapter University at Albany, SUNY Est. 1989

Xi Chapter Syracuse University & LeMoyne College Est. 1999

Beta Chapter SUNY New Paltz & Marist College Est. 1991

Omicron Chapter Duke University Est. 2000

Gamma Chapter Union College Est. 1991 Delta Chapter Binghamton University, SUNY Est. 1992 Epsilon Chapter Long Island University, C.W. Post Est. 1993

Beta Epsilon Chapter SUNY Old Westbury Est. 2008

Pi Chapter Boston, MA Est. 2002 Rho Chapter Michigan State University Est. 2002 Sigma Chapter Plattsburgh University, SUNY Est. 2001

Zeta Chapter SUNY, Oswego Est. 1993

Tau Chapter Utica College & Hamilton College Est. 2003

Eta Chapter College at Brockport, University of Rochester & Rochester Institute of Technology Est. 1994

Upsilon Chapter Rutgers University, New Brunswick Est. 2003

Theta Chapter Stony Brook University Est. 1998 Iota Chapter University of Virginia Est. 1998 Kappa Chapter Hofstra University Est. 1998 Lambda Chapter Brooklyn College and Manhattan Metro Est. 1998 Mu Chapter University of Buffalo, Buffalo State College & D’Youville College Est. 1999 Nu Chapter Cornell University Est. 1999

Beta Delta Chapter Pace University, Pleasantville Campus Est. 2008

Beta Zeta Chapter Florida State University Est. 2010 Beta Eta Chapter University of South Florida Est. 2010 Beta Theta Chapter SUNY Cortland Est. 2009

Colony at Ramapo College Est. 2010 Colony at Pace University Est. 2011 Colony at Columbia University Est. 2011 Colony at Purdue University Est. 2011

Alumnae Chapters Alpha Beta Chapter New York City Alumnae Chapter Est. 1994

Beta Iota Chapter Northeastern Illinois University Est. 2010

Alpha Gamma Chapter Washington D.C. Alumnae Chapter Est. 2004

Beta Kappa Chapter University of New Haven Est. 2010

Alpha Delta Chapter Rochester Alumnae Chapter Est. 2004

Phi Chapter University of Southern California Est. 2003

Beta Lambda Chapter University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Est. 2011

Alpha Epsilon Chapter Boston Alumnae Chapter Est. 2007

Chi Chapter Seton Hall University Est. 2003

Beta Mu Chapter University of California Berkley Est. 2011

Psi Chapter DePauw University Est. 2006

Beta Nu Chapter Johnson & Wales University Est. 2012

Beta Alpha Chapter St. John’s University Est. 2002 Beta Beta Chapter University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign Est. 2006 Beta Gamma Chapter New York University Est. 2007

Colonies Colony at University of Maryland, Baltimore County Est. 2003 Colony at Rhode Island College Est. 2003

Alpha Zeta Chapter New Jersey Alumnae Chapter Est. 2007 Alpha Eta Chapter Buffalo Alumnae Chapter Est. 2007 Alpha Theta Chapter Florida Alumnae Chapter Est. 2007 Los Angeles Alumnae Colony Est. 2011 Chicago Alumnae Colony Est. 2012

Colony at Charleston Southern University Est. 2008

Alpha Alpha Chapter Honorary Sisters

Colony at St. Thomas Aquinas Est. 2010

Omega Chapter Eternal Sisters

Est. 1989

www .O mega P hi B eta . org Fall 2013 *El Girasol * 33

El Girasol - Fall 2013 Edition  

Omega Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated's National Magazine

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