Sigma Alpha Sorority - Emerald Times April 2019

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Teresa Brandenburg, an alumna of the Delta Chapter, joined the Sigma Alpha national staff in January, where she serves the sorority as Chapter Operations Manager. She grew up in a farming family in southwest Iowa, raised cattle and sheep with her grandpa, and was active in both 4-H and FFA during high school. In addition to her involvement in Sigma Alpha, she volunteered with the Iowa Honey Producers during college and served as a Honey Queen at the state level and was an American Honey Princess at the national level. She graduated from Iowa State University in 2007 with a degree in Agricultural Education and has spent the past ten years teaching middle and high school science and agriculture.


sorghum and soybeans. And, Teresa has served the Kansas Soybean Association in a variety of capacities since 2010, where she started out as a young leader. Having first been elected to the board of directors in 2011, she currently serves as the Vice President and President-elect. In 2021, when she takes office as President, Teresa will be the Association’s first female president. Teresa and Luke live in Central Kansas with their three young sons - Jacob (11), Isaac (6), and David (3). She is thrilled to be serving her sisters as Chapter Operations Manager and is looking forward to helping Sigma Alpha cultivate professional women and advance agriculture!

In addition to teaching agriculture, Teresa has stayed actively involved in the agricultural world. She and her husband, Luke, are the 4th generation to farm his family’s 2,000 plus acre property where they raise cow-calf pairs and grow wheat, grain

President’s Message Chi Alumna Pens Book National Convention Heats Up Join the Travel Hub

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Sisters Lifting Sisters Grow in the Greenhouse Leadership Seminar Highlights International Farming Opportunity

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Greetings from California! Sigma Alpha has been busy this winter, and we are looking forward to what spring has in store for us! I had the opportunity meet many of you at the Leadership Seminars this year, and I was impressed by your enthusiasm and the success that many of your chapters are experiencing. An impressive number of sisters attended this year and learned how they can be “Agents of Change” in their chapters and on their campuses. I look forward to seeing all of the attendees implement their ideas in their chapters. Our national organization has been experiencing amazing growth. Fall recruitment was off the charts successful, and we are excited to see all your recruitment numbers this spring. I look forward to sharing the

amazing growth numbers with you this summer in our Annual Report. Keep posting on social media about your fun and creative programming! Our National Convention is just a few months away and the registration link is now live, we can’t wait to see record numbers of sisters in Scottsdale this summer! Make sure you get your chapter members set up in the Greenhouse so that your chapter can be entered to win a convention attendance package. Keep up the great work and we will see you in Scottsdale! In Sisterhood,

Kelly Kelly Lawler National Sorority Board President

Sigma Alpha National Staff are available Monday – Thursday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (CDT). The chart below serves as a guide for the primary contact for frequent topics of interest. Please call the office at (262) 682-4690 or email staff directly. K. Angelle Bujol Executive Director

Teresa Brandenburg

Chapter Operations Manager

Ann Moll

Member Services Manager Page 2

 Chapter Invoices/Payments  National Dues  Member Candidate Processing/Fees  National Convention/Conclave  Insurance  Foundation Donations/Information  Chapter Programming & Development  Officer Portal - Forms, Training, etc.  Candidate Recruitment & MCEP  Greenhouse Questions/Updates  Member Certificates/Badges (pins)  Emerald Times and Website

Give her the recognition she deserves - Nominate her for the Spirit of Ruth Award! The Spirit of Ruth Award was created to recognize Sigma Alpha Alumnae who embody the spirit of Ruth through active involvement, leadership, and commitment to the field of agriculture. Recipients of this award demonstrate the ideals of Sigma Alpha by living the four pillars: Scholarship, Leadership, Fellowship, and Service in their personal and/or professional lives.

Application Information   

Applications Open Applications Close Number of Awards

May 1, 2019 October 31, 2019 Four (one per Leadership Seminar)

Eligibility: Dues paid alumnae In Good Standing

Hannah Clark, Chi Chapter alumna and West Virginia University graduate, published her first book - Bloom Where You’re Planted - in March 2019 under the pen name Hannah Lee. According to Hannah, writing has been and continues to be a therapeutic way for her to share her thoughts. This form of escape started when she was encouraged to journal, at a young age, about every adventure she went on. Whether it was about a Saturday night West Virginia University football game at the Milan Puskar Stadium, or a zip-lining tour amidst the deep rain forests of Costa Rica, she was able to jot down each emotion and feeling well enough that now, many years later, she can transport back in time and relive those experiences. Bloom Where You're Planted, a children’s book, came to Hannah when she least anticipated it. There are times in life where we do not plan for certain things to happen, yet it is in those moments where we need to realize that it is up to us to soak up all the nutrients we can get so we can start to blossom again. Bloom Where You’re Planted is a story that will take you through some seasons of trials. Though the important question is “will you have the strength to stand tall and flourish through those harsh seasons?” Hannah’s hope is that during those critical seasons you won’t allow yourself to wither away, but be confident, have faith, and rely heavily on the great support system that surrounds you.

“The character of the Blue Flower, proved to help me in more ways than I could have thought of. My wish is that anyone who reads this book will be able to take something positive away from the Blue Flower, as well.” Hannah Lee Bloom Where You’re Planted can be purchased on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

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Full Convention: $290/person (on or before May 31st) $350/person (June 1st - June 19th)

Guest rooms are $105/night plus applicable taxes. Reservation need to be booked by June 26th, 2019.

Weekend Package (Alumnae Only): $175/person (on or before May 31st) $235/person (June 1st - June 19th)

Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch 7700 E McCormick Parkway Scottsdale, AZ 85258

Register now!

Reservations: (800) 540-0727

Be sure to mention Sigma Alpha to get the special rate.

Per Article VI, Section 2 of the Sigma Alpha National Bylaws, the voting body of the National Chapter Congress shall consist of one delegate from each eligible Collegiate Chapter, one delegate from each eligible Alumnae Chapter, and the members of the National Sorority Board. Additionally, per Article VI, Section 3, an official delegate and alternate shall be elected, at least thirty days prior to the date of the National Chapter Congress which is being held on July 20, 2019. Therefore, delegates must be elected by chapters no later than June 20, 2019 and submitted to the National Sorority Board. For the chapter’s convenience, the form will be submitted electronically via the Sigma Alpha Officer portal.

Is your chapter looking to reduce inventory of event t-shirts or other items? Are you looking to add a fun sorority item to your collection? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then the Marketplace is for you! Chapters can sell their excess inventory, and you can purchase items from chapters across the country. You can bring back some great ideas for your chapter, too! How to sell? ♦ A chapter officer must submit a “letter of intent” to let us know the chapter plans on participating. The form is located in the officer portal. ♦ Bring leftover items from chapter events, fundraisers, etc. ♦ Staff your table and have fun! Don’t forget cash for change. How to Buy? ♦ Be ready to shop and bring cash. Page 4

For Lesley Kelly, advocating for mental health is near to her heart and for the past two years, she’s been part of the national #BellLetsTalk campaign. She co-founded the Do More Agriculture Foundation to break barriers and create a culture where all producers are encouraged, empowered and supported to take care of their mental well-being.

She tackles conversations in agriculture through storytelling, photography and her love of ag. She was recently recognized by the Regina YWCA with the Women of Distinction award for her contribution to the rural community for her advocacy in mental health. Lesley is a wife, a mom to two boys, a farmer, a marketer and the head and heart behind the blog and company, High Heels & Canola Fields whose goal is building community, creating conversation and helping make agriculture stronger.

Key elements of her presentation include: • •

Why agriculture faces stigma and barriers when it comes to mental health How self-care, supporting with our means, boundaries, and support networks can help us with our mental health (while supporting others through their journeys) What we each can do to make a positive impact to help our industry

Through her blog, she hopes to dispel myths and bring consumers and farmers together.

Lesley will be one of the featured speakers this summer at the 2019 Sigma Alpha National Convention where she’ll share her personal story and illustrate the importance of mental health awareness in agriculture.

While mental health awareness in agriculture is interwoven in her discussions, the knowledge and resources presented are relevant to all industries and walks of life. Don’t miss your chance to see Lesley speak - register for Convention today! Page 5

The Sigma Alpha Sorority Travel Hub is a place where all of our members can connect with sisters around the country to plan trips, identify travel buddies for national events, find roommates for national events, and more! Updates from the National Sorority Board about upcoming events will be posted on this Facebook group in addition to other events that come up around the country from our sisters. This is a place where you can let your fellow sisters, who live nearby, know of upcoming events your chapter may be hosting as well!

Congratulations to the 1st place regional winners in each of the four pillar categories! These chapters are invited to deliver a presentation at the National Convention before a panel of judges to highlight why the chapter’s programming in that pillar is the best in the nation. The scoring from this presentation will be combined with the scoring from the regional written judging to determine the national winner for each pillar category. Questions? Email Kim Stassen, Vice President at To be considered for the national award, a finalist chapter must participate in the live on-site competition.

Region 1


Alpha Phi


Alpha Iota

Region 2




Beta Zeta

Region 3

Alpha Beta

Alpha Chi

Alpha Chi

Alpha Beta

Region 4

Beta Tau

Alpha Zeta

Beta Tau

Beta Tau

Region 5



Alpha Gamma


Region 6

Beta Nu

Alpha Theta

Beta Gamma

Beta Gamma / Alpha Theta

Region 7

Beta Sigma

Beta Sigma

Chi / Theta

Beta Sigma

Region 8

Alpha Psi / Beta Kappa

Beta Kappa

Alpha Kappa

Beta Kappa

Region 9

Beta Omega

Alpha Nu

Gamma Alpha

Beta Psi

Check out a complete list of regional winners - 1st - 3rd place!

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Congratulations to Abigail Durheim and Taylor Nielsen! Both are Sigma Alpha 2019 Nebraska Farm Bureau FUSION Conference Scholarship recipients. FUSION brings together more than 1,200 Farm Bureau volunteer leaders from across the country from Promotions & Education, Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers programs. These individuals represent the next generation of Farm Bureau leaders.

Abigail (Abby) is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska Lincoln pursuing an agricultural and environmental sciences communication degree with a focus in public policy and a minor in agricultural economics. She is the first vice president for the Alpha Delta Chapter. She looked to expand her network and learn how to be a better advocate for American Agriculture while attending the FUSION Conference. After graduation, Abby plans to go to law school and eventually become an agricultural lobbyist for a general farming organization with the desire to hold a public office (maybe even President of the United States). She wants to be able to share accurate stories of America’s farmers and ranchers with decision makers and be a voice to those who feed, clothe and energize our world!

Abby grew up in Fredericksburg, VA and showed sheep and hogs and was able to find her niche and passion in agriculture this way. She learned that she doesn’t have to be in production ag to still be involved.

Taylor is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln pursuing an agriculture education degree and is a member of the Alpha Delta Chapter.

She looked to gain an insight into the agriculture industry and to learn how to become a better advocate for agriculture by attending the FUSION Conference. Taylor plans to be an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in Nebraska. She lives on a fourth generation diversified crop farm near Waverly, NE.

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First Vice President, Abby Durheim, led the Alpha Delta Chapter at the University of Nebraska Lincoln in a personal development workshop focused on building positive self image. Members paired off and wrote detailed descriptions of themselves and their partner.

Sisters quickly realized that their descriptions of themselves were quite negative, literal and focused on flaws. The descriptions of their partner, however, were beautiful, complimentary and accurate! Next, sisters anonymously complimented one another by writing on a sheet of paper attached to each sister’s back. The sisters LOVED building each other up. Each sister kept her compliments page to add to her warm and fuzzy folder, a feel good folder for when she has a hard day.

Members then received five tools to remind themselves how valuable each and every one of them is. The chapter finished the workshop by having each member text others to share their love and appreciation.

Sisters built each other up by writing compliments on one another’s backs.

Finally, sisters returned to their pairs and shared on social media just how awesome her partner is. At this point in the semester, many girls were drained physically, mentally and emotionally. The chapter wanted to take a minute to remind the sisters that they are valuable, capable and amazing! The workshop was an overwhelming hit, as it caused members to really stop and think about who they are, and what makes them awesome! Social media partner posts for the whole world to see just how awesome her sister is.

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Want to see your chapter highlighted in the

Alpha Upsilon Chapter with cherished Sister Who beads.

Last fall, Mackenzie Hoffman, Social Chair at Alpha Upsilon Chapter, Murray State University, facilitated a fantastic Sisterhood program! The program, titled Sister Who, provided sisters the opportunity to show appreciation for each other. To start, each member gathered a piece of string and a handful of beads. Once everyone had their supplies, Makenzie began reading the Sister Who statements, which were statements to describe positive attributes of sisters – the catch was that chapter members had to guess which sister that statement represented. Each member then put a bead on the string of the sister she thought the statement was describing. Examples of the statements include: "The Sister Who: always puts a smile on your face," to "The Sister Who: makes you fall in love with Sigma Alpha all over again." Throughout the entire experience sisters smiled, laughed and even shed tears of happiness. next Emerald Times? Share your story today!

In the weeks prior to this exercise, the Alpha Upsilon Chapter was at a weird place. A place that’s not uncommon for most chapters - it was the beginning of November; the semester was winding down; sisters were tired, ready to go home for break and anxious for the semester and finals to be over. It was the perfect time to re-engage the membership and re-connect the sisters to one another.

Sister Who helped reinforce what it actually means to be a sister and reminded Alpha Upsilon that their sisters are there for them no matter the circumstance. After two or three years into Sigma Alpha, it’s sometimes hard for a sister to remember why she joined and to recall the passion that she had as a new member. The shared bonding time of Sister Who, reminded the Alpha Upsilon Chapter sisters of their why.

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Have you joined the Greenhouse yet? Sigma Alpha's member portal, the Greenhouse, is open and waiting for you to join the nearly 3,000 sisters who have already set-up their user accounts. This tool provides a forum for Sigma Alpha chapters to keep collegiate and alumnae members up to date on chapter events and allows alumnae and collegians to more easily connect across membership types (i.e. alumna to collegian) and geographic boundaries (i.e., chapter to chapter/state to state).

It's a place for all sisters to cultivate relationships, grow connections, and harvest career opportunities through nationwide networking. The Greenhouse serves to assist in facilitating a more robust lifelong membership connection to Sigma Alpha and the many opportunities and benefits available for sisters. The simple instructions below will help you to activate your account. Note: There are some gaps in our data. If you get a message stating that your record can’t be located, it’s likely because some of your data is missing or doesn’t match what you’ve entered. If this happens, first try entering 1900 for the year of initiation. If the problem persists or if the email address we have on file isn’t correct, please contact HQ at (262) 682-4690* so your information can be corrected.

Set up your personal user id and password Information you’ll need:

Greek Name of Chapter at Initiation  Last Name at Initiation  First Name at Initiation  Year of Initiation 

You will receive an email with a link for you to complete the process and give you access to your account.

* If you have trouble or questions, please call (262) 682-4690 or email Ann ( or Angelle ( at Sigma Alpha Headquarters. Office hours are: 9am - 5pm CST, Monday - Thursday.

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Thank you to everyone who attended, helped or assisted with the Leadership Seminars, especially Jessica Graham, Leadership Seminar Coordinator and facilitators, Aimee Ellinger and Carrie Blain.

Oklahoma City

Salt Lake City



Apply to be a Leadership Seminar Facilitator Sigma Alpha Sorority is seeking charismatic alumnae facilitators to help provide a high-energy environment for members to actively learn alongside their peers, as well as from their peers, on ways to further enhance their personal capacity for leadership at the four Leadership Seminars in February 2020.

The ideal Facilitator is an individual who is competent in leading adult learners in small and large group settings about personal and professional development. Facilitators will have the support of a curriculum consultant who will identify learning objectives, construct the framework for the program and develop activities to meet predetermined objectives for seminar sessions. This is a great way for alumnae to engage with collegiate members from across the nation, showcase their knowledge, and give back to the Sorority.

2019 Facilitators, Carrie Blain and Adam Mitchell

Feb 7-8 Feb 14-15 Feb 21-22 Feb 28-29

St. Louis, MO Reno, NV Atlanta, GA Baltimore, MD

Application deadline: June 1, 2019 Page 11

Imagine being involved in rice harvesting in Thailand, experiencing advances in dairy farming in Switzerland, cattle ranching in Argentina, or opportunities in more than 15 other countries. An experience with IFYE can bring you this and more. The IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. is accepting applications for its 2019 international exchange programs. The initial application is available on the IFYE Association website at The application window is always open. For the programs departing in September 2019, apply by July 1st. If a 2020 program works better, applications are being accepted now. It’s never too early to apply. The application takes less than 30 minutes to complete and submit. The IFYE National Program Director will then follow up with you to begin your international experience. Look under the Foreign Exchange tab for USA Outbound Participation Application to get started. Those who complete the written applications will be interviewed for the limited number of 2019 international exchange opportunities. Founded in 1948, the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. provides cultural exchange programming that places participants with multiple host families during a three- or six-month period in countries around the world. IFYE representatives experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain an understanding of the culture and lifestyle from those they live with while in the program. IFYE exchanges are conducted in collaboration with country coordinators and programs are facilitated and supported by the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. The IFYE vision of “Peace through Understanding” continues to touch the lives of people around the world. To learn more, visit