Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Senior Events

Hall of Commitment is this Thursday at 7 pm. If you're in the Gainesville area and would like to come for the ceremony please be at the house at 6:45! Hope to see you all there!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Alumnae Weekend

Hello Alpha Chi Omega Alumnae!

We are very excited to invite you to this spring's Alumnae Weekend! This fun filled weekend will take place from April 9th to the 10th. These are some of the events that we have planned:

- On Saturday, April 9th, at 10 a.m., we will be hosting a Game Day open house, catered by David's Real Pit BBQ at Alpha Chi.
- Get ready to show your Gator pride with Alpha Chi during the Orange & Blue football game at noon on Saturday!
- Sunday morning we will have a Rededication Ceremony of the Butterfly Garden next to teh house in honor of Katelyn Derstine as well as brunch at Alpha Chi Omega.

We have reserved a block of rooms for both Friday and Saturday night at the Sleep Inn & Suites, conveniently located on SW 40th Blvd. When you call to make a reservation, tell them you are with Alpha Chi Omega Alumnae Weekend and they will offer you our special group rate! We encourage you all to call by March 18th to guarantee a room!

There are two payment options this year. You can pay online with a credit card, debit card or with a check online. To pay online, go to If this link does not direct you, go to On the top right, click "Donate." Search for Alpha Chi Omega, click "Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity" then choose University of Florida. When you have reached the Donate page, please type the amount of $14.50 (there is a service charge for paying online), your information in the appropriate boxes and "Alumnae Weekend" in the "Notes" section. If you have any questions, please email Natalie Hyman, If you pay online, please email the order sheet to

If you prefer to pay by check, please return the next page along with a check made out to "Alpha Chi Omega" to the address below. Please fill this out as soon as possible so we can get an accurate head count for who would like to attend each event! We would apprectiate having your RSVP and payment by March 21st. If you have any questions, please do no hesitate to contact us at anytime. We are looking forward to seeing all of you for an amazing Alpha Chi Omega Alumnae Weekend!


Katie Biddison, Alumnae Relations Chair

Nora Okonski, VP Fraternity Relations
820 W Panhellenic Drive
Gainesville, FL 32601

Alpha Chi Omega Alumnae Weekend Return Letter

Name _____________________________________

- Barbeque at Alpha Chi Omega on Saturday

_______ Guests ($14 per person)

- Orange & Blue football game

_______ Guests

- Rededication Ceremony

_______ Guests

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gamma Iota Update!

In the past few months we have participated in several philanthropies such as Beta Bring It On, a cheerleading competition benefitting the National Alzheimer's Association, and Phi Tau Safe Sets, a volleyball tournament benefitting Hole In The Wall camps for ill children. We showed some fantastic Panhellenic spirit by teaming up with other sororities for philanthropies. Kappa Delta joined us for Fiji Fastball, a wiffleball tournament benefitting the American Red Cross, and our joint team with Zeta Tau Alpha won the sorority bracket of Pi Beta Phi's Down'n'Dirty flag football tournament promoting literacy! Sisters showed off their tailgating skills playing cornhole and other tailgate games at Phi Mu's Tailgate, benefitting Children's Miracle Network, where they brought home the first place sorority trophy! Good luck to all the girls playing in Zeta Beta Tau' Kickin' It For the Kids, benefitting Children's Miracle Network, this Thursday!

Mother/Daughter Week
This weekend, February 25 through February 27, is Mother/Daughter Weekend. Sisters are beyond excited to share this weekend with their moms, grandmothers, aunts and sisters. On Friday night, we are hosting an open house form 5 to 7 pm, in which moms can tour the house and check out the fantastic renovations from last summer. After this, we will be performing our first Alumna Initiation for Kathy Tucker's mom. I cannot wait to call her my sister. On Saturday from 2 to 4 pm, we will be painting wine glasses in the spirit of MacDowell month. Sorority Spirit, owned by Marlene Kruelle, an Alpha Chi Omega alumna from Stetson University, will also be at the house for a trunk show. Marlene makes amazing Alpha Chi  Omega merchandise, we can't wait to see everything she's going to bring! Finally, on Sunday we will be having brunch at the Hippodrome Theater downtown before sisters say by to all of the moms. This weekend is going to be full of fun and exciting times!

Hera Day & National Ritual Week
Next week, Gamma Iota will be celebrating Hera Day, which coincides with the start of National Ritual Week. On Hera Day, we challenge all collegian and alumnae to do a random act of kindness. We will also be extending this challenge to other Alpha Chi chapters around the state as well as all of UF's Panhellenic sororities. Through the challenge, we hope to increase awareness of domestic violence and promote service throughout the Panhellenic community. For National Ritual Week, I am in the process of planning an activity for each day of the week. The Fraternity Relations committee has brainstormed some really wonderful and creative ideas that we will implement next week. Check back this weekend for a schedule!

Nora Okonski
VP Fraternity Relations

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alumnae proving Gamma Iota's are Real. Strong. Women.

One of our goals for this Blog is to help keep Alumnae connected with one another. I contacted three alumnae who I know have been up to big things since Graduating from UF and leaving Gamma Iota. Over the course of the blog I hope to have many more Alumnae Spotlights for you, but for now, check out what these three Real. Strong. Women. have been up to...

Anne Helliwell: PC' 69

The day after graduation Anne moved to Orlando and began working at Walt Disney World in the merchandising division. She loved every minute of it but after a year felt like it was time to think about doing something else. “Aka a real job,” Anne says. So, she moved to Miami and began working in a bank.

After 12 years in banking, she accepted a position with Junior Achievement of Greater Miami. JA is a non-profit organization that partners with schools and businesses to teach young people workplace readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.  Anne’s first position was Endowment Director, but later moved to the program side and eventually became the Vice President of Operations overseeing all the programming and volunteer training.

While working Anne began to get involved in various community organizations and boards. Since retiring about 10 years ago, Anne has truly been able to focus on her community and has on the boards of Youth Crime Watch of America (served as National President for 3 years) and the Junior League of Miami and volunteered with the American Cancer Society and the Miami Museum of Science. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and also of Casa Valentina (an organization which works to help young women transition from foster care to independent living) and a member of P.E.O. (a philanthropic and educational organization).

One of the first things Anne did after moving to Miami was to join the local Alpha Chi Alum Chapter and the local Alumnae Panhellenic Council, both of which she is still active in today! In Anne’s words, “I have always made time for AX. I can also say Alpha Chi also always made time for me, allowing me to be involved as much as I could depending on what was going on in my life.”  She served as an Alumnae Chapter Officer, was Province Alumnae Chair for South Florida and now is the Chair of the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation nationally. Anne says, “Everything I have done with AX from the local to the national level has helped me in both my professional and volunteer life. I have met sisters from all over the country and even re-connected with sisters I have not seen since my days at UF.”  Besides all the great things Anne has done for her community and our Alpha Chi community, she loves to travel: “Near or far it doesn’t matter, just tell me when and I am ready.”  She loves going to the theater and thinks she might have a suppressed desire to be a Broadway star… if only she could sing our dance! Despite her years away from Gainesville and UF, watching Gator Football is still one of her favorite things to do!

Anne says she would love to connect and re-connect with her Gamma Iota s

Also see her bio on Alpha Chi's National Website:

Kristen Soltis: PC'02

When Kristen first graduated, she began working at The Winston Group, a political consulting and research firm in Washington, D.C. Five years later, she is still with the same company and feels like they’ve become a second family! Within a year, Kristen had the chance to write up major reports for clients and start writing about politics for media outlets. Now, she runs entire major projects while also having the freedom to do some fun stuff on the side!

Over the last three years, Kristen’s started to get more into the political commentary world. She wrote a thesis for her Master's program about why the Republican Party was losing young voters. The thesis opened up opportunities for her to write opinion pieces for newspapers and blogs and eventually opened up the door to doing TV and radio commentary. You might have seen or heard Kristen on MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR and/or BBC Radio!  

In addition to her thesis, she’s had a chance to be a panelist at think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, and to publish some research in an academic journal. Kristen says she feels very lucky to have a job where she gets to work on some fascinating projects for corporations, campaigns and non-profits while also having a chance to do commentary. While she loves her work, Kristen loves living in D.C. too. She works with the Junior League of Washington and was even in a band that recorded a music video and two songs!  Kristen is newly engaged to her boyfriend of four years, Chris.  Kristen and Chris are looking forward to getting married, but since Chris is a Georgetown grad, they are hoping that Florida and Georgetown will not be facing each other this year in the NCAA Tournament! Finally, Kristen gets to spend a lot of time with her best friend and Big Sis, Mary (Harding) Bell, who has recently returned from a tour of Baghdad with the US Air Force. (We are very happy to hear she’s come home safe and are very grateful for her serv

 Kaycee Smith: PC '05

After graduating in May of 2008, Kaycee spent a year working and saving her money before moving out to Los Angeles. Shortly after her arrival in California in June of 2009, she accepted a position in NBC-Universal's West Coast Page Program. The Page Program is a year-long early career development program aimed at helping its participants find their niche within the entertainment industry.

Within the Page Program, Kaycee assumed the role of backstage manager's assistant at The Jay Leno Show and had the fortune of meeting several celebrities including Bill Cosby, Brooke Shields, and Oprah. The highlight of her celebrity encounters came from an unlikely source as she became totally star struck when she met Tonight Show correspondent, Ross Mathews. Having followed "Ross the Intern's" blog on The Tonight Show's website during school, he had always been a source of entertainment and inspiration for Kaycee. 

During her stint backstage at The Jay Leno Show, Kaycee experienced television's late night conundrum first-hand. The battle between Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno played out right in front of her. Kaycee says, “It was a truly fascinating time to be 'coming of age' in the television industry.”

During Kaycee's time as a Page, she discovered her real passion- comedy. Acquiring a full-time Production Assistant position at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Kaycee didn't waste much time before she pitched her idea- a blog on The Tonight Show's website featuring herself as host. 
"On the Lot with Kaycee" took “3 months of planning, 2 more months of courage accumulating, and 1 rather interesting pitch meeting to get off the ground.”

 Now, nearly 2 years after moving to LA, Kaycee works part-time as a production assistant and part-time as a web correspondent for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She also performs stand up comedy and is currently enrolled in improv classes. You can see episodes on her blog on The Tonight Show's website at (or simply

If there's an Alumnae you know of that have truly been seeking the heights since moving on from Gamma Iota please let me know at:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Young Alumnae Get-Together (For The Kids)

Tonight is our first Young Gainesville Alumnae outing! A group of us who are still living in the Gainesville area are heading out to Urban Flats tonight at 7:15pm. This week is Dine for DM Week around Gainesville and Urban Flats is participating tonight so we’ll be able to support the Sisters in their Dance Marathon efforts as well!

This year the girls have paired with Chi Phi for DM and are really excited.  I know in my years at the Chapter we were always trying to increase our focus on and participation in DM.  I think the girls now have really taken that goal to heart.  Last week at Chapter, they read a letter from their Miracle Child that was very sweet and very appreciative.  They sent him birthday cards the following week. DM has stepped up its efforts by adding fundraising events throughout the semester and I have to say,  I’m really proud of how hard the girls have worked in these events! They won the DM softball tournament earlier this semester and have had the best participation at a couple other DM fundraising events, winning a portion of the funds raised for our house total. Between online donations, e-mail and letter campaigns, and winning the fundraising events, Dani White, the Chapter’s DM Delegate, estimates that they have raised about $11,000 total so far!  There will be at least two four-year dancers, Samantha Simon and Madie Burie and there are lots of girls already involved in leadership roles even though Staff positions haven’t been filled yet!

I know that Dance Marathon became a really important aspect of Greek life for many of you and its one thing (of many)  the Greek Community at UF can truly be proud of.  I was blown away by the amount of money raised last year, nearly $500,000 total.  Its easy to get caught up in the other aspects of Greek life, which makes me all the more proud to see my sisters focusing on the powerful things they can do and changes they can make by working towards a goal together!

 Dance Marathon raise a lot of money through on-line donations now.  I know that times are tough for everyone, but in case you were interested in donating you can use this link and your donation will be added to Alpha Chi’s house total.

Hopefully our brand new Gainesville Young Alumnae group will be doing more fun get-togethers through-out the year. Maybe we’ll be able to help the Chapter in other ways too!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meet the New Exec Board

Here is 2011's new executive board and how you can reach them:

Jenelle D., ufaxopresident at
VP Chapter Relations & Standards
Marlo P., ufaxostandards at
VP Finance 
Natalie H., ufaxofinance at
VP Fraternity Relations
Nora O., ufaxofraternityrelations at
VP Education
Miranda M., ufaxoeducation at
VP Intellectual Development
Elizabeth M., ufaxointellectualdevel at
VP Communications
Brita Z., ufaxocommunications at
VP Membership Development
Natasha S., ufaxomembershipdevel at
Panhellenic Delegate
Paige W., ufaxopanhellenic at
VP Recruitment
Melissa Q., ufaxorecruitment at
VP Risk Management
Jen N., ufaxoriskmanagement at
VP Service
Ariel U., ufaxoservice at
House Manager 
Kristie D., ufaxohousemanager at

For more information and full bios, visit

Calling all writers-- we are looking for posts by alumnae bloggers to supplement the weekly updates from Gamma Iota. If you have something new and exciting to share with other Alpha Chi Omega alumnae or just want to share some of you collegiate experiences, please email your post to or Can't wait to hear back!

Nora O.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This is the first post from the Gamma Iota's chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. With this blog we hope to connect sisters with alumnae. We will be posting achievements, pictures, fun facts and updates from the chapter.

Please feel free to contact Katie Biddison, Alumnae Chair, or myself, Nora Okonski, VP Fraternity Relations, with ideas, posts, or anything else you'd like to see!


Nora Okonski

Katie Biddison