A Pomp With A Purpose

A Pomp With A Purpose

Kappa Alpha Theta went against homecoming tradition to bring light to a serious subject.
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Every year during homecoming at The University of Alabama, organizations from around campus compete in several different events for points. These events include basketball and flag football tournaments, and choreography and lawn decoration competitions. Every year students and community members look forward to seeing all the lawn decorations, commonly known as Pomps. A pomp is 10x25 feet it is made of very small pieces of balled up tissue paper. At Alabama, organizations spend thousands of dollars and work tirelessly for two weeks to complete these massive projects. However, this year Kappa Alpha Theta broke tradition.

The theme for homecoming this year at The University of Alabama was A Legendary Legacy: Honor. Build. Live and Kappa Alpha Theta decided to make a pomp a fourth of the size of a normal one, and then donate their pomping budget to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“Theta is HONORING those 42,773 people that are lost to suicide every year,” said Kiersten Crouse, Kappa Alpha Theta Chief Panhellenic Officer. “This year, Theta is BUILDING the foundation for change on this campus. This year, Theta wants to help show people that life is worth LIVING.”

"I feel really honored that we got to use our hard work to help other people with this pomp," said Mo Quinn, Kappa Alpha Theta Chief Marketing Officer. "It's really exciting to see how much good a sorority can do in such a short period of time. This issue has affected everyone on this campus in one way or another, and I'm very proud and excited to be able to bring visibility and awareness to it."

Additionally, Theta is asking people to join them in donating. The pomp, the teal, and purple suicide prevention ribbon was used to track the progress of donations in reaching their initial goal of $5,000; their new goal is $15,000. Theta also put out large chalkboards and invited people to write down the names of those who have been affected by suicide.

"I'm so proud that we were able to bring light to such an important issue that has really impacted so many on our campus over the last few years," said Jaycie Finch, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. "Foregoing a traditional pomp was a huge decision to make, but as soon as the idea was proposed we knew we could make a larger impact than thousands of tissue paper balls would ever make."

Theta’s pomp has hit home for so many University of Alabama students and alumni, that it has been shared by Kappa Alpha Theta headquarters, other sororities on campus, and even The University of Alabama Football’s Head Coach Nick Saban’s daughter, Kristin.

“We really wanted to give back to AFSP, a cause so dear to our hearts,” said Sarah Rumfelt, Kappa Alpha Theta President. “This was the perfect opportunity to not only raise money but also raise awareness and remove the stigma. I am so thankful for all of the support we have received and am proud of the chapter members for making the decision to break tradition to leave our own legacy.”

An average of 117 people commits suicide every day in the United States. One person commits suicide every 12 hours in the state of Alabama alone and costs families on average $1,164,804.

"The best thing we can do is be there for one another," Quinn said. "You never know who may be struggling and if you wait to tell someone how much they mean to you it could be too late. Tell your friends how much they matter to you and never give up on them. And take advantage of your resources- go to the counseling center, bring your friend and don't be afraid to tell someone if your struggling."

To join The University of Alabama Kappa Alpha Theta’s in donating to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention click here.

Cover Image Credit: Charlotte Smith

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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