By Kaylee Wahl, Alpha Iota — University of Pittsburgh
In January and February, before the pandemic hit, Alpha Delta Pi collegiate officers attended Officer Academy, a leadership program designed to build on operational knowledge of officer roles by providing an opportunity for participants to develop their skills in critical thinking, collaborating with others, and leading teams, which they can continue to apply in professional roles beyond the collegiate experience. General sessions were provided with a focus on collaboration, goal setting, and action planning.
Who from Alpha Iota attended Officer Academy?
Alpha Iota had five members attend. Our chapter is unique in that Pitt mandates a school year election cycle. Thus, the officers who attended in February were not new officers – they had been in their positions since the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. However, our officers who attended planned to take a leadership position the year after. At the time, I served as Vice President of Operations and now serve as President. We wanted to make sure to send sisters who would be able to pass on and use the information in the coming school year, no matter what position they held in the chapter.
What did you learn?
At Officer Academy, we learned a lot! It was a great way for us to learn the ins and outs of ADPi, figure out where we had room to improve as a chapter. It also gave all of our officers new skills to bring back to the chapter. One of the most valuable takeaways was learning from the experiences of other chapter leaders. For every issue that we may have had, there was another chapter officer whose chapter excelled in that area, and vice versa. Learning from others was helpful because their chapters were proof that it is possible to make changes in every area of chapter performance.
How has Officer Academy helped improve your chapter?
It opened a really important dialogue within the leaders of our chapter. Saying, “Hey, I don’t think we’re going about this in the most efficient way! Here is something I learned that may help us to become better leaders and people.” Sometimes it’s difficult to accept that not everything is perfect, so approaching our chapter operations in that way was really important to our growth!
Have you seen any direct successes you would attribute to participating in Officer Academy?
I think one great success is our level of officer accountability. We learned the importance of, “Do what you say will do.” Follow-through is important when it comes to executing the goals that you set at the beginning of your term. We took initial ideas for how to adapt philanthropy events online and execute sisterhood engagement in a virtual environment, and those starting points flourished into successful events this semester that our sisters loved. Additionally, we were inspired to create a culture for the younger sisters that not only made them feel like they fit in but also gave them a sense of belonging.
How did participating in Officer Academy make a difference for you personally?
Officer Academy definitely motivated us to bring everyone together as a chapter, which in turn helped us in the environment of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s something that none of us were expecting, but with everything that inspired us at Officer Academy, we were able to maintain a positive attitude throughout the worst of the pandemic, and we look forward to our next semester with optimism.
Thanks to Officer Academy, we learned to be caring in our confrontations with others, to hold each other accountable in our everyday lives, and to be proud of the fact that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
This year, chapter officers will have an opportunity to participate in Collegiate Leadership Summit, where they can engage in a variety of training and virtual experiences based on their programming area and role. As part of this program, the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation will be funding a keynote presentation on The Value of Disagreement. Grants for Officer Academy and this year’s Summit presentation are made possible through Annual Fund contributions.
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