Written By: Madison Forker
On February 20th, I and two other ESA sisters were lucky enough to attend Politico’s Fifth Annual State Solutions Conference, which was hosted in DC’s downtown Microsoft Office. The yearly event hosts interviews with variety of governors from around the country, with this year’s speakers being Governor Bill Haslam (R), Governor Rick Scott of Florida (R), Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island (D), and Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (D).
Given that the all-day event started at 8am, we were happy to arrive and find breakfast awaiting us. Armed with bagels and coffee, we settled in to hear from the Republican half of the governors, Bill Haslam and Rick Scott. While there were certain topics that were discussed with each participant throughout the day (use of the Common Core, job creation, higher education), the hot topic with both Republican governors was who would be running for the Republican nomination in 2016, and if it would be a governor or former governor. Both governors were highly enthusiastic about the possibility, noting potential candidates like Jeb Bush (former FL governor), Chris Christie (NJ governor), and Scott Walker (WI governor). Haslam, being the RGA Chairman, made clear that he’d be pulling for any governor to run, and would encourage it throughout his time in the position.
After lunch (more free food!), it was time to hear from the Democrats. Newly elected Governor Gina Raimondo, as the only woman speaking at the event, had much positive encouragement for any woman looking to be in politics or just to be a leader in their field. Almost every day, she said, she receives letters from young girls telling her that she’s inspired them to become a leader, and that responses like that are one of the big reasons she ran for office in the first place. Last up was Terry McAuliffe, who before being governor was the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Naturally, he received quite a few questions about Clinton’s potential bid for the 2016 nomination. McAuliffe said he would obviously support Hillary should she decide to run, but gave no indication as to whether the decision had been made yet (sorry, folks!).
Overall, the State Solutions Conference was a fantastic event to go to, and one that I would highly recommend in the future. Having never been to a Politico event before, I had no clue what I was getting into, but I was thrilled with the result. Most importantly, this event reminded me of why I am so lucky to live and learn in Washington, D.C., and of all of the opportunities available to us in this amazing city.
Thank you to everyone who came out to our annual Spring Alumni Event! This year alumnae joined current GW ESA sisters to make literacy materials for Jumpstart, a DC area organization that promotes early childhood education, and enjoyed a family-style meal at Bucca di Beppo. It was a pleasure to serve and catch up with our sisters, we're so lucky to have such a strong alumnae base!
Written By: Laura Zillman
You come for the three and a half service hours on a Saturday morning, and you stay for the conversation, the clients, and the wonderful apple cider. That’s the Foggy Bottom Food Pantry, my absolute favorite place to serve with ESA.
I actually did two semesters’ worth of service learning and grant-writing at FBFP for my major
requirements, and I loved it! It was an invaluable opportunity to get to know the organization and the people behind it—and it showed me how even a small group of people can make a huge difference in the community.
FBFP was founded in 1981, making 2015 its thirty-fourth year of consistent operation. That’s pretty amazing in the nonprofit world, especially since they have always relied entirely on volunteers and a modest budget to fulfill their mission. That’s over five thousand volunteer hours annually!
Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, those dedicated volunteers (including us!) sort, distribute, and bag about six thousand pounds of food to some of the city’s most deserving residents.
Individuals are able to shop and chat with volunteers, and some quickly become regulars. The mornings fly by, and it’s nice to know that you’re fortunate to have made a tangible difference in someone else’s life before you’ve even eaten lunch.
Besides regular distributions, FBFP runs its Fall Sale each year. It was my first-ever service event as a pledge, and it’s still a favorite. An avid thrift shopper at home, I never really learned to justify Buffalo Exchange’s, er, “deals”. Fifty-cent vases and silverware by the handful is where it’s at, ladies.
So, bottom line? If you’re looking for an incredibly rewarding service experience right off-campus, give the Foggy Bottom Food Pantry a try. Amazing people, and cookies to boot—what more could you want?
I am still a student at GW. I'm getting my Master's degree in English and will be graduating in May. I even work on campus in the Office of Academic Assessment. One of the things that I miss most about ESA is doing community service with all of my sisters, especially at DCCK.
Since graduating from GWU in May I have moved down the orange (or silver) line a couple stops in Arlington, around the corner from the Ballston iHOP. I am a full time graduate student at Marymount University studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I also work at the Starbucks in Georgetown part time, so visit me for a discount or an extra shot in your coffee/latte.
For those who haven't met me yet, my name's Sarah Kranau and I graduated this past May with a degree in Sociology and Communication! For the rest of you, since last we spoke I've bounced around between a few different jobs, but seem to have landed in a really great one for the past few months now. I'm currently an Account Manager with At Your Service Staffing, an event staffing/management company. It's really fun because we staff some amazing venues in the DC area, meaning I get to go behind the scenes at some awesome events (Kennedy Center Honors, Senate events, Supreme Court dinners, etc). Outside of work I also have a part time gig at City Sports that I absolutely love. Last but not least I still hang out with Mollie and Jenna (ESA alums) whenever we get the chance, because of course the girls I met during Rush my freshmen year are still my best friends now.
After college, I returned to New York and now live in Manhattan with Katie Strickberger, who is an ESA alum as well! I currently work at McCann Erickson (yes, that McCann if you watch Mad Men) where I am a digital strategist. I work on content, channel and brand strategy as well as managing social media advertising campaigns. I consult on an array of brands, but my main ones are Jose Cuervo, Mucinex and Coca-Cola Life. This past November I was put in charge of the launch of Coke Life in the digital world! Besides work, I often meet up with fellow ESA alums (my big) who also are in the city and am on the NY Young Alumni Leadership Committee for GW:)
After 12 hours of dancing, fundraising and keeping up positive morale, the 200+ attendees at GW Dance Marathon could finally take a seat to unveil the grand total fundraised throughout the event: $77,402.38. There was something so magical about this moment; we knew what we had done was going to make a huge impact.
GW Dance Marathon is an organization started only last year and strives to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the DC area through a 12 hour dance marathon. Each attendee must raise at least fifty dollars to participate in the event, and pledge to remain standing for the entirety of the marathon.
Throughout the 12 hours, dancers learn a 5 minute long morale dance, hear from multiple different student performance groups, enjoy food provided by several sponsors around the area and spend time with the miracle families, hearing about their personal experiences with the Miracle Network Hospitals.
During the weeks leading up to the event, I thought closer as to why I was dancing and what GW Dance Marathon meant to me. Upon these thoughts, I always went back to memories of my elementary school best friend, Alexandra Scott. Alex was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma as a young child and instead of letting it diminish her spirit she founded the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization focused on raising funds to beat childhood cancer. I was lucky enough to share a birthday with Alex, be in her class for 1st and 2nd grades, and to attend the first ever Alex's Lemonade Stand located in her backyard. Alex's inspiration has been a huge part of my life as I've grown and encountered new experiences. Although Alex is no longer alive, I truly felt connected to her throughout the 12-hour marathon. By dancing for kids in similar situations as Alex, I felt I was keeping her spirit alive and pursuing her dream of making sure everyone has a healthy and happy childhood. Although my feet ached after 12 hours of constant moving, I knew that the pain I endured was nothing in comparison to the pain that Alex dealt with throughout her time in the hospital. I was also lucky enough to have the support of my Epsilon Sigma Alpha sisters during the marathon. Knowing how hard I’d been working on promoting this marathon during the months prior, my sisters helped fuel my excitement and showed pride in my accomplishments. It was amazing to have spent the 12 hours with both my Dance Marathon family and my ESA family.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a rewarding experience. Every child deserves to dance and be healthy, and GW Dance Marathon will keep fighting until every child can.
Impact [n. im-pakt; v. im-pakt] The effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another.
What does it mean to make an impact? This is a question I continue to reflect on this year while serving as Philanthropy Chair. More significantly, I wonder how I can make our chapter feel like the work we are doing is meaningful. We are often too focused on the numbers. Fundraising totals matter of course, but it is so imperative to look at the bigger picture and how we are providing support to those in need.
It costs $2 million a day to operate St. Jude.
It can be disheartening to read statistics like these. $2 million is a shocking number, but one that makes sense when you consider the fact that patients and their families never receive a single bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. How can the Delta Zeta chapter make a difference for St. Jude patients when it is such a costly operation?
There have been times when I have struggled to believe that we can provide lifesaving measures for the huge population of sick kids that need them, when we are a relatively small organization whose reach does not extend far past the GW community. Then I remember the dedication shown by members of our chapter throughout this school year. I am reminded of those who posted on social media and reached out to family, time and time again to spread the word about our fundraising events. I think about those who put great effort into making cards and care packages that would put smiles on St. Jude patients’ faces. I consider the local businesses and organizations who provided donations, words of encouragement, and wisdom to our efforts in organizing Gobblefest this past fall.
These small yet meaningful contributions have led me to believe that if we can fund a single medical procedure or provide a sick child with one day of happiness, then that is a goal we should be proud to reach.
At the beginning of Gobblefest this past November, we played a St. Jude video for all of the attendees that told the story of a young boy battling cancer and his passion for dancing and the joy he felt for life. The looks of compassion on everyone’s faces while watching this video said it all. These kids are why we never stop doing this. St. Jude’s founder Danny Thomas ardently believed that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” I came across this quotation months ago while researching this remarkable organization.
We may be unable to raise the millions of dollars required to sustain the daily operations of St. Jude, but if I’ve learned anything from this position it is that every $100 raised is as significant as $1,000, in that it makes one more impact on the life of a young person and their hope for a cure. This is the impact we should be striving to make.
On average, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital treats 67,000 children each year. I feel extremely lucky to have met some of them. Last February, we, the Delta Zeta Chapter, won the chance to tour the hospital in June of 2014, I visited for myself. What I saw in Memphis changed my definition of what a hospital could be and renewed my dedication to St. Jude. It costs $1.8 million a day to run St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and that is because parents never pay a single bill. I got to see first hand that this truly means the children at St. Jude are provided with such a bountiful life and their parents only have to worry about helping their child feel better. For families that live on the St. Jude campus, gift cards are provided for groceries and household items. For those who drive in, there is a sign by the valet station that reads "no tips please".
I was able to serve a BBQ and sweet tea dinner to some of the families that live in an amazing complex called Target House. Target House is the place where long-term patients stay; anyone who lives there has been in treatment 6 months to a couple of years. Those who I saw were some of the most beautiful children I have ever seen. The babies were so sweet and had big, beautiful bald heads from treatment. One little boy was playing with a beach ball, hitting it back and forth with an attendant and laughing wildly. I watched on as I heard his mother say he had just completed brain surgery the week before.
These are the types of children that we support every day when we support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The staff are unbelievably kind and it is a loving place to be. I feel confident that any help we can supply to St. Jude will go towards a positive mission.
Learn more about our work with St. Jude here