It’s out with the old (i.e., “colony”) and in with the new (i.e., “emerging chapter”) for Theta Phi Alpha and our extension efforts! So be sure to update your Theta Phi Alpha vocabulary as follows:
Colonization Weekend ---> Opening Weekend
Colony/Colonies ---> Emerging Chapter/s
Colony Program ---> Emerging Chapter Program
Colony Member ---> New Member
The reason for this change was twofold:
The revised terminology more accurately reflects the process through which a fully installed Theta Phi Alpha chapter is established. What was formerly the “colony program” has been restructured to better prepare individual new members and the collective group for chapter operations, with an increased programmatic emphasis on new member education, Theta Phi Alpha Ritual, and committee-structured chapter operations training.
Similarly, chapter installation will now mark the start of an extended period of supported educational programming to better transition and orient our newest chapters to the operations, policies, and programs of Theta Phi Alpha. Thus the women that join Theta Phi Alpha as part of our extension efforts are, in essence, part of an “emerging chapter” working toward independent chapter functioning within 3-5 years after Theta Phi Alpha is established on a campus.
In many contexts, the term “colony” may seem harmless (e.g., a colony of ants; or “a group of individuals or things with common characteristics or interests situated in close association,” as in one of many definitions provided by Merriam-Webster). Nonetheless, we recognize that for many, the terms “colony” and “colonization” cannot be separated from the colonization and subjugation of indigenous peoples. That understanding informed the change in terminology as well.
As we continue to grow Theta Phi Alpha throughout the nation, we hope you appreciate the changes – both in the terminology and programmatic content – to our Emerging Chapter Program!
Want to continue the conversation? Contact your Grand Council – we’d love to hear from you!
Note: Official adoption of this new terminology will take place after the February 2017 mail vote.