Founders’ Day Message from the President

Agape love is the unconditional love that is shared when you expect nothing in return. It’s the kind of love that has no strings attached. It is the love that is not deserved but still granted by the other person; a love that is made up of humility, patience, generosity and unselfishness. Agape love is the willingness to help make the other person better.

As I think of Nov. 15, 1901, in Farmville, VA, I consider this to be the kind of love that Virginia, Juliette, Calva, Louise and Mary shared with each other. The friendship and agape love our Founders shared encouraged them to begin the journey to start their own sorority. This love sustained them as they worked hard to begin the sisterhood of Alpha Sigma Alpha.

We can all relate to our Founders and think of sisters who share that love for us. Sisters who truly make you better. I immediately think of Jessica Bridwell, ZΠ, Mandy Stark Young, ZA, Laura Zabel Hockstra, ΔK, and Leah Dooley Eickhoff, AB, who traveled with me as leadership consultants. These women challenged, guided and believed in me. They were my biggest cheerleaders when I installed a new chapter. They gave me confidence when I was scared to take on the next challenge. We brainstormed ideas and worked together as teammates. We all shared the love of trying to make Alpha Sigma Alpha the best it could be. We helped each other grow. I am a better leader and woman because of the friendship and love they gave to me.

This kind of love and friendship is the foundation of our ritual. These words from our ritual, taken from I Corinthians, are the tenets of agape love. They are lessons to all of us as members of Alpha Sigma Alpha.

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

The love and friendship of Jess, Mandy, Laura and Leah is never ending. It is the love that makes them key players to experience life with me even though we are miles apart. They were some of the first phone calls I made when I was engaged to be married to my husband, Andy. They shared the joy with me of expecting a new baby. They raised my spirits when I found out that I had thyroid cancer. They are my first calls for big life events but also the first calls for the little things. I am better because of their never ending agape love. For that I am thankful to not only call them sister but lifelong friends.

Agape love does not just happen. It requires you to work for it. This love needs to be watered to grow. This Founders’ Day, take time to explore and grow your agape love. Send a text, reach out on social media, make a phone call or write a handwritten note to a sister. I plan on letting Jess, Mandy, Laura and Leah know how much they mean to me. Let us continue sharing the love that began in 1901.

Happy Founders’ Day, Alpha Sigma Alpha!
In Alpha Sigma Alpha,

Melissa Merriam, national president


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