Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A "Q and A" Session with Staige

Periodically, DG Anchors asks some of our most loyal members ponderous questions. Today's responses come from devoted DG Cabinet member Staige Davis Hodges, Beta Theta-Duke.

Staige proudly sporting her letters.
Q: What is your all time favorite Delta Gamma memory?
A: It is really so hard to choose one, as there are so many - some poignant, some hilarious, some incredibly moving. It could be the night I pledged, on my 20th birthday, or it could be watching my chapter receive the George Banta Award in 1992, or it could be having my CDC group at my wedding, being an active part of my alumnae chapter and seeing us set records for our dues-paid members, or taking cream roses to a special member dying of cancer in the hospital who could not make it to Founders Day. However, I will choose one I think that is something a bit out of the ordinary. As a member of the Archives Committee, I discovered we were missing images/photos of many Delta Gamma Fraternity Presidents and the first Delta Gamma to serve as NPC Chair. Most served prior to 1900. Thankfully, the Internet and are full of leads, so Maureen Hollmeyer and I began to search old obituaries and family trees. She would find the obituaries, then I would look online to sleuth out the most likely family contact within the given geographic area. I made quick friends with archives directors at various universities like Northwestern, and their assistance was invaluable, and they, too, became vested and curious in our hunt. I made a number of cold calls to great-grandchildren, many now in their 80s, and a number of times, the delight in these relatives' voices brought tears to my eyes. I had one man who screened his calls, yet as soon as he heard on his machine I was trying to find a photograph of his great-grandmother, he picked up the phone and we talked for nearly an hour. It was a bit like putting a puzzle together combined with going on an archeological dig. We were able to track down some incredible photographs of our earliest presidents and the NPC Chair, and since that time, relatives have unearthed other artifacts and mementos which they have sent to the Delta Gamma archives. It was so fulfilling being able to place these photographs in the "hall of Presidents" at Executive Offices after they had been missing for more than 100 years! 


The hall of Presidents is a favorite stop when visitors tour EO.

Q: Which DG convention has been a favorite and why?
A: The Convention that stands out so much in my mind is 1992 in Palm Desert - the legendary "earthquake" Convention. It was my third Convention and I will remember it for two distinct reasons. The first, obviously, is the 7.4 earthquake whose epicenter was only 20 miles away and literally tossed me out of bed at 5:30 am. I will never forget watching the glass ceiling tiles sway in the ballrooms. The hotel staff had to tie the gigantic ballroom chandeliers to the walls to prevent the glass from falling on all of us. It was a rock-and-roll kind of Convention, and whether we were sitting in General Session or eating a meal, we never quite knew how bad the next aftershock would be! And I remember the food was over-the-top -  so much so, that I took a photo of our final banquet anchor dessert! The other reason 1992 stands out is that I finally met Fran Stevenson, our remarkable Fraternity Historian. She and I sat for a good hour in one of the lobbies finally getting to know one another and share our passion for the history of Delta Gamma. We became immediate friends and correspondents (These were back in the "pre-email days" - remember those?). For twenty years, I have called her friend and mentor, and she has helped educate me in so many ways with our history and how our Fraternity has been shaped. Perhaps I should count meeting Fran as one of my favorite memories!

Q: If you have one piece of advice for a new member, what would that be?
A: Perhaps the best advice I could share would be to take it all in. Be a sponge and allow yourself to listen, learn and grow within the values and meaningful relationships Delta Gamma helps to foster. It is often difficult to step back and be objective while experiencing things, but if I were a new member now, I would want to know about the organization in every way, what our mission is, and about the women who came before me. How can being a member of Delta Gamma enhance my life? What skills can I learn by volunteering for a crew position or on a committee? How can I learn from my sisters and grow as a member, student, woman and human being? All of these things are available for all of our members, and it is never too early to start taking advantage of the benefits of lifetime membership! You truly get far more than you give in Delta Gamma. I wish I knew all of this 26 years ago!

Q: What is your hope for the future of Delta Gamma?
A: My hope is broad-reaching. I hope we can continue to attract women who want to share our values and continue to "Do Good" as our Founders did for us 139 years ago. I hope we can continue to adjust to the challenges technology brings on a regular basis. Things that are so "twenty-nine seconds ago" cannot leave us behind. While we are a sisterhood-based organization, we are a business. We are in the business of sisterhood, and we must continually adapt so we are ahead of the many unseen and unimagined curves that undoubtedly lie ahead of us. I want us to thrive and share the strength of Delta Gamma for generations to come!


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