Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Picture is Worth at Least a Thousand Words

The members of a sorority at Penn State University are learning that firsthand after a photo of members stereotyping Mexican immigrants went viral and put the chapter and national office in a public relations crisis. It’s caught the attention of The TODAY Show, Anderson Cooper and countless TV and newspaper outlets. What the women of this chapter likely thought was a carefree and funny moment, has no one laughing now. 

The women have expressed “deep remorse” according to the university and it’s likely they never meant to hurt anyone. The students admitted the photo didn’t reflect the values of their organization, but this photo is all some people may ever know about the group.

Delta Gamma’s heart goes out to the women of the national organization. This could have happened to any of us.

When we saw the photo making its way around the Internet, Delta Gamma Fraternity Council and EO staff stopped. There were a few ways we could handle this situation. We could ignore it; after all it wasn’t a Delta Gamma chapter that did it. We could address it closer to Halloween and use it as a proactive reminder to our women. Or, we could use this moment to teach our women about how a “fun” photo could damage or embarrass others.

A good rule of thumb: If you would be uncomfortable reading your statement or posting your photo on the front page of The Washington Post or the New York Times, you shouldn’t take the picture or write the post. Your words and photos make their way to millions via the Internet.

Delta Gamma has intelligent, charismatic, funny and wonderful women as part of its rich heritage and sisterhood. We love Delta Gamma and we want to protect it and our members. The Fraternity is only as strong as each member. Our decisions impact our sisters. Our thoughts and opinions are important. We want you to have fun, but not at the expense of others. Are we projecting our thoughts in a constructive way, a way that can bring about change for the good?

We are going to make mistakes. No one is expecting you to be perfect. Delta Gamma wants to give you the foundation you need, in order to make good choices on your own. We want you to understand that the actions could have global implications and that each time you chose to interact on social media, your words, actions and photos will be seen by millions. Are you posting quality content? Do your photos reflect who you are and what Delta Gamma stands for? Are you using words and phrases that reflect upon your character?

Delta Gamma challenges you to “Do Good.” It’s not an empty motto. It’s something we expect of every member right down to the bio you use on Twitter, the photo you take on Instagram, the blog you post on WordPress and status you write on Facebook. If you are a Delta Gamma; act like a Delta Gamma. Carry yourself with poise, charm, intelligence and class. Don’t swear and curse, don’t put down others and don’t retweet comments that are degrading to anyone. 

What you do one moment, just for laughs, could have immense repercussions down the road, for you and the Fraternity. Think before you post and act. “Do Good!”

For more information on how one university and even the United Nations are embracing cultural diversity and education visit these sites:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Saving a School

Penny Hensley and her students.

One Delta Gamma’s Crusade to Keep the Door Open to a School She Adores

When I returned to my classroom after Thanksgiving break, I was met with the news that the school I love would close at the end of the year due to budget constraints.

I teach second grade at the Horizon Charter School’s Accelerated Learning Academy in Sacramento, California. The closing of a school would be bad enough, but the closing of THIS school is a catastrophe for some of my students.

Our curriculum is an accelerated, project-based program that allows students to be fully immersed in the subject matter. Despite being a second grade teacher, I do not teach much second grade material. These children are on a 3rd, 4th, and even 5th grade level. These students have been in traditional schools where they got in trouble because they were bored and not challenged. These children will go on to do great things. I refuse to let them go back to not being challenged in school. I will do whatever is needed to continue teaching these children; even if it means holding class in my home.

Since the news that our classrooms would close, I have rallied other teachers and parents. We are in constant contact with another charter school that is willing to take us under their wing until the end of this school year. We will know by tomorrow if this plan is approved. We are hopeful that we will remain open. We are devising a fundraising plan to pay for the remainder of the lease on our building.

I am meeting nightly with parents to keep our class together, with teachers to come up with our plan, with the parent group to finalize details of the move and praying that we will be able to remain open.

This has been total devastation to all involved but we have come together to save our school. When I became a Delta Gamma, I took on our motto “Do Good.” This is a time when I must “Do Good” to save this school for these children.

I urge you to be thankful for the stable education that you and your children have received and “Do Good” to keep supporting it.

Penny Lain Hensley, Gamma Alpha-Tennessee, currently lives in the Sacramento, California area and is active with the alumnae group there. Penny works as a second grade teacher and believes passionately in education. You can reach her at

For more information on Penny’s crusade to save her school:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Do Good for Life

“Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”
– Barack Obama

Do Good
You can “Do Good.” You can change the world.
Christmas break is just around the corner and nerves are high as finals approach. Chapters all have newly installed CMT. New opportunities are right within grasp. This should be a new and exciting time for everyone, especially new officers. This next semester holds opportunities for great things to happen. New jobs, new relationships, new beginnings lay ahead. Don’t be afraid to take risks this semester. Stand up for your beliefs. Be courageous. And continue to “Do Good.” Hold one another accountable and don’t be afraid of failure.
There is a difference between true failure and a lack of success. Being unsuccessful is something a person can’t control. Failure is something a person can control, because failure is giving up on the learning process. It’s refusing to take something from the situation and using it to be better in the future. Anyone can be unsuccessful, but only people who choose to, can fail.
If you learn from your mistakes that is a success!
If you learn from your mistakes that is a success!
Success is something everyone strives for and it feels good. But being unsuccessful is what makes a person learn the most about themselves. Remember that life doesn’t have a set of rules. There’s no formula to make you whole. You might hurt to heal, and you will risk to love. But you will find yourself if you truly search.
So no matter what your plans are for finishing finals, Christmas break, or even next semester, remember that as long as you are learning it’s not a failure. Leave here in the knowledge you are a part of this family, this sisterhood, this movement. You are a part of a community that has always had the same goal: to “Do Good.”

Make mistakes, take risks, live life, and most importantly love the learning. Don’t forget the lessons you learned during your time with Delta Gamma. Take the lessons and the successes you have had here and remember them wherever you go, no matter where your successes, or lack thereof, take you.
Delta Gammas part of the movement to "Do Good," and learn from their mistakes.
Delta Gammas part of the movement to “Do Good,” and learn from their mistakes.