Service Above Self

by Michelle Davis (Theta Alpha-Linfield)

How do we model this to our sisters, our collegians, our communities?

My answer is sharing the experience, the peace, love and goodwill through existing projects or travel. As a Rotarian, I wrote grants to contruct water wells rural kebeles & 2 schools. I asked our chapter and alumnae to contribute to buying books for one elemntary school in Gondar, Ethiopia in which we were already visiting. In 2 weeks, Oregon State (Beta Upsilon) raised money for 1,500 books for students to use at school and home.

The core lesson, the fundamental truth, and the bottom line is that a partnership was at the heart of this successful effort. Every player— community-based organizations, the business community, neighborhood organizations, the university chapter and individuals—was important. But no one player could successfully tackle the challenge by themselves.

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

Alpha Phi's Newest Travel Liaison

Alpha Phi is excited to welcome our newest travel liaison
to the Alpha Phi Traveler team, Nikki Menendez (Iota Eta-DePaul)!
Feel free to e-mail her at

I still remember the day I moved abroad, standing petrified in the crowded terminal at LAX thinking I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I knew that day that my life was changing forever, but I had no idea to what effect. After many long and rainy months I returned home a little wiser and with a new entry on my bucket list, to travel the world.

Flash forward six years and here I am so excited to be Alpha Phi’s new Traveler Liaison. I am pumped to help share Alpha Phi Traveler with sisters everywhere and to promote such a great program. There are so many amazing places to see and I cannot think of a better way to explore them than with my sisters. I look forward to helping make each Alpha Phi Traveler trip a success and making sure every traveler has the adventure of a lifetime.

While I am not a travel know-it-all, I consider myself blessed to have explored as much as I have. I have been to over 20 counties and lived in some of the greatest cities from London to Chicago to LA. I believe that nothing beats a fresh croissant from a Paris bakery or the feeling you get when you first see something like the Coliseum.

While traveling is a big passion of mine, real life called my name and I am now forced to plan my mini-breaks during lulls at work. I currently reside in the Washington, D.C. area with my wonderful boyfriend and adorable dog. I get my Alpha Phi fix by serving as the Treasurer for the Delta Zeta chapter’s House Corporation Board.

The Plane Truth About Your Veins

There's something I have to plan for every time I travel to embark on a cruise. No, it's not my wardrobe, although that does matter. It's my veins.

You see, after breaking my leg and taking a flight home from Florida last year, I developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It's an insidious condition that, in my case, was nearly deadly. The blood clot in my leg threw off smaller clots that lodged in my lungs. After three days in Intensive Care and a series of painful shots of heparin at home, I've been on a regimen of anti-clotting medication (warfarin) for the past nine months. For me, the end of the monthly trips to a clinic to check the level of medicine in my bloodstream is almost over, but I have a lifetime of concern ahead of me.

Why am I mentioning this now? To help spread the word. Reuters recently issued the warning that "People who travel have nearly triple the normal risk of developing a dangerous blood clot, with a measurable increase for every two hours spent sitting in a car or wedged into an airline seat, researchers reported on Monday. They said the risk is serious enough to merit research into better ways to keep travelers healthy, although not severe enough to justify giving airline passengers anti-clotting drugs."

In that report, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr.
Divay Chandra and his colleagues at Harvard University in Boston combined the results of 14 studies involving 4,000 patients and concluded, "Our findings demonstrate for the first time a clear association between travel and VTE. "
VTE is venous thromboembolism, the development of a blood clot in a vein, usually in the legs. The Cleveland Clinic defines it thus, "Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) represent different manifestations of the same clinical entity referred to as a venous thromboembolism (VTE)."

The Harvard study also finds the risk of developing DVT is one case in every 4,600 airline trips. That doesn't sound very dire, unless you are, like me, that one case. With a history of DVT, I'm at an even higher risk of developing it again.

Whether traveling by car or plane, my personal travel routine includes drinking a lot of water and getting up to move around every hour. That adds a lot of time to road trips, but it's essential. While I'm seated, I flex my ankles to keep the blood in my legs moving. I also wear compression stockings (aside from the pretty-in-pink cast I had on my broken leg, there is a wardrobe component here).

The next time you're planning a cruise, take a few moments to think about that long plane flight or car ride to get to port. Staying hydrated and moving around frequently are small steps to staying healthy. You don't have to break your leg to develop DVT.

Linda Burks Coffman (Epsilon Delta-Northern Illinois)

Travel Alert

The below information was provided by Kim Criscuolo (Gamma Iota-Texas Tech) of Canyon Creek Travel. Please contact your travel agent for additional information.

To All Travelers:

Secure Flight is a program that was developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a key 9/11 Commission recommendation: uniform watch list matching by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The mission of the Secure Flight Program is to enhance the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching.

Secure Flight will conduct uniform prescreening of passenger information against federal government watch lists for domestic and international flights. TSA will take over this responsibility from aircraft operators who, up until now, have been responsible for checking passengers against government watch lists.

Secure Flight will match the name, date of birth and gender information for each passenger against government watch lists.

After matching passenger information against government watch lists, Secure Flight will transmit the matching results back to airlines.

Canyon Creek Travel/American Express must collect the required information from all travelers:

Tickets issued after May 15, 2009

Name exactly as it appears on your government-issued photo ID

Beginning August 15, 2009

Date of birth
Redress Number and Known Traveler If Applicable) Homeland Security defines “Redress Number” as a unique number given to a traveler who has been stopped from or hindered in the boarding process but later cleared for boarding. A “Known Traveler” is one who crosses the border regularly and has been previously cleared.
The information will be stored permanently in profiles so that you do not need to provide the information every time that you travel. This information is required before an airline will issue a boarding pass for travel.

Passengers who decline to provide this information to the airlines in advance of their travel plans will face - at a minimum - additional screening and delays at the airport, likely to include being denied boarding.

For some travelers this may be different than the way your name appears on frequent flyer accounts. You will need to change the frequent flyer accounts in order to receive mileage credit.

The airlines will not allow travel agents to assist with frequent flyer name changes.

Please email your agent the following information to update your profile.

Passenger’s current name as it appears on your profile
Passenger’s company name
Passenger’s full name exactly as it appears on your government issued ID.
Date of birth

Adventure of a Lifetime

In 2006 my husband and I sold our house in Chicago; quit our jobs; hung up our tailored suits; and spent eight months on an adventure of a lifetime. We backpacked (only three pairs of shoes) and limited ourselves to one 14kg backpack each. We traversed 25 countries on four continents that included 25 flights, 46 bus rides, 12 boat trips, 11 trains, and multiple other modes of transportation including a pedi-cab my husband peddled himself in India and a donkey in Petra. Our journey allowed us an opportunity to see parts of the world many don't ever have the opportunity to see. I couldn't even spell Uzbekistan let alone tell you where it was located before our trip!

It's hard to put into words the different ways in which this adventure changed me. I returned with an extreme amount of patriotism after witnessing firsthand the amount of ingenuity and resources individuals in our country have contributed to the world's development. As Americans we must appreciate that there are millions of people who would switch places with us in a heartbeat to have our quality of life. As a woman I am so thankful to have been born in the United States. I believe that now more than ever, as I had the opportunity to meet several women on our adventure who would do "anything" to come to America. Just as important, is understanding the global responsibility we must consciously acknowledge as Americans.

I also learned if a marriage can survive 24/7 together for eight months it can survive anything! Jeff and I learned our fights usually involved hunger, frustration or sleep deprivation and usually had nothing to do with each other. Constant unpredictable and unfamiliar situations helped me develop levels of creativity and patience I never knew were possible.

It has been two years since our adventure and transitioning back into the "real world" has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I live my life with more purpose than I did before our trip and realize life is way too short to spend time in situations that make you unhappy. Our lives are full of choices and it is up to us to be intentional with our choices.

If you would like to read more about our adventure please go to our website: I hope it inspires you to plan your own adventure of a lifetime.

Rebecca Andrew Zanatta (Beta Rho-Washington State)

Memories From Asia

I love Asia and find myself going back year after year. The culture is amazing, the sights are beautiful, the food is delicious and everyone I have ever met abroad has been gracious in teaching me about the important societal norms needed to appreciate the experience. On this trip, I traveled to Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. The trip was prompted by a request to visit one of my closest friends, Jeremy, who is a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Nong Khai, Thailand. Taking advantage of my time overseas, we had a great multi-country visit!

First stop: Hanoi, Vietnam.
Hanoi has over 6 million people and over 4 million motorbikes. There are no sidewalks, stop lights or stop signs in the downtown cultural/historical area. My only goal in the City was to learn how to cross the street
like a 'local" (i.e. without getting hit!) During our three days in Hanoi, we visited Chairman Mao's gardens and Mausoleum, the "Hanoi Hilton" where Senator John McCain was detained, multiple historical museums (where the Vietnam War was presented in a very interesting way against the "American Imperialists"), the first University in Vietnam and breathtaking Temples throughout the City. The community in this city is admirable, in that everyone eats together...all on the sidewalks! Learning about the communist/socialist regime and the cultural vitality of this City made this a highlight of the trip.

Second stop: Halong Bay, Vietnam
After a four hour bus ride to Halong Bay, Vietnam, we boarded a boat for a "three hour tour." During our ride, we toured over 1,000 islands jutting out of beautiful water and also explored a huge cave that was lit up like Disneyland. We stayed overnight at Cat Ba Island and enjoyed a very interesting time at the only lively spot on the island...a "discotheque" where our small group of four were the only patrons. Great techno music though...can't beat that!

Third Stop: Bangkok
Bangkok is one of my favorite cities in the world. Urban, chic, fast paced, culturally diverse, forward thinking and fascinating, this city offers a surprise at every turn. While checking my email on a side street near the largest shopping center in the city, an elephant walked by (who would have guessed!) Although I love Bangkok, I was ready to head to a place I had never been: Laos.

Fourth Stop: Luang Prabang, Laos
After a six hour plane delay in Bankok, we headed to Luang Prabang, Laos. Exhausted by the time we arrived, the heat and humidity impacted our "walking tour" of the City. After a drink of tamarind juice and a pep talk by our Australian "Guest House" owners, we set out to see everything the small town had to offer. Rice and vegetable fields, Buddhist Monks, hundreds of Wat's (Temples), a fascinating evening market and the Mekong River were just a few amazing highlights. We explored multiple restaurants, enjoyed a Lao massage, took a trip to a beautiful waterfall (where we also went on a hike in our flip flops!) and released birds into the wild. I celebrated my thirty- first birthday here with a bottle of wine sent by my boyfriend to the Guest House!
Fascinated by the people, the religious overtones in the town and the crippling poverty, I visited an orphanage to find out what I could do to support economic development and children in the area. This experience changed my life and I have made a commitment to develop an NGO to support, economically and with community development efforts, this country. Life changing....truly.

Fifth Stop: Vientienne, Laos and Nong Khai, Thailand
A quick plane trip to Vientienne and four hour adventure walking across the border to Thailand, we arrived to the Peace Corps site: Nong Khai. Situated on the borde
r of Laos and Thailand, this area yearns for economic development opportunities and are agriculturally based. Jeremy's assignment is to work with the town he has been assigned to develop tourist opportunities to drive revenue into the area, build relationships with local "Women's Groups," teach English, and serve as a US Ambassador. During the several days I volunteered with these Peace Corps projects, I developed a great love and respect for the Thai "family" I made on the visit. Being blessed by a Thai medicine leader and meeting the Village leader were experiences I will never forget.

Amazing trip! As outlined, this trip was life changing. Since returning to the States, I have signed up for Thai language classes (also spoken in Lao) and have started research on the development of my first NGO. Enlightening, fun and educational...this was one of the best trips to Asia ever! I can't wait to head back and plan to do so within the next year. Next stop, however, is a trip to Japan in June that is being planned now. Go Asia!

Jenny Holsman

Overseas Photo Contest - 2nd and 3rd place winners!

To celebrate the new Alpha Phi Overseas Facebook Group, Alpha Phi hosted its first overseas photo contest. We asked Alpha Phis to send us their most creative and unique photos from around the world.

Hundreds of stunning photos poured in, but with the help of the Alpha Phis Overseas Facebook Group a first, second and third place photo was chosen.

Second and third place winners are being showcased here but the first place photo will not be revealed until it is printed in the 2009 Spring Quarterly!

(Alumnae, if you would like to receive the Quarterly in the mail, be sure you are current on your International Alumnae Dues or you have made at least a $50 donation the the Foundation. You can always view the Quarterly online for free at any time! )

If this is the first you're hearing of the Overseas Photo Contest, then you may be missing out! Be sure your contact information is up to date with the Executive Office and then subscribe to Alpha Phi's Twitter, Facebook or RSS feed.

Second Place Winner

photograph by
April Milner (Gamma Epsilon-Lake Forest)

Kayan (long-neck) tribe of Thailand. Photo is of a mother and two daughters. Five brass rings are added when a girl turns five, and a new one is added every year according to their age.

Third Place Winner

photograph by
Rebecca Andrew Zanatta (Beta Rho-Washington State)

Rice Farmer in Hoi An, Vietnam - I took the photo while biking along a rural road in Hoi An, Vietnam. Hoi An was founded as a trading port in central Vietnam sometime around 1595. It became one of the most important trading ports on the South China Sea. The town is known for its agriculture, craft stores and tailors. This photo captures the massive task of farming a large rice field, usually a task performed by women in developing countries.

Don't forget to watch for the winning photo in the Spring Quarterly!