Spring 2021 Newsletter

This edition of the quarterly newsletter includes news about our new House Director, the Chapter’s spring semester activities, the House exterior renovation, our planned fall event to thank and celebrate our Capital Campaign donors, new ways to connect with fellow alumnae and an update on House Corporation Board members.
Welcome to Omega’s New House Director!

If any of you have been around the House over the past few months, you have no doubt noticed the return of our beloved Shyrl Hunt as House Director.  Shyrl served as House Director from 2008 to 2017, when she moved to Virginia with her daughter and family.

We are thrilled to welcome her back!

Chapter Update
by Brit Sauer, Chapter Advisor

This semester, the Chapter worked hard to have a sense of normalcy after COVID forced many changes in the fall semester. The girls held COB initiation, parent’s weekend, senior chapter, and the 4.0 banquet.

COB Initiation and Parent’s Weekend

In addition to these standard spring semester events, they hosted several opportunities for members to engage socially like Disco Phiver, a Crush Party, Spring Formal and a House Girls Only Date Event.   While pre-event COVID-19 testing, outdoor venues, mask-wearing and ride shares became the new norm, the girls had an amazing time finally being together.

Clockwise from top left:  two photos from Spring Phiver, two photos from Spring Formal and one from the Date Event.

To support philanthropy this spring, they were able to host the Mac and Phis event which is typically held in the fall, started a virtual Red Run, had several blood drives, and offered free COVID-19 testing at the house.

Clockwise from top left:  Red Run, Austin Marathon and Blood Drive

The Chapter also engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion training this semester, including conversations on academic diversity initiatives, black history, solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islanders and diversity, equity and inclusion during the recruitment process.  To boost Chapter morale, they held events like sisterhood workout classes, paddle boarding, charcuterie boards at Zilker Park, weekly Mexican lunches in the driveway, and treats at the house like Amy’s Ice Cream and snow cones.  They also started a care program called “with love, Martha” where members nominate sisters having a tough week and Exec selects one person to receive flowers and a snack.

Clockwise from top left:  Treat Pass-Out, Graduation and Silver Spurs Sweethearts

Overall, it was a really great semester, given the circumstances.  We are looking forward to a strong recruitment season and hoping to have at least the last two rounds in person.  As of right now, we are at the mercy of the city of Austin and the permitting office.  Thank you for your continuous support of the Chapter and Chapter facility.

Summer Work Underway – Exterior Renovation
by Samantha LaRue Gerdes, Omega HCB Décor Committee Co-Chair

The summer will be dedicated to the long-awaited exterior remodel! We will be removing the existing brick wall and replacing it with a lower wall along with updated exterior lighting, fresh paint and landscape (see rendering for a sneak peek).  We are all looking forward to “the reveal” when the girls return in August!

Save the Date!  Fall Donor Event – Saturday, October 16, 2021

Partnering with the Centennial Capital Campaign Committee, the Omega House Board is planning a special event to thank all donors whose generosity has made our recent interior and exterior House renovations possible.  Mark your calendars now.  Plan to come see the improvements that have been made, enjoy a BBQ luncheon, catch up with friends and join us as we celebrate!  More information to come.

Connecting with Your Omega Sisters
by Vivvi Pierce Britton, Omega HCB Social Media Committee

In May, we launched our Outstanding Omega campaign, where we recognize the professional accomplishments of sisters on our social channels. Kicking us off in April was Dr. Dina Goldstein Silverman (PC ‘99) and our honoree in May was Texas House of Representative Julie Johnson (PC ’84). Check out our Facebook and/or Instagram to read all about them. If you would like to nominate a sister who is a leader in her industry, please fill out this form.

Attention, Attention! Calling all small business owners, we want to support you! Please send your business name, website/social links, and a blurb about your services to UTAlphaPhiHCB@gmail.com. We will include your information in a future newsletter and help spread the news of your business far and wide.

Lastly, don’t forget, we are here to celebrate your life events too. If you have images of a recent life event such as a graduation, marriage, childbirth, or reunion with sisters, we will include a shoutout in our newsletter. It’s more fun to celebrate with your friends, right? Be sure to send those images to us at UTAlphaPhiHCB@gmail.com.

Updates to the Omega House Corporation Board

June 30th will mark the end of Board service for three of our outstanding House Board members:

  • Kimberly Hart, who most recently served as Vice President during her six years on the Board;
  • Maria DeCesare Haskell, who has served on the Board for the past eight years, most recently as Secretary; and
  • Dana Baker Wilkirson, who served on the Board for three years and was an integral part of our Centennial Celebration Committee.

These ladies will be missed.  We so appreciate the gift of their time, wisdom and humor.  Thank you!!

At the same time, we welcome Christina Brehm, our newest House Board member.  Christina pledged Alpha Phi in 2005 and served in a number of leadership roles during her collegiate years.  After graduating UT, Christina earned a second Bachelor’s Degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston and her MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.  She worked in Portland for a few years, then returned to Texas in 2020.  She currently works as a Senior Associate Brand Manager of Innovation at Vital Farms in Austin.

Finally, the following ladies will serve as HCB officers beginning July 1, 2021:

President – Amy Haven Kelly
Vice President – Bonnie Peiffer McCarty
Treasurer – Lisa Daniel Malesky
Secretary – Ashley Jennings

Bonus Recipe

We were so happy to be able to start the return to normalcy for the spring semester by bringing back our grab-and-go Mexican Lunch for all Chapter members each Wednesday.  While each week had a different menu, we wanted to share the recipe for the girls’ clear favorite (courtesy of Campus Cooks).

Chicken Tomatillo Enchilada Casserole
12 corn tortillas (soft fried)
1 pound of shredded or pulled chicken
2 to 3 cups of Monterey jack cheese
4 cups tomatillo sauce (prepared or freshly made, recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Pour half a cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Lay flour tortillas on top of the sauce. Spread on a thin layer of chicken just to cover the tortillas.  Sprinkle cheese (about ¼ to ½ cup) on top of the chicken.  Repeat steps two more times to make three layers.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Tomatillo Sauce
32 oz. can crushed tomatillos
¼ cup yellow onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 T. cumin
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat everything except the sour cream.  Once the onions and garlic are tender, blend in a food processor or blender with the sour cream.

Until Next Time…

Enjoy the summer!  Please continue to stay safe and take good care.  Look for our next newsletter in late August.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us at UTAlphaPhiHCB@gmail.com with any comments or questions.  Stay connected with your alum sisters through Facebook and Instagram via the links below.  To see some of your wonderful sisters in the Chapter now, follow the Chapter account on Instagram HERE and Facebook HERE.

Visit our Omega alumnae website at: https://texasalphaphialum.com/.  As always, thank you for your continued support of our Chapter!

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