February 2021 Alumnae Chapter of the Month: Orlando/Winter Park, Florida

This month, we are excited to feature the Winter Park/Orlando Alumnae Chapter. Founded in 1933, this chapter has been a great example of our faithful sisterhood for 88 years. Read on to learn more about how the Winter Park/Orlando Alumnae Chapter is staying connected during these challenging times!

Chapter members visited Winnie Palmer Hospital during the 2019 Phi Mu Night Out.

Philanthropy/Support of CMN Hospitals

Our local CMN Hospital is the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. We fundraise for both hospitals by holding raffles throughout the year as well as hosting a “Bowling for the Kids” event, although we have not held that event since 2019 due to COVID-19. In 2020, we raised over $200 for the hospitals through a Pampered Chef fundraiser. Many of our members regularly make additional donations to CMN Hospitals when they submit their alumnae chapter dues. We have also supported the Phi Mu Miracle Market. Additionally, we have answered phones during the local radiothon for the hospital as another way to help through service.

Fun Chapter Facts

Our area is so much more than Winter Park and Orlando! We reach out to sisters all over Central Florida from the Space Coast to Polk County and all areas in between. 

Our chapter will be celebrating 90 years in 2023 and we look forward to hosting a huge celebration, just as we have done for previous milestone anniversaries!

Chapter members look forward to gathering together again, like they did at their 2019 Kick Off event.

Collegiate Chapter Support

Our Heart to Heart chapter is Alpha Nu at the University of Florida.  UF is two hours away so our assistance is usually more long-distance than local.  We have helped with the purchase of Ritual items, provided recruitment meals and sent care packages at various times throughout the year.  As schools return to more on-campus events, we look forward to being able to help with those.

Chapter members gathered before the pandemic to celebrate Founders’ Day in 2020.

Interesting Facts About Our Members

We have collegiate chapters represented from all over the country, from Adelphi University in New York to Youngstown State University in Ohio!  We have members that reside all over Central Florida and as far north as Delaware. We have members who are alumnae initiates and we are their first experience of being a part of a Phi Mu chapter. We have many members whose collegiate chapters have been closed and want to continue that chapter experience. 

The beauty of an alumnae chapter is that regardless of how you started your journey with Phi Mu, you always have a home in your local community with sisters of all ages and experiences to continue your journey. We work together to make sure that is the experience for our sisters in Central Florida. Phi Mu is for a lifetime! 

Chapter members have stayed connected via Zoom during the pandemic.

Staying Connected During COVID-19

We had just celebrated our 2020 Founders’ Day event when the pandemic forced everyone to stay at home so we had to carefully review how to remain in touch. At first, we stayed in contact through monthly emails and we continue to do so as a way for all of our sisters in the area to know what is happening locally as well as nationally with Phi Mu and Phi Mu Foundation. 

Since the start of the pandemic, we have had many Zoom meetings with monthly themes such as Favorite Holiday Tradition/Decoration, Halloween and a Sisterhood Brunch. These online events have been a wonderful way for us to meet many of our sisters that have not been able to attend a local event in the past. They’ve also allowed us to connect with sisters from all over the country.  We have our Facebook page as another way for members to stay informed about Phi Mu.

We knew this year was going to be a time of hardship for many members so we decided to make dues whatever amount they were able to pay. We asked for any amount from $1 to $1 million. Needless to say, we have not had anyone pay $1,000,000 but the support has been fantastic as most have given more than our usual dues amount. We asked for these donations to help in various areas such as Heart to Heart, purchasing a Zoom account, support mailings, and more. 

Although we have not been able to physically support many local nonprofit groups over the past year, we have started our Philanthropy of the Month. Over the past several months, we have helped with financial donations to local food banks, local school food banks and local sisters who have faced financial challenges. We will continue this support in the upcoming months. 

We also send cards to our members throughout the year to celebrate birthdays and holidays as well as to recognize sisters who are celebrating milestones of 25, 50 or 75 years of Initiation.  Being able to stay connected to our sisters in the area in a variety of ways helps us share our bond throughout the year!