From the Heart: Jen Wassum and the Zeta Iota Scholarship

by Alex Goodman in Impact

The Alpha Phi sisterhood lasts longer than our undergraduate years; it’s for life.

Countless alumnae members have expressed the mark their Alpha Phi membership made on them as a collegian is as strong now as it ever was. For Jen Wassum (Zeta Iota-Virginia), collegiate membership experience was a springboard that led her to continue engaging with Alpha Phi in various volunteer roles over the last 20 years.

When Jen joined her chapter, it was just beginning to revitalize. She saw how invested volunteers were in helping Zeta Iota flourish as a chapter, which set her on a path of her own post-graduation.

Starting as an Educational Leadership Consultant, Jen was able to directly give back to chapters in recruitment, something she loved in her own collegiate experience. From there, she has served in a multitude of roles pertaining to recruitment, extension, and leadership development. Most recently, Jen signed on to be a Leading with Heart Campaign Ambassador with Alpha Phi Foundation.

Zeta Iota Chapter members posing for a group photo

Her goal in this volunteer role? To fully fund a Zeta Iota Scholarship.

In 2019, Jen visited the University of Virginia for the first time in several years and she was reminded of the impact her Alpha Phi experience had on her. In reflecting upon her collegiate years, Jen recalls there being fewer scholarship opportunities for members than there are now, especially those that are chapter-specific.

“I felt [Zeta Iota] could use that permanence…and I am striving to help create something that will be there 20…50…or 100 years down the road,” said Jen.

Today, her volunteer experiences are directly correlated with what she can do for her chapter. She is focused on creating a better collegiate experience for current members of Zeta Iota, and by establishing the Zeta Iota Scholarship, members will continue to receive support for their academic studies and continue to have an equally impactful membership experience as she had.

With the 2020 Founders Day of Giving fast approaching, Jen hopes to encourage other Zeta Iota alumnae to support the scholarship fund. Especially now in times of unknowns, Jen recognizes there is a true need for academic scholarships and hopes that “when there is a demonstrated need, that [alumnae] will rally behind that need.”

Zeta Iota Chapters 2019 member class after initiation.Jen’s Alpha Phi experience, as a collegian and alumna, has been formative in shaping her on a professional and personal level. Still today,  Jen finds numerous ways to give back to the organization that gave her so much.

When asked why, after many years of leadership and service does she still offer time and dedication to our sisterhood, Jen responded “others invested in me and so I felt that much more compelled to be engaged as a volunteer to invest in them.”

Will you join Jen by showing up for Alpha Phi’s 2020 Founders Day of Giving on Friday, October 9, 2020? Here are 8 ways you can help make this day count for Alpha Phi.

2020 Founders Day of Giving

In honor of Alpha Phi’s founding year, Founders Day of Giving offers 18 hours and 72 minutes to celebrate 148 years of remarkable women and to support Alpha Phi’s future. Founders Day of Giving launches Friday, October 9, 2020, at 6:00 AM EST. Together, we can pave the way for Alpha Phi to maintain its relevance as a premier leadership organization while providing opportunities and programming for Alpha Phis to grow into leaders with the skills and heart to influence positive change. Learn more about Founders Day of Giving.

Scholarship Program

Through the generosity of donors, Alpha Phi Foundation awarded over $370,000 in merit and need-based scholarships to graduate and undergraduate Alpha Phis for the 2020-2021 academic year. The 2021-2022 scholarship application will open on December 1, 2020. Learn more about the Scholarship Program.


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