So, I was in a sorority in college. Gamma Phi Beta at the University of Alabama, to be exact. I was Panhellenic Affairs VP as a junior and Administrative VP (or just plain VP) as a senior.
Stroll on over to my chapter's Web site if you want. As head chapter advisor in 2008, I helped them switch over to this new Web site powered by Chapter Communications (which I highly recommend, by the way). It's one of the several things I'm proud to have accomplished last year.
By the way, aren't the girls just adorable? They're doing so well. Their colors are pink and brown, their flower is the pink carnation, and their symbol is the crescent moon. I think all of those are precious. My sister was also a Gamma Phi, at UGA.
And while Gamma Phi isn't as "well-known" as other sororities in the South, it's one of the oldest nationally and a founder of the National Panhellenic Conference. Famous Gamma Phis include actresses Kristin Chenoweth & Cloris Leachman (both hilarious!), as well as host of CEOs and politicians, including one of Alabama's Supreme Court justices.
So, last year, when I was in the midst of planning a wedding, I was also traveling 90 miles roundtrip an average of twice a week to cater to my lovely girls. If you were in a sorority in college, you know what it means to be the chapter advisor: the disciplinarian, the counselor, the shoulder to lean on, the bridge between the chapter and the alumnae volunteer structure... the hero, the villian.
I oversaw the elections process, dealt with mental breakdowns and parent drama, spent long hours dealing with Recruitment, made sure paperwork was up-to-date, and accompanied the girls to International Convention last June in Cincinnati. (Gosh, was that really 13 months ago?) And that's just the beginning. And no, I wasn't paid for my work, nor did I get any special recognition. But I loved it. I loved being in the thick of it.
In December, I made the hard decision to step down as head chapter advisor and pass the baton on to one of my pledge sisters, who just happened to be moving back to Tuscaloosa and who is an expert on Recruitment. I wanted to devote what would be their spring semester to planning my wedding in April -- there were a lot of loose ends to tie up and I was afraid I wouldn't have the time for my girls. There were also some things going on professionally that I needed to tend to as well.
I'm still on the advisory board, but I'm not involved in the day-to-day business of the chapter anymore. It went from full throttle to a few bits & pieces within the span of about 2 weeks. And to be honest, sometimes I really miss it. Other times, not so much. In this digital world, members, parents and alumnae expect answers almost instantaneously. My e-mail inbox filled up very quickly.
Wherever Brian and I end up next, I hope to get involved with active collegiate members. And this year I'm serving as Public Relations VP for my local alumnae chapter. If any of you are considering volunteering with your sorority, absolutely go for it. My days with Gamma Phi are nowhere near over...like they say, it goes beyond college, but only if you make it so. I treasure my membership and my sisters dearly.
Here is what my sisters sang to me at the wedding:
All my life's a circle
Sunrise and sundown
The moon rolls through the nighttime
Till the daybreak comes around
All my life's a circle
and I can tell you why
I have my sisters with me, here in Gamma Phi