Meet Our Members: Sarah

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 8.08.03 PMWhen I came to Drake I knew that I had three goals. The first was to get an education, the second to make friends, and the third was to serve my community. What I didn’t realize was that all of these goals were met when I went through formal recruitment and joined a chapter.

Of course any experience is a learning experience, but not every experience helps you sort out your personal values and goals. During recruitment I realized that I place high value on those around me and that my friend group is important to how I live my life. These realizations led me to recognize that being a sorority would surround me with people of the same values.

My second goal, to make friends, had already been met by the time that recruitment rolled around. Despite this I still met some of the girls who are closest to me during recruitment and several aren’t in chapters or are in other chapters besides my own. It makes getting involved with philanthropies more fun because it becomes a personal competition between friends.

Finally service, beyond just philanthropies and mandatory service hours, I found my service was doing more for me as a leader than as a participant. My involvement in an Alternative Spring Break this year, biking at 3 am for a philanthropy, and even doing synchronized swimming have been some of the best ways to give back and raise awareness. My involvement in all of this led to me doing 195 volunteer hours this semester, that’s over 8 days of volunteering! It also led to me declaring a concentration in Leadership Education And Development.

In the end, for me, Greek life isn’t just a support system and social group, it’s an experience that is contently teaching you more about who you are and what you stand for. For me, I stand for ethics and service and believe these are the skills I’m currently developing as a collegiate woman in Greek Life.

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Alyssa

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When I first came to college, I wasn’t planning on joining a sorority. However, my mom had been involved in Greek life in college and encouraged me to go through recruitment, even if just for the experience of going through and meeting new people. After the first night, I knew Greek life was where I belonged.

Growing up with just one sister, I had a very genuine and close relationship with her, and meeting the women involved in Greek life, I saw that same genuine sisterhood. I knew I wanted that sense of sisterhood in college, and ever since recruitment, I have never once regretted my decision to get involved in Greek life. I found women, a whole community, who shared the same values, drive, and passion for life that I had.

I went through a lot of personal struggles my first year, and my sisters were the women I counted on, the ones that became my support system and home away from home. They are the women who consistently push me to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. They never let me give up on anything, and they never give up on me. In return, I get to be the one continually pushing them and believing in them as well. And I believe that in itself it is one of the biggest blessings I could have ever received and could ever give. A blessing I wouldn’t have, had I not chosen to Greek.

Meet Our Members: Marie

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I was sitting on my bottom bunk in the good ole Goodwin-Kirk scrolling through my newsfeed when I began seeing a bunch of repostings and hashtags having to do with a classmate from high school. I read the article and quickly discovered that this classmate had gone on a ski vacation with some friends and as a result of a ski accident was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma. Her sorority sisters were spreading awareness and raising money for her recovery. It was then that I really got it, the power of Greek Life.

It is sometimes hard for people to see things when they are not on the inside and, in reality, I don’t think I would have noticed this trend if I wasn’t in Greek life myself. The news of this horrible accident had not only reached her immediate sorority sisters at her school, but it had already spread to other chapters nationwide. There was one chapter in particular that really heard her story. After hearing about their sister’s story they made the decision to begin fundraising along side my classmate’s immediate chapter. They made it their philanthropy for that year. It was then that it hit me. Sisterhood is not just about my 100 some sisters right here at Drake, it is about the unbreakable bond that I have with thousands of other women across the country. This thing we call “being Greek” is so much more than wearing some letters. Being Greek gives me connections anywhere in this world and great power to make a difference.

When you look merely at Drake’s campus, Greek Life is represented all over the place. Within the orientation leaders, Peer Mentor/Academic Consultants (PMAC), Student Senate, Student Activities Board, and hundreds of student organizations. The connections, support, and networking opportunities through Greek Life here at Drake are endless and I am so proud to be a part of it. Together as a community we raise money for so many amazing causes. Together as a community we create awareness of new student organizations on campus. Together as a community we volunteer and reach out to our surrounding Des Moines community. Together as a community we make up over 30% of this incredible campus. Together as a community we make up a small sliver of what is called Greek Life. Together as a community we create a place that so many call home. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing community and I cannot wait to see where it continues to take me.

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Lizzie

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Sorority recruitment week means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some girls started the week off with the mentality that they would undoubtedly join a sorority. Other girls were undecided as to whether they would join or not, but were excited to take part in the experience as well as the free food – I was somewhere in between these two extremes. I definitely was looking forward to the food, but my overall purpose for going through recruitment was to meet cool people, make friends, and enjoy a week of good conversations and new experiences. Before recruitment began I was not completely sure if I wanted to join, however looking back now I am so glad that I did.

By the end of recruitment, I was almost certain that I wanted to be a part of Greek Life and have a sisterhood to call my own. All of the amazing women I had met and the incredible conversations we had throughout the week really helped to solidify my desire to join. The last day of recruitment, Preference Night, was undoubtedly the best and worst night of recruitment all at once. It was the best because of all the women I got to talk with from the two chapters that I had returned to. But, simultaneously, was the worst because I realized I absolutely loved both chapters and it would be one of the toughest decisions of my life to decide which would be the better fit for me.

I had been waiting for a moment of absolute clarity; a sign to tell me which path was the right one for me. Luckily, this came at the very end of the recruitment process. I had left the first chapter feeling unsure of what to do, but as I walked to the second chapter I immediately felt a jolt of belonging. The woman and I who talked that night spoke as if we had been known each other for much longer than three days. We had so much in common and our conversation felt natural. Trust was and still is the most important value that I look for in a friend, and I knew I could trust this woman and everyone else from this chapter. As I left that chapter, I no longer had uncertainty as to what I wanted out of recruitment.

Since joining the chapter that felt like home, I learned that sorority recruitment is so much more than free food and chatting with new people. It is about making friends who will eventually become your sisters. From my experiences the best piece of advice that I can give is that everything happens for a reason. Although I was originally unsure if joining a sorority was right for me, I discovered that I was meant to go through Fall Recruitment Week, fall in love with my chapter as well as all of the incredible women that are a part of it. Even if you are unsure about joining a sorority I highly encourage you to go through the recruitment process—you could end up exactly where you’re meant to be.

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Alyssa

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 7.23.56 PMWhen I first arrived at Drake, going through recruitment was a no brainer. Those I had met so far were going through recruitment and everyone said it was such a great experience…I never gave it a second thought! The recruitment process went fairly smooth for me, and looking back now, it is honestly quite a blur. My best memory of the recruitment process was on preference day when we were waiting outside my soon to be chapter house. As I was watching all the women come outside, I had a gut feeling that it was where I am supposed to be. After that, I never looked back!

Bid day came and I couldn’t be more excited to meet all of my new sisters. Everyone was so excited to meet everyone else; it was a little bit overwhelming. There were so many new faces, and looking around at all the women, I realized I hardly know any of these people. Despite this fact, everyone was extremely welcoming.

Looking back three years later, I realize this is where I have made my best friends. I got involved by attending philanthropy events, sisterhoods, and eventually taking on a leadership position my sophomore year. What surprised me about our Greek Life is how welcoming it was as a whole community. Between exchanges, events, and Panhellenic sisterhoods, I have never been less than pleased with how open everyone is to members in other chapters.

This influenced my decision to become a Rho Gamma last year. Women from every chapter, all from different backgrounds, came together for one purpose; to help someone else find their perfect chapter. Through this, I met women that I have made lasting friendships with. So, if you are wondering if joining a sorority means you can only be friends with your sisters, the answer is no. Make friends in your chapter, make friends in another, make friends outside of Greek Life… WHO CARES! Just make the most out of your four years.

Being in Greek Life was one of the best decisions I have made at Drake. My chapter is my family, my home and my people. But looking at the big picture, my experience would not have been the same without the welcoming atmosphere of the entire Greek community. Joining Greek Life 100% exceeded my expectations. It sounds cliché but it is so true when someone says, “It’s not four years, it’s for life.”

Meet Our Members: Mari

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Joining a sorority was never on my radar in high school and I definitely never imagined the indescribable bonds that I would share with the women of my chapter. After going through recruitment my freshman year, there was one chapter where everything felt just right to me. It was a feeling that was hard to describe, especially to friends and family that I knew had no connections to Greek life. Having had no prior ties to Greek life myself; I joined my chapter with an eager and fresh mind, hoping to give all that I could to it and its women, but was quickly blown away by all that my chapter and my sisters gave to me.

In my past two years at Drake, my sisters have not only pushed me to be the best friend and sister possible, but have opened my eyes to new social problems, professional experiences, academic drive, and philanthropic importance. My chapter has not only shaped me as a college friend, but a lifelong sister and professional, and that is something that can be hard to fully comprehend. I greatly value the support and accountability my sisters provide me each and every day. These attributes to my college experience have shaped me into who I am today.

This past semester, I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, and along my adventure missed Drake and my sisters. However, one support system I never expected to have while abroad was constantly having sisters in Des Moines wanting to call, Skype, or message me every single week to check up and ask about my experiences. I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but I never knew that I could feel so much love from thousands of miles away. Returning back home and being able to hug and chat with many of my sisters as if I had never left reiterated the everlasting friendships I had gained through my chapter.

Recruitment can be a scary time (as Director of Recruitment for my chapter, believe me I know J), but it is also a time where being yourself is the most important thing you can do. Genuine conversations and comfortability are so important for women everywhere, and they are something I sought out in my recruitment experience. No matter your prior thoughts on Greek life, know that every chapter on Drake’s campus has a commitment to sisterhood that is hard to beat. My chapter and sisterhood have changed my life, strengthened my values, and have allowed me to grow as a woman and global citizen.

Upperclassman Recruitment Stories: TJ

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.31.13 AMWhen I first came to Drake as a freshman I had no idea what formal recruitment was. I knew what sororities and fraternities were, but that was it. I hadn’t heard anything about signing up for formal recruitment, and I had no idea what all of the women on my floor were really talking about that whole week when it came to which outfits they needed to wear and all of that. After the recruitment process was over and bid day rolled around, everyone looked so happy and I was extremely jealous. I felt like I was missing out on a huge college experience. I wanted to belong to a group that would support me and become my best friends, just like everyone on my floor did. I thought it was too late and I was upset.

By the time sophomore year rolled around I was honestly annoyed with Greek life. A year of watching my friends have the best times of their lives in their chapters had hardened me with jealousy. I wanted to be in a sorority, but I thought I had missed my chance. I had no idea that throughout the previous year chapters held informal recruitment events and that I could have gone to those events and possibly joined. I also had no idea you could go through formal recruitment as a sophomore (it’s like I lived under a rock as an underclassman).

Once bid day of my sophomore year rolled around I was extra bitter. I looked out my window of GK and watched everyone having a blast on bid day. There were songs, chants, and a lot of screaming as new members were running outside and hugging all of their new sisters. I decided to accept that I had missed my chance and that Greek life just wasn’t for me. Then, a few weeks later the best thing that’s ever happened to me fell into my lap. I heard from a friend about an informal recruitment that was happening that week, so I decided to go to some events. I loved it! The women I talked to were awesome. They were funny, sweet, and welcoming so I decided to accept my bid a few days later and I’m so glad that I did!

For a while, I thought that my recruitment process was so different than everyone else’s, but the longer I’m in Greek life, I realize it isn’t. So many women tell me that they didn’t go through formal recruitment as a first year and either joined through informal recruitment or decided to do formal recruitment as a sophomore. The one other thing that these women have in common is that they wished they would have gone through recruitment sooner because that would be an entire year or more with their sisters. I wish that I had realized how to join Greek life sooner because it was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Meet Our Members: Katarina

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.22.10 AMWhen thinking about college back in high school, going through recruitment and joining a sorority was always in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t something that I thought I would ever actually do. If I’m being honest, I was intimated by the Greek system. I blame those premature feelings on the dramatization of sororities and fraternities that I had seen played out time and time again in popular TV shows and in movies. But what I quickly discovered through the recruitment process and in joining a chapter, was that Greek life at Drake is so much more than all of that.

Because Drake is a small school, it can be tough to find where you belong right away. But the Greek community at Drake is extremely diverse, which means that it has something to offer everyone! Leadership is one of the biggest ways to become involved with the University, and it is no different in Greek life. Leaders within the Greek community are also some of the most prominent leaders on campus and vice versa. Being able to see individuals showcase their passions and skills in a variety of settings is incredible.

Members of the Greek community also genuinely care about service projects and giving back to our home here in Des Moines. Philanthropy weeks put on by each chapter are some of the most fun and engaging times on campus. It gives chapters and students at Drake the chance to participate in some friendly competition while raising money for great causes.

The Greek system at Drake has helped me to get involved on and off campus in a variety of ways and establish myself in the community. I was anxious to find a deeper driving force behind sororities and fraternities than just what appears on the surface, and that’s exactly what I found in Drake Greek life.

Meet Our Members: Elena

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.04.46 AMComing to Drake, I knew that I wanted to join a sorority and be a part of Greek Life. I wanted a community that would push me to be the person I wanted to be and pick me up when I pushed myself too hard. Joining a sorority, I got just that and so much more.

As a first-year, I was able to get a leadership position in my sorority right away. Not only that, but my sisters encouraged me to join other clubs and get other leadership positions. I joined the Student Activists for Gender Equality, Business Ambassadors, and even scored an internship. My first year at Drake was amazing, mostly because of the women that had my back while I was managing all my new responsibilities and discovering my passions.

Sophomore year was a turning point for my Greek Life experience, though, because last summer I was asked to donate bone marrow and the date that was set was just five days before recruitment would begin. I wanted to participate in recruitment; it had been a turning point for my college career and I wanted to be able to help other women get a similar experience. My sisters were so supportive and made sure that I was able to participate, while still being attentive to the recovery process. Imagine having about 80 mothers making sure you are okay; it was overwhelming in the best kind of way. Second semester, I left Drake to study in Paris, France. The support of my sisters while I have been away has been monumental in my process of personal growth. I thought that if I kept in touch too often or leaned on them too much for support, I would not get the experience I came looking for. It turns out, though, that the opposite happened. Through their encouragement, I have had an even more amazing time abroad than I ever could have imagined. Sisterhood really can be felt from across oceans.

Besides the usual networking connections, tight-knit community, and leadership opportunities, Greek Life gave me something that is talked about a little less, but felt by all members of the Greek community and that is unconditional love and support. Over the past two years, my sorority sisters became my family. When I signed up for recruitment in 2013, I never could have predicted what a great decision that would be.

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Claire

When I firsScreen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.02.53 AMt came to college, I knew I wanted to join a sorority. I was really excited to sign up for recruitment, and even got a few friends to join me. I really had no expectations when recruitment started, expect that I would probably be jumping, screaming, and snapping a lot. When I was going through formal recruitment, I was so thrilled with the process. I eventually picked the chapter for me, and was ecstatic when I got my bid on Bid Day, which is where excessive jumping and screaming ensued.

I couldn’t wait to start learning about my new sorority and meeting all my new sisters. During my new member period, I mostly thought I would just spend a lot of time with some great girls and I would always have an excuse to dress up. But the further along I went with the new member period and the more I learned about my sorority, the more I fell in love. I realized that I was specifically chosen to join my chapter because of the things I valued. The formal recruitment process is designed to put you exactly where you are meant to be.

I always thought it was cheesy when a woman says “I love my sisters,” but then I realized that I really do love the women of my chapter. They value the same things I do, and bring out the best in me. These women have been my strongest support group and biggest fans since coming to college. I always have a friend in class or at a lecture, and there is always someone to call when I just really need a shoulder to cry on. Not only has my chapter been a huge support through my first semester, Greek life is one of the best things I have joined. Knowing I am in the Greek community gives me connections to men and women all throughout campus. Being in Greek life has been one of the best decisions I have made, and I could not imagine my college experience without it.