I was sitting in Lisner Auditorium in an orange sunflower dress waiting anxiously to find out who would win Chapter of the Year at the George Washington University Excellence Awards. I was tapping my heel to the beat of I Gotta Feeling waiting for the song to end and Chapter of the Year to be announced.
The honor is awarded to the house with the highest commitment to their values, as shown through their academic success, campus involvement, chapter management, membership development, community service and philanthropy. At the end of the song they announced that we had won. I was elated and so proud that the chapter I’d helped to lead had won. The second we learned of the victory, of course, text message, tweets, and Facebook posts came pouring in. Sisters who had graduated years before were sharing my excitement.
Once a sister, always a sister
In that moment I was reminded that sisterhood lasts a lifetime. For me, the hardest part of graduating wasn’t transitioning from college to career-George Washington University provided me with an invaluable access to internships-but transitioning from active member of my sorority to an alumna. I missed living in my sorority house, attending formals and socials, community and philanthropy events, and lazy nights spent curled up on the couch watching Gossip Girl and Glee. My sorority sisters joked that I would be the most likely to continue living in the sorority house after graduation. They would probably be correct except after graduation I boarded a train to NYC for a job. In my sorority we have a saying, once always, meaning that our sisterhood doesn’t end when you have a diploma in hand. It lasts a lifetime. I reached out to fellow sorority alumna to find out their advice on staying active in your Greek Life after graduation.
Ways to pay it forward and be paid back
Lauren Goodwin (Kappa Kappa Gamma) recommended that recent grads join their organization’s regional alumna association. Lauren is embarking on her second position as Kappa’s New York Alumnae Association’s Communications Chair. She recently attended her regional organization meeting and national convention this summer. She also recommended grads either become an adviser at a local collegiate chapter or joining an advisory board as a long-distance adviser. Lauren told me that, “advising is a great way to give back to an organization that has given so much to you and it will help you to meet people who are “more senior” in your national organization.”
Hope Ditto (Phi Sigma Sigma) recommended the following post-graduation activities to stay active in the sorority community:
1. Volunteering to speak at collegiate professional development events
2. Serving as a mentor to younger sisters just embarking on their professional lives
3. Providing internship opportunities with her company to my collegiate chapter
4. Donating to her sorority’s scholarship fund.
Ashley Slye, a proud Phi Sigma Sigma, spoke about the benefits of staying active as an alumna. She mentioned that working with your national organization is an awesome opportunity to engage in volunteer work while gaining valuable career experience. Ashley also mentioned that working directly with a chapter gives you the opportunity to really impact the lives of collegians, and it’s a great mentoring experience.
Involvement in greek life is also a great way to find mentors. I ask my big, grandbig, great-grandbig and great-great grandbig for advice on everything ranging from dating to how to find my dream job. Over the weekend I went to the wedding of a sister who helped guide me through my freshman year. We have a saying in our sorority that you don’t join to find your husband (although some do) you join to find your bridesmaids. If you think about it differently you also find your mentors. You have vertical and horizontal peer support and this mentorship doesn’t end after graduation. Take Lauren, Hope, and Ashley’s advice and stay active and engaged. As Ashley says, “good advisors make great chapters, and great chapters make great women.” Give back and get involved.