Most folks that know me IRL, and many of you that keep up with me here, know that I donate a lot of hours volunteering with my national sorority. Whether it be the MANY hours spent advising a local college chapter, to time spent supporting my local Alumnae Chapter in DC, it has become a big part of my life.
And today officially kicks off my "busy season"...formal recruitment. I will spend the next two weekends spending most of my waking hours at the chapter house. Many of those waking hours will be at 2, 3, 4 in the morning, when I technically *should* be sleeping. I will play many roles in supporting the chapter in their efforts. I will laugh, I will cry, and even though I may not want to, I will probably raise my voice at least once. But at the end of these two weeks, the chapter will have 40 or so new members. I will have 40 or so new sisters. It's a pretty great outcome.
Anyone that has asked me why I do all this, has heard me say how grateful I am for the opportunity to give back to an organization that I feel like has given me more than I thought possible.
Many folks, even those that know how much I actually do enjoy the work that I do, think I am nuts. Some days, I completely agree with them. But the time that I spend on this is not different than time you may spend on a hobby or favorite sport. It's not really time better/worse spent than watching your favorite guilty-pleasure TV show, or curling up with a good book.
It's something I do that makes me feel good. Makes me forget for a few hours about all the headaches and difficulties at work. Takes me out of my normal routine. Makes me feel young and oh-so-very old all at the same time. But it is something that is all mine.
The *me* of seven or eight years ago would have never thought all that much about my alumnae involvement with my national sorority. That is precisely what makes the *me* of today a better person.
Confused? Let me explain.
I have spent much of my professional life quickly climbing the ladder. Over the years, it has not been unusual for me to work 60+ hours in a week or spend my weekends in the office. Often, I’ve done both. I was focused on sizing up the tasks at hand, working diligently to achieve my goals and then quickly setting new and bigger goals for myself.
But something was missing. While I was busy achieving professional success, I was neglecting my own personal enrichment. That realization was an “A-HA!” moment that I could not ignore.
It was at that point, I became involved in my sorority’s local alumnae chapter, which gave me that much-needed opportunity for personal growth. While I enjoyed the philanthropic and social programming, it was simply making that connection back to my sorority that benefited me the most. I met women who quickly turned from strangers into sisters. I found myself remembering the life lessons I had learned early on in my sorority membership and was now seeing them in a new (and still very applicable!) light as an alumna.
My experience inspired me to try and get others to
the kool-aid reconnect too, ultimately establishing a Facebook group for
the alumnae of my initiate chapter. It has come to be a place for sisters to reconnect, and catch up on each
other’s lives, families and accomplishments, as well as post information and updates from both our collegiate chapter
and the national organization. It’s been
wonderful to see people interested in
what’s going on back at our campus and to see the undergraduate members
reaching out to alumnae members.
A few years ago, I was presented with the opportunity to become an advisor at my college’s chapter. Over the last three years, I have formally served as the chapter advisor to the Membership (Recruitment) and the chapter’s Panhellenic delegate. Within the last year, I have also had the opportunity to work more closely with the chapter to improve their alumnae communications and programming. The chapter is now putting out a regular Alumnae Newsletter and has added a new program connecting chapter and DC-area alumnae with new chapter members. And that’s just one of many wonderful things they have accomplished in the last few years. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many of the chapter’s members and continue to be impressed and proud of all they continue to achieve – including being number one in grades for this past semester!
The *me* of today is a better sister, employee, daughter, volunteer, friend and citizen because of my sorority membership, specifically my alumnae involvement in recent years. I have had first-hand experience with how my organization can enrich and expand your life as an alumna member, often in ways I never thought possible.