Saturday, July 7, 2012

On DG, Greek Life, and Convention

Last weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend Delta Gamma's 65th International Biennial Convention in Indianapolis. It was truly one of the highlights of my Delta Gamma experience, and a great way to revisit my year as a CDC. I got to see many of the presidents I worked with over the year, meet the president of our chapter at the University of Virginia (where I will be taking on the role of ATC), catch up with fellow CDCs, and gain further appreciation for being a Delta Gamma - an organization that I chose to be a part of, and one that in turn chose me.

Look, Steph, you made the blog!!

Greek Life has the potential to change lives because it adds something to the undergraduate experience of men and women across the country. Let's be honest, if it did not offer something beyond partying, it would not still be relevant on our campuses.

I don't think I've posted on this before, so I'm going to do it now, in part as an answer to a challenge issued by Circle of Sisterhood founder Ginny Carroll during her speech at Convention. She challenged us to share with others why Delta Gamma meant as much as it did to us, and to share the moment when we were proudest to be a Delta Gamma.

One of my proudest moments as a Delta Gamma was when I returned to our Gamma Xi chapter at Texas Tech University in the Spring. I had visited the chapter in the fall and had had a really wonderful experience with the women, making a lot of connections and really enjoying my time in Lubbock. When I arrived in March, the chapter gave me a standing ovation, and I was greeted with hugs and smiles. The outpouring of love, support, and true sisterhood (despite these women having only known me for one week) was overwhelming.

The truth is, I have a lot of proud DG moments because DG has had such an impact on my life. I honestly believe that the organization has given me leadership and teamwork skills that I would not have been able to learn elsewhere, and I can say that members of my organization - collegiate and alumni alike- have shaped me into a person I am proud to be.

I believe that Greek organizations are capable of being catalysts for change and for good on college campuses, should collegiate members embrace the values that their organizations offer. I know because I have seen (and have been moved to tears by) it on campuses all over the country - large, small, public, private, you name it.

Delta Gamma, and other Greek organizations, remain relevant not because of the drinking, the partying, the hazing, but because they teach young adults how to live with values and purpose. They offer a secure, supportive setting in which 18-23 year-olds can grow as students, as leaders, and as friends. They are places in which young women and men and built up, encouraged to push their limits, and comforted during hard times.

What's more is that they offer a network of other members that span generational and geographical gaps. I have been inspired by Delta Gammas in collegiate chapters in Montana, Colorado, Maryland, Texas, Ohio, Florida... just to name a few, and by women at many different stages of life. I have learned and grown from their experiences in the organization.

There is truly no other subset of organization that offers quite the same experience.

If you're Greek, what's your proudest Greek moment? And if you're not, when have you seen a Greek organization at their best or worst?


  1. My proudest DG moment was interning at UIFI this summer, where I worked with 80 emerging Greek leaders. As I objectively listened to many heated debates about issues facing the Greek community, I kept hearing 11 values-based and self-accountability-oriented perspectives. And then I realized something: Those 11 perspectives came from my sisters. It was that week when I really appreciated how much DG has helped me and thousands of others evolve into better women.

    1. This makes me smile :) Thank you for sharing -- you are inspiring and I can't wait to get to work more with you this semester!

  2. Jen, do you have any comments on the differences between sororities and fraternities? I actually know more about frats because my brother was in one, and I do not have a very positive view of them. Sororities seem better, but have different pros and cons.

    I enjoy reading your blog! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. This is actually a great topic, and I think I'll probably write a post on it in the coming week -- thank you for the idea! I actually didn't have a crazy positive view of fraternities while I was in college, but I have met several fraternity consultants, and know that there are fraternities that make positive impacts on their campuses -- it's definitely not all bad!