As a second semester senior I’ve now been asked on several occasions by adults, peers, and incoming students what I’ll miss most about my undergraduate experience as a UConn Husky. Much like other seniors I could recall witnessing a Men’s Basketball national championship victory from Gampel Pavillion, the olden days roughing it in McMahon (pre-renovation), and getting involved in Greek life. Yes, these experiences all had a huge impact on my UConn experience, yet when I look back on my time in Storrs one weekend out of each year stands out like no other – the weekend of HuskyTHON.
I recall first hearing about HuskyTHON at a new member meeting for my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. While I felt like our older sisters were out of their minds for trying to convince us that being awake and on our feet for 18 hours was “fun” I decided to give it a shot as a way of getting to know other women in my chapter and pledge class. It wasn’t until I stepped into the Greer Field House that weekend in February, surrounded by thousands of other Greeks, athletes, and students coming together for one common goal, that I understood just how impactful an event HuskyTHON truly is.
Whether we as students recognize it or not, college tends to be an incredibly selfish time in our lives. We’re all thinking of ways to get ahead, while on any given day there are children at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center just trying to stay alive. We complain about having an early class, while some of these children have been so sick since the day they were born that they haven’t been able to enter a regular school.
As someone who’s watched several family members and friends fight (and sometimes lose) their battles against various cancers and illnesses, I feel as though being a part of HuskyTHON’s Management Team is the least I can do. Will you be tired? Sure. Will your feet be sore? Absolutely. Is it worth each and every second of being tired and sore? Without a doubt.
Why do I dance?
For the future leaders of this nation.
For the future teachers, lawyers, and doctors.
For future UConn Huskies in the making.
For the Kids.
If you were to ask any individual in a sorority or fraternity why they went Greek their answer would more than likely include the fact that they wanted to become a part of something bigger than them. With so many negative stigmas in the media, it’s often hard to explain to individuals not familiar with Greek life that there’s much more to our organizations than meets the eye yet that’s why participation in Greek Alternative Breaks is so important. As the student trip coordinator for the winter alternative break, individuals would say things like “that’s great” and “good for you” while I explained the trip; it wasn’t until I included the detail that the group was only sorority women that their faces screamed “you’re crazy!”
Over the course of our seven day journey in Jamaica the only paint on our nails was from primer, and the only roach stompers on our feet were our Nikes (yes, to literally kill roaches with). We spent long days in the sun pulling siding off of a primary school to rebuild with more stable hardware, building shelves to place the books we brought for the children, and cleaning garbage out of the school yard. We were sunburnt, sweaty, and covered in dirt yet we never looked more like sorority women than during that week in Jamaica.
Aside from the service work we completed we had the opportunity to explore Jamaica as well. As we traveled from one parish on the West coast to another on the South of Jamaica, we were able to see various towns and communities that most tourists typically don’t have the privilege of seeing. We worked alongside locals, got to enjoy the different types of food, and of course spent plenty of time on the beach. Our women grew closer each day between conquering their fears zip-lining, teaching the children new dances, and chowing down on beef patties.
Having been a part of two UCGAB trips (Indiana and Jamaica) I can saw wholeheartedly that my life has been changed for the better and that each and every Greek needs to participate. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service in others,” a sentiment which I completely believe in now. UCGAB allows you to return back to Storrs a better friend, a better Greek, and a better person in general.
Follow the @UCGAB Instagram account and search #UCGAB to check out tagged post from past participants!