As a senior one month away from g-wording, I’ve been taking some time to look back and reflect on my favorite memories as a UConn Greek. Whether you’re a new member or you’re about to be forced into the real world AKA your alumni chapter, here are ten things to do before saying syonara to Storrs:
1. Learn more about Greek Life – Seeing as I’m a student intern for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life this point seems to be fairly obvious (I can assure you I’m not being paid or told that I need to suggest this). Sure, it’s great that you can sing the Greek Alphabet and kudos to those of you who know your chapter’s history like the back of your hand, but what good is this if you know nothing about the other men and women in this community? While our organizations all work to embody the same Four Pillars of Greek Life (Scholarship, Brotherhood/Sisterhood, Leadership, and Service), our chapters and councils all have something unique to bring to the table – if we didn’t then we’d all be wearing the same letters!
2. Go on an Alternative Break– I’ve said it once and I’ll continue to say it: college tends to be an incredibly selfish time in our lives where everything revolves around getting ahead. Whether we’re competing for the highest grades, an internship, or an executive position in our organizations, we as students tend to lose sight of the important things in life and how lucky we truly are. My experiences participating in both UConn Greek Alternative Breaks opened my eyes to issues that people face on a daily basis, both within the US and internationally, and left me with memories that will long surpass my college years.
3. Horsebarn Hill- While my last point was to be a part of something that doesn’t revolve around you, it’s also important to set aside some “me time.” As a student it’s sometimes challenging to make time to even sleep or eat while you’re juggling class, work, and duties for your respective organizations, but for your own well-being try to set aside that half hour you’d be spending on Facebook and get some fresh air. Especially for those of you up at Husky Village, you’ve got one of the most beautiful sceneries this campus has to offer right across the street. Running the road may not be your thing so grab one of your brothers/sisters, get to the top of the hill, and channel your inner Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music if that’ll make you happy and relaxed!
4. Live with your Brothers/Sisters- While the idea of living with up to 30 men or women in your organization seems incredibly daunting, try rooming with one or two members as a way of dipping your toes in the water. Sure, coming downstairs to an open washer/dryer is as promising as winning The Hunger Games (may clean clothes be ever in your favor), but the pros will undoubtedly weigh out any trifling cons. When I needed a dress at the last minute for a formal they were there with a dozen options for me. When I needed a shoulder to cry on when my pet died they were there with a box of Insomnia cookies. When I needed someone to celebrate huge accomplishments were there with hugs and words of encouragement. Not everyone is fortunate enough to live with their best friends, yet I had that chance and I’m never going to forget the memories we shared together (Viva La Club 207!)
5. Participate in HuskyTHON– Each February, thousands of students come together, regardless their age, affiliation, or club to support the kids and their families from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Since my first year at UConn I’ve participated in HuskyTHON in some way, from Dancer to Director of Catering on the Management Team and I can say wholeheartedly that each year has been better than the last. Having raised $457,581.04 this year (nearly $115,000 more than 2013) I couldn’t have been more proud to be Greek and see how hard our men and women worked to raise as much money as possible “For The Kids.”
6. Come meet Betty 🙂 – For anyone who’s never stopped by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life before, you’ve probably yet to meet the woman who serves as the glue for our entire Greek Community. Aside from our crew of student interns, Betty Conklin, our office secretary, is the first friendly face you’ll come across when visiting SU 315. Having worked in various departments for UConn’s Division of Student Affairs longer than most undergrads have been alive, Betty is one of the most popular women on this campus for good reason! Between her genuine care for everyone she helps, her advice to get through each day (“You’ve just gotta laugh!”), and her commitment to our community, Betty has played a huge role in your Greek experience whether you know it or not.
7. Participate in a Philanthropy- Whether you’re prepared to stand on stage and compete as a Fraternity Sweetheart, exerting all of the athletic ability left in your body from high school, or you’re more about stuffing your face with delicious treats at a Late Night event, it’s important that as Greeks we support one another’s philanthropies!
8. Go out for a Position- No matter if you’re trying to become your chapter’s next Chief Executive Officer or would rather stick to a low-key chair position, it’s important for you as not only a member of your organization but also as a student to develop on your leadership potential. No matter if this means that you organize your fraternity’s intramural water polo team or are in charge of organizing your sorority’s Philanthropy Day during recruitment, you’re sure to gain some skills that will be transferrable to the real world.
9. Witness a Double-Basketball National Championship- Okay, so this one doesn’t have all that much to do with Greek Life, but after witnessing a Men’s Basketball victory as a Freshman and still riding the wave from the double-victory of our teams as a senior (and on the 10th year anniversary of the double-victory from ’04) I had to throw this one out there. Grab some brothers and sisters, make your way to Gampel Pavillion, and cheer on your fellow Huskies like you’ve never cheered before! While it’s important to have pride for your chapter, it’s just as important to have pride for the greatest school in the nation- while refraining from setting said school on fire… #BLEEDBLUE
10. Don’t Say “Goodbye,” Say “See You Later” – From the moment you pledge to join a fraternity or a sorority, you make an oath that you’ll remain loyal to this organization and the people who are a part of it for the rest of your life. While this undergraduate chapter is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that your relationship with these people will conversely come to an end; in actuality, this just means that these individuals will now become a part of other new and exciting chapters of your life. Whether you’re moving across the country or are fortunate enough to be roommates with some of your brothers or sisters in the real world, try to remember that you promised to be a part of their lives from the day you pledged onward, something graduation will never be able to take away from you.
Congrats to my fellow UConn Greeks Graduating in May and best of luck in all future endeavors!