Historical Romance

Iowa State University and the surrounding community of Ames, Iowa were voted amongst the top ten best places to live in the country by MONEY magazine.  The magazine went on to say that there is a “welcoming vibe” in the community, which I can now attest to after my stay with the Alpha Epsilon chapter.  I was greeted with open arms by each and every member to the “castle,” their elegant and historic chapter house.

Myself with the ladies of Alpha Epsilon
Alpha Epsilon chapter house

Another historical landmark that set this campus apart is their campanile.  Iowa State’s bell tower, built in 1898, houses the Stanton Memorial Carillon.  Located in center campus, the campanile is rumored to be where a student becomes a true “Iowa Stater.”  At midnight when the carillon bells ring, couples meet at the campanile to share a kiss in the moonlight.  The “Iowa Staters” have dubbed this late-night custom as campaniling.

Iowa State Campanile
Close-up Campanile

Standing under this campanile, I can’t help but think about the generations of Sigma Kappa women that have stood under this extraordinary bell tower to share a memorable moment with their college sweetheart.

-M

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It’s Recruitment Season!

Greetings, friends!  After spending lots of time focusing on recruitment during my first two visits, I’ve created some new lyrics to a tune you may find familiar.  It is back to school season, and you know what that means for many colleges and universities — recruitment season!

At the University of Louisville, excitement filled the air as I spent time with the women of Alpha Theta during pre recruitment.  They are a wonderful group of women who welcomed me with open arms.  During much time discussing logistics, conversation topics, values and sisterhood, we really got to know each other and I learned all about the awesome city of Louisville.

Here are a few of our adventures:

Exploring the culture of Bardstown (Thanks for the awesome lunch at Fleur de Lis Café!)

Venturing across the street to the Speed Art Museum (my favorite was Andy Warhol’s “Myths”)

Eating Breakfast at Lynn’s Paradise Café, host of a Food Network Throwdown with Bobby Flay

Meeting halfway at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

After a wonderful visit with Alpha Theta, sisters Emily and Erica Downs were kind enough to drive me halfway to meet the women of Alpha Delta (University of Tennessee).  It just so happens that the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame was the exact halfway point (Why not try to knock out every tourist stop if I can?  I have no shame.)  Jennifer and Annie from UT and I had an awesome time getting to know each other during the car ride to UT (talks of ritual, musicals and more).  Once we  made it to move-in day on campus, we hit the ground running.  More to come, but for now, here’s the little ditty I promised:

(To the tune of Tis the Season)

Tis Recruitment Season, holler!

S-I-G-M-A, SIGMA, K-A-P-P-A, KAPPA!

We live one heart one way, dove callers,

S-I-G-M-A, SIGMA, K-A-P-P-A, KAPPA!

Reflecting on our ole’ five founders,

Mary, Frances, Elizabeth, Ida and Louise!

We live each day by our four values,

Service, personal growth, friendship and loyaltyyyy- eeeee!

Happy Recruitment Season!

Dove Promises

“Be extraordinary in the ordinary things of life.”

 – Dove Promises

 

            Everyday people make and break promises.  I made a promise to myself before beginning my travels as a 2010 leadership consultant.  In fact, I can pinpoint the exact moment I made that promise to myself.  I was sitting on a platform 40 feet above the ground with my eyes closed, in a harness that was connected to two metal cables.  All I had to do was will myself to lean forward and trust that I would soon “swing” safely to the ground.  I almost didn’t do it that day at the high ropes course during advanced LC training… but then I made a promise.  I promised to trust myself and others while representing Sigma Kappa this year on the road, and I promised to always have faith.

            I arrived at the Beta Tau chapter of Sigma Kappa in Gainesville, Florida after a long day of flying and was immediately thankful for the hair gel and anti-frizz products weighing down my 49.0 lb suitcase.  Although the humidity was an unwelcome guest, there was an assortment of office supplies and Dove chocolates beautifully arranged by my bed.  I was immediately in love with Beta Tau, as chocolate is my weakness.

            Of course, the chocolate isn’t the only reason I am in love with Beta Tau.  During my stay I felt right at home since I was surrounded by the familiar colors of orange and blue!  I even tried a bison burger for the first time and saw a real, live “gator” bathing in a nearby pond!  Most importantly, I had the honor of meeting and working with the initiated women and alumnae of Beta Tau chapter. 

 

              Many sisters talked with me about the service organizations they are members of on campus and at home.  At the roller skating sisterhood during pre-recruitment week, one sister mentioned that when she wasn’t doing service at the beginning of her college experience, she felt as though a part of her was missing.  Even the alumnae who visited the chapter during their mock recruitment luncheon showed their dedication by volunteering to assist at the chapter house during recruitment.  Many took time off from work just to be of assistance!

 

            One of the most admirable qualities of the women of Beta Tau is that they are truly extraordinary at the ordinary.   These women genuinely care about each other’s success.  They openly share concern for their sisters and strive to bring out the best in one another.  One day, we went rock climbing as a sisterhood event.  Although I was not dressed properly to participate, I really enjoyed watching the sisters having fun!  At one point, there were races between sisters to see who could climb up the wall fastest.  The sisters would cheer one another on as they raced to the top.  Ironically, once the sisters were at the top they would high five one another on a job well done – no matter who won or lost.  Once, the chapter president and vice president of membership raced each other and hugged when they finished.

                Everyday people make and break promises.  As members of sororities and fraternities, we promise to be the best versions of ourselves upon our initiations.  As Sigma Kappa women we promise to uphold the values of personal growth, friendship, loyalty, and service.  Thank you, ladies of Beta Tau, for teaching me how to uphold our values by being extraordinary at the ordinary.  Just as you live the promises of Sigma Kappa, you make it easy for me to keep my promise because I truly have faith in your success.  Good luck this week in recruitment!  You are fabulous.

XOXO

B

Soul Sisters

“Hey soul sister, I don’t want to miss a
single thing that you do… I believe in you.” – Train

Xi chapter of Sigma Kappa
Xi Chapter, The University of Kansas

One day a couple of months ago, my mom and I were driving in the car together and listening to the radio. Train’s “Soul Sister” came on and my mom turned up the volume (a rare occurrence) and announced to me that this was her new favorite song. “Your sister suggested that I listen to this song,” she elaborated, “because I told her I don’t know what is cool anymore now that the two of you are in college.” I appreciated her effort and was flattered by the fact that she ever thought I was cool.

After that conversation, every time I heard “Soul Sister” I thought of my mom. Those who know me well know that I am not very music literate and have exactly 256 songs on my iPod – most of which were freshman year favorites. Naturally, since I am always looking for “cool” music, I bought the entire Train CD for my iPod. This past week, during my first visit as a Leadership Consultant, the women of Xi taught me more about what it means to be a soul sister…

Upon arrival in Kansas City, after experiencing “technical difficulties” and a change of planes in Chicago, I was immediately greeted by the women of Xi. I was well taken care of and especially well fed thanks to Dennis’ amazing cooking! The chapter members worked hard during the day practicing conversation skills and Sigma Kappa songs that still run through my head as I drift off to sleep at night. One of my favorites was the “snap song” because I could tell from the members’ faces how much they loved this song! Sig-ma Kappa, Sigma K, Sig-ma Kappa, Sigma K…

Later in the week I had the opportunity to meet various alumnae of Xi and mothers of current chapter members. One alumna said that when she lived in the house in the 1970’s, there was a chapter member that was studying architecture. This architecture major had a vision to add pillars and a side addition in order to make the house look more like the other sorority and fraternity houses on campus. It was this member’s vision that created the Sigma Kappa house at KU today!

Xi Chapter of Sigma Kappa SororityOne of my favorite moments of the whole visit was listening to the chapter members practice and perfect their preference song “Hey there Sister” – the Sigma Kappa version of Train’s popular tune. Their song further reiterated my belief that the bond shared by women in Sigma Kappa is like an invisible web which creates a feeling unlike any other. I had only known these women for three days, yet in that moment I felt as though I had known them for much longer. In that moment, we became soul sisters in Sigma Kappa.

Although part of my responsibility as an LC is to teach our sisters across the country how to be even better Sigma Kappa women, I love learning from the women I encounter as well. The women of Xi taught me that there is no limit to success when we keep in mind the values we promise to live as Sigma Kappa women. Thank you, ladies! Best of luck this week with recruitment!

XOXO
B

Welcome to the 2010-2011 Leadership Consultants!

the leadership consultants

Meet the 2010-2011 Leadership Consultants! During the upcoming year, these recent graduates will travel to collegiate chapters across the country on behalf of Sigma Kappa Sorority as well as  be the authors of this blog.

From left to right, they are: Brooke Kennedy, Theta, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Sarah Neal, Epsilon Chi, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Talah Foroutan, Kappa Rho, University of California, Irvine; Willa Dawson, Delta Theta, Truman State University; Meg Curran, Phi, University of Rhode Island; Lauren Kelley, Epsilon Epsilon, The University of Georgia; Dana Hillyer, Delta Upsilon, Missouri State University.