Jill Cronin, Delta Gamma ’13

Delta Gamma graduated their chartering members in May 2013. We asked some of them to describe what it meant to them to begin their organization and watch it grow over the last few years.

The meaning of being a “charter member” did not dawn on me until I participated in my first formal recruitment in the Fall of 2010. When I saw the excited faces of our first new member class on Bid Day, eager to become a part of something monumental, I realized the responsibility that we all had as charter members of Eta Sigma chapter.  We needed to show our future members what it means to be a Delta Gamma and what it means to be a Greek woman. I fully realized the importance of this obligation when I became vice-president: member education in the Spring of 2012 and was responsible for guiding new members through their new member period. Seeing the women go from new members to initiated members solidified the meaning of being a charter member. Being a charter member of Delta Gamma has provided me with so many valuable opportunities and unforgettable experiences. I can only hope that the legacy that we began as charter members will be carried on for future classes of Delta Gammas.

Taryn Schoenfeld, Delta Gamma ’13

Delta Gamma graduated their chartering members in May 2013. We asked some of them to describe what it meant to them to begin their organization and watch it grow over the last few years.

Being a charter member of Delta Gamma at CofC has been unlike any experience I have ever had. Having served in two different officer positions, it is amazing to know that all of my hard work has contributed to the thriving organization that Delta Gamma is on campus today. Being a part of such a unique organization full of compassionate and accepting women has truly made my college experience complete. I don’t know where I’d be today without the incredible Delta Gamma friends and sisters I’ve come to know, and I am proud to know that I contributed to such a life-changing organization for so many other women.

Anne Marie Baker, Chi Omega ’13

What has my Greek experience meant to me? I don’t even know where to begin.

Some people identify themselves by their ethnicity, religion, fashion sense, or even music, but after these past four years in Greek Life I can honestly say I identify myself as a Greek woman. Not because I like the tshirts, the mixers, or the supposed stereotypes that comes with my chapter or the community as a whole, but because Greek Life stands for everything I believe in. The past four years have been filled with friendship, service, career and personnel development, socials, scholarship, and campus activities. All of which have provided me with memories and experiences I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. Not only did Greek Life bring laughter, a packed social schedule, and a lot of familiar faces around campus, it brought me leadership and communication skills, life long bonds, and a sense of belonging here at the college. During my four years I was honored to serve on my Chapter’s Dream Team, take office as the New Member Educator, become the Chapter President, travel to my Chapter’s National Convention in Arizona, raise thousands of dollars for Make-a-Wish and much more. Those experiences not only helped me build my resume but also prepared me for life outside of college. In today’s world I find it hard to find a group of young adults who share the same passion of service, expectation of academic excellence, all while building friendships and having fun. Greek Life changed my life and I am excited to see what it has in store for me after college.

Kendall Biga, Sigma Delta Tau ’12

College. It has been the best four years of my life. I am very sad to leave the campus that has seen me blossom from a shy freshman to a mature alumna with many interests. The College of Charleston is the best place on Earth to spend your undergraduate years. There are so many opportunities waiting at your fingertips, but the best one of all? Greek Life.

I came to college knowing I wanted to be a part of the Greek Community. Seeing my mother have an annual getaway with her college sorority sisters 30 years later inspired me to ‘Go Greek’. I wanted to find my best friends, pledge sisters, and future bridesmaids in a sorority. My recruitment process wasn’t easy in the least, as it is always a stressful time for everyone. I look back and know that I put my trust in the system and wound up where I needed to be, a sister of Sigma Delta Tau.

I immediately became involved once I was initiated, holding positions from New Member Educator to Standards Chairwoman. I saw these opportunities for leadership in the sorority and ran with them. As I was so absorbed within my own chapter, I was searching to be a part of something more. That is when I applied for a position on the Panhellenic Executive Board. I cannot explain to you the wonderful people I met throughout this incredible experience. Being able to relate to people in other chapters and knowing that you’re not the only one is an amazing feeling. Being on Panhellenic Exec for two consecutive years provided me with incredible amounts of leadership, insight, and wisdom into the Panhellenic community. I have learned so much about myself through my leadership opportunities, none of which would have been possible without Sigma Delta Tau.

I have been so blessed to be a member of an incredible organization, and I am not giving back by participating on a National level as a National Advisor. I leave you now with words that describe my sorority experience written by John Shertzer:
“As she stared at the letters outside of the house, she had a humble feeling. What a blessed privilege it was, to not only be a college graduate, but to have taken the ride in a vehicle such as this. To have experiences that gave her confidence, took away her insecurities, and bolstered her self-esteem. To be given a chance to lead. To follow. To work alongside so many other wonderful people. To be something more.

Her feet had taken her here so that she could say two simple words. Two words that signify a college life well lived. She had said them to professors, advisors, and peers. And now as she stared at this entity that she had wrapped her college life around, and was moved to those words out loud. She glanced up, with a knowing smile and said: “Thank you.””

Phil Stevenson, Kappa Sigma

It’s unfortunate, but largely thanks to pop-culture portrayals of Greek Life in movies and television, many people think that to join a fraternity or a sorority means that you’ll spend your days swilling alcohol and generally behaving badly. My experience was vastly different, however, and I am thankful for it. I would not be where I am today without having been part of the Greek community at the College of Charleston.

My father was also in Kappa Sigma, so growing up I heard lots of stories about how much fun he had as an undergraduate and how he met people that remain his friends to this day – some of those same people are now friends of mine as well thanks to the common bond that we all share. But his time as a Greek meant more to my father than just lasting friendships: my father would attribute much of his career success to having been Greek.

I can make that same claim now as well because having been in Kappa Sigma taught me many things that a college student cannot learn in the classroom. For instance, my time as a Greek taught me how to effectively communicate with the administration at the College. Along with the other officers in my chapter, I successfully petitioned and presented for the use of  a historical house as our chapter house. This gave me invaluable experience and confidence in my abilities which later helped facilitate a rapid promotion to management with a previous employer. That promotion – which came years before it might have otherwise – gave me the chance that I needed to further my career and prove that I am a valuable employee.

I am very comfortable with public speaking because of the experience that I gained while serving as an officer in my chapter. I now speak publicly several times a week for my position here at CofC, and I was able to truthfully highlight that during my interview in order to secure my current job.

I also learned how to work with others towards a common goal, even while sometimes disagreeing with those I am working with. This is one of the most valuable lessons that I gained from being in Kappa Sigma, and I still benefit from it to this day. Despite the current economy, I have been able to find not just work, but challenging, desirable employment. I attribute that to the head start I got from going Greek.

I continue to be involved with my fraternity as well. My life with Kappa Sigma did not end when I walked across the Cistern at graduation. I am currently the president of my alumni chapter, and I serve as an advisor to the undergraduate chapter even now. To say that this has been rewarding would be an understatement.

I could go on for quite some time about how meaningful and significant being Greek has been to me, but I really think that it is something that you should experience for yourself. Being Greek is not what Hollywood portrays. It is so much better than that! You will be doing yourself a life-long favor by joining a fraternity or a sorority. My life is much richer (and a lot more fun) thanks to Kappa Sigma. These are the sorts of things that you can expect when you go Greek.

Phil Stevenson ’06

Zach Wall, Alpha Epsilon Pi

Growing up, I knew when I went to college that I would be a part of the Greek community.  Both of my parents joined a fraternity or sorority and they both regularly talked about their experiences and the benefits of going Greek.  When I got to school the fall of my freshman year I knew I wanted to be part of a fraternity and I joined Alpha Epsilon Pi.  AEPi has become my family in Charleston and the members of the fraternity truly are my brothers for the rest of my life and I will gladly do anything for them. After about two years of being in AEPi I see the benefits and experiences that my parents talked about and I would not trade my time in AEPi for anything.

Zach Wall ’12, Accounting

Kathryn Matrangola, Delta Gamma

I knew that the relationships I would make through Delta Gamma would last a lifetime. I simply never considered that they would span generations. On March 28, 2010, the Eta Sigma colony of Delta Gamma celebrated their first Founder’s Day. That was also the day I found out a local Alumna, Ginger Sharpe, was my mom’s “little sister” in the Delta Sigma chapter at Auburn University. Not only was our Founder’s Day a celebration of the new relationships we’ve made, it was a celebration of the long lasting impact the relationships will have on our lives.

Kathryn Matrangola ’12, Hospitality & Tourism

Sarah Vining, Zeta Tau Alpha

When people ask me how I liked the College of Charleston, I reply with “It was the best experience I could have asked for,” and I can honestly say my sorority plays a huge role in that.  I began my freshman year at the College feeling like a number in a crowd.  I took part in fall recruitment my sophomore year, unsure of what sorority I would join but soon fell in love with the girls of Zeta Tau Alpha. I accepted a bid from ZTA and instantly began making the most of my college career by taking on different leadership roles within the sorority. I made my best friends through Zeta.  I went abroad this past semester and I’m now graduated, living in a new city, but I can say my sisters are the friends who have made the most effort to stay in touch.  It’s much more than going to socials and paying dues, it’s a friendship that truly lasts forever. As with everything in life, college is what you make of it.  If you’re debating about joining a sorority or fraternity, at least go through recruitment, you’ll surprise yourself.  Going greek helped to make my experience at CofC what it was!

Sarah Vining ’10, Communications

Sam Orelove, Alpha Epsilon Pi

There are typically two types of Greek students: 1) the ones who go to college knowing they are going to join a fraternity or sorority and 2) the ones that had no plan to seek out Greek organizations, but ended up making a connection. I strongly fall into the latter category. With that being said, I can’t imagine a college experience for me that doesn’t involve Greek Life. My fraternity has given me a second family, an opportunity to see how leadership is developed, and greater expectations involving service, philanthropy, and scholarship. Greek Life at CofC has given me a network of inspiring individuals that share similar expectations and care about their organization as much as I care about mine. I joke with my parents that I double major in Business and Greek Life, but there is no question I will graduate with two degrees.

Sam Orelove  ’11, Business Administration

Caroline Henning, Alpha Delta Pi

I came into college knowing I wanted to go through recruitment and hopefully find a sorority that was a right fit and be just a member. However, after just spending a couple of weeks in Alpha Delta Pi, I knew I was a part of a sorority that was going to change my life. What made

Alpha Delta Pi stand out so much in the past three years is the sisterhood I have felt from every single girl. With a sorority that has more then 160 members, it can seem difficult to really get to know every single girl. However, our chapter strives in making sure that each girl is able to form that special bond with any other person in our sorority, and we want to make sure that they are able to say not only did they find a friend, but also a sister.

Caroline Henning ’11,  Corporate Communication