sorority

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It has been WAY too long.  Some of you may have been wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.  My answers to these questions are, “I don’t know, and EVERYTHING!”

So to catch you up from the beginning:

Last time I posted, I talked about joining the Officer team at the Phillip Brooks House Association – a student-led 501c3 nonprofit based on Harvard’s campus that supports more than 85 programs, 1,400 student volunteers, and 10,000 low income people in the Boston area.  Since then, I have come to know a team of twenty amazing individuals who are devoted to public service and making the world a better place.  I have learned from their ideas, their passions, their anxieties, and even after only three months, I feel that I have come to know and trust these people explicitly.  The other thing I can honestly say about PBHA – I have learned more in my three months as an Officer than I have in my entire time at Harvard.  Not that classes here aren’t amazing or anything, but if you read on you’ll see what I am saying.

Over January break, we all came back a week early to go through NPMI (Non-Profit Management Intensive), where we learned about everything from budgeting to meeting facilitation, from student development to strategic management.  To say this was a crash course would be an understatement.  This week culminated in a final Officers Retreat we took in Maine, where we were greeted with plenty of snow, plenty of hot chocolate, plenty of Apples to Apples, and plenty of meetings.

Me in a PBHA van in Maine! photo cred: Alan Silva

At the same time we were putting our new found skills to the test by planning Cabinet Retreat – a meeting off campus with all of the directors of the 85 different programs for an entire day.  This is the largest thing I have ever organized.  It also involved me writing my first ever training, leading my first ever training on Volunteer Management, speaking perhaps in front of one of largest audiences I have ever spoken in front of, and writing the largest check I have ever written for the rental of the space: Hibernian Hall.

But the day finally came on January 28th when we bussed everyone over to Dorchester, and it went GREAT!  Better than great, in fact.  The facility was everything we had hoped and more, our fledgling Officer team put its heart and soul into making sure everything ran smoothly, and the feedback from directors was overwhelmingly positive.  This was by far my proudest moment since stepping onto Harvard’s campus a year and a half ago.

 

A picture I snapped on my phone of Cabinet Retreat!

But with that accomplishment behind us, we now faced the obstacle of scheduling.  As I have said before in one of my blog posts, scheduling at Harvard is a nightmare.  Even friends are forced to stop each other on the sidewalk and write in dining hall meet-ups into their phone calendars.  So to try to schedule three major meetings a week (two of which I lead with my co-chair Winnie) was soooooo stressful.  In the end we got it down, and let me say, leading multiple two-hour meetings a week teaches you a thing or two about flip charts, agendas, and organization.

Since January, our team has done so much and led so many tough conversations – we have organized another Cabinet meeting and we have our third one this Thursday night, we have talked the need for Programmatic Quality Standards, and Director Accountability, we have organized Director-Officer Teams (or DOTs) to grab dinner together and create more community among volunteers, and we are in the process of creating a new database and hiring a new Deputy Director.

In short, PBHA has taken over my life – but in so many positive ways!  I can think of nothing I would rather devote my time to, and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many great people who are devoted to such a great purpose.

Other things I have been doing include serving as New Member Director for my sorority on campus – Kappa Alpha Theta!  We run our Recruitment process at the beginning of second semester, and it was so much fun to meet so many awesome girls and bond with the other women in my sorority.  Our very own blogger Jeanie is in Theta with me, so we were sure to take a picture for you guys!

Jeanie and me during one of our rounds of recruitment!

Since Recruitment, I have been leading meetings for the new members to introduce them to Theta!  It has been amazing (and yes, I have brought my PBHA meeting facilitation skills, flip charts and all, with me to Theta meetings).

The final big activity I am doing on campus is serving as a Fundraising Director for Harvard University Women in Business.  So far this semester, we have devoted our fundraising efforts toward the New York Trip that we sponsor every year for Harvard women to visit some of NYC’s top companies.  Soon, we will be switching gears to the effort I am directing – Intercollegiate Business Convention fundraising.  IBC is a HUGE conference HUWIB hosts every fall for women’s business organizations from colleges across the country.  I will be sure to write more about it in the future, when my blog post isn’t so long :P

Finally, I am still volunteering for my original PBHA program, Elderly 1-2-1, and of course, I am still a student at Harvard taking classes (though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it)!  This semester, I decided to take only three classes – History 97, which is my sophomore tutorial, History 1433: American Populism, which traces American history through a Populist lens, and Economics 1010b: Macroeconomics.

Oh, and before I forget, other great news this semester – I moved into a single (pictures to come when my room isn’t quite so messy)!

That’s all folks!  And don’t worry, I will be posting regularly from now on, so check back!  I’ll leave you with a picture from my spring break at home in Pittsburgh!

Me at Fort Duquesne in Point State Park, Pittsburgh

 

 

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Katie Gunn, senior, Sociology, Adams
Kappa Kappa Gamma  www.krimsonkappas.com)

Entire Chapter in Nantucket

I never thought that I would join a sorority when I went to college – although friendships have always been a huge part of my life, I guess that I unknowingly accepted far too many stereotypes of the Greek system and did not want the type of drama that I envisioned came with being a sorority member as part of my college experience. But, when I came to Harvard for Admitted Students Weekend (now Visitas!) and met many of the girls in my host’s sorority, I began to question those stereotypes. Is being in a sorority really like in the movies? That’s like asking if Harvard is really as it is portrayed in Legally Blonde – and the answer is a resounding no.

Chapter at Recruitment Outside with Kappa Signs

Kappa at Recruitment with Banner

 I went though recruitment, which happens in the beginning of the second semester, sans most of my best freshman year friends and not really knowing any of the current sorority members. I took a leap of faith, but discovered after the first day a group of girls that I instantly clicked with. The first member of Kappa Kappa Gamma that I ever met was everything that I admired – intelligent, driven, passionate, friendly, confident, and above all, a leader in the Harvard community. This was like a dream come true! The ladies of Kappa at Harvard are a group of women who all share these traits in common – they are funny, sincere, driven, sociable. They have fun social events, sponsor philanthropy events on campus, form class study groups, host a professor’s tea at the faculty club, and have sisterhood dinners and study breaks weekly. Kappa is an all-encompassing experience that provides you with a loving group of sisters who not only support you in your personal endeavors but also enrich your life through Kappa events.

Kappas in Nantucket at Dinner

Kappa – Harvard UNICEF Event

Most of all, the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma provide a family, a support system that you can lean on in times both good and bad. I immediately share my most exciting accomplishments with the chapter but also turn to them when I am too overwhelmed to continue or am disappointed with something that has happened. I laugh with them, cry with them, and they are always there for me to support me no matter what. At every basketball game, there is a section of Kappa girls, cheering on their sisters as they rule the court; no matter what the event is – an a capella concert, a charity event, a study panel – you always have sisters there to support you in what you do. Even better, from teams to pre-professional societies, from community service clubs to theatrical productions. the members of Kappa are student leaders across campus. That is part of the reason why being in Kappa is such an inspiring experience – we are all so different and have amazing passions to share with the chapter, yet we are all united under our love for Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Kappas at a formal event
Kappa Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Philanthropy Event

I could go on and on about my love for Kappa Kappa Gamma, but I’ll end here, leaving you with one thought: “The ties that bind me to my sisters are not wrapped around my wrists, but rather are fastened to my heart.” Being part of a sorority here at Harvard is not an omnipotent part of my college experience. I am a leader in three other student groups; none of my roommates are members of Kappa. Being in a sorority simply provides another option for support, for friendships, for sisterhood, for opportunities to grow, and for leadership; but, for me, joining Kappa has been the most important decision I have made since choosing Harvard.

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If there is one thing that I have learned since the start of this semester, it’s that the second half of the year goes by WAY faster than the first half.  Seriously, it seems like we only just got back, and we’re already in the midst of midterms!

In the frantic craze of everything going on, it was really difficult for me to choose a single topic to write on.  As a result, keep an eye out for an increasing number of posts!  I just have too much to say!

But by far one of the biggest things to happen to me this semester has been joining a sorority.  That’s right, I rushed.

Now, I don’t know what your preconceived notions of Greek life might be.  I can assure you that when I chose to come to Harvard, going Greek was the farthest thing from my mind.  I didn’t even know Harvard had Greek life.

As second semester approached, however, the idea of rushing started to grow on me.  Harvard has three sororities on campus (with rumors of a fourth coming next fall):  Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Delta Gamma.

Rush here for sororities is pretty low-key, especially compared to other schools.  If you choose to take part in the weeklong process, you are required to visit all three sororities in a series of rounds.  The first two rounds are mostly meet-and-greet, where you talk to a number of sisters and try to gauge whether or not you would fit in with their sorority.  After the second round, you rank the three sororities and hope you get invited back to one, two, or three.  The third round is a bit more formal in the sense that with fewer girls, the atmosphere becomes a bit more serious.  After this round, you rate the three sororities again, and get invited back to a maximum of two.  This final round, Preference Round, is where each sorority talks about why being in a sorority on campus is so great, and I’ll be honest, this was a big part of what convinced me to join.

While it may seem corny or trite, being in a sorority has given me an awesome network of girls who I can rely on for advice, homework help, event updates, and just a quick hello as I walk to class.

Here is a picture of our Kappa Alpha Theta pledge class this year!

On Reveal Night, when my friends and I all gathered in the Science Center waiting anxiously to open our envelopes and find out which sorority we were in, I felt like a sense of community unlike anything else I had experienced at Harvard.  And when I opened my card and heard the cheers of “I am a T, I am a T-H, I am a T-H-E-T-A” calling outside, and I got to run through the tunnel of excited Thetas, I knew that I would rank it as one of my coolest moments in college.

So that’s one of the things I’ve been up to.  What do you guys think about Greek life?  Would you ever consider going Greek in college?

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