Greek like me

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By JESSICA FRASER
Reporter

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — When Brooke Ley moved to Warrensburg to attend UCM, she was more interested in making friends than joining a sorority.

“I was actually very unsure of joining a sorority at first,” Ley said. “As all girls usually are, I was also looking for a solid group of girls with strong morals and values that could provide me with that ‘home away from home’ feeling.”

Ley wanted to find a community that would help her adjust to college life. After three years with Sigma Sigma Sigma, Ley said her sorority sisters have helped her become a stronger person.

“I joined Sigma Sigma Sigma because I fell in love with the girls I met and the way they made me feel,” said Ley, who is now a junior studying elementary education. “They don’t just tell me I’m beautiful inside and out, they truly make me feel beautiful. I knew these women would push me to be involved, all while making me into a better woman.”

Alexandria Overstreet, junior digital media production major, said she was also searching for an on-campus community. When she isn’t working as the sports editor of the Muleskinner, Overstreet is an active member of the UCM chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma.

“I decided to join a sorority because I was from a small town and I didn’t really know anyone,” Overstreet said. “I played a lot of sports in high school and I was kind of looking for something to replace that ‘family’…going Greek has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

Ley and Overstreet are not alone: approximately 10 percent of the undergraduate student body participates in Greek Life, according to the UCM website. With 27 chapters to choose from, students can find the best campus community for their interests and academic needs.

Alan Nordyke, director of Residence and Greek Life, said sororities like Sigma Sigma Sigma are close-knit academic communities that provide students with lifelong friendships.

“It’s a great way for students to find a connection and a group to feel like they belong with pretty early in their college career, which we know is a key element in student success,” Nordyke said.

Greek students also participate in community service projects and philanthropy. According to the UCM website, sorority and fraternity members log more than 15,000 service hours through volunteer projects each year.

Nordyke said community service is an important part of Greek Life.

“There is a lot of focus on service and philanthropy, so it helps the students realize the importance of giving back to others,” Nordyke said. “(It) also helps them make some connections because a lot of times they do those service and philanthropy events with local groups here in town.”

Overstreet said she has fond memories of her volunteer experiences.

“In Tri Sigma we ask, ‘What’s your Sigma Moment?’” Overstreet said. “A couple would have to be getting my little, Chey McBee, last year…I honestly don’t know what my life would be without her. In a matter of a year we’ve been through so much together.

“Another one would have to be when I got foundation chairman, which means I’m in charge of putting on our philanthropy events, Pennies for Page and Mr. Robbie Page; knowing that my chapter believed in me enough to give me a leadership position is something I will never forget.”

Nordyke said Greek organizations encourage student leadership.

“When they first join, their new member group forms a class and they elect people to take various roles to make sure what they need to do as new members of those organizations happens,” Nordyke said. “Right away they get the chance to get some experience with leadership, (and) they learn a lot about leadership from the other officers and older members of the chapter. So it gives them that chance to learn and develop their leadership skills pretty early in their college career.”

Greek students can participate in chapter events and student government. The UCM National Panhellenic Conference is one of those organizations, and the university website states that it is responsible for recruiting new members and managing several on campus sororities.

“Our main goal is to support the eight chapters here at UCM,” said Macy Hoyer, president of the UCM National Panhellenic Conference Chapter. “We do this through the maintenance of high standards for all women in the Panhellenic community. More specifically, we offer resources that promote academic excellence, personal growth and leadership opportunities.”

Despite her initial reservations, Ley said Sigma Sigma Sigma has become an important part of her college experience.

“My favorite part about Greek Life would have to be the people I’m surrounded by,” Ley said. “There are so many opportunities provided to get involved, be a leader, and participate in philanthropy, service and even social activities. However, none of these things would even matter if I didn’t have amazing women surrounding me while participating in all of these events.

“They are the ones who have made me who I am today. They have pushed me to be a leader, and now I can proudly say I hold the position of vice president of Tri Sigma. I could’ve never imagined taking on such a big position and responsibility without knowing that these women had my back. They have supported me from day one and I am so so so thankful to be able to call them my Greek ‘family.’”