The Last Of My 1840 Collegian Adventures

Last night I attended my last Alpha Gamma Rho Christmas Party. There was Christmas music, Norman’s cooking, lights, toasts, presents and friends. As I took all of it in, I couldn’t help but think of how blessed my life is to have known these friends around me.

I have had so many unforgettable experiences at 1840 Fraternity Park and last night was no exception. It is much more than a fraternity, it is a brotherhood of southern gentlemen I am proud to call my friends. Each one has impacted my life one way or another. I have grown up so much in the 4 and 1/2 years I have been at UT. I am so thankful to have these men (especially Will Batey) by my side the whole way. I love you all, thanks for the memories.

20131208-225139.jpg

Will and I at our first and last AGR Christmas Party

Going Greek: Best Decision I Have Made

Fall 2010 I made one of best decisions I have ever made, I joined Delta Gamma at the University of Tennessee. I joined as a sophomore, because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and get involved on campus.

195883_10150202416606285_5905017_n

Pledge Class sisters at our first Water Wars

Coming into the chapter a sophomore, it was hard breaking my independent habits, I had picked up my first year at UT.

I wasn’t as dependent on my new member class so I didn’t feel that instant sisterly connection.

One of my pledge class members and I actually bonded over not being our pledge class click; which helped us create our own (haha). Then it was Lip Sync time, the crucial time in the new member process.

66224_485729676284_4206976_n

Lip Sync 2010 with the sign my Big made me

Lip Sync is a competition put on by Junior Panhellenic every Fall where the new members classes of all of the sororities perform.

It allowed my pledge class to bond as a whole. Lip Syncing to the lyrics of Beyoncé’s greatest hits, I began to fully enjoy being a new member.

Then came my first Anchor Splash. Anchor Splash is the Philanthropy Event put on by DG every fall. It is a time for the DG members new and old to get to know each other better, as well as introducing them to the new members of the participating fraternities and sororities.

301426_10150824210990304_444645887_n

Anchor Splash 2011 with my Alpha Gamma Rho babies

I feel in love with it! I helped coach the new guys of Alpha Gamma Rho for 3 years and am blessed to have gotten to know such amazing guys.  Love my babies!

Teaching the guys the routines and coaching them throughout the week was such a blast. Definitely some of my best memories as a Delta Gamma collegian.

After being in the chapter a year, I was honored to be elected as the Vice President of Social Standards for DG.

398622_2855719866304_261740052_n

Delta Gamma Region 2 Conference Gamma Alpha Represenatives

I was overwhelmed with the love and support my chapter showed to me. Being a VP showed me a whole new side to DG. The position was a difficult one but helped me grow as person and leader.

As Standards I was able to attend the 2012 DG Regional Conference. The Conference gave me so much pride in not just my chapter at Tennessee but also my sorority internationally. I joined to be a part of something and I received exactly that. That was my epiphany. This conference solidified to me why I love DG. It is not for just 4 years, it is for life. I could not be prouder.

1238268_10201366640319679_1973040832_n

Gamma Chi Reveal 2013

A year later, I blessed with the opportunity of representing DG in the Gamma Chi program. As a recruitment counselor, I gained a whole new kind of love for my chapter. I learned all about the other Panhellenic sororities and gave my letters for 2 and 1/2 months so that someone else could find theirs. It made me realize how much DG had become a big part of my life. Not being able to wear my letters, talk to chapter members, or even say I was a Delta Gamma; gave me an appreciation for the blessing, that is DG, in my life. Absence definitely made the heart grow fonder.

This week I yet again experienced a whole new side of DG. In a bridging ceremony, I became an alumnae of Delta Gamma. As I was reading my Senior Will to the chapter, I couldn’t help but think of all the things that had made up my DG experience. I could have been up their reading for hours. As a DG collegian I have been involved, did philanthropy, and gotten leadership experience. I can’t thank my sisters or DG enough my impacting my life, I can’t wait to see what this next chapter holds for me. I don’t know where life will lead me, but one thing is for sure DG and my sisters will be a part of it.561885_3433595532329_1967645485_n

For Hope. For Strength. For Life,

Homecoming in Retrospect

8623_10151744902341762_1048474264_n

All Campus Events committee 2013 prior to the Homecoming Game

UT Homecoming 2013 is a wrap! All the trophies and crowns have been awarded and now the particpating organizations and ACE can breathe a sigh of relief.

Hours upon hours of work was poured into the week of Homecoming. The participating organizations might have been working towards winning the big trophy, but in fact they were doing something greater.

They were reminding alumnae of why they loved UT and the memories they made here. Because this was nostalgic time for alums, UT picked the perfect opportunity for Big Orange Give. The goal was to raise $125,000 in 125 hours. Not only did UT meet that goal but they surpassed it and i would like to the think Homecoming helped in this accomplishment. Whether that is true or not, don’t know, but we will just say it is for now.

1450696_10152027441966285_460392703_n

One of the Top 3 Smokey’s Howl groups performing during the Halftime of the Basketball Game

For some UT Basketball fans, ACE forced them to be a part of one event. This year we held our Smokey’s Howl finals during the halftime of the exhibition basketball game. Thanks to UT Athletics and a few ACE members, it ran so smoothly and was a hit. I hope we could make this a tradition for years to come.

The actual football game was a blur for me. I was watching the clock for the time i could go onto the field and get the trophies out of the tunnels. At halftime the score was Auburn 34- Tennessee 20.

644523_10152027442301285_1457154581_n

Neyland Stadium during the 2013 Homecoming Game

Halftime was a whirl wind between dodging the band and its 300+ alums, corralling about 35 Homecoming Directors, lining up 10 Homecoming Court Candidates with parents, managing 30 ACE members. Amongst all the madness i almost forgot to stop and appreciate where I was standing. I was on the Shields-Watkins field in Neyland Stadium. Not very many people can say they have done this not just once but 4 times. I could not believe that this could be the last time I was going to be on the field. Looking from the field up into the ea of orange, truly makes you proud to be a Vol.

After halftime we had to return to our seats, i was still in shock it was over. I was shocked, but just as equally thankful that this experience was over. Running Homecoming yet again this year was a trying experience, but one I would not change.

The Vols ran back on to the field for the second half of the game. Even though try as they might, the Vols were over taken by the Tigers, 55-23. Even though we lost, I was still proud of our Vols. They hung with another ranked team during the first half and never lost their heart as the walls seemed to be closing in on another UT victory.

1472869_10152027442466285_686467540_n

My co-chair and myself celebrating the conclusion of Homecoming 2013

I am also proud of the ACE committee and the help they gave me and my ch-chair. As well as, all the participating organizations and homecoming court candidates for their hard work in participation of our event. Without you, our events would cease to exist. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to yet again plan one of the greatest traditions at UT. Homecoming will always hold a special place in my heart right next to UT.

 

A Dream Come True

Today has been such a great day that I had to blog about it.

After working the opening shift at work, i rushed over to campus to help run the Soap Box Derby race. All of our judges showed up on time and the event, in general, ran so smoothly.

While we were about to start the final race of the day, Channel 10 came by and wanted to cover our event live!

Me being interviewed by Channel 10

Me being interviewed by Channel 10

The final race of the day was cued live on the news by the Channel 10 reporter. While the cars were racing towards the finish line, i had the opportunity to be interviewed about the Homecoming Week and the events involved. It was so much fun. We also came to find out that 5 minutes  to camera time could really mean 20 minutes to camera time. ACE’s advisor and Mr. Max Parrott were holding the cars back for the whole time.

Then i went to seemed to be an ordinary sorority meeting. After a few announcements and visitors, the door opened up and one of my best friends came in the room with 2 of his Alpha Gamma Rho brothers. They each had a rose in their hands and i became suspicious.

My friend starts his speech off by talking about AGR’s Spring Formal last semester and how there was a wrong that needed to be righted. They never announced who was the AGR Sweetheart. I was in shock. He goes on to say one of the sweetest speeches in the history of speeches and then announces me as sweet heart. The chapter erupts in applause and i stood to receive the roses and hugs, then the door yet again swung open.

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 11.15.10 PM

About 20 AGR’s dressed in suits came through the door with a rose and a hug for me. I have never been more honored or surprised in my life. Being a sweetheart for AGR is much more than being on their composite picture, they chose me over any number of AGR girlfriends and friends because i consider every single one of them my friend and they to me.

All the countless hours i have spent hanging out at the house, being considered one of the guys, being a therapist when needed (among many other things) have blessed me with this honor. I am so proud to represent the men of Alpha Gamma Rho- Alpha Kappa Chapter, they are the best friends a girl could have. Thank you so much. I love you all!

BYQ_UyRIgAAhYuY

UT Homecoming

1452372_10152006247641285_100542929_n

Some of the Banners on Neyland

There are banners swaying in the wind on Neyland Stadium. The relay races have been run. The spirit competition tryouts have been cheered.

That means one thing…. It’s Homecoming time in Tennessee.

Homecoming is a tradition that brings collegians and alumnae together. It is a game set aside to celebrate the school we love and how great it is becoming.

This year UT’s Homecoming game was against the Auburn Tigers. The week leading up to the game is filled with activities for collegian and alumnae  alike. These activities are put on by All Campus Events, a student-run organization at UT. For the past two years I have had the privilege of actually being the Homecoming Chair for ACE.

Like i said earlier the week is full of events. Banner Drop, Anything Goes (Relay Race), Smokey’s Howl (Spirit Competition), Soap Box Derby, 3-on-3 Basketball, Lawn/Lobby/Window Display, and Float.

This is going to be a week of sleepless nights for participating organization members and ACE members alike. Months of preparation is culminating into one week of events. I am sorry this post is so short, I have judges sheets to tally up. I will try to update you as the week goes on. Wish me luck!

1470295_10151533981139058_722903552_n

Anything Goes 2013 in Circle Park

It’s Anchor Splash Time in Tennessee

During the 3rd week of September, the University of Tennessee was the setting for one of the biggest and best philanthropic events. Anchor Splash is a week-long event put on by the ladies of Delta Gamma Fraternity.

8307_10151896868046285_1790478234_n

 The proceeds coming from the week’s events go to DG’s nationally philanthropy, Service for Sight.

Last year UT’s Anchor Splash raised thousands of dollars.The money goes towards funding schools for the blind and visually impaired across the country.

Locally DG’s host events with Club VIBES, which stands for Visually Impaired/Blind Enhanced Services. UT DG’s also fund Vision Camp every spring for the blind and visually impaired kids, so that they may have a normal camp experience. DG raises the largest portion of this money through the Anchor Splash event.

This year DG had several fraternities, as well as sororities participating in the week-long competition. The week started out with Soak-a-DG Day.

Yes, I said Soak-a-DG Day. The ladies of DG wore their block-letters all day and the participating organizations use water guns, water bottles, water balloons, or just anything that can hold water and they soak DG’s for tickets.

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 9.35.25 PM

The campus is littered with young fraternity guys running around and hiding in bushes trying to find DG’s.

The guys literally look like they are 5 years old, out in the yard playing imaginary war games. It is the best. And as you can see, DG’s get into it just as much.

At the end of the day all the tickets are counted up and the top 3 fraternities and sororities receive points for their efforts. Also that first day of Anchor Splash, DG held a percentage night at Moe’s. Moe’s actually donates a percentage of the profits to DG for Service for Sight. This is just one reason why DG’s love Moe’s.

Second day of Anchor Splash is the Volleyball TournamentBUemZ7FCQAEDMQA. Participating organizations flock to the newly named “Diji Island”, to compete in a single elimination, back-yard style volleyball tournament.

During the tournament DG’s could be seen refereeing, line judging, and cheering on the teams.

At the end of the tournament there was a Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Champion.

Third Day of Anchor Splash is the 4th Annual Anchor Man Pageant. The Fraternities participating nominate one representative to compete in the pageant. The participating sororities enter a dance number and painted cooler.

The nominated fraternity member competes in 3 stages of the pageant. First is the Flex Off. In this round the guys dress in their best nautical swimwear and show off their “guns”.

1236704_638970946125298_2115168907_n

Second is the interview portion. In this round the guys don their best evening wear and answer a question onstage.

Third is the talent portion. In this round the guys show off their skills whether it be singing or dancing. Anything to wow the Senior DG ladies, who are the judges of the competition.996606_10200609410547043_496710615_n

As a Senior of Delta Gamma, we are in-trusted with judging the pageant along with 3 guest judges.

The judges also scored the participating sororities’ dance numbers. The numbers entertained the crowd between rounds.  The painted coolers were also scored. Part of the prize for being crowned DG’s Anchor Man was receiving the winning painted cooler. The coolers were decked out in bronze, pink, blue, anchors, DG, and Service for Sight. What a great public relations tool for DG!

Finally the culmination of the weeks hard work. The Anchor Games ends the week with a bang. Sororities compete in relay games and banner. While the fraternities compete in banner, belly flop, and synchronized swimming.

1238112_10200609425347413_218115686_nAgain, this is an opportunity for the Seniors of DG to serve as judges. The banners are hung above the TRecs outdoor pool and are judged on a number of categories. The participating fraternities nominate one guy to compete in the belly flop competition. The guys truly make a splash on the competition, putting their own spin on a classic pool trick.

1017043_638970952791964_2115763791_n

The final competition is the by far the best. In the synchronized swimming portion of the competition, the seniors line up on the  edge of the pool for a front row view of the routines.

The fraternity guys then show off what they, with the help of DG coaches, have worked on all week. Their 5 minute routines vary in style, costumes, and music choices. All of which have to do with DG and Service for Sight.

11227_638970969458629_613722919_n

The fraternities show off their dancing and lip-syncing skills to the seniors out of the water.

The guys then jump in the water to continue to show off their synchronization, as they make a Delta, Gamma, and Anchor in the water. Although most do much more than that. It is amazing to see how much effort all the participants put into their routines.

1209264_638970866125306_1243330809_nAs a DG, Anchor Splash has always held a special place in my heart. I have met some of the best people being a coach (shout out to all my AGR boys) and gotten so close to my sisters.

I am truly blessed to have been in such an amazing organization. All the money the philanthropy raises and sheer number of people coming out to support us. As a senior I am so proud of my sorority and everything we have accomplished. This Anchor Splash has definitely not let me down. I honestly can not believe I had just witnessed my last Anchor Splash as a collegiate member of Delta Gamma. I will never forget it or my pledge class members I got to share it with.

There’s nothing else I would rather be than a DG at Tennessee! And that will never change.

Video

The Gamma Chi Experience

As a Greek woman at the University of Tennessee, one position is highly coveted. The position of Recruitment Counselor or Gamma Chi is an important one. A Gamma Chi is a sorority member who disaffiliates from her chapter in order to counsel potential new members through the process of recruitment. Gamma Chi’s are chosen through rounds of interviews and are announced by dropping a banner full of the lucky chosen few’s names.

Last fall, I was blessed to have been one of these chosen few. Spring of this year, myself and the other Gamma Chi’s took a class to learn all about counseling, the recruitment process and everything Panhellenic. After graduation, Gamma Chi’s could no longer wear their chapters’ letters or refer to themselves as being in that chapter. This summer was definitely a struggle not revealing my affiliation, but I knew it would be worth it in the end.

Before school started this fall, the Gamma Chi’s went on a retreat. The retreat was a weekend full of information and fun to get ready for recruitment. One of the best parts of retreat was going to the Chattanooga Zoo! We got so close over that weekend and it was an absolute blast!

1006362_10151595987943321_516786019_n

Recruitment week rolled around and Panhellenic was in strict silence. We were not allowed to talk to chapter members and they were not allowed to talk to us. In order for the Gamma Chi’s to help potential new members find their forever Panhellenic home, our affiliation was under lock and key.

The only time we were allowed to talk to our chapter members was during Roll Call. Roll Call is when the Gamma Chi’s go around to every chapter and with the barrier only being a sidewalk, Gamma Chi’s from each chapter got to lead them in their chapter cheer. After all of the chapters were visited, we did the Gamma Chi cheer and we were released for only one minute to go back to our chapter, see our sisters, and get our gifts.

1174972_10151891355598453_1624053791_n

Jessica Minnick (my Little, shhh) and I before our first Roll Call.

I had no idea before the first Roll Call how emotional it would be. But during that short one minute of seeing my sisters, I was overcome with emotions. Not being able to hug or talk to them during the recruitment process, as much as I hate to admit it, took a toll on me. AKA I cried, yes I cried. And if you know me, you know I never cry.

We did Roll Call two more times during recruitment and it never got any easier. Each time we did it, got us more anxious for Bid Day. The rest of the week was whirlwind of “Gamma Chi’s knock on doors”, bus rides, and probing potential new members. At the end of recruitment was the long-awaited Bid Day. This was the day the potential new members got their bids and the Gamma Chi’s were returned their letters.

As the bids were ripped open and the new members ran out onto the Thompson-Boling Arena floor to join their perspective chapters; it was time for the Gamma Chi’s to prepare for Roll Call.

The Delta Gamma GX's are revealed and lead the Delta Gamma cheer

The DG Gamma Chi’s are revealed and lead the Delta Gamma cheer.

The Gamma Chi’s put their chapter letters on under their Bid Day t-shirts and circled out on the floor. As each chapter did their cheer, Gamma Chi after Gamma Chi revealed her letters with pride. This was the coolest moment of my life. We ended Roll Call with the Gamma Chi cheer one last time and we ran to our chapters. I was finally home with my Delta Gamma sisters.

This experience taught me so much about myself. I found out how much love I have for my chapter, while acquiring a whole new respect for all of the other Panhellenic Chapters. It is definitely an experience I would do over and over again. I gained 100 Gamma Chi’s sisters through this experience and I will not forget one of them.

One of my fellow Gamma Chi’s, Andi Abbajay, created this AMAZING video and it perfectly depicts recruitment week from the Gamma Chi perspective.