August 5, 2016
There was never a doubt in my mind I was going to join a sorority in college. Most of my family was in a Greek organization, including my mom who is a Kappa Delta. When I was a junior in high school, I made my AOL screen name KayDee2006 so that I could use it in college.
While I knew I wanted to join a sorority, I never expected it to be more than a social organization. But then I immediately jumped into a council position and started getting involved in other organizations on campus. I was becoming a leader and was just discovering I had potential.
Fast forward 10 years. With what I know now, I realize I would have benefited greatly by the leadership training offered by the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute. UIFI is a premier leadership training experience that helps collegians bring about positive change in their chapters and on campus.
I have been fortunate to serve as a facilitator at UIFI for three years, and it remains some of the most impactful experiences I have ever had. It is fun to see complete strangers on day one become inseparable by day three or four. It is incredible to see people publicly commit to the values of their fraternity and sorority. It is invigorating to be surrounded by people who are committed to values-based actions and expecting that from others.
If you are a collegiate leader, I encourage you to attend UIFI. The intensive five-day workshop brings together students from across the country to explore and enhance their leadership skills while committing to the values of their sorority or fraternity. The program is a combination of large group sessions teaching the big concepts and small group in-depth discussions and activities coupled with personal reflection and goal-setting. Each student leaves UIFI with a plan to address something in his or her chapter or campus community
Each student also participates in a community service project in every UIFI session. We all pour into the Bloomington, Indiana, community by volunteering at soup kitchens, community gardens, donation centers, food pantries, public parks and more.
The overall theme of UIFI is centered on values: know them, live them, teach them, and expect them of others. The program helps student leaders discover the purpose in leadership: not what we do—chapter meetings, recruitment, formal, etc.—but why we do it—sisterhood, personal growth and development, social engagement. It allows us to create positive change in our chapters.
One of the biggest lessons I learned during my first year facilitating at UIFI was the concept that values are what you do. This concept brings our Ritual alive. It has challenged me to think about my actions and how they communicate my values to others.
I challenge you to think about this: if values are what you do, what do your actions say about you, and about Kappa Delta?
Each time I leave a UIFI session, I have so much hope for the future of fraternity and sorority life. In a time where people question the relevancy of our organizations, UIFI reminds me that there are other members who are striving every day to live the why of their organization.
Senior Chapter Services Manager