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Sara Lytle, Alpha Phi/Tulane, is advisory board chairman (ABC) for Zeta Upsilon/UT Dallas, Dallas Alumnae Chapter website coordinator, and permanent alumnae secretary (PAS) for Alpha Phi/Tulane. She has previously served as development advisor, Zeta Chi/Johns Hopkins; recruitment and Panhellenic advisor, Alpha Nu/Montana; Missoula Alumnae Chapter president; marketing and community involvement advisors, Zeta Upsilon/UT Dallas; and Dallas Alumnae Chapter membership communications coordinator.
Undergraduate officer positions held: Assistant membership chairman (now recruitment director).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? Soon after graduating from Tulane, I moved to Baltimore and stayed with my Theta big sister Kelly Drake Torres until I found a permanent place to live. I tagged along with her to an advisory board meeting for Zeta Chi/Johns Hopkins, led by fellow Alpha Phi/Tulane Claire Breedlove Smith, who was ABC at the time. I signed on as development advisor the next semester, and the rest is history.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I did not have the availability as a collegian to be as active a leader in my chapter as I wanted, so I made the decision as an alumna to be as involved as possible.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? 9 years
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? This has been the hardest question to answer. I have had so many Theta mentors over the past decade and I can see more being added to the list as I continue my Theta journey. Most recently I became the ABC for Zeta Upsilon/UT Dallas, which has been a challenging and very rewarding experience. As a new ABC, I relied heavily on my past mentorship from Suzanne Peterson, long-standing ABC for Alpha Nu/Montana, and contacted her frequently during the first year of my term. Most of all, what I take from Suzanne is her patience. She was very patient with me in a pivotal time in my life and helped me through some stressful situations. The patience she has with the collegians and her ABC duties is admirable and a testament of a true leader.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? It's the best way to stay updated with the Fraternity. It's truly amazing to see how our organization grows and changes over the course of time, and I've only been a member for 13 years. Secondly, I learn more about myself and leadership through Theta than anything else I've been a part of. Plus, the collegians are incredible. Watching them succeed is the best part of volunteering.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? Recruitment will always be my first love. As recruitment advisor for seven years at Alpha Nu/Montana, we experienced a large leap in enrollment for recruitment one year. As we were setting up for preference round, we realized that we were severely lacking in seating for the next day. We knew the Fraternity across the street would have tables and chairs that we could borrow, but because of Panhellenic rules, neither of us could be on one another's property. In the wee hours of the morning, the men dropped off furniture in between our properties, and Theta women ran out to retrieve it. It's one funny recruitment "emergency" I will never forget!
Do you have a special Theta moment? As a Tulane student in New Orleans, you become well acquainted with hurricane season. A hurricane usually passes by the area right before the first round of exams every year. My sophomore year, a dozen or so Thetas piled into cars and ventured off to northern Louisiana to invade a member's childhood home. It was one giant girly slumber party for a week. The next year, our hurricane break would last an entire semester and change our beloved crescent city forever. It was my junior year, and the force from Hurricane Katrina blasted through the levees of New Orleans. I watched from afar as the city I'd grown to love was drowning under the deluge. Because these hurricane breaks weren't uncommon, I had thrown a small bag of possessions together and didn't give it a second thought as I headed out the door the day before Katrina landed. This single bag ended up being the only things I owned for the rest of that semester. When we learned we would not be returning to Tulane, I decided to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. I reached out to the facility director of Beta Iota Chapter to see if they had room for me that semester. She said yes of course and warmly welcomed me into the facility a few days later. Come to find out, they did not have an actual vacancy when I arrived, but they made room for me. It was the only Theta facility I ever lived in and is still some of the best food I've ever eaten. It was like a semester abroad complete with new Theta sisters. Beta Iota didn't have to accept me, didn't have to include me, and didn't have to make room for me. But they did it anyway. Whether it's moving, needing a place to stay, or help in a tight situation, Theta has been the only one there for me every. single. time.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I have a passion for learning. I seek certifications, advanced degrees, leadership courses, and frequently read personal development books. As I advise for the college chapters, I'm always tempted by the new graduate programs the schools offer. Similarly, I find foreign culture extremely fascinating. I studied French and Arabic, dabbled in Spanish, and have Russian on my to-do list. I travel abroad as much as I can to immerse myself in the various cultures and greatly appreciate the unique qualities of each place. I am a dreamer who loves to explore and I honestly believe that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!