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Have you ever stopped to think about how much time, energy and love Theta advisors invest in collegians?
My college chapter officer experience in Theta developed me as a leader probably more so than any other experience in my life*. I say that because, before that experience, I really didn't consider myself a leader at all. Knowing that my fellow chapter members, and most importantly, my advisor, believed in me, invested in me, and held me accountable, entirely changed the way I perceived and conducted myself. It also made me want to give back to Theta, so that I could empower women to discover this strength in themselves.
Recently, I had the opportunity to hear some similar stories from an amazing group of young Thetas: our ELCs.
Each summer, ELCs come to Fraternity headquarters to participate in training with Fraternity staff and volunteers. When the alumnae engagement department met with the ELCs, the first thing we asked them was, "What Theta has most influenced or impacted your Theta experience?"
The responses were touching - from Grand Council members and advisory board chairmen to big (Theta) sisters and big (biological) sisters. Many of our ELCs couldn't pick just one!
One response did strike a chord. ELC Meghan Finke, Gamma deuteron/Ohio Wesleyan, who had been the chief executive officer and chief recruiting officer at her chapter, said that her ABC, Bev Epps, had influenced her the most. She said:
"I have always looked up to her so much; she makes each member feel welcome and valued. What I love most about Bev is that anyone who works with her can see how much she cares about Gamma deuteron and each of our members. Her warm and sunny presence lights up the house."
Ironically enough, I had been in touch with Bev just that day, and when I got back to my desk, I had to share Meghan's glowing remarks. Bev replied right back to me:
"Meghan is an amazing young woman. Theta is blessed to have her as a sister and ELC and I am blessed to have had her in my chapter, to know her and to call her not only my sister but my friend. I receive far more from the relationships I have with the collegians than I give. It is truly an honor for me to serve them and to know my service is appreciated means more than you know!"
As I sat with Meghan and the rest of the ELCs, I began to wonder if, without the Thetas who guided and supported them, they would be sitting in front of me at all.
So often when we ask advisors why they do what they do, we get two answers: to mentor collegians and to repay the Fraternity for what it has done for them. Chances are, Bev too had a Theta invest in her. And I know that throughout her life, Meghan will pay it forward in the same way.
How about you? Did you have an advisor or mentor who inspired you to give back to Theta in a special way? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
*You certainly don't have to be a college chapter officer to be a chapter leader!
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