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Erin Smith, Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi, is the advisory board chairman (ABC) for Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi. She has also served the chapter as recruitment advisor (2007-2009). Erin was selected to participate in the Fraternity's inaugural Alumnae Service Trip in February 2016.
Undergraduate officer positions held: I served as vice president membership (now chief recruiting officer), deputy to the vice president of education (now chief education officer), and on numerous committees.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I received an email about some positions that were available at Epsilon Zeta Chapter, and I was encouraged by my peers to apply.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I wanted to give back to the Fraternity for all it has given me in life. After I served as recruitment advisor, I took a Theta break to open a restaurant. Too many years passed without Theta in my life, so I couldn't let the opportunity to volunteer again pass me up. If you ever get the chance to volunteer in some capacity for the Fraternity, I strongly recommend it. It's life-changing!
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? Altogether 3 years (currently, 15 months continuously).
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Everyone I have had any encounter with has made an impact in my life, from advisors to ELCs and headquarters staff to volunteers. There is one person whom I consider a role model, mentor, and friend who has made me a better ABC and better person, and that is Stacey Jarrett Martin, Alpha Mu/Missouri (college district director, District V). She teaches me, inspires all those around her, and leads by example. She is well respected and is a great example of a leading woman.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? I could not live without Theta in my life! On the college side of things, I do it for the women in the chapter. I love watching them grow, guiding them through difficult decisions and times in their life, and seeing them become successful through their college careers. Personally, though, it's definitely the people and the influence they have in my life.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? There are so many, but two stand out. I had no idea what to expect when I became ABC for Epsilon Zeta Chapter. I loved watching the executive board grow as women throughout their officer terms, and I realized that they also helped me grow in the process. I am so proud of the women they have become since I first met them! My other moment would be receiving the University of Mississippi's Panhellenic Advisor of the Year award in 2015.
Do you have a special Theta moment? I was very fortunate to attend the inaugural Alumnae Service Trip in New Orleans this year (thank you Kappa Alpha Theta and Theta Foundation). Talk about an amazing experience; it was life-changing! It was beyond my expectations, and the impact we made on the lives we touched will forever be remembered. The other women who joined me on this trip made the experience what it was. We all came as strangers and left as best friends.
What do you do outside of Theta? Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am a nurse assistant. I get to help people daily! I am also a CASA volunteer; that is such a rewarding experience, but often difficult. I also serve as an ambassador for the Oxford Mississippi Chamber of Commerce. I have a passion for helping others; anytime the opportunity presents itself, I go for it!
Undergraduate officer positions held: President, vice president pledge education (now chief education officer), spirit chairman.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I have always been a Theta volunteer. I was asked to be on the Gamma Omega advisory board as soon as I graduated, and have been active as an alumna ever since.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? Being an advisor keeps you young (and can help promote gray hair at the same time!). You are always learning about the current generation and what's important to them. The impact that alumnae make on these women and the friendships that I still have with so many of them is priceless. Having said that, in my role as Alpha Theta/Texas PAS and the alumnae circles specialist, the new relationships that I have made with alumnae all over the world are so valuable to me.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Every Theta is a mentor. You learn from each one who crosses your path and encourages you to do a little bit more and step outside your comfort zone.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? My special volunteering moment has been starting our local alumnae Panhellenic and finding delegates from some of the smaller sororities to join us.
Do you have a special Theta moment? My special Theta moment was being interviewed as a nominee for Grand Council in 2014.
What is your profession or personal passion? I am an environmental engineer and work with clients to comply with hazardous waste regulations, permit waste facilities, and clean-up solid and hazardous waste sites. I am also a CASA volunteer with four CASA kids currently who keep me on my toes!
Why do you stay involved with Theta? To give back to the organization that taught this once college freshman with no self-confidence and terrible high school grades how to lead, make friends, study, project herself, and step out to start new things. Theta took the time to make me the best I could be, so it's my turn to do that for others.
Chris was initiated as a member of Delta Omicron at the University of Alabama. She initially joined Theta to meet people and become involved on campus. She volunteered for her chapter and the University of Alabama Panhellenic in various capacities, including serving as a Rho Chi (recruitment counselor), Panhellenic delegate, and as a member of both the development and facility management committees.
Chris has continued to serve Theta in many roles as an alumna. She currently serves on the Facility Housing Corporation interior design and marketing & communications committees. Previously, she was the alumnae district president for Districts II and V and alumnae district officer for District VI, and held several positions for the New Orleans Alumnae Chapter, most notably president and treasurer. Chris is also a charter Life Loyal member.
In addition to her work with Theta, Chris volunteers with the Junior League of New Orleans, CASA-Jefferson Parish, American Heart Association, and American Marketing Association. When asked why she volunteers for Theta and in her community, Chris says, "Volunteering has given me a sense of purpose in my community. I like feeling connected and working towards a common goal. It has also given me an opportunity to bond with my daughters over shared projects."
Chris says her favorite part of being a Theta is the friendships and sisterhood that have continued beyond college. She also continues to give back to the organization because of all the women who helped contribute to her success.
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!