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Becoming a Founding Greek Member

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The Delta Zeta, Pi Sigma chapter at our very first sisterhood retreat 

My freshman year, one of my friends told me about sorority recruitment, but I didn’t pay too much attention and missed the deadline. My sophomore year, I considered sorority recruitment, but at the time I didn’t want to pay the recruitment registration fee. My junior year, I was under the misassumption that I would be too old to join a sorority (just so you know — it’s never too late!). My senior year, I heard from my friends that a new sorority was coming to campus: Delta Zeta, Pi Sigma Chapter at UT Dallas.

Our UT Dallas Delta Zeta chapter was officially installed on December 7, 2014

This would end up being the perfect opportunity to become a founding Greek member. I had always been a little curious about Panhellenic sororities, and the entrepreneur inside of me knew that helping to start one would be incredibly rewarding. I was looking for a national (or international) organization that I could remain an active alumna in. Specifically, if I was going to leave Dallas, I wanted an organization that could connect me to other women in whatever city I moved to. I was really interested in joining a sorority, especially so late in my academic career, for the connections that it could bring me in the future.

What I would soon find out was that joining a sorority, especially as a founding member, would be unlike any other organization I had joined before. I had helped start a good handful of student organizations in the past, and I made the assumption that this would be pretty similar. I was so wrong!

Me as an alum with the Delta Zeta Columbus, Ohio Alumnae chapter at our holiday party

In order to get the sorority off the ground, Delta Zeta sent two amazing Educational Leadership Consultants (ELCs) to us. These ladies interviewed all the women who were interested in joining, and selected our first new member class to be a part of our colony, which is what a sorority is called before it becomes a chapter. After a few months of learning about the history of the sorority, we were initiated and on December 7,2014, our Pi Sigma chapter was installed.

There were so many things about being in a sorority that surprised me. When we started the TEDxUTD Club, we were incredibly paranoid about following all of the TEDx rules and keeping up with the TED branding and standards. This was similar for a sorority; however we had to follow not only the Panhellenic guidelines on our campus but also the strategies for how to successfully run the chapter set up by Delta Zeta National. We had so many resources to help us out. On campus, we had the Student Organization Center and Fraternity and Sorority Life, and off campus, we had our ELCs and national advisors as mentors. The amount of people helping to make our chapter a success was incredible — and this was in addition to the 53 sisters who wanted our chapter to shine.

I was honored to be selected as the first vice president of programs of our chapter, which meant I was in charge of managing the other chair positions. I helped make sure events happened, and that the ladies in positions had the resources they needed to do their jobs. You would not believe how much I learned! Working with that many people is like managing your own department. You experiment with different styles of management, improve your communication skills and plan together to meet deadlines. In the future, if I’m interviewing a woman who I hear was on her sorority’s executive board, I would automatically gain respect for the amount of work she must put into her sisterhood!

Even though I was only a Delta Zeta collegiate for one year, I am so glad that I joined. Since moving to Columbus, Ohio, I immediately looked into getting involved with our local alumnae chapter. Some of these ladies became my first friends in town and got me out of the house when I didn’t know anyone else. When I was looking for temporary work while waiting for my first “real” job to start, my recruiter at the hiring agency happened to be a Delta Zeta too! There have also been so many opportunities to get involved with local collegiate chapters, and I have met so many amazing women. My sorority lets me know that no matter where I may end up in this crazy world, I’m never alone.

Michelle Abuda

J. Michelle Abuda earned her BS in Management Information Systems and MS in Business Analytics from the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Currently, she works at Crowe Horwath as a Regulatory Compliance Risk Consultant in the Columbus, Ohio office. During her time at JSOM, she was actively involved as a leader on the Dean's Council. She helped found the JSOM Book Club, as well as the TEDxUTD Club. Read more articles

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