Friday, August 22, 2014

Twenty Years of KD

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while. Now that summer is winding down, school is starting up again and all the chapters are getting ready for recruitment, it seems like the perfect time. You see, 20 years ago this fall, I became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. Back then I couldn't even begin to imagine what how that decision would change my life. It's been an amazing journey.

It was the fall of 1994 and I'd just transferred to the University of Pittsburgh from a small all-women's college in Virginia. I didn't know anyone there. Even though my hometown was only 40 minutes away across the West Virginia border, no one from my high school went to Pitt. I was by myself in a big city and had no idea how to make friends.

As is the case in so many schools, there's an activity fair before classes start and one of the events was the Watermelon Picnic on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning. It was an opportunity to meet all the sororities on campus and maybe sign up for Formal Rush. After walking around and eating my watermelon, I figured, why not? What do I have to lose? I won't join a sorority but I'll just go through the process and see what it's like, who knows, maybe I'll meet a new friend or two.

(I can't believe I still have this)

There were 12 sororities on Pitt's campus and over the next few days we made out way through all of them. The first session was 12 rounds, then 8, 4 and 2 on the final night. After each round the sororities ranked their top choices and I ranked mine. I didn't have any clear contenders through the first few days, I liked a few but no one really stood out. I do remember ranking Kappa Delta #1 after 4 rounds but still wasn't committed to joining.

Finally it was time for the Preference Parties. This is the big night where sororities pull out all the stops. You'll often find them in black dresses, the house is decorated in twinkle lights, the treats are more formal and the emphasis is on sisterhood. For the first party of the night I went to another chapter and they were fine. It was fine, I didn't feel anything and I left there more convinced than ever that being in a sorority wasn't for me.

I walked over to Amos Hall, where the Kappa Deltas were on the 7th floor. I remember walking in and being greeted by Jessica who I'd spoken with at every party. We chatted some more, ate some sort of yummy treat and then we sat down to watch a Kappa Delta movie. We now refer to it as "the movie". That movie told you who was in and who wasn't. How could you tell? By who was sobbing hysterically at the end. Have you ever heard "Now and Forever" by Carole King? To this day I can't make it through that song without tearing up. Needless to say, I was one of the sobbers.

We then went into the formal side of the suite and everyone linked arms and went did the preference ceremony. I don't think there are many times in your life when you have moments of absolute certainty. Maybe it happened when you were deciding on a career path or when you met your significant other but at the young age of 18, it was a feeling I'd never experienced before. I remember standing in that circle knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was exactly where I needed to be.

The ceremony ended and it was time to go. On the way out we were given a white rose and asked to pluck a petal. We walked over to the fountain and were told, "Take a petal, make a wish, I know you'll make the right decision." I clutched that petal and thought "I want to be a KD, what ever it takes, I want to be a KD". 

I left the house, walked over to the Student Union and signed the card that committed me to accepting a bid. I knew that I wouldn't join the other chapter whose party I attended, it was Kappa Delta or nothing.

From there, I guess you can say the rest is history. I LOVED my collegiate experience. Those three and a half years went by in the blink of an eye.

(One of many date parties. WHY were velvet mock turtleneck dresses a good idea?)

(Before Pref Party)

(Roomies before Pref Party)

(Me and my littles)

(Another velvet dress. Good Lord Lara)

For most, that's where the story ends. You love your collegiate days and eventually you all grow up, move away, start careers and families. That's what I did too.

Fast forward to nine years ago. Kevin and I had just moved to Raleigh and didn't know a soul. He said, why don't you look and see if your sorority has an alumnae chapter? You can meet some people that way. 

Here in the Triangle we're extremely fortunate to have a strong alumnae chapter. Over the past nine years I've served as President, Membership, Public Relations and Programming of the Triangle KD Alumnae Chapter. I have met the most amazing women and I consider myself so, so fortunate to call them my friends. They've been there through the amazing highs and lowest of the lows. We've celebrated engagements, weddings, babies, new jobs, welcomed new comers and waved a sad goodbye to those who've moved away.
(Relay for Life)

(Baby shower!)

(Shamrock and Run 5K)

(More babies!)

From the first day I joined the Triangle AC, there had been talk of KD coming to NC State. At the time, we supported the UNC-Chapel Hill chapter but knew that KD had already received a approval to colonize in 2010.

In the summer of 2010 I received an e-mail from National Kappa Delta looking for volunteers to serve on the Chapter Advisory Board at NCSU after colonization. This is a pretty standard request to when a chapter is getting ready to form. I thought it sounded fun and a great way to give back to the organization.

Shortly after I was asked to serve as CAB-Finance and support the Treasurer.

(Installation Day)

It's really hard to put into words, but as much as I loved and enjoyed my college experience, I love watching this new group of women grow and develop even more. I think when you advise a chapter for a while, they become "your chapter". Not like your initiating chapter, it's different. Different but you're invested in their success, you want to see them grow and succeed.  I've seen them progress from those rough early days into a strong vibrant chapter. Each year gets better and better and there's no doubt in my mind they'll become one of the top chapters in the organization.

In 2012 I was asked to become the Chairman of the Advisory Board and continue to hold that role today. I've been offered some amazing opportunities was a result of my involvement, such as traveling to Boston last year for convention. It was my first Kappa Delta Convention and such an unbelievable experience.

(Even advisors get loopy by the last day of recruitment)

Classes started this week and they're putting the final touches on the skit. In 2 short weeks the parties will start and they'll welcome the next new member class. So much has changed in the last 20 years but there are a few things that stay wonderfully the same. And hopefully, there will be at least one woman standing in the circle at the Preference party, who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is exactly where she needs to be. She may not realize it, but her life will be forever changed. She'll meet her new sisters and start on this wonderful journey.

I can't wait to meet them.

A few years ago one of the collegiates asked my why I volunteered to be an advisor. It was simple, Kappa Delta has given me so much, it was my home away from home, a place where I met the most amazing women and had, and continue to have, some of the most amazing times of my life. If I can help in any way to see that you have a tenth of the experience I did, it's all worth it.

I think Carole King said it best,

We had a moment, just one moment, that will last beyond a dream, beyond a lifetime. We are the lucky ones, some people never get to do, all we got to do. Now and forever, I will always think of you.

I can't even begin to imagine what the next 20 holds.


  1. That's so awesome you are so active with your sorority. I was not in one, but the alpha chapter of KD was founded at my school, and I had a bunch of friends in that sorority. Glad you are able to keep that sense of community even though you've left the school! Have a great day!

  2. It really has been a fantastic experience. And Facebook has been a great way to reunite with college friends!

  3. I had a great time in college. perhaps a little too great but my grades were still pretty good. :)