New Member Retreat :: Night at the Museum

This past week has been busy busy! Ever since Bid Day, Zeta world has been full speed ahead. Thursday night was our chapter’s big/little sister reveal, and this weekend has been our new member retreat.

The new member retreat was held at McWane Science Center. Our new members had so much fun bonding with their new sisters! (We still can’t believe they’re OURS!!!) Shoutout to Teya Lonquist & the new member committee for making all the magic happen. Great job, gals!

Check out some sweet memories below:

 

bid day 2017!

We can’t BELIEVE Bid Day was almost a week ago already. Our girls ran home & time has flown ever since then!

We are over the moon EXCITED to have welcomed 62 new members into our chapter. They are so full of life & the sweetest additions to the ZTA fam!

Check out some of our fave Bid Day memories below:

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bringing our girls HOME – recruitment week 2017

‘Twas the night before BID DAY & all through the Zouse, Zetas can’t WAIT to bring our girls HOME!!!

There’s really no way to fully understand recruitment week without living it first hand — but lemme tell ya! Through the belly-laughs, tears, endless cups of coffee, & Buddy the Elf 40 minutes of sleep, team Zeta made it! Our sisters are over the moon excited for our newest members to join the fam TOMORROW.

Check out some of our favorite memories from the week! Click HERE to view our sisterhood video.

Crazy BIG shoutout to Olivia Corley, our amazing recruitment chair, & Maddie Hartman & Sarah Poole, her awesome assistants! 

Bid Day, we’re dreaming about ya!!! 


recruitment: girl, you’ve got this!

Hey girl going through recruitment – You’ve GOT this!

Hey girl on the other side – You’ve GOT this!

Rush is a roller coaster of emotions, right? It’s fun, like really really fun. You get to meet lots of new people and learn about six incredible organizations, but the fear of the unknown and the butterflies can be endless. You know what? There’s no need to worry. Really. Girl, you’ve GOT this!

To the girl going through recruitment – You are loved, worthy, smart, beautiful, and oh so wonderful! No matter where you end up on Bid Day, you are never defined by those letters. With each house you walk into next week, don’t worry about fitting into a certain place. Don’t make your decision because of someone else’s expectations or opinions. Keep your eyes and heart open; see what fits YOU the best.

To the girl on the other side – Let’s welcome with open arms, shall we? What an incredible honor it is to bring potential new members into our home! Remember how you felt when you went through recruitment? It really wasn’t that long ago! Time FLIES when you’re having fun. Now you’re on the other side–and it’s more exciting now than ever!! Savor these sweet moments in growing closer with your sisters while searching for new.

Okay, ladies. Take a deep breath. Recruitment starts TOMORROW! Are you excited yet?! I know I am. Get plenty of sleep, keep an open mind, focus on what’s best for you, and be yourself. It’s so freeing and comforting to know we never walk through life alone–even in the crazy busiest or mind-bogeling confusing moments. Girl, you’ve GOT this!

You are free. Be who you already are. -Rebekah Lyons 

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back 2 school

Happy first week of school! Y’all, WE MADE IT!!  We are SO excited to have our sisters back together under the same roof. With recruitment just a few days away, we’ve been busy busy getting ready! In the midst of work and preparation, we’ve had lots of fun along the way! (Disco party and pajama night!!) There were plenty of exciting events happening on campus this week too–even a petting zoo on the quad! Check out some of our favorite memories from week 1 below:

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sisterhood story :: ashley steiner

Hi hey hello! My name is Ashley Steiner & I’m the historian here in ZTA. (the gal behind the zlog, Instagram, Facebook, & more!!) I just started my junior year, so it’s crazy that just two years ago I was about to go through recruitment. I had always wanted to be in a sorority, but I never knew I’d find a place I could really call home.

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During philanthropy night, I met Kelsey, a girl who loved Zeta & sorority life more than anyone I had met before. (see photo below!!) She rushed me over the next nights, and to this day–if she can’t convince someone to love Zeta, literally no one can. It wasn’t even the fact that she knew everything about the philanthropy, fun events, or how to get involved–she truly wanted to know me, a freshman from Fayetteville, Arkansas, who had moved 8 hours away from home for the first time in her entire life. More than talking about this thing called sisterhood, she lived and breathed it. And you know what? As I looked around the chapter room, it was obvious every other Zeta did too. It was a place I didn’t have to smile till my face hurt, try to fit into a mold, or present myself in a certain way. Everyone was completely comfortable with being themselves. One night during recruitment, Grace, the recruitment chair, remembered I own a stationery company from my recommendation letter. For the first time during rush week, I felt truly known and needed in a house–that they wanted me there just as much as I wanted to be! By pref night, I knew I wanted to run home to these faces who had so genuinely invested in me. Cheesy but true–best decision. Ever. (drops mic, #noragrets, you get the picture).

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I’ve found this kind of sisterhood to be Zeta’s lifestyle–one that welcomes with open arms, kicks off shoes, pours coffee, & stays a while. One that embraces differences because lemme tell ya–no two girls are the same here! I love being a part of a family with such diverse talents and personalities. One that gets SUPER excited to see you in the caf, takes care of you when you’re sick, studies accounting for hours on end with you, and goes on late night sonic runs. I’ve learned so much from these girls–our differences shout love, acceptance, and openness from the rooftops! There’s no way to truly understand this feeling without experiencing it first hand.

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Zeta has brought me my people–some of my closest friends, my roommate, my best big and little in the entire world, and my constant team of supporters though all days. I know I can always count on them to have my back and point me to Jesus.

And y’all, I’m so so excited for almost four hundred girls to come visit our chapter for the first time next week. My hope and prayer though sharing our girls’ sisterhood stories on the blog has been to give an honest glimpse into the life of our sisterhood. It’s one that extends far beyond the walls of our house–which are getting remodeled, by the way! (More to come on that later).

Zeta lovin, Ash

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sisterhood story :: reagan smith

Don’t worry about recruitment!!

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. -Proverbs 16:9

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I came to Samford not knowing anyone who had ever known anyone that had ever gone there. To say that I went into recruitment blind is an understatement. Still, I thought I knew which top two houses I would prefer before ever stepping onto campus. Funny, neither of them were Zeta Tau Alpha. In the weeks leading up to recruitment during school I had ruled out one and was absolutely certain that the other was where I belonged. There was one girl in my Spanish class who I was fast friends with, and she just so happened to be in that sorority I was so sure I would join. We were so similar that random people would ask if I was her younger sister. I had made friends with several other girls in my classes, in the organizations I joined, and on my hall; yet I didn’t feel like I really clicked with most of them. I felt extra far away from all of my high school friends that had chosen schools so much closer to home. I was beyond ready to go through recruitment to finally find the place that I would fit and girls who I really connected with. I thought I was so ready to join that sorority, and my mind was completely closed off to anything but that one group.

But then, a strange thing happened recruitment week. Everything went well in the other house, but I didn’t feel as comfortable as I did in another. After philanthropy round (night one) my heart was still very set on them, but I’d begun to notice how much I liked another. I’d heard all of the rumors and stereotypes, and based on them thought I could never fit in to ZTA. I was never the girl that was involved in all the right things, I hadn’t been a cheerleader in high school, ever considered popular, and I would not look cute blonde. I woke up the morning of theme round and found that I had absolutely no voice. Nothing. I went through night two of rush with nothing but my personality. I still felt 100% at ease in Zeta, we laughed about it and made it work and managed to still have a great conversation, an opposite experience than the other houses that night. By the time pref came around I was completely confused. By the end of the night I was crying in Zeta and upset with myself for not really taking them seriously at first, convinced there was no way that I would get in having put so much more effort into the other house.

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I went to my RA’s room and bawled on her floor about how I was sure I wouldn’t get in ZTA. Normally she would have gotten on the floor with me and hugged me and talked it all through with me. Uncharacteristically, she sat on her bed and was clearly texting, telling me not to worry about it. I just knew she had found out I was dropped. I was a mess all night. I didn’t even get ready for bid day reveal, I just took a shower and didn’t put make up on. While waiting to receive our bid cards I talked to another girl in my rho gam group. She, like me, was short, had long brown hair, what many would probably consider too much energy, and wasn’t sure which house had given her a bid but was hoping desperately for ZTA. You cannot imagine the squeals as we both opened our envelopes to reveal Zeta Tau Alpha had chosen us to become part of their sisterhood, then ran hand in hand to the flood of turquoise. I then found out that my RA was friends with the girls who had talked to me during recruitment, and they were texting her WHILE I was in her room crying, about how much they loved me and were excited for me to become a Zeta.

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Ever since that September day in 2014 I have rediscovered time and time again that ZTA is without a doubt where I belong. Zeta Tau Alpha is where I found my home. I made friends that made me feel like I was no longer alone, so far from everyone I knew. No matter what is going on, these sisters are the girls I can count on to celebrate with me as well as encourage me through hard times and offer godly advice. A sisterhood so close that women who aren’t in my friend group notice when something isn’t right in my world and reach out to offer support. I found my best friends and truest sisters in an unexpected house, and I cannot imagine experiencing college without them.

My best advice for you is this: TRUST THE SYSTEM. Don’t think that a house wants a certain type of girl and act like that if you’re not. Put YOUR best foot forward, not someone else’s shoe and pretend that it fits. I promise, it will all end up exactly as it should.☺

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ONE MONTH till Bid Day!!!

So many high fives & sista hugs because bid day is ONE MONTH from today! We’re super excited to welcome new zetas into our home. Get ready to join the most authentic & welcoming sisterhood out there–we can’t wait to have you part of our family!

Here are some of our favorite bid day throwback pics that give us allllll the feels!

Sisterhood Story :: Anne Chason Wachter

Anne Chason brings so much joy to our chapter! She has such a caring heart and is always there for her sisters. Her mom & cousin were Zetas at Samford too! We love you, AC! Read why she found her home in ZTA below:

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“I chose Zeta because it’s unique and you are always encouraged to be yourself. Not everyone fits a certain “mold” and that’s one of the many reasons why Zeta stuck out to me. The girls in Zeta will cheer you on, accept you, help you grow immensely, and stick by your side through anything. Here in Zeta we don’t take life too seriously and remember to dance through life (it’s much more fun that way). These girls will drop anything and everything to help a zista out! I have found some of my best friends through Zeta and I’ll always be forever grateful for that. These girls are now my sisters and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Through Zeta, I have found the perfect home for me.”

 

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National Leadership Conference

After the rush and excitement of returning home from the National Leadership Conference, I’ve gotten asked questions like, “How was it?” or “Did you learn a lot?” and my answers are somewhere along the lines of “It was awesome!” and “I learned SO MUCH”. Both of which are true statements.

Today I am going to drive a little deeper and give you, my Delta Psi family, some background on the why and what exactly I learned.

Day 1

On the first day of NLC, I arrived about 4 hours early. I am notoriously late for most things, but this I would not dare be late for. After checking in and receiving all the materials we would be using throughout the weekend, all 650 Zetas in attendance piled into a massive room to begin the 2017 National Leadership Conference. And who better to kick off a Zeta filled weekend than Carolyn Carpenter—our ZLAMMIN National President (stay tuned for pics because she is my role model).

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Mrs. Carpenter introduced herself (like she needed an introduction) and asked that throughout the weekend, we take the time away from technology and responsibilities, and to “Listen and Lead”—listen to our sisters across the country and learn how to lead our chapter to becoming the absolute best it can be. The phrase itself is simple but had a profound meaning that we learned over the course of the weekend.

The first day was full of icebreakers, in both a large setting and within our small groups. A large part of my learning experience was from the conversations within my small group, so the majority of my time at NLC will be conveyed through my relationship with the magnificent Group 5.

The brilliant organizers behind NLC strategically placed chapters with similar sizes and problems into a group of 10-12 girls, based upon their position. Group 5 consisted of presidents from colleges like University of North Carolina, Texas Christian University, and Florida Gulf Coast, just to name a few. Even with all of our different experiences, we all had one thing in common—our desire to serve each other and serve our chapter in whatever capacity that entailed.

My favorite part about NLC was the fact that they don’t let you stay in your comfort zone. I’m a notorious creature of habit and my comfort zone is my happy place. Yet in our small group sessions, we were asked difficult questions and often felt uncomfortable sharing our individual and chapter struggles. But each president’s struggles was something that every leader can relate to—the loneliness “at the top”; the feeling that you aren’t really making a difference in someone’s life; the time you made a decision that negatively impacted someone’s life; the struggle of balancing your personal, academic, and Zeta life, and more.

So, my life lesson from day 1: vulnerability made my life easier throughout the course of that weekend. And I’m hoping that it has the same impact throughout my everyday life and within our chapter. While it’s not always easy to share the struggles that each of us face, vulnerability is the foundation of true, lasting friendships. Even Shirley Strout knew this when she called all Zeta Tau Alphas “to be true to ourselves and to those within and without our circle”. In order to make our chapter the best it can be, it begins with the individuals and showing others our truest self.

Day 2:

Day 2 was the first full day of NLC. It began with all of us gathering into the big room that we crammed into the first day to listen to the wonderful Tina Vansteenbergen share her story of leadership and the importance of empathy.

Tina’s story is hers to share, and I would not do it any justice to try and butcher in here today. However, she did share a story that I think many people can relate to. While serving in a leadership position at her college, Tina had to work with a fellow student who could not do their job in a timely manner or attend meetings on time. She learned later that his home life was being flipped upside down with a personal tragedy that he had told no one about.

She shared the story to show all the leaders of Zeta Tau Alpha the importance of empathy. People matter more than projects and due dates. Asking questions about the individuals who seem—or even DON’T seem—to be struggling can make a difference in their life. There have been more situations that I would like to admit where I regret not being more empathetic.  One of the most important lessons NLC taught me was to understand the importance of empathy for people and their situations.

The second day of NLC was about listening. I used to think I was a good listener until I was actually told what “being a good listener” is. Listening is giving your FULL attention to whomever you are talking to, and letting them SPEAK. I am the QUEEN of finishing people’s thoughts and completing their sentences, which defeats the whole purpose of listening. I think every person has something that they struggle with when listening to someone, whether it is doodling, texting, looking at the people around you, thinking ahead to what you will say/do next, and so on. The most valuable act you can do for someone is just to listen. Get away from all the distractions and focus on the person in front of you. BE IN THE NOW!!

Day 3:

The last full day of NLC started with breakfast in the dining room and a discussion with our guest Speaker Ross Szabo. Ross is one of the co-authors for ZTA’s mental health course called “Behind Happy Faces” and is the Wellness Director at UCLA. He spent the better part of the hour by sharing his mental health story with us, while also sharing the importance of leaders to understand mental health not just for others, but also for ourselves.

Ross began by defining mental health as how you balance the different aspects of your life—your relationships, your coping skills, and how you take care of your mind. The looming pressures and responsibilities leaders of ANY organization face can be overwhelming and disheartening. The thing that struck me the hardest was when he quoted Lisa Hayes, who said “Be careful how you are talking about yourself, because you are listening”. I think each of us can relate to the meaning behind that statement. I know each of us can struggle with that concept, and for me personally, there are definitely times when I beat myself down for making the wrong decision or not living up to image of the leader that I believe that my chapter expects me to be.

Going back to the big life truth from Day 1: we HAVE to be vulnerable with each other. We all have something going on in our life, and keeping it to ourselves is helping NO ONE, not even yourself. Taking care of your mind is the first step in taking care of yourself.

On a less serious note, I have SO many great ideas to share with EC and the chapter upon returning for the fall semester. Haley and I have learned so many great ways to build on our sisterhood and to practice listening and leading within our chapter. I am excited for the fall and I cannot wait to share with each of you the amazing things I learned at NLC!!

-Madison Matthews, Samford ZTA President

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BIG OLE HAPPY SHOUTOUT to our chapter for winning Crown Chapter!! We’re so proud of our girls’ hard work & we’re excited for another awesome year of sisterhood, service, & fun!

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