Greek Life: A Complete Guide to Being on the Executive Board

I joined Delta Zeta when I was 19 and a freshman at Western Carolina University. This decision would be one of the biggest in my college career, and essentially shape who I was as a college undergrad. I remember not being able to sleep the night before bid day, and running out to my new sisters was a blur that I'll never forget. My new member process was jam packed with activities, and it seemed like Delta Zeta was the center of my existence. Some of you reading this might be considering Greek Life in the fall (which is AWESOME and you should totally do it), and others might be new to their organization and wondering how they can get more involved. And some of you might be super seniors like me, reading this and reminiscing on the best 4 years of your life (cue the sad violin). 

One of my most significant moments as a Delta Zeta sister was stepping into an Executive position. I found myself on the Executive board by accident, taking over after a sister stepped out of the Philanthropy chairmen position mid year. Not the most ideal situation, but none the less I was excited to be working on something I was passionate about, and I've always enjoyed taking on a leadership position. The hardest part about this was doing it as a brand new sister. I stepped in the summer after I joined, so I was literally the youngest person on the board. Now, this isn't a post about why you shouldn't join the Executive Board as a new sister, but rather why you absolutely should.

1// You'll develop insane leadership qualities: The Executive Board leads the chapter in so many ways. It's not just the president's job to guide the chapter, it's the board as a whole. Regardless of the position, you'll be moving this chapter forward and will be looked at as a leader.

2// You become part of a new support system: Your sisters will always be there for you. From the moment you accepted your bid, you became part of a large support system (thank god for 50+ girls who will help you after a breakup). The Executive Board works closely together, and often needs each other to get things done. Being a part of Exec gives you a new group of supporters, and they're always there to have your back.

3// You get to make change happen: You are now in a position to create change. If there's something that needs improvement, you get to be the person to do it. This is a place for innovation and creative minds, and with the entire board, great things can be accomplished.

4// You're not 'too young': Executive positions aren't just for the juniors and seniors - regardless of your status in the organization, you should absolutely run. Time doesn't determine ability to lead + improve a sorority.

5// You will learn: In my experience, the Executive Board is a whole different ballgame. You're still a sister, but you're seeing the organization from a business standpoint, and as part of the bigger picture. You'll become knowledgeable on how your individual organization runs, how it contributes to Greek Life on your campus, and what it takes to keep a chapter afloat. 

So, have I motivated you to join your Executive Board yet? Yes? Good. You're halfway there. I've been through plenty of Executive Board elections, on the interviewing side as well as the interviewee side. Each organization is different, but I'm sure you'll have to be running in an election, so here are some tips (that I can vouch for because I'm old and have done this before) for the entire process - before elections, during, and after. 

1// Set your goal as a new member: My new member educator had us set one goal for ourselves in regards to Executive Board. We each had to choose a position we wanted to hold - I chose Philanthropy and New Member Educator. I was insanely inspired by the volunteer work that Greek Life does, as well as my own New Member Educator, or as we called her - "mom".

2// Polish up on your in person interviewing skills: Every sorority is different, mine just happens to hold interviews for a position. You complete a paper application and then have a quick interview with some of the sisters. Don't get too worked up over this - you're in good company during the interview. But, you should polish up on your talking skills and present yourself professionally. Treat this like a real interview.

3// Figure out what you want to accomplish early: Once you've set a goal, determine what you want to accomplish and write it down. Use this in your paper application, as well as your interview. Being prepared never goes out of style. If you aren't sure what you want to do, or how you can accomplish it, chat with people already on the Executive Board.

4// Stay positive and don't play dirty: This isn't a time to bash the sister you're running against. That's childish, unladylike, and not sisterly. Stay positive, do your best, and wish everyone good luck.

5// Be confident - on paper and in person: You've made it this far, haven't you? Stay confident and know that you can create change and improvements within your chapter. You were put into this sisterhood for a reason, believe in yourself enough to let your light shine.

6// Remember your values and duties: Stay true to yourself, remember that you are a sister and a student before anything else, and don't let the business side of an organization cloud the real reason you're a part of a sorority - sisterhood and growing as a woman.

7// If you don't make it, try again: Failure is inevitable - if you aren't chosen for the position, don't give up. Take it from me, who has personal experience with this, giving up isn't the way to go. There are other ways to serve your chapter, and trying again isn't out of the question.

8// Update your resume: If you do get chosen for the position, include it on your resume and LinkedIn. This is huge and you should treat it as such. You're going to be learning a lot, doing a lot, and creating change. Be proud, and good luck! 

Advice from sorority women around the world

Breanna {New Member Educator: Delta Zeta}: I have wanted the VP of New Member Education position in Delta Zeta since I first joined in Spring getting old over here! In my mind the position was vital to the future of the chapter and I wanted to ensure that it would still a strong chapter after I had graduated to the "big girl" world. By nature I am a person who values having a plan and sticking to it. While in theory this was a brilliant thought, I quickly realized that being in charge of 23 girls was nothing you could prepare for. Despite my best efforts I might add. I worked and watched my girls grow into the amazing women they are in just under 10 weeks and to say I am proud just would not cover it. These girls helped me grow so much as a person, friend, and sister. I, of course, do not mean to make this process sound like a walk in the park. It was the farthest thing from. Despite tears, angry sisters, hard decisions, and general frustration I would not change any part of my time with the Theta Iota Spring 2015 class.

During my time as New Member Ed I learned a lot and can away with plenty of advice for those who follow in my footsteps:
1. Choose your assistants wisely. These are the girls that will help you more than you could imagine. They are your support system when most of the chapter will not be your biggest fans. (The lovely author of this fantastic blog was one of my assistants and I will wholeheartedly admit that I could not have made it out alive, or sane, without her)
2. Not everyone is going to like you during your time in this position. Feelings are bound to get hurt, but let everything roll off your back. Out of anger or sadness people will speak out of spite and that is okay.
3. Have a beginning plan, but be open to change and suggestions.
4. Lean on your executive board. The president of my chapter and the treasurer (my awesome little) were two of my rocks this past semester.
5. Remember that, while this is your position, you cannot let it consume your life. If you do, you will not know what to do when you cycle out.
6. DO NOT let pride stand in the way of your doing your position well. Sometimes it is better to swallow that huge pride pill for the betterment of the chapter. In all honesty, having my pride broken during the process made me a better person in the long run.
7. Do not forget your sisters. It's easy to get wrapped up, but they were there before you got the position and they will be there after if you love on them no matter what!
8. Have fun and enjoy your girls! I have met some of my favorite people in my first group of new girls!

Brandi {Risk Management: Delta Zeta}: Being standards can be difficult, because you have to enforce rules on your sisters and sometimes be the one to punish them. Even though it's not all fun and games, I've gotten a lot from the position. I've become a more confident woman that can stand her ground, I've gained leadership experiemce, and I got the opportunity to go to Miami University for NMALC. Even though standards is a tough position, it's very rewarding.

Olivia {President: Alpha Sigma Tau}: As a Sorority President too often we believe that we can do it all. We probably can, but what is the fun in that? My best advice for working on a sorority exec board is never do anything alone. Include others when making decisions. Give your members a role in helping to achieve success. When your members feel like a part of the process the result's success intensifies. You are in a sisterhood for a reason, use them!