Sara joined Theta Nu Xi in the Spring of 2012 and after the close of the spring semester, she became the sole member of the Upsilon chapter. As a chapter of one, Sara still had to maintain Sorority and university standards and requirements, as well as her own academic course load and extracurricular activities. Despite this heavy load, she persevered. In addition to maintaining active the chapter status Sara also managed an intake process for Upsilon that resulted in the initiation of three new sisters to Theta Nu Xi in the fall of 2013. One of the reasons Sara worked so hard to maintain her chapter in the face of such a heavy load was her belief that Indiana University needed Theta Nu Xi on campus, and that the student body needed to see what a Sorority like ours could do. Sara absolutely loves the sisterhood and when I reached out to her for this article, she was excited to share her contributions and insights with me.
How did you learn about Theta Nu Xi? Why did you want to join?
I first learned about Theta Nu Xi at an involvement fair at Indiana University. I didn’t even plan on looking at Greek life; I went more for the free stuff. As I walked through I saw several other organizations and remember thinking “Yeah, this is not for me.” As I was about to leave, a girl jumped (literally jumped) out at me and said, “Do you believe in multiculturalism? Equality? Do you want a sisterhood?!” As an International Studies of Human Rights and International Law major, I said, “Well yeah.” She walked me over to the TNX table and started telling me about the tenets and values of the organization. As she told me more about it I thought that it would be something I could see myself being a part of. However, I was still really skeptical that it was a sorority. The sister that approached me was Cameray Boyden and the whole time she spoke I couldn’t stop looking at her with her multi-colored earrings that said “love”, and her 80s styled glasses and jean jacket with a peace sign on it. I thought “maybe this isn’t like the rest, maybe they actually do live out these values.” I wanted to join because the Upsilon Chapter only had 4 members at the time and I wanted a tight bond with my sisters. We shared the same values. I believed in being an advocate for social change and so did this organization. I didn’t want to have to change my values to fit in. My decision to join was easy because I already aligned with the sisterhood that I never knew existed prior to September 2011.
How would your life be different if you had not joined Theta Nu Xi?
If I had not joined Theta Nu Xi, my life would be completely different! Being a part of this organization has made my large campus feel small. It has allowed me to be a part of something that I would not be able to find anywhere else. If I weren’t in TNX, my life would be lonelier. Faculty, staff, advisors, and sisters make up a huge part of my life. The networking opportunities this organization has provided for me are not just about business, but have also allowed me to develop friendships; it has pushed me to be better personally, academically, and toward others. If I hadn’t joined Theta Nu Xi, I would probably still be searching for my niche.
How has being a member of Theta Nu Xi helped you in your career or personal life?
Being a member has allowed me to network like crazy! Not only are there sisters EVERYWHERE in the U.S. and other countries, but I have formed connections with the university, and I have even met the President of IU! Like I mentioned prior, my major is concentrated around Human Rights. Theta Nu Xi has allowed me to understand others more fully, experience cultural opportunities, and hear others’ opinions/ideas about controversial topics, race, discrimination, and equality.
Tell us about a recent goal you’ve accomplished.
I was recently elected to the position of Vice President of the Multicultural Greek Council at IU! I knew that I would not be remaining the president of the Upsilon Chapter for much longer, and I wanted to take on a leadership role on a larger scale. I figured by helping our council, I would essentially still be helping my chapter. I thought I could be there for the council, my Chapter, and to help the incoming council President, a Greek life neophyte, with any challenges.
If you could select one achievement that you are most proud of, what
would you it be, and why?
I am a first generation college student, something I’m very proud of. It is difficult to be the only one in your family that has gone to college. It is often difficult for family to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. It becomes more challenging for them to relate to the issues you face on a daily basis like finals, lack of time/money, etc. Theta Nu Xi gave me a sense of family and provided people who understood my collegiate experience. My education is everything to me, and I hold this achievement with pride.
Was it hard to manage being the sole sister in an undergraduate chapter?
It was difficult to be the sole member, but I was never alone. My alumnae were always there for me and I worked hard to keep them updated. Being the only sister made me see the importance of sisterhood so much more. It was very difficult, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Although the Upsilon Chapter going dormant was a concern of several members, I was not going to let that happen. I postponed studying abroad in order to have a line, and was determined to not fail, but there were moments this fall when I didn’t know if one person could truly recruit, be Dean of a line, and uphold the standards of the organization. I had to focus on what we had done in the past, what had worked, and what I could change. I could not afford to waste any time and I focused on getting to know interests on a real and personal level. Being the only sister is something I hope doesn’t ever happen again in our chapter or anywhere. It is not an easy task and it was difficult to manage.
If you could choose one word to describe yourself what would it be?
Tenacious. I am not easy to stop once I set my mind to something, and I don’t get burned out quickly. I let challenges and frustrations push me further, and make me think about better ways of doing things. My favorite quote is “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” Your future is a ball of clay and you decide how to sculpt it.
Sara’s hardwork and achievements have not gone unnoticed. At the Central Region’s Conference this past March, Sara was the recipient of the Undergraduate Sister of the Year, Undergraduate Dean of the Year, and Most Diversity Hours awards. At the Indiana University’s annual Greek Assessment and Awards Program she was also awarded the title of Multicultural Greek Council Woman of the Year.
This interview was conducted by Danielle Klank (Alpha Beta, 2013)