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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Sorority life IS for me

Picture+of+Alpha+Sigma+Alpha+members+%28Left+to+Right%29+Jenna+Schweikert+25%2C+Katherine+Zhang+23%2C+Lee+Lipe+24
Lana Gallagher
Picture of Alpha Sigma Alpha members (Left to Right) Jenna Schweikert ’25, Katherine Zhang ’23, Lee Lipe ’24

A few weeks into the 2022 fall term, I found myself walking into the Alpha Sigma Alpha house for the first time to attend their informal recruitment event. I still wasn’t really interested in joining, but my roommate, now junior Olivia Janunas was largely unknown to me and I wanted to get to know her more.

It was October, shortly before my birthday, and I remember I felt so sad all the time. I missed my best friend, my freshman year roommate who transferred schools. I was finding that people I thought would be by my side were not, and I was so, so lonely most days. I wanted new friendships, but I was 19 and nervous and I didn’t know how to reach out to anyone when I was so unhappy to begin with.

That chilly night, I walked into the Alpha Sigma Alpha house, and a resounding chorus of excitement met me. Friends called my name, welcoming me in, fairy lights twinkling above, music playing, chips and sodas on the table. Call it cliche, but the memory will always warm my heart. I was home, I knew it deep down. There was no longer a question of if I would join, and who I would go home to. I knew Alpha Sigma Alpha was it for me, the same way junior Isabel (Izzy) Oliver knew Delta Delta Delta was home for her.

“Joining a sorority was something that I had never planned on doing, but it has ended up meaning so much to me. I’ve made some of my closest friends because of joining Tri Delta,” said Oliver. “In Delta at Knox and nationally I’m surrounded by incredibly motivated, talented, and intelligent people and I’m so grateful that Delta has allowed me to meet them.”

Much like Oliver, I never thought I’d enter a sorority. I didn’t think it was for me, I shied away from popular culture’s image of Greek life that does not reflect what the chapters are really like at Knox. We get a bad rap, and sometimes it’s even deserved, but what I’ve learned is that it’s always been easier to throw stones when you’re anonymous and don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes.

“To me, Sigma Nu is about the relationships I’ve made with my fellow members and the responsibilities we have to each other. The friends I’ve made through this organization are (hopefully) friends that I’ll keep for the rest of my life,” said Sigma Nu member Lian Wang.

For most of us in fraternity and sorority life at Knox, we didn’t join for parties or social climbing, and while the opportunities it can provide are valuable and wide-reaching, that’s not what it boils down to, either. For me, being in a sorority is really about the lifelong friendships I’ve made with the members of Alpha Sigma Alpha, and the good we create in the world together.

Being in a sorority is difficult. Being chapter president is even more so. I will not lie and say that it has ever been easy. It is hard work, and sacrifice, and compromise, and learning to work with people even when they frustrate you. But wow, has it been the most exhilarating, fulfilling, soul healing experience of my life.

There are moments when I question my decision, when it gets difficult and I lose sight of who we are and what we strive for. I stay, though, because it is important to me, because it is important to the members of my chapter, because, even though it might go unseen, we do good work in the community. We volunteer, we fundraise, we support as much as we can.

“Philanthropy to me and our organization means making deliberate efforts to promote the welfare of others. Whether that be the welfare of those in our shared community, or outside of our community,” said senior and member of Phi Gamma Delta Cole Shepherd. “Some of our efforts include fundraisers for our annual St. Baldrick’s event, a clothing drive for Steele Elementary school, FSL community volleyball fundraiser, and more.”

My own chapter supports Girls on the Run, Special Olympics, and the Alpha Sigma Alpha foundation. In February, we fundraised for the Polar Plunge at Lake Storey. Knox’s chapter of Beta Theta Pi participated in the plunge alongside us. In the coming months, we’ll also volunteer for a race hosted by Girls on the Run.

I know fraternity and sorority life is far from perfect. We make mistakes sometimes, just like any other person would. But at the end of the day, I joined because I wanted friendship, a purpose, an organization to uphold and tenets to abide by.

“Being in a sorority changed my life,” said Oliver.

It changed mine, too.

“To love life and joyously live each day to its ultimate good,” states the creed of Alpha Sigma Alpha. We aspire, we seek, we attain. We look for joy, for beauty, for good. I think I found it here, in that house, in the exact moment that I needed it. I will never, ever let go of the belonging, love, acceptance I found in my chapter. I found, after all, that sorority life IS for me.

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About the Contributor
Jenna Schweikert
Jenna Schweikert, EIC-In-Training
Jenna Schweikert '25 (she/they) is a journalism and political science double major. They are the Editor-In-Chief In-Training for The Knox Student. In her free time, she enjoys dancing in her room to Taylor Swift records. You can most often find Jenna writing in the Gizmo or attending Terp rehearsals in CFA. Awards: Illinois College Press Association 2024
  • 3rd Place Column
Theodore Hazen Kimbale Memorial Award in Journalism - Feature article, 2022

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