To say the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) was an inspiration would be an understatement. The people I met at UIFI reestablished my faith in humanity, and the overall experience reinforced the direction of my life, as well as the pursuit of my dreams. UIFI is not simply a leadership institute, it is a wake up call. It reminded me of who I am and who I want to be, and forced me to realize that both of those things are in my hands and based on my actions. Leadership, character, and ritual are what you do; UIFI encouraged me to envision a better world, trust in that vision, and actually go out and accomplish it.
I learned a lot about what direction I want my life to take, and more importantly, that it is within my power to take it there. I learned that Greek Life as a whole is not as successful as it is on my campus, making me appreciate my situation and my sisterhood even more. Talking with others about their experiences made me realize how blessed I am. I also learned to have more faith in people, and more faith in myself. We all have the capacity to be better; we just have to want it and go take it.
In one of the big group sessions, many participants volunteered to stand up and recite their creed or purpose, often having people from different chapters around the country stand together as they said it. It was a beautiful moment, and exemplified all that we stood for; standing together for a common purpose. Although different, each creed stood for the same basic values, tying us together as a Greek community, and reminding us why we are a part of our fraternity or sorority in the first place. Another moving moment was during my one-on-one talk with a facilitator after creating a blueprint for action on my campus. Shane Henry, a fraternity staff member from Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity, made me believe in myself, and really enhanced the boost in confidence that my chapter had given me the previous semester. He saw me as the person I want to be, and through our conversation, I could see that I am living my values, and that all of my plans are absolutely possible. His faith in me reinforced my faith in myself.
UIFI made me not only acknowledge problems, but helped me to understand how they can be solved. I am now equipped with a plan, as well as the tools and confidence to get it accomplished. We will develop a better understanding of our ritual and make it a habit, living out our values in our everyday lives. This experience has benefited me so much already, and I look forward to helping my chapter realize their potential in being the inspiration to make the world better.
I struggle with opening up to people and with being too hard on myself. Before UIFI, I was also struggling with my prioritizing, as well as the general direction of my life. It was an invaluable experience, and could not have come at a better time. My values have become more prominent than ever and I am already starting to feel like a better person. UIFI taught me that I don’t have to be perfect. It’s not about being the best, but being the best I can be. I have to love and accept myself before I can expect others to do the same. Most importantly, my experience made me realize that I absolutely have the capacity to “be the change I want to see in the world” and to achieve that which I always strive for: to inspire.
Zeta Lambda – Wingate University