I want to start off by saying everything you know about UIFI will never begin to explain how it will change you forever. I am not talking about how it will change you as a Greek or a leader in your organization but how it will change everything about you and who you are when arrive will not be who you are when you leave. UIFI changed me for the better.
My name is April Turner and I am Junior/Senior at Florida Atlantic University. When I arrived at FAU in 2008 I did not want to join the Greek System. The idea of being picked by a group of girls was overwhelming for me and I decided I did not want to go through the process. After meeting the Interfraternity Council President and some long conversations about how much joining a fraternity changed his life I decided I would look into it. Alpha Delta Pi welcomed me home in 2009 and I thought my life had been changed for the best and that I was set for life. And I was happy everything was going great and I could not have been more proud to call myself an ADPi. I wanted to help my chapter grow in any way possible and when I heard about UIFI I got so excited and signed up. I found a scholarship and was blessed to be chosen to receive funding to attend this conference.
Once I got the scholarship I was pretty excited about the trip but there was this feeling that I have attended so many leadership conferences that I probably would be very bored but a week in another state and a chance to stay in a sorority house became the things I was looking forward too. Then, in no time at all, I was getting on a flight to UIFI. After two connecting flights and a wrong flight I was finally there. Walking into the house I was greeted with hugs and smiles and one familiar face, Brandon, an Alpha Tau Omega who I did not really know but we both went to FAU and that's all we needed to connect. Soon after joining everyone at the house I was thrown into sharing a very private but growing moment in my life. From here the whole trip changed. I went from being excited about just meeting people to being challenged to improve myself and become a better woman, greek member and even a better ADPi.
We talked about topics you would never bring up in a “normal” day to day conversation with other Greeks; what worried us about being Greek, what we were doing wrong, how long would we last, what were we doing as individuals to change things, what values did we keep near and dear and so much more. Then we learned how to make these topics something we could discuss daily. I met a gentlemen of Sigma Phi Epsilon that changed my total opinion on his organization. An amazing council of awkward turtles reminded me that being myself daily will only improve my organization as a whole. Then I met two sisters who made my heart grow from the sisterhood they shared with me and helped me grow the love I have for my organization. And many more great fraternity men and sorority women who all grew for the better with me.
UIFI also gives you a chance to meet and have candid conversation with Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisors from all over the country. Many of who challenged me to improve as a sorority woman, along with a few who had to hold my hand as a I cried through some hard realizations that I needed to make. They will never know how positively their guidance affected me.
If I could press upon the greek community how important these challenges are and how they have changed my life I would say this, challenge yourself daily. Everyday you wake up pick one thing you want to challenge yourself on. I quickly realized that I could complain until I was blue in the face about things going on in our community or I could be the change I wanted in our community. Along with the change in the community I wanted to see I wanted to see a change in me. I have since learned my creed word for word and I make sure that every choice I make reflects back upon my creed. Doing this made it easier to approach sisters and other community members about things that were bothering me. Challenging myself daily has become difficult but with my UIFI family by my side I have begun to change myself for the better and I believe I have made that visible in my daily life. One place I think it reflected the most was in recruitment.
Recruitment can be a testing time for an organization but this recruitment was a test for myself. I wanted to press upon the potential new members how much my Ritual and values meant to me. I tied back all conversations to the values that I held near and dear to me because of my sorority. By doing this I believe that my new Alpha members now know how much my Ritual means to me and that sharing that Ritual with them makes our sisterhood that much more meaningful. This is what UIFI has pressed upon me that just because its a secret does not mean we cannot discuss how important it is.
Since UIFI I have focused more on my organization as a whole and making sure our sisterhood is living up to its values, Rituals, and living by the creed. These will only improve us as a sorority and make sure we are becoming better women everyday.
UIFI might have only been a week but the lessons I learned, the people I met and the passion I gained for my sorority will never be forgotten. I think every member of the Greek community should attend UIFI because the more that do the better our community as a whole will become. We are amazing men and women and we do some amazing things but we cannot wait for the world to see what we do now, we must continue to improve and make sure that this opportunity will still be on college campuses for our children and grandchildren to have. Imagine a world without Greeks, now imagine what you can do to make sure that never happens. A great way to start is to attend UIFI.
Here are some photos from my experience:
Me in front of the Alpha Delta Pi house at Indiana University
With an Alpha Delta Pi (Alabama) who greeted me in the Bloomington, IN airport
My UIFI Chapter at the bowling social