Dear Gamma Phi,
I never really understood the point of a sorority until I joined yours. Coming in as a freshman, I only went through recruitment with the intent of making a few friends to get me started at a new school. It was just a way of making a big school feel smaller. But what I’ve gotten out of it has been so much more than that. I have such a big appreciation for all of the little things that come with being in a sisterhood. From bid day where I met my one-of-a-kind bid day buddy to big/little reveal where I got the big sister I always wished for. From visiting the hall to make waffles and watch The Bachelor with my favorite “college moms,” all the way to recruitment this year where I became best friends with my future roommates, it’s the little moments like those that have made Gamma Phi the highlight of my college experience.
Each and every one of you have played such a crucial role in shaping me into the woman I am. Never once have I felt the need to hide any part of myself or become something that I’m not. I have been praised for my strengths and embraced for my flaws. And that is exactly what a sorority should be. It’s not about the cute pictures in our letters or the fun mixers and functions. Being in a sorority is about forming relationships with women who are in your life to help you grow and grow along with you. They understand me in a way that nobody else will because they’re the reason that I am the way I am. Thank you for supporting me through everything and thank you for constantly giving me a purpose and making me feel like a small part of something much bigger. Y’all make life so beautiful and wayyy more fun! :)
Never in a million years did I think I was going to be the girl who was so “gung-ho” for her sorority, but every single day I walk around with the pride of being a member of the Epsilon Theta chapter of Gamma Phi Beta and I know that there is no better group of girls to call my best friends and sisters. Thank you for making me laugh when I’ve had a rough day. Thank you for inviting me over for dinner when I was sick of eating dining hall food. Thank you for listening to my never-ending stories about absolutely nothing and letting me complain even when I really have nothing to complain about. And thank you for so much more that you all have done for me and the millions of things I know you will continue to do for me. No amount of thank you’s will ever be enough because you can never understand how much being a part of Gamma Phi and its undeniable sisterhood has done for me. I feel so blessed to call Gamma Phi my home away from home.
Mary B <3
Written by: Mary Bauwens, PC '18
As a freshman at Clemson, I had a lot of preconceived notions about what Greek life was like. It seemed like a daunting commitment to make and the whole recruitment process was super intimidating to me. Because of this, I decided not to rush my freshman year and wasn’t sure if I ever would. However, within a few weeks, I ended up becoming close friends with a few girls in Gamma Phi. Through this, I saw how sorority life was so much more than I originally had thought. Not only did these girls have a consistent support group of sisters, but also participated in retreats, service projects, and social events. These events reflected the type of people I wanted to surround myself with, and I began to see how sorority life was more of a well-rounded experience than I had originally thought.
After struggling with the transition from freshman to sophomore year and feeling somewhat out of place at Clemson, I decided to give sorority life a try. I worried about rushing as a sophomore because I felt “too old” but was pleasantly surprised to know other sophomores, and even a few juniors, were in my shoes. I met some of my best friends through my pledge class and believe rushing a sorority was the best decision I’ve made here at Clemson. Joining as a sophomore introduced me to girls my age and younger that I probably would have never met!
Going into my first full year as a sister, I wanted to share my story because there is never a “bad time” to join a sorority. Being welcomed with open arms into Gamma Phi changed my Clemson experience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not only do I have the honor of knowing these amazing women now, but I know I can count on them as lifelong friends. I think that is something that every girl can benefit from!
Written by: Natalie Sinclair, PC Fall '18
Rush week was very stressful for me, especially coming from in state. I was nervous and terrified I’d make the wrong decision. Every time the doors of Gamma Phi swung open, the stress went away. I was a new person and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time! The girls were genuine and real with me all week, making Gamma Phi so comfortable and pressure-free. By philanthropy round, I walked out smiling because I knew that I just made some lifelong friends as cliche as it sounds. Turns out that one of those girls is now my big and another is someone who I talk to all the time even though she has since graduated and moved thousands of miles away.
I wish I could go back in time two years to take a good long look at the person I was before recruitment, and before Gamma Phi came into my life. I would tell myself that everything was going to be ok. The women in Gamma Phi have truly helped me become who I am today. Going into college I assumed that the best thing about beings in a sorority would be the random road trips, movie nights, and sleepovers, but little did I know that the moments I would cherish most would be when I was at my lowest and my sisters helped piece me back together again. When I was the hardest person to love, they loved me anyways. Gamma Phi has lived up to all those expectations, but I value most when sisters come into my room just to say hey, intentionally ask about my day, or be down for a dance party to let off steam. These girls have become my go-to gameday buddies, ice cream dates, late night chats, and everything in between. Sometimes I wonder what my college experience would look like without Gamma Phi, and I realize that I would be missing out on all of these genuine friendships. Gamma Phi has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, yet I feel comfortable because I know I have my sisters by my side supporting me. So when going through recruitment, pay attention to the women surrounding you. Picture who you could become in two years because of their presence. Trust the process and one day they may become your why Gamma Phi.
Written by: Aubrey Keffer, PC: Fall '17
After the chaos that is recruitment, I had decided that Gamma Phi was the place for me. All the girls I had talked to were chill and funny, but also wanted to hear what I had to say. I felt like the vibe in the Gamma Phi room was different than all the others and that I could truly be myself. Gamma Phi helped me to feel comfortable in who I was because of how accepting everyone is and even more so I felt like I had found my people. The girls that I interacted with were always pushing me to be the best version of myself socially, physically, academically and also as a leader.
When I started new member education classes and I began to meet more girls in my pledge class and the sorority overall, I continued to realize Gamma Phi is the best place for me. We have girls from all over the country, all different backgrounds and majors, and our diversity is one of my favorite things about being part of Gamma Phi. I have been able to find friendships that will last a lifetime, events that I will always remember, and leadership opportunities that have allowed me to grow.
One of my favorite leadership opportunities so far is the honor of serving as New Member Educator for the Fall 2019 pledge class. This program within Gamma Phi means so much to me. I love having the opportunity to meet all of the newest members, form connections with them, and guide them through the first few months as a Gamma Phi. In my personal sorority experience, this was a crucial time, so I love that I can play a part in it for the new members and show them why Gamma Phi means so much to all of the sisters. This sorority has so many amazing things about it and I love that I get to share all of them with the newest pledge class.
I led my first pledge class last spring and it all felt so natural; being able to watch all of their friendships grow with not only each other, but the rest of the sorority is exactly what I hoped would happen. I felt like a proud mom and it was so rewarding to be apart of. Our weekly meetings were always interesting with random memes, or wedding videos, or a funny story from the week. It was a pleasure getting to know each of the members in Spring PC 19 and I am so excited to meet Fall PC 19! I’m pumped to get to be a mom all over again and this time with even more new members! I can’t wait to continue to show them why we love Gamma Phi and what it means to each sister!!
Written by: Sarah Blase, PC: Fall '17
joined Gamma Phi as a freshman at University of South Florida in Tampa, and if we’re being honest here, it took me a second to feel all in. But soon enough, I met women who became my best friends and pushed me to lead with self-confidence. And those same women supported me when I decided to transfer to Clemson after my sophomore year.
Clemson had always seemed like the right school for me, but I went to USF because my friends went there, making it the comfortable choice. It all works out though, because my USF Gamma Phi experience made me sure that I wanted to join Clemson’s chapter when I got here. And girl, I am so glad that I did.
On my first day at Clemson, I was meeting the Chapter President at the recruitment retreat as we were about to start some activity. She glanced up and goes, “Oh, Jessie and Lindsay. They’re cool.” She sat me down next to them, and wouldn’t you know it… they became my best friends at Clemson. I seriously don’t think I’ve ever clicked and laughed so easily with someone after knowing them for 10 minutes. Day 1 in Clemson Gamma Phi brought me two of my favorite people, my go-to’s, and the first ones to sleep on the pull-out couch in my apartment.
During that first week as a new addition to this chapter, I felt nothing but love and acceptance from this group of women, and that hasn’t changed. Gamma Phi made me feel at home in Clemson faster than I ever imagined and gave me sources of comfort and encouragement, even after moving hundreds of miles. So yeah, there’s something in these hills… and there’s also something in GPhi.
Written by: Sussie Danahy, PC ‘16, Class of 2020
The only thing better than getting to go abroad, is getting to go abroad with your sisters. This past spring semester, I spent four months living on the Gold Coast of Australia with two girls from my pledge class, Abby and Loryn. Moving across the world seems a little daunting, but taking a little piece of Clemson and Gamma Phi with me made the transition so much easier. There was comfort in knowing that no matter where my adventure would take me, I had two friends with me, supporting and encouraging me no matter what.
Every day was an adventure with them. We spent countless hours laying on the beaches, shopping, studying, and just spending quality time together. There were late night laughs, rants, and exam cram sessions. There were jam sessions and screaming old Taylor Swift songs together. There were spontaneous trips to the zoo and days where we would just set off and explore. Every night, the three of us would gather on the couch to watch Australian reality shows together. We explored Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Singapore, and Thailand, and shared in so many new experiences like skydiving and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. It’s these little moments with my sisters that I know will stick with me forever.
Studying abroad with Abby and Loryn was such a testament as to why I love Gamma Phi. Our sisterhood is so strong and our love and support for one another is real. We shared so many laughs and good times, and I can’t even begin to thank these girls enough for our time together. Abroad, there were so many firsts and opportunities to grow, and I am so grateful for the sisters standing by my side every step of the way. I will miss waking up every day and seeing their beautiful faces, but I know these are memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
Written By: Rachel Zurcher, PC: Fall '17
My first experience with Girls on the Run was when I was a GOTR girl in 3rd grade. To me, this was an afterschool club that me and my friends would meet at to spend more time together outside of the classroom. But looking back Girls on the Run was so much more. It is where I learned that I am strong, capable, and able to create meaningful relationships with others. Fast forward 11 years and I am now a coach teaching other girls that they can be all of those things and more.
Girls on the Run is a after school program for girls in 3rdthrough 5thgrade. Girls in the program participate in learning activities that help them to build their confidence and teaches them practical life skills, as well as participating in running activities to prepare them for a end of the year 5k. This organization is so important as it is teaching girls that they can do anything they set their mind to. These girls will grow up to be important figures in society, and with these lessons I truly believe we are setting them up to be strong confident leaders.
I owe a lot of who I am today to Girls on the Run and the lessons I learned there. As someone who both participated as a girl and coached 2 of her own teams, I can say that Girls on the Run is an important philanthropy that is worth the time and money, it is a philanthropy that prides itself on its service to others, and is a philanthropy that is dedicated to building strong girls to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Written By: Ashlyn Houston, PC: Fall '17
I swear I just started my freshman year. But nope, I graduated just a few days ago from the best university in the world. I have no idea how the time went by so fast and now I am sitting here reflecting on everything that has happened to me, the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Being a part of a sorority really helped shape my college career and my experience would not have been the same without Gamma Phi. Coming to Clemson from out of state seemed like a big feat for me, but after a month into my freshman year, I was so comfortable and it felt like home. Part of what made my transition so easy was joining Greek Life. I know it sounds super cliché and all but it’s true! It really did give me a smaller group of people to connect with and I started to form lasting friendships. I served as the New Member Educator (NME) for the spring and fall pledge classes of 2017 and it was the best thing I could’ve done. Being NME brought me closer to the history and tradition of Gamma Phi Beta and it also helped me connect with the current sisters in Epsilon Theta at a deeper level. With a background in camp counseling and a Psychology major, I was really in my sweet spot with NME. The relationships I made with the new girls that year are ones I have kept, and will keep, for a long time after college.
But Greek Life is not the only thing that describes my college life. Especially as an underclassman, I was always involved on campus and participated in lots of events and clubs. I joined the Pencils of Promise club as a founding member during my freshman year, and then became Marketing President my sophomore and junior year. Eventually, I moved up to Club President for the last half of junior year and into my senior year. I also attended every home football game for 4 straight years, played on the Club Field Hockey team with some of my Gamma Phi sisters, joined the Clemson SHRM chapter, studied abroad in Australia, and participated in countless volunteering and philanthropy events. Needless to say, sorority life did not limit me from doing all the things I wanted to do while in college. And now that I am graduating and moving on, I am grateful for all the different experiences and knowledge I have gained from college and from the enrichment Gamma Phi gave me. I made my best friends in Gamma Phi and know that I can count on these women to be there for me for life.
Written by: AnnaWade Strawsburg, PC '15
Senior, Class of 2019
Hey y’all! My name is Abby Wilson and I am the President of Gamma Phi Beta here at Clemson for the 2019 calendar year, welcome to our blog! Ever since I joined Gamma Phi three years ago, it has been a place of comfortability, familiarity, and friendship. One of my favorite parts of Gamma Phi is that I am always making new connections and new friends within our chapter. Even before becoming President, I was never scared or intimidated to reach out to anyone in the chapter. When I had class with a sister I didn't really know, it was so natural to sit by her when I didn’t know anyone else. This sorority has made Clemson’s campus feel so much smaller in the best way possible. I never walk across library bridge without saying hi to a sister and that is not an exaggeration!
It amazes me how quickly friends have turned to family within this wonderful organization. In my opinion, a sisterhood is so much more than chapter meetings, philanthropy events, and social functions. It’s getting a ride from a sister to the airport, it’s having a sister bring you a muffin on your birthday, it’s crying with your sister because sometimes college is hard. It’s spring breaks and roommates and calling your sister an Uber when she needs a ride home. You should be doing these things for all of your friends, but this type of loyalty and respect is held to a higher standard when it’s for your sisters.
I can honestly say that the Abby that ran down the hill on Bid Day is not the same Abby that sits here writing this post right now and that is in part due to Gamma Phi Beta. I have been able to form wholesome friendships, become a better leader, and grow into a stronger woman because of Gamma Phi. My sisters have pushed me to get better grades, make better decisions and even run for President of this amazing organization. I am forever grateful for Gamma Phi Beta and all it has given me. Enjoy the blog and I hope it gives you a little insight into how genuine our sisterhood really is!
Each blog post is written by a different sister to help showcase all of the diverse reasons why we love Gamma Phi.