By Haley Miscovich, Alpha Pi at Clarion University
As I mentally prepared for the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (or UIFI), packed my car, and embarked on a six and a half hour journey from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana I was both excited and anxious. While I had heard about UIFI from sisters in my chapter who had attended years prior, like many others I was not completely sure of what to expect at UIFI.
I knew that this conference, held by the North-American Interfraternity Conference, would touch on the basics; leadership, personal development, scholarship, service, and philanthropy. But after taking part in UIFI, it has inspired me to strive to become the best human, sister, and individual that I can be, as well as, helping me realize the true, lasting meaning behind my sorority letters.
I pulled into the beautiful Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house and was greeted by so many eager (but nervous) sorority and fraternity members from all over the United States and even Canada. After arrival I quickly realized that there was no time to waste; the facilitator mentioned that the week would be a whirlwind; seeming to take forever but also going by in the blink of an eye, and he was absolutely right. Each day began with breakfast at 7:30 am and would stretch until almost 11 pm. When going straight to bed seemed like the best idea, we avoided it to spend time getting to know the other Greek leaders and hearing about their experiences.
Other than fraternity and sorority collegians and interns there was also an amazing team of facilitators, who work in student affairs or for Greek organizations, eager to guide and challenge us throughout UIFI. Each day we attended large group sessions where we were introduced to new topics followed by smaller sessions where we had the opportunity to talk more deeply about these topics with our assigned group members and facilitators. In small groups, we were encouraged to develop trust with each other by sharing things that are important to each of us, take the time to look at issues from each other’s perspectives, and discuss our thoughts and experiences.
Throughout UIFI, students were challenged to reflect on themselves, their values, their leadership styles, and their Greek organization’s ritual. We talked about creating an action plan to put our sorority or fraternity values into action in our daily lives, which for me meant thinking about how to embody the characteristics of a Tri Sigma woman of character. UIFI also challenged us to think deeply about some of the most important issues in our Greek communities and what impact these issues can have on the longevity of Greek Life on college campuses.
This was an eye-opening experience for me because I attend a small school where many of these issues aren’t very relevant. However, one of my biggest takeaways from UIFI is that although all sororities and fraternities have different values and rituals, we are all working together as a team and need to hold each other accountable as one. On any team it is clear that if one teammate is not working toward the common goal the entire team can face the consequences; it is crucial for teammates to hold each member accountable for their actions even when it is difficult.
Thanks to the Tri Sigma Foundation I had the opportunity to attend UIFI June 9 -13. While I have been fortunate enough to attend other Greek leadership conferences, I can say that UIFI has been the best and most impactful conference that I have been a part of. UIFI brings Greek leaders from all over the country and turns them into friends while providing them with all the tools they need to take back to their campuses and make a difference in their communities. I am honored to have been chosen to represent Tri Sigma at UIFI – Session 4 and thankful to have been able to meet the many amazing facilitators, Greek leaders, friends, and two of my fellow Sigma sisters.
Attending UIFI has truly allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a sorority leader. If I had the opportunity to attend UIFI again I would take it in a second. Be sure to look for the UIFI Scholarship applications in spring 2019. If you’re interested in UIFI and have any additional questions, you can contact me at H.A.Miscovich@eagle.clarion.edu.