Emily Carney, Pi Beta Phi, Arizona State University
2015 UIFI Participant, 2017 UIFI Student Coordinator
I had the privilege of attending UIFI in 2015, going into my sophomore year of college. I got increasingly anxious as my session approached, as I had no idea what was in store. As a newer member of my chapter, I was eager to get involved, but was lacking the tools to be an effective servant leader. I was highly intimidated to be around such outstanding leaders, while I had limited experiences. This was especially the case when we discussed the concept of ritual. My post-initiation debrief had not occurred, so I was completely unaware of what my ritual means and why. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know this, and wasn’t able to fully absorb the information. Luckily for me, one of my lead facilitators was also a member of my organization, and I was able to talk with her about it. It was that night that I connected to my organization on a deeper level. I truly understood what my letters mean, and how beautiful my ritual is. UIFI was able to inspire a deeper, lasting love for my organization.
In addition to gaining a greater appreciation for my chapter and organization, I left with a holistic appreciation for my governing council. UIFI introduced me to women in 18 different organizations, and fraternity men from several different organizations. The week in Bloomington gave me the opportunity to better understand the other organizations and appreciate the importance of providing students a home in the fraternity and sorority community. This appreciation led me to pursue a position on my College Panhellenic Council. In the fall following UIFI, I was elected to serve as the Vice President of Internal Affairs for my CPC. The next year, I was elected to serve as Panhellenic President. Not a day in the two years that followed UIFI did I not use the tools this program provided me.
My appreciation of the UIFI program never diminished. This led me to apply to serve as a Student Coordinator in the summer of 2017. Serving in this role was a very rewarding experience. I learned the most that year from the participants – their successes, their struggles, what the norms are on their campuses and how they approach change when it is needed. It assured me that fraternity and sorority life is going to be in good hands for years to come because of students like those who attend UIFI and make a commitment to each other and their communities.
I am now an alumna member of my organization. Starting in my career, I wasn’t sure how my fraternity and sorority life experience would be useful. What I have found, however, is that the lessons and tools UIFI gave me are incredibly relevant in my work. I emphasize to my students the importance of leadership. We’ve done activities in my classroom that utilize the concepts from UIFI. This is the reality of this program: UIFI impacts your life in your college career and beyond, as well as the lives of those around you.
If you’ve never held a leadership position, or you’ve held twenty, UIFI is for you. The program is continuously being developed to ensure it is relevant and useful in the lives of collegiate fraternity and sorority members each year. UIFI gives you the opportunity to meet students from across the country, who may have vastly different experiences than you. You get plenty of time to talk with one another about what difficulties may be unfolding in your chapters and communities, with some helpful brainstorming to solve problems you’re facing. You’ll also get to share your successes to help others experiencing issues you’ve solved or improved on.
There’s never been a better time to attend UIFI, don’t let the opportunity pass you by!
Early-bird registration for UIFI ends April 23! Learn more about this transformative leadership experience and register at nicindy.org/uifi. Hundreds of scholarships are also available – find scholarship details here, including any application deadlines.