Kelsey (PC’ 15) and I have an older sister that graduated from Alabama in 2012. She was in a sorority that we both loved, and we were both set on pledging them. We were always at her house when we would come to Tuscaloosa and we received countless cute hand-me-down t-shirts from her. When Kelsey went through recruitment, she didn't end up in the sorority we had dreamt about as little girls, which was heartbreaking for me. This made it harder for me when going through rush the next year because I had watched her go through this. But when she pledged Delta Zeta, she ended up loving it and couldn’t see herself anywhere else.
Before recruitment, I was terrified about choosing which sorority was right for me. The first day of recruitment was fun because I was able to experience all 16 sororities going through each and every house on the row. Although I was still set on the two sororities my sisters were in, I knew in order to find my home I had to give every chapter at Alabama a chance. As I got further in the week, it was harder for me to narrow down which one I truly wanted. I was in love with both sororities. All week, Kelsey kept telling me, “just follow your heart and choose whichever sorority you like best, whether that’s Delta Zeta or not.” I was torn throughout the week because I wanted to be with Kelsey, yet I kept being drawn to the other sorority my oldest sister had been in.
When Preference Day came, I really had to decide what I wanted. I had both houses scheduled back to back. Luckily, there was a rain delay in between so I had more time to think about my tough decision. I never felt so alone, like no one would help me. I was heartbroken at the thought that I would let Kelsey down if I didn’t choose Delta Zeta or my parents would be disappointed in me if I went my own path. Despite the hard decision I was facing, the determining factor for me was which house I felt like I could be my best self in. The house that I could walk into after pulling an all nighter with no makeup on and in a beat up t-shirt and never feel ugly. I knew whichever house I chose needed to be the one that felt like that. When I walked into Delta Zeta during preference round, I knew DZ was that house.
I woke up on Bid Day with the biggest smile on my face knowing I made the right choice. I was so scared on the inside because I thought that I wouldn’t get the house I wanted. When my Rho Chi’s counted down to open our bids, my heart stopped. I finally opened it and heard 2,487 other girls screaming at the top of their lungs. I just stayed silent with a smile on my face because even though I knew what I wanted, the system still worked out and I was beyond happy. I ran as fast I could to the Delta Zeta castle to be welcomed by Kelsey and my now big, Marcy.
I love Delta Zeta with my whole heart, and I have never felt more myself than in the Delta Zeta castle I call home. Despite how tough recruitment may have been, Delta Zeta has been the biggest blessing in my life and is still the best decision I’ve ever made. Sharing this bond with my best friend and sister, Kelsey has been rewarding as well. We get to experience college together and with an additional other 300 other sisters. I’m beyond grateful for the recruitment process and how happy I am today with how it all worked out.
-Maddie Hyatt (PC’ 16)
33,000 people. 3,000 women. 17 organizations. The summer before my freshman year, that’s what was constantly running through my head. In a campus so large, how will I know when I’ve found my home? A home I can run to and know I’ll be heard and valued. A sisterhood that not only encourages me to work hard, but also that encourages me to try new things, meet new people both young and old, and explore other clubs and organizations that interest me.
In high school, I was never a part of a set “group.” I preferred to make friends with people from different interests. I played volleyball and was an athletic trainer for my football team, all while taking Honors and AP-level classes. I was the 2016 Class President of an organization outside of my school - National Charity League - and found I had a passion for serving others. By the end of my high school career, I found that many of my best friends were from different schools and areas. My friends were diverse and encouraged me to think differently and see things from other people’s point of view.
Coming to Alabama would be a completely new world, especially having grown up just north of Atlanta, Georgia. Recruitment was daunting to me, as neither of my parents were involved in Greek life, and I am the oldest of my siblings and therefore the first one to go out into the “real world.” As the day of move-in drew nearer and nearer, I knew I wanted to be a part of a sorority who would encourage me and make me feel welcome, but what Delta Zeta gave was me so much more.
The women in Delta Zeta have helped me grow, lead, and find joy in even the smallest things. I have sisters who row, play field hockey, and lacrosse; other sisters who participate in beauty pageants and model. Each one of my best friends are so different, each one of them breaks the “mold” of a typical sorority girl. I have friends from as far as Washington, New York, and California; as close as Birmingham and Mobile. Around my best friends and DZ sisters, I can be myself. I can look to my Katie, my big, for advice about classes and boys. My “Bruno babes” and I have spent so much time studying in our favorite library and sharing cups of coffee - we’ve lost count. My grandbig Sam and I spent a weekend in Nashville exploring and making unforgettable memories before she graduated, and when I go on vacation this summer I already have plans to catch up with my big and a few other sisters, too.
In Delta Zeta, I found myself. In Delta Zeta, I found lifelong friendships and mentors. Each one of these amazing women made my freshman year unforgettable, pushing me to be my best self- whether that be acting as the Philanthropy Day Chair for Fall Recruitment or making the Dean’s List both semesters. It’s because of Delta Zeta that I have accomplished these things, because my sisters have encouraged me, lifted me up, and led with me every step of the way.
So, to each and every one of my sisters: Thank you. Thank you for friendships that will last a lifetime and for always encouraging me to be the best possible version of myself.
Sarah Lindsey “SL” McBurney
If someone would have told me five years ago that I would leave California to go to college down south, join a sorority of 300+ girls, meet some of my best friends/future bridesmaids, and serve in leadership positions, I would have laughed. I've always wanted to join a sorority, but never would I have imagined being apart of an international organization with the biggest hearts toward each other and the community. Nor would I have imagined how much "strangers" would impact my life while helping me grow into the person I am today.
I remember being nervous during recruitment, I was worried that I might not find the tight-knit, close family that I had always envisioned sorority sisters were. I remember sitting in the library of Delta Zeta on pref night, crying to my childhood best friend confused about what to do and scared I would make the wrong decision. The advice I received was to choose the house that felt like a home and where I was most comfortable to be myself. When I opened my bid that next day and saw the words 'Delta Zeta', I knew I was running home.
You always hear that Bid Day is better than Christmas. It's because of how many gifts and happiness the day gives. Whether you're opening your bid card or waiting impatiently to welcome your new sisters. Everything from the prior week is worth it. Looking back on my freshman Bid Day, I can't help but smile and laugh at how everything works out. Little did I know how close I would become to the random girl I sat next to and made the DZ hand sign with in our pledge class photo. That I would meet my future roommates because our bid day buddies were best friends. Or that one of the first girls I would meet in my pledge class would become my best friend, all because I went out on a whim and said "Hi, I'm Kyleigh! Would you like to be friends?"
When I decided to run for Vice President of New Member Education, after serving as an assistant the prior year, all I wanted was to give each new member the same incredible experience that I have acquired. Delta Zeta has taught me more than I ever thought an organization could. The planning and enhancing of the new member program has been one of the most challenging yet exhilarating parts of being VP of New Member Education. The new member period is such a unique time, you're in a new environment, living on your own for the first time, attending a new school. There's a lot of new experiences going on. One of the greatest parts about the new member program is that it's designed to not only teach you everything you could ever know about Delta Zeta but that it also helps you adjust to your new life at school. From weekly new member meetings with your entire pledge class to your small group meetings where you get to know each other and bond. The numerous hours in the library which turn into study dates, that you actually look forward to. Getting ready with your sisters for the silly themed swap just so you can take the perfect Instagram picture. Signing up for the same clubs so you will get involved on campus and within the community together. Freshman year is one of the most memorable years if you attend everything and are open to meeting new people. You truly get out what you put into your sorority. The new member program enhances your experience of what a genuine sisterhood is while also preparing you to be successful in your college career.
There are countless experiences that I have to thank Delta Zeta for: lifelong friendships with ‘sisters’ who feel more like family, the chance to make a global impact, the opportunity to grow as a leader, and abundantly so much more. Delta Zeta has impacted and changed my life, and I want this same experience for each and every member.
-Kyleigh Roberts, 2nd Vice President of New Member Education
Official blog of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of Delta Zeta at the University of Alabama.